Books, Curmudgeon's Corner, Horror, Review

Horrifyingly Good

Written by Sanford Begley

shared nightmares  We got this book, Shared Nightmares, largely on the strength of some of the authors involved. I will have to give this book two reviews in one. Why? Well because I see it in two different ways. As a long time reader and a fan of many of the authors involved I can give the book a review on being great as what it tries to be. It is a collection of horror stories involving nightmares. The stories are all well written. They all share a sense of the surreal that comes from dreaming and nightmares, and most of them make you think. I was favorably impressed with the offerings of Larry Correia and Sarah Hoyt, but I expected no less of them. They are well established authors and this is more of their good stuff, though in a different vein than their usual. Most of the other authors did very well also. I simply do not know any of them well enough to say whether this was an outstanding offering by them or their standard good writing. I know that at least one of them is  well regarded horror writer.
The one standout is an oddity to me. Howard Tayler, of Schlock Mercenary fame, wrote my favorite story of the collection. This despite his being, as far as I know, primarily a cartoonist. His story was believable in the near future and a commentary on where the state of the art in gaming may be headed. I don’t know whether to be more impressed with his story or the fact that it is out of his usual milieu.

Now to tackle why I can give it a bad review. I read this book because some of the authors are known personally to me and even, at various levels, friends. While the stories were all well crafted and each caught a sense of the horror involved with nightmare, I hated each and every one. Why? Because they were horror stories and I dislike horror stories. In fact the better the stories captured surrealism and horror the more I hated them.

Do you think maybe I should stick to reading stories that are in genres I enjoy?  :)C

Cedar’s note: I knew that Howard Tayler wrote fiction, and very well, too. The man has talent oozing out his fingertips. I think I should introduce the First Reader to a few more of his tales! I’m over at Mad Genius Club today, talking about laying out a back cover for a print book, and giving an improptu blurb workshop. If you’d like to join me, click here. 

6 thoughts on “Horrifyingly Good

  1. Hastily… No, I wouldn’t stop reviewing genres you hate. Yes, you hate horror (as do I), but apparently the writing here grabbed you hard enough you finished it anyway? (Maybe something like being able to tolerate brocolli made by a master chef?)

    Already a Schlock Addict – now I have to go looking for his other stuff, too.

    (I’ll also check out this book; the future son-in-law is a horror kind of guy. Some of the dreck writing I’ve seen him reading, though…)

    Out the door, now. Shopping day.

    1. Well Taylor has apparently done a number of short stories, I was unaware of that. The stories were well written. I’d rather not read another such collection soon though

  2. Howard’s done horror before, with short stories in the Space Eldritch and Space Eldritch II anthologies. They’re both excellent. We fans of his have tried to encourage him to write more in the world he created to set them in. But at the same time we don’t want him to take time away from his regular work. What we really need is a couple more Howard Taylers.

    Hey, that’d make an interesting setup for a horror story…

      1. Maybe a utopia? (Assuming there aren’t enough for him to form a real mercenary outfit!)

        1. While I can see mercenary as a description of Taylor, I think Tyler Vernon’s type of mercenary is more likely. Then again I really have had no interaction with him so you could be right

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