Review: Whispers from the Abyss

By Allen Griffin

Rocha, Kat, ed. Whispers From the Abyss. 01 Publishing (October 11, 2013). USD $3.99, ebook. ASIN: B00FU0M3ZU.

We have been living in the age of The Novel for quite some time. High word counts and epic aspirations have paved the way to artistic validation since well before we were all whispersfromtheabyss-w622-h350born. Yet, there has been growing voices of dissent over the past several years, claiming it is time for the return of the short story and … well … why not? Short stories are their own separate art form. In many ways, they might prove better suited for our hectic lives and declining attention spans.

The folks at Zero One Publishing put together this anthology with the intent that it would be read in the nooks and crannies of our lives, those times where we manage to steal a few minutes back for ourselves. These pieces aren’t just short; many of them are flash pieces and even the longer ones can easily be read in one sitting.

The stories here run the gamut from the dark and serious, such as anthology opener “Iden-Inshi” by Greg Stolze, to more light-hearted fare such as David Tallerman’s “My Friend Fishfinger By Daisy, Age 7.” The pieces themselves also seem to alternate between the shorter and slightly longer pieces. Overall, the arrangement of stories keeps the reading experience from becoming too static and things flow quite smoothly.

While I would say this is a solid anthology front to back, there are, of course, standouts. The first that comes to mind is the white-knuckle hell ride of A.C. Wise’s “Chasing Sunset” and Nick Mamatas’ story by way of interrogation, “Hideous Interview with Brief Man.” Both stories capture a deep intensity and manage to probe the darkest regions of Lovecraftian fiction. Also notable, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “The Sea, Like Glass Unbroken,” a tale of a lover scorned and a creature from the depths.

If I were to lodge one small criticism, it would be that many of the pieces fail to create the sense of awe present in the best cosmic horror. Certainly, the stories work as standard horror stories, but I do tend to hold Lovecraftian stories to a slightly higher standard.

That small criticism aside, however, I would certainly recommend this anthology to anyone seeking to supplement their reading with an anthology of short bursts of horror. The collection, available only as an ebook, costs only $3.99, so it is hard to go wrong.

Bio: Allen Griffin is a writer and musician living in Indianapolis. He plays bass for Profound Lore recording artists Coffinworm. His fiction has appeared in such places as Burial Day Books, Indiana Horror Anthologies 2011 and 2012, and many others. He also has pieces forthcoming in several anthologies, including Modern Lovecraft and Grave Robbers. He tweets at: @Agriffinauthor.

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