Title: Pandora’s Children – The Complete Nightmares, Book 1 | Author: Bradley Convissar | Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform | Pub. Date: 8/28/2011 | Pages: 258 | ISBN13: 9781466260481 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Rape, child death, suicide, vehicular homicide | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Self-Purchased
Pandora’s Children: The Complete Nightmares, Book 1
For the first time, the twenty-two stories found in Pandora’s Children books 1-5 and Dark Interludes have been combined into two easy-to-navigate volumes. Each book also contains a bonus story at the end. This collection contains two dozen dark stories, tales where men become monsters, monsters become men, and no one is ever truly safe. You will find ghosts, demons and monsters; evil men, madmen and broken men; a wood-chipper, Santa Claus and yes, a handful of dentists. Each book contains twelve disturbing, provocative tales which will keep you thinking long after you’re done reading.
The Devil’s Toothache
The Madame Penitent
By the Teeth of His Skin
On the Curb
Wood Chipper Blues
Bonus excerpt- The first half of my 25,000 word novella, Dogs of War.
Pandora’s Children: The Collected Nightmares – Book 1 Review
I first came across Bradley Convissar’s works when he was offering them as separate short stories on a free promotion. He lists Stephen King as one of his influences and you can definitely see that but only in the general tone of them. The stories are not derivative at all. They have their own tone and style. With the laundry list of triggers above it seem like he’d be in the more extreme section of horror but they are handled very well. They are horrific but they aren’t gone into with gruesome, in-depth detail that would edge it into torture porn territory.
Like any anthology or collection there are some hit or miss stories in Pandora’s Children. When Bradley Convissar hits those emotional depths though he can really hit them. Hard.
My favorites from Pandora’s Children are:
To Don: This story was amazing. War buddies gather to honour their friend but the end half of the story was such a surprise and really caught my attention. An excellent story.
The Madame Penitent: The idea of paying for your past sins by taking on others’ pain isn’t exactly a new idea but it’s done very well here with a great finish.
Just Meat: What happens when a rather callous anatomy student is confronted with the souls of the cadavers she is treating carelessly? A very good story with great emotion to it but not played for cheap heart-string tugging.
Wood Chipper Blues: A dentist is faced with a dilemma. He has evidence of a crime but what if the crime is justified? I love the way the end leaves you hanging a bit, in a good way. It feels very close to what a person would realistically feel in that position.
Pandora’s Children: Matthew Jenkins does terrible things. Things he feels compelled to do and, while he takes pleasure in them at the time, hates himself afterwards. He is offered one chance at redemption. Can he do it? An excellent story where Pandora (yes, that Pandora) tries to make her own atonement for the horrors her curiosity has unleashed on the world.
Higher: A desperate father does the only thing he can think of to cure his son’s addiction. This story hit me hard. It was sweet, sad and very moving. It could be partly the things that were going on around me when I read it that made it hit so hard but I actually cried while reading it. And that is very hard to do.
The other stories in Pandora’s Collection are good but these were the real stand-outs for me. In fact, the only two that I didn’t really care for were The Transfer and On the Curb. On the Curb wasn’t too bad but it just didn’t click with me and The Transfer was…ick. But, again, others might like it more than I did.
Pandora’s Children is a pretty solid collection that I can almost guarantee will have at least one or two stories that people will love. If you like Bradley Convissar’s short fiction most of it can be found in the two Pandora’s Children collections.
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