The Abyss Beyond The Reflection by Micah Castle is an anthology for readers that love the bizarre and love hearing about terrifying realities within our own. Within this book lies 10 tales of horror, science fiction and weird fiction. Each of these stories uses horrific imagery to bring it to life along with characters that come across as real people.
In the first story called The Abyss Beyond The Reflection, you get a look at how technology and being obsessed with celebrities can be a dangerous combination. In the future fans of celebrities can view the celebrities lives in real-time using virtual reality. Though sometimes if you get too close to the people you admire you see a reality that is too horrifying to comprehend. I loved the concept here and the idea of how even though the lead character has a pathetic life what he finds in the life of a celebrity is far worse.
Another story I enjoyed was Three White Demons. This one follows an unhappy college professor who is tipped off to a major discovery by a friend. At an archaeological site there are three white monoliths that may be the key to other dimensions. I loved the scientific explanation used to describe the discovery. I also loved how the Professor looks at this as the key to changing from his dull life to a reality that you would see in a Science Fiction novel. What he finds is not what he was hoping for, I loved the ending of this story which shows that some things are better left unknown.
The White Sea is a story that has a H.P. Lovecraft feel to it. It’s about a down on his luck author who after the death of his parents takes a trip on a schooner in hopes of inspiration. He soon discovers that the ship’s captain has an agenda and serves a mysterious God. The writing in this story is brilliant, we hear the whole story from the main character’s viewpoint and the descriptions of the sea demons and the protagonist’s reaction to everything makes this a memorable piece of fiction.
Qaeceit’s Mirror is a different kind of vampire tale. This one follows the story of a college student who has a new roommate who sleeps during the day and has some odd habits. I loved the vampire’s origin story and would love to see a longer work made from this one. I figured in the beginning that this was going to be a vampire story yet the way its told made it feel fresh and new. I guess there is always a way to put an original spin on an old idea.
Reading The Abyss Beyond the Reflection reminded me of how much fun horror and weird fiction can be. The way everything is described brought the stories to life and every character showed amazing depth. Micah Castle’s writing demonstrates that he has a strong passion for his craft and if you love horror fiction you won’t want to pass this book up.
I enjoy reading all kinds of books but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that have a good mix of horror and comedy. This is not a combination you can always find but Dracula Transformed & Other Bloodthirsty Tales by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty is one of those books that can scare you and make you laugh. Here we have ten short stories and one novella which puts Dracula in the present day with new powers that we’ve never seen before.
The reason I wanted to read this was because I love Dracula and any movie or book that has the character catches my interest. Also I’m familiar with the work of both authors and knew it would be a fun ride. Right off the bat in the first story they address one of the issues with the original Dracula novel. In Bram Stoker’s novel we get points of view from several characters but we don’t hear much from Dracula. In Lucy Transformed we hear part of the story in Dracula’s own words via letters to his daughter. Needless to say Dracula looks at the events of the book a little differently than the other characters do. Maybe Dracula wasn’t a villain after all and just doing what vampires are supposed to do.
Two other the stories that stick out in the book are Dracula Has Risen From The Couch and Incident In The Back Of A Black Limousine. In the first story set in the present we see a very different Dracula then we are used to. He is kind of lazy and he finds out his wives are cheating on him, but he doesn’t really care enough to get off the couch until they decide to kill him. In the second story also in the present we see Dracula has fallen on hard times and now works as a pimp calling himself Big Daddy. For both of these we see a Dracula that we haven’t seen before and get to laugh at the idea that Dracula may not fare to well in the modern world.
In what is the main event in this little anthology, we have the novella Dracula Transformed which shows us Dracula resurrected in the present by a cult and given the powers of the monsters from Greek Mythology. All of the characters from Dracula are here through reincarnation and Van Helsing never died. I love that Dracula gets his power from hearing the sins of others and I loved hearing that Renfield is now a goth rock superstar. We also have another character from history that is still making a good living in Las Vegas. The best part though is hearing how Dracula acts when he hears someone talk who has no sin.
Dracula Transformed is a must read if you loved the Bram Stoker book or any of the various movies that have had Dracula in them over the years. Not only is it a fresh spin on a character that has been around for over 100 years, it’s a lot of fun for anyone who has a love for monsters and mythology. My only complaint was that some of the short stories contained an idea but no real story and I would have liked the main story to be longer and have a little more suspense. All in all though the book is a lot of fun and I look forward to reading more from both authors.
Goin’ Postal: True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker & The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive by Rhoda D’Ettore is two books in one. The first half of the book focuses on true stories from working in a post office. This part of the book follows a woman named Jessica and her experiences in the post office.
I like how Rhoda sets up Going Postal. She has worked for USPS and states that United States Postal workers are the hardest working people she has ever known. She how diverse the workers there are, the post office has people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures working in the same building with a common goal. If you ever worked a blue-collar job you can relate to the people that she is talking about here. You have stories of 12 hour work days, racist co-workers, sexist co-workers and drugs and gambling on the job. You also get stories of how people show compassion to their fellow workers and help each other out when someone needs it. Going Postal is a great look at what an American work place is like and shows that no matter where you might work you will come away with some great stories to tell.
The second half of this book is called: The Creek: Where Stories Of The Past Come Alive. This work of historical fiction is a collection of short stories focusing on people living through different eras in the same neighborhood over 200+ years. This novella has humor, sadness, love, heart-break, murder and lots of surprises. It also covers the Revolutionary War, World War 1, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, The Great Depression, the Women’s Rights movement and how they all effected one neighborhood in the United States.
I don’t feel that I’m giving anything away here when I say that the point of The Creek is to show how every neighborhood has a history and a story to tell if you’re willing to look for it. This neighborhood had some great stories to tell, I liked how what was happening in American history at the time effected the stories and how the neighborhood changed with the times. Reading this book reminded me how much fun reading can be and made me wonder what interesting stories have happened in the neighborhoods that I’ve lived in.
This is the third book I’ve read by Rhoda D’Ettore and I have to say she is a gifted storyteller. When I read a book I try to guess where a story is going to go and if I can guess, it wasn’t a good book. With Rhoda’s books you have to sit back and enjoy the ride because its impossible to predict what’s going to happen next. It seems like Rhoda’s goal in writing is to keep you entertained and to throw a few surprises your way. In the second half of this book, no one was safe as Rhoda introduced characters, made you like them, have them do things you didn’t think they would do and sometimes meet an untimely demise. When I finished this book I couldn’t stop smiling and I found myself taking a look to see what other books she has available.