If you want to get into the Halloween spirit and seriously creep yourself out, then this book is for you. Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales, is a collection of 13 (naturally) stories that are quite diverse in tone and scope. It’s called “Weird Fiction”, which I learned originated in the late 19th and early 20th century, blending the supernatural, mythical and sometimes scientific as seen in works by H. P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson and Clark Ashton Smith. What I found in these stories lives up to that heady blend and I’m so glad I have dictionary apps and other resource material on my phone so I could try to keep up with Mr. Slatsky’s fantastically fertile mind.
In whip-smart and sometimes quite poetic prose, the diverse characters in these stories confront their worst nightmares, like the malevolent doll in This Fragmented Body or the Kumguwe in The Ocean is Eating Our Graves, or the inexorable dread and unease following Amy out in the desert in Intaglios.
“She incrementally inched her way higher. She was calmed by the lack of any light pollution, the early morning sky so perfect and clean it was like looking at the inside of a polished bowl flecked with pinpoints of light. Something liquid about all of it, as if space was an inverted ocean and only the weird actions of gravity kept the cosmic fountains from drowning this world.”
It became clear early on that I shouldn’t read one of these gems before bed time, otherwise I’d be right there with them in my own restless and fevered dreams. Highly recommended.