Want something a bit different for the holidays? Dark cold fall nights deserve a good scary book. Enter, All in Fear. Horror has never looked this enticing! It’s a gorgeous collection of horror tales from some of the hottest names in queer fiction. Be prepared to be titillated…and terrified.
Welcome guest blogger Jessica Jones. True story- Jessica was helping me with some website stuff and started reading a few of our posts. She liked us, really liked us! Along with making my day, I of course, nabbed her for a guest post on this anthology of horror meets queer fiction. Enjoy!
I don’t know that I would’ve used the word “horror” to describe this collection of stories, but I can’t think of a better one, so I’m going with it.
Among its elements are a vampire, a serial killer, some cannibalism, a fraternity filled with hazing douchebaggery (definitely horrific), a demon and a
Cylon and android in need of a good therapist. Some of its stories definitely fall more into the traditional boundaries of “horror” than others, but all of them have unsettling elements. Is there a word to describe fiction that leaves you feeling vaguely disconcerted and occasionally turned on in ways you’re not sure you’re cool with? Yeah, no – “horror” works.
Every one of these stories is striking and several of them were poignant in ways that aren’t going to stop lingering with me anytime soon.
There are a couple of happy endings in the bunch but they aren’t in the majority – and the stories that end unhappily do so on a fairly epic scale. If you’re looking for tales where a couple survives a haunted house unscathed, Scooby Doo style, then runs off to happily celebrate their safety with wild nookie, this isn’t going to fit the bill.
What these stories will give you is the desire to reach through the pages and yell warnings at the characters as the inevitability of doom starts to mount. These people are complex and engaging, far from the horror movie teens whose disastrous ends prompt no stronger emotion than the desire for more popcorn. All the better to twist the knife.
Not every story is doom-laden, but if you’re at all like me, you might want to have something with a happy ending waiting for you when you finish.
Every piece in the anthology centers around a relationship and there were several that I desperately wanted to end well… even when the smell of blood in the water was thick enough that I knew a disaster was inevitable. There are also a few stories where the relationship itself is the source of the horror, and no amount of shouting “No no no no BAD IDEA BAD IDEA” at the screen (or pages, if you’re going at it old school) will derail the train.
I wouldn’t say that I found any of these stories to be scary in the way that a horror movie is scary – they deal in currency like the psychology of loneliness, the deceptiveness of fantasy, human cruelty and twisted ethics rather than in the straightforward tension of a monster waiting around the next dark corner. I wasn’t ever at the edge of my seat, but rather leaning into the monitor, glued in place, stomach weighted down with dread.
This anthology doesn’t feature any fluffy romances wrapped in a Peanuts Halloween Special skin. These stories will stick with you and keep you turning them over in your mind. While I’ve got absolutely nothing against some good fluff romance (especially when it comes with a liberal dose of sexy funtimes), I was pleasantly surprised to find more depth in this book – and to discover several authors whose other works I intend to devour.
If you’re not averse to being unsettled and you’re in the mood to give your mind something meaty to chew on (heh – see what I did there?) along with your romance, give All in Fear a go – it’s a substantial read as well as an amply entertaining one.
I give All in Fear an A. And be sure to read this guest post by All in Fear author and all around fab person, Kris Ripper.