Ticks of a Deathwatch Beetle

A review of Postscripts to Darkness 3, Edited by Sean Moreland and Aalya Ahmad (Ex Hubris Imprints, 2013)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Cover for Postscripts to Darkness 3 courtesy of the editors

Cover for Postscripts to Darkness 3 courtesy of the editors

This will be the third Postscripts to Darkness volume that I have reviewed, and it is the best so far. The quality of the writing and artwork is even more impressive than the first two volumes. The stories in Postscripts continue to show their willingness to interrogate the dark, to go to places where other narratives shy away from. Along with monsters, conjurings, altered perceptions, gruesome creations, and horrifying deaths, Postscripts is willing to cast its dark light upon issues like alcoholism, drug addiction, family violence, incest, the death penalty, and other areas that are relegated to the dark or ignored because mainstream society doesn’t want to deal with them or finds them unsavory. Postscripts casts a particularly enlightening form of darkness upon the vision of those who seek to avoid the realities that serve as an undercurrent to their reality, and this particular flavour of horror is well suited for casting readers into a darkness they resist dealing with in their everyday lives.

It plays with conflicted spaces, situating stories like Michael Kelly’s “Absolution”, where loneliness is motivation and a fear that inspires acts to get rid of the feeling of being alone, beside stories like Alyssa Cooper’s “The Drawer” where the protagonist will go to great lengths to ensure her loneliness, to hold onto her own space and protect it from intrusion and violation. Narratives play and war with each other, pushing the reader into deeper and more provocative questions, calling for them to quickly shift perspectives and occupy a different mental space from one story to the next. The shortness of these stories, and the close proximity of diverse and conflicting narratives contributes to the sense of dislocation that good horror should inspire.

Postscritpts to Darkness 3 brings together a collection of short stories that act like ticks of a Deathwatch Beetle, tiny moments of horrification that pull us out from the comforts of reality and one step closer to the darkness of oblivion where we can really ponder our complacency and complicate it.

To find out more about Postscripts to Darkness 3, visit their website at http://pstdarkness.com/ . If you missed my review of Postscripts to Darkness 1 and 2, you can see them here:

https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/macabre-marginalia/

https://speculatingcanada.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/little-tremours-of-the-weird-to-shake-up-the-mundane/

Advertisements