What was it about those tumbleweeds that didn't seem quite normal? How could something be walking around the walls in the next motel room, especially with that many feet? What could be sinister about a child's game of hopscotch? What did those old town legends mean, about what might have been buried in a certain cellar? That face in the window had always been far, far too large, and could it still be there after all these years? When had it really started, the folktale about the turtle and the thunder? What is it like to wake up in one's coffin, after putrefaction has set in? Can a windmill really be haunted, and can it rip itself up from its moorings and stalk abroad at night? These and many other matters await the reader of this extraordinary collection, matters dark and beckoning, matters writhing alive with horrors that will disturb your sleep for a long time to come.
Donald R. Burleson's horror stories have appeared in Twilight Zone, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Deathrealm, Inhuman, Terminal Fright, Cemetery Dance, and many other magazines, as well as in numerous major anthologies. His previous short story collections include Beyond the Lamplight, Lemon Drops and Other Horrors, and Four Shadowings. He is also the author of three novels and a leading scholar on H. P. Lovecraft. He and his wife Mollie live in Roswell, New Mexico.
Tumbleweeds One-Night Strand Hopscotch Jigsaw Country Living Sheep-Eye Tummerwunky A Student of Geometry Fwoo Down in the Mouth Crayons The Weeping Woman of White Crow Spider Willie Jack O'Lantern Jack The Watcher at the Window Desert Dreams Grampa Pus Gramma Grunt Sheets Up and About Blessed Event The Cryptogram Leaves Pump Jack Lujan's Trunk Wait for the Thunder Papa Loaty
Hippocampus Press have a well-earned reputation for publishing new, good-quality weird fiction and this collection of stories by Donald Burleson shouldn't harm that reputation at all. The twenty stories featured here are all entertaining and sometimes remarkably innovative. They vary in theme from monster stories with a twist at the end ('One-Night Strand') through to creepily, cosmic horror tales about horrors never clearly revealed ('Hopscotch'). One of the striking things about these stories is that most of them are explicitly set within the United States and they use presumably fictional towns in particular states to conjure up certain quirks and atmospherics. Both H.P. Lovecraft did and Stephen King do this a good deal and Burleson follows suit, favouring especially the dry, dusty American south-west. It's not just a case of namedropping, but of using certain words evocative of a particular place: tumbleweeds, arroyos, coyotes and yucca. Even for those readers who've never visited these places in the real world, it's easy enough to imagine what these landscapes might be like thanks to these words and the images we associate with them. There's also a certain American gothic quality to this approach, and as with much of what King writes, Burleson does a good job here of exposing a world that lies just beneath what we think know about the United States of America. Another King-like trait that Burleson exhibits is a tendency to introduce characters who've just moved into new town and one way or another dumps a mystery on them. In 'Sheep-Eye', the protagonist is a traveller. In 'Hopscotch', a woman returning to her old hometown. In 'Lujan's Trunk', there's an even more Kingian example of this, with a chap not only arriving in a new town, but having the bartender tell him all about Lujan, the mysterious character living at the edge of the town seemingly self-sufficient and interacting with the other townspeople not at all. On the other hand, 'Lujan's Trunk' is very much a Lovecraftian mythos tale, not just because of it includes talk of the Old Ones, but for the way Burleson creates tension through feelings that cannot be completely expressed or understood. Burleson is also pretty good at telling those sorts of horror stories that lean more towards the comic than the serious. 'Up And About' is a good example of this type of thing, telling the reader what it's like to become one of the unquiet dead. There's a good mix of explicit description together with what's apparent from the way those people around the protagonist react. In short, 'Wait For The Thunder: Stories For A Stormy Night' lives up to its title as an engaging collection of short stories ideally suited to dark and stormy nights when outdoors entertainment just isn't on the cards. Highly recommended. --Neale Monks, SFCrowsnest
This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 03 April, 2010.