HORROROLOGY – EDITED BY STEPHEN JONES
ILLUSTRATED BY CLIVE BARKER
PUBLISHED BY JO FLETCHER BOOKS
Sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Format & Page Count: Paperback. 396pp
Buy Now/ISBN: 978-1782069997 (£9.99)
Audience: Those who enjoy the more eerie, thoughtful and developed horror stories over usual gory, messy and shocking style. (There is gore in this book! Just very sporadic)
Summed up in a few words: Light on horror, heavy on story.
Author Info: There are many contributors to this tome of horror stories, 12 dedicated authors have each put forward a story centred around a theme or element of horror. Stephen Jones has then edited them all together to produce Horrorology, accompanied with the vivid and shocking imagery produce by Clive Barker. All these authors have a significant presence in the book scene today, my favourite being Joanne Harris, thank you for writing!!! Also Clive Barker's illustrations added an imposing and memorable edge to this book.
Horrorology is a collection of stories torn from the Lexicon of Fear itself. Stories that contain the language of horror. Stories that will drive you insane, scar you for life and consume your subconscious. 12 authors have put forward their version of a pure horror story, all linked by different elements of horror, terror, fear and gore. Horrorology wants you to know the true meaning of Fear.
Story/Plot/Narration: There is a vast spectrum of stories to enjoy here. I love horror short stories, they are my naughty treat in a world of fantasy, science fiction, non-fiction and the many other genres I enjoy. I was both impressed and overwhelmed by the depth of content here. On the one hand, these stories are all unique and detailed, but on the other, they are tame, sometimes boring and other times too detailed. The difference between the story sizes, the subject matter and the writing styles was disorientating (which can be expected in short story books) and combined with the fact that the stories are so hit and miss, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I should have.
As with all short story books, there is something for everyone who enjoys all aspects of the horror genre. I was impressed with the originality of some of these stories, especially the story involving people freezing to death in a heat wave. There are some remarkable stories here, like a group of women trying to uncover the truth about a stage show that may be killing people as part of their act. There are also some less compelling additions, for example a girl who seems to be able to kill clowns or a popular guy losing all his fans/friends, these types of stories don't really entertain me very much.
Genre/Writing Style: Horrorology ranks in the middle of all the horror short story anthologies I have read. It is memorable, each author bringing something new to the book in each chapter, but I think the positioning of the stories affected my enjoyment a bit too much. Having the longest chapter as the second to last entry really dragged out the last few hours of me reading the book and I ended up frustrated instead of inspired. If you like variety then this is definitely for you, there many variations of language, view points, tones, graphic imagery and themes for the reader to enjoy.
Joanne Harris, one of my favourite authors, wrote a beautiful piece about a boy seeing his mother again after she dies in a tragic accident, it was chilling, haunting but also heartfelt. The element of fear here was the fear of heartache, the boy refusing to return to the house in which he saw his mother, until 60 years later. Then we jump to the other side of the spectrum, with a story set right in the middle of the Jack The Ripper murders, with events surrounding gore, magic and fear of secrets being found out.
Characters/Settings: This being a very character driven set of stories, the settings to a backseat, influencing the characters actions occasionally. I seem to be overly focused on the variety element of Horrrorology, mainly because that was one of my favourite parts to the book. JTR London was gritty, grimy and scary, Kansas City was hot and mysterious and France was macabre and political. A tragic cast of characters from a girl who doesn't understand why she is surrounded by death, to a man experiencing his after life. A vast array of characters in many different environments.
Overall Opinion: I would recommend this book to other horror lovers. Just because I choose intensity over depth and detail when it comes to horror, doesn't mean others won't love this book. Though I don't think it delivered on the scariness it promised, these stories are original, detailed and varied.