Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Short story anthology, dark/Lovecraftian fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraft, dark fiction, the author
Book Available: July 9, 2013 in Hardcover (click link to preorder)
Trigger Warnings: violence, cannibalism (implied), murder, fighting, terrors from beyond

My Thoughts: This is a short-story anthology, so there isn't a lot I can tell you without creating spoilers. Generally speaking, Laird Barron has created a number of eerie tales worthy of the master of eeriness, H.P. Lovecraft, and mostly along the same lines. Stories of odd events, creeping horror, and eldritch terrors from beyond the outer Dark. If you like Lovecraft's fiction, or have read and enjoyed Laird Barron's other books, or simply like your horror dark and your mysterious unsolvable, don't miss this one.

Blackwoods Baby”: A very strange hunt for a very strange creature where the hunters become the hunted. I read this before in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 4 (review linked here).
The Redfield Girls”: Teachers on an annual holiday prior to the start of school have an eerie experience. Three years later things are even stranger.
Hand of Glory”: The life and times of Johnny Cope, gangster. Irish mob and black magicians. Also read in The Book of Cthulhu II (review linked here).
The Carrion Gods in their Heaven”: The first of the stories sent in modern time rather than the early 1900s. A woman flees her abusive husband after falling in love with another woman. A chance find of an animal-skin cloak causes her lover to start to change...
The Siphon”: A charming sociopath starts to work part-time for the NSA. A strange dinners party and eerie conversation stirs strange feelings and strange events around him. The first story not set in Washington State, and one of only a couple.
Jaws of Saturn”: People have strange dreams and then start to change after meeting an odd, old magician.
Vastation”: A odd and recursive story; the musings of a madman, or an immortal?
The Men from Porluck”: Lumberjacks hunting deer for a special dinner run across a mysterious, hidden village deep in the forest.
More Dark”: A mysterious, reclusive writer (and I noticed the metafiction!) does a reading (of sorts) that deeply affects a suicidal horror writer.

Disclosure: I received an e-galley from Night Shade Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Over the course of two award-winning collections and a critically acclaimed novel, The Croning, Laird Barron has arisen as one of the strongest and most original literary voices in modern horror and the dark fantastic. Melding supernatural horror with hardboiled noir, espionage, and a scientific backbone, Barron’s stories have garnered critical acclaim and have been reprinted in numerous year’s best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards.

Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All.  Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby”, “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven”, and “The Men from Porlock”, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader.

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