The Five Senses of Horror Edited by Eric J. Guignard
Wowwwww! From Dark Moon Books comes The Five Senses of Horror, edited by Eric J. Guignard. I read it slowly to savor every story. This anthology organizes its stories into sections, each dedicated to one of the senses. There are several powerhouse authors in here, as well as psychological commentary on how our human senses play a vital role in the fiction we read. Filled with excellent illustrations by Nils Bross, this is a work that had much thought put into it. With Dark Moon Books you know you will not only be reading unique work, you will also gain some expert knowledge in the science behind meaningful literature. I will highlight my favorite stories from each sense below.
Touch – Soft by Darrell Schweitzer
A man unhappy with his current marriage begins to reflect back on the early days of his love with his wife. “Soft” is the word that comes to mind, and thus begins his night of shaping his wife into what he wants her to be. As Eric discussed in his foreword to the story, everyone wishes they could shape some aspect of a loved one into the person they want them to be, the narrator of the story, Richard, takes this too far, and must deal with the creation he’s made.
Hearing- In the Cave of the Delicate Singers by Lucy Taylor
I think I’m a sucker for any story that takes place in a cave. A woman named Karyn is on a rescue mission in the Brotterling Cave in Kentucky. This is a cave that is known to have caused some tragedy in the past. People that enter this cave have become homicidal or suicidal. The main character has a form of synesthesia, in which she can feel sound waves. This is a vibrantly written story, as well as claustrophobic, where madness is sure to take place, only how long will Karyn continue before she succumbs to the music completely.
Taste – His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite
My favorite story in the entire collection is from Poppy Z. Brite. Eric describes this story as playing on all the senses, and he is totally correct. This is a story about two friends and lovers, Louis and Howard, who are bored of the life they are living. Practically dead inside, they go to endless lengths to live out their macabre fantasies. This story takes place in New Orleans, as do most of Brite’s works. Romantically written, but also graphically horrific, this story, once read, will live in your memory for a long time. I’ve never drank Wormwood, but after reading this story, I’m pretty sure I can taste it.
Sight – The Beholder by Richard Christian Matheson
Like something from the Twilight Zone, Matheson writes about a woman who receives unique, and beautiful paints from a the owner of an art gallery. She brings them home to create her work, and her inspiration comes to her in the middle of the night. As she paints, the world around her seems to come alive. As the worlds merge, the reader realizes the intention of the art dealer, to truly capture the art. Aside from the actual painting sounding lovely, I could definitely visualize this room in the night, with the moon shining, the leaves blowing, it was truly dreamlike.
Smell – The Odor of Violets by John Farris
John Farris is another excellent writer. In this tale, a has-been writer, Jack Mayo, accepts the draft of a novel from one of his fans, David Hallowell who seems to be very ill. That night, the smell of violets fills Mayo’s room. He reads the story, which is excellent; a masterpiece. Hallowell finishes the novel and soon dies. Mayo assured Hallowell he would see to the novel getting published. What he didn’t tell him was that he would publish it under his own name, giving him the sought after comeback he’s been wishing for…
This is a very unique anthology that I would recommend for the reader who wants more out of their horror. The afterwards included are also a nice touch, as well as 75 more titles that appeal greatly to the reader’s senses.
I am giving this collection 5 stars for its creative, as well as educational inclusion of some fantastic dark literature and science of why it unnerves us.
The Weevil Dead