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Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror #BookReview

Join us for twelve tales of survival horror, inspired by such legendary video game franchises as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Clock Tower…

A nurse wakes up in a hospital basement surrounded by the bodies of her coworkers and finds herself waging a desperate battle for survival against an unseen enemy. An introverted artist’s hermitage upon a private space station is interrupted by a multi-limbed alien intent on absorbing him. A woman stalked by a sadistic killer through an apocalyptic landscape decides to make one last defiant stand against her tormentor, or become his next work of living art.

And many more stories…

Featuring works by: Scotty Milder, Michelle Tang, Amelia Gorman, S.R. Miller, Jude Reid, Maggie Slater, J.C. Martinez, Richard Beauchamp, P.L. McMillan, M.J. Mars, Jay Wilburn, Eric J. Guignard. 

Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror

Title: Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror | Editor: Aric Sundquist | Publisher: Dark Peninsula Press | Pub. Date: 14-June-2020 | ISBN13: 9781734937800 | Language: English | Source: We received a copy for review consideration | Unstarred Review

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Negative Space Review

Negative Space is an interesting term that captures the attention. Space is endless, empty or full, so how can be negative? The explanation in the foreword explains it clearly and to a certain extent the stories themselves all give the reader a taste of it with tantalizing glimpses of worlds in which they have to fill in the blanks.

Anthologies are generally a middle-of-the-road experience, especially for this particular reader. It is the rare occasion to come across one that knocks it out of the park or fails so epically that finishing it is near impossible. Negative Space holds true to this, with a couple of stories filled with disturbing imagery or ideas that captivated, but many others which ranged between mildly entertaining to just didn’t succeed.

The stand-out stories from this anthology were (in story order):

The Collectors by Michelle Tang – The first story in this collection was pretty, but lacked in substance or reasons to care, so it was a solid choice on the part of the editor to follow it immediately with The Collectors. When a woman wakes up on a pile of bodies in a hospital, it is easy to infer that the shit is going to hit the fan, and it quickly does so. The author does a solid job of setting up a Kobayashi Maru situation that leaves the pulse pounding as the story unfolds. It is a gloriously bloody tale with one last surprise that will leave some readers extremely grossed out, while pleasing the atheistic tendencies of others.

It’s Inside by S.R. Miller – A story that at first strongly channels the movie The Descent, but then gleefully morphs into it’s own tale, It’s Inside takes familiar elements that it twists in just such a way to keep the reader from feeling that every tiresome sense of “been here, read this.” Great imagery, action almost from the first page, and an ending that is the perfect set-up for a more involved story.

Curiosity’s Child by Jude Reid – Near perfect, both in idea and in execution. Readers who are a fan of what NASA has accomplished over the last several decades may be simultaneously off-put and thrilled as Curiosity’s Child uses the much-beloved car-sized rovers of our Space Age in ways one might not expect, set against a believable background of Mars bases.

There are authors whose prose deserves attention for the beauty of their imagery even if the stories themselves failed to excite or ignite the imagination. The beasts in Scotty Milder’s Luminescence etch themselves in glowing neon colors across the mind’s eye. Amelia Gorman’s puzzle-pieced creations in Puzzled Pieces, Locked-in Places are some Guillermo Del Toro level nightmare sculptures which can linger in the reader’s mind long after they move on to another story. Last but not least, in The Artist and the Muse, Jay Wilburn’s horrific theme park of sliced flesh carefully crafted into art deserves to be brought into life–pardon the pun–on canvas, be it digital or otherwise.

Overall, the idea behind Negative Space was interesting and many of the stories do channel the survival horror games that so many people love. Several of these stories deserve to be expanded beyond the meager wordcount we see within the anthology. A solid effort misses the mark but is still worthy of consideration, especially for horror gamers.

Check out Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror now on Storygraph.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsShort StoriesUnstarred Reviews

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