STRANGE TALES – Tartarus Press at 30 Edited by Rosalie Parker
Tartarus Press 2020, ebook – £6.21, HB – £40
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Celebrating thirty years of successful publishing activity in the fields of supernatural, fantasy, horror and strange fiction, British imprint Tartarus Press has released a collection of eighteen brand new stories penned by some of the authors whose work has been previously printed by Tartarus itself.
Let me tell you right away that this is one of the best anthologies I’ve had the opportunity to read in years. The quality of the included tales is quite high, there are no misfires, and the book is a real treat for anyone fond of good short fiction.
Here are the stories that impressed me as the most accomplished.
“Grassman” by Rebecca Lloyd is a weird but fascinating piece of fantasy, featuring two young sisters facing obscure realities, while “Hunger” by Andrew Michael Hurley is a splendid, offbeat tale where the silence and desolation of an empty French village suddenly turn into an unexpected nightmare.
With “ The Flickering Light” Stephen Volk provides the perceptive description of a couple having friends at dinner. The flickering of a lightbulb elicits memories and slightly paranormal feelings.
In “What it Says” by Ibrahim R Ineke family events are recalled by a young man whose real nature is gradually revealed throughout the story.
“ The Three Burdens of Nest Wynne” by Angela Slatter is an outstanding, insightful piece of dark fiction where long gone tragedies return to haunt a young woman and her old father.
John Gaskin contributes “The Gathering”, the masterful report of the dramatic last reunion of a group of friends during a tremendously stormy evening.
In the superbly told “Collectable” Reggie Oliver portrays the last days in a nursing home of an old lady, formerly a famous musical actress.
“Flood” by Carly Holmes is a tense, apocalyptic tale depicting the devastating effects of a deluge on humans and animals.
Other contributors are Mark Valentine, NA Sulway, Inna Effress, Eric Stener Carlson, Jonathan Preece, Tom Heaton, JM Walsh, DP Watt, Karen Euler and John Linwood Grant.