Macabre Marginalia

A Review of Postscripts to Darkness edited by Sean Moreland and Dominik Parisien (Ex Hubris Imprints, 2011)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover Photo of Postscripts to Darkness Courtesy of the Editors.

Sean Moreland and Dominik Parisien’s Postscripts to Darkness (Volume 1) is a roadmap into the Weird. Postscripts takes the ordinary and infuses it with the odd, reinventing landscapes, small towns, family, friendship, secrets of the heart. It represents the familiar made unfamiliar, distorted. Ordinary places like the hospital, schools, and gardens are converted into unnatural terrains.

Moreland and Parisien illustrate their interest in the body as a locale of horror, defamiliarising the body and making it an uncomfortable place: distorting and playing with ideas of identity and revealing the horror within. Parisien and Moreland look at the interplay between sex and horror – alternating attraction and revulsion and expressing the notion of forbidden desire.

One of the strengths of Postscripts to Darkness is its willingness to engage with a mixture of media: literary, graphic, and even interviews with authors. It allows for an inclusive engagement with Weird Fiction and heightens the experience of voyaging into the odd.

The volume is made up of small 2-4 page stories: short snippets of terror like a quick punch to the heart before a new story begins. These flash fiction stories illustrate the strengths of the authors – their ability to world-build in only a few pages and construct identifiable characters without resorting to quick fixes like stereotypes or shallow personalities. Their stories are engaging in their depth and their exploration of the breadth of the human experience. The stories in this volume were chosen for their brevity, but are not lacking in complexity or quality. They are like marginalia written around a darkened core.

I hope you enjoy these snapshots of the surreal as much as I did.

You can read more about the Postscripts to Darkness volumes at http://pstdarkness.wordpress.com/

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