Hellraiser

 

Below is a review from the German magazine Mephisto, Issue No. 21...

 

In Great Britain Paul Kane is not an unknown quantity. He's an author, an illustrator and a photographer and has also been involved in producing a film. A truly multi-talented person, he is one of the founding fathers of the English on-line community 'TerrorTales' and also works as an editor. In this role he runs a web site which collects 'guest stories' from talented small press authors, collating them into annual anthologies. In the first volume of this series, I would like the willing German enthusiast to imagine exceptional fantasy. If you understand the English language, you should allow yourself at least once to look beyond the small German publishing scene. What would be more suitable than an anthology with stories by several authors?

The anthology includes 12 stories, one for each month. The style of the stories ranges from Dark Fantasy to manga/cyberpunk inspired short texts. A good editorial report and beautiful presentation add the final touches to make the book a fine collectors' item, containing title vignettes and cover art work by Paul Kane.

Due to space limitations, not all of the stories can be individually commented upon. The following are the high points of the anthology for me:

'Behind the Painted Face' by John B. Ford is a grotesque-absurd journey into the angry world of clowns, who have set out to ruin mankind. One of the strongest stories in the volume and my personal favourite.

In a surreal manner, 'The Mask' portrays the remote nature of the wearers of a terrible mask. The text comes alive through its stylised language, which almost reads like a prose poem.

With 'Sibling Rivalry', computer game designer Hertzen Chimera delivers the most far-fetched text of the collection. In a manga/cyberpunk setting, two sisters compete for supremacy in a most sought after job.

'Living Doll' by Peggy J. Shumate vividly describes what happens when people strive after eternal youth. This can be gained by means of a porcelain doll afflicted with magical powers. The price is high.

With 'Make it Rock and Roll' Lisa Negus tells the story of a worker who is crippled in an accident. His colleague should actually have been in his place, but had skipped work to go to a country concert.  A fatal circumstance, but fate ensures justice.

'Decay' by Quentin S. Crisp is about a man who lives in a house, which is chosen to personify decay. In fascinating images, Crisp describes how the protagonist slips forever deeper into the unimaginable world of decay and at the end adopts its very nature.

'The Journeyman' by David Price concludes the collection with a dark fantasy story. The inhabitants of a seaside citadel are eternally banished. Which God have they angered? One of them sets out to find out and brings yet more disaster for his people.

All in all, a varied and recommendable anthology beyond the mainstream.

 

A special thank you to Eddie Monica Angerhuber and to Kristy Hunt for the translation.

 

© Paul Kane 2003-2017. All rights reserved. Materials (including images) may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.