A WORLD OF HORROR edited by Eric J. Guignard. Book review

A WORLD OF HORROR, edited by Eric J. Guignard, Dark Moon Books, paperback edition, $16.95

Reviewed by Shona Kinsella

A World of Horror is an anthology of dark and speculative fiction from authors around the world, including stories by authors from South Africa, Japan, India, England, Sweden, Singapore, Philippines, Nigeria, USA, Australia, Uganda, Italy, Canada, Jamaica, Ukraine, Indonesia, Brazil and Scotland.

One of my favourite things about this book is how so many of the stories carried a real taste of the culture from which they were born. In many ways, this book reminds me of Fox Spirit’s monster series, so capably edited by Margret Helgadottir (with Jo Thomas for some volumes). Indeed, I think that Eric J Guignard shares the same vision for a more diverse horror genre.

Each story included in the anthology deserves to be there, the standard is very high throughout and they are well placed by Guignard who seems to have a sense for the flow from one story to another.

My personal favourites include:

The Last Wayang by L Chan – a child discovers that the Wayang (shadow puppet show) visiting the village has dark secrets. Creepy and tense, the story shows the bravery of children and how stories are passed down from one generation to another.

The Wife Who Didn’t Eat by Thersa Matsuura – a rice farmer prays for a wife, but one who will not eat and therefore will allow him to store more wealth. When his prayers are answered, it may be a punishment for his selfishness. This story takes a really unexpected direction.

Sick Cats in Small Spaces – a family on go on holiday and find a ghost town where the ghosts are bottled and sold. The family in this story are struggling with the season of change that comes with an empty nest and the lengths some parents will go to just to keep their children close.

Obibi by Dilman Dila – an outcast child finds power and his way back into his community when a monster stalks the village. This was a really emotional tale about those we shut out and how badly we treat them.

Honey by Valya Dudycz Lupescu – a woman lives in the radioactive forest near Chernobyl and has visitors who never arrive home after spending an evening with her. This story had a real sense of place, both in terms of the plot and in terms of the main character’s connection to her home. I loved this one.

The White Monkey by Carlos Orsi – an academic is pulled into memories of Brazil’s past and the terrible slavery that took place. This is a really clever story with an unexpected twist.

The West Wind by David McGroarty – perhaps it is obvious that my favourite story would be the one that hails from Scotland and closes the anthology, but I really did love this. Such a very Scottish story, melancholy and atmospheric.

It’s hard to single out favourites when the whole book was so well put together. Highly recommended to any fans of short horror fiction.