THAT WHICH GROWS WILD, 16 TALES OF DARK FICTION by Eric J. Guignard, Harper Day Books, paperback edition, $15.95
Reviewed by Shona Kinsella
There’s no doubt that Eric J. Guignard is a talented author. The sixteen stories that make up this collection are beautifully written, and compelling, each with a unique concept and voice of its own.
The book opens with A Case Study in Natural Selection and How it Applies to Love, a post-apocalyptic world where global warming has cause, among other things, spontaneous human combustion. Against that backdrop, we have the story of a boy discovering love. This tale certainly has horror – anyone could combust at any time and the people who are alive are fighting over the available resources – but it also has hope and sweetness.
This is followed by Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos, another post-apocalyptic tale but one with a completely different voice and feel to the first.
In Momma we have a really contained little story, without the same sense of the outside world as we saw in the first two. This one is about family and grief, and staying together, no matter what – even after death.
Footprints Fading in the Desert is reminiscent of an episode of The Twilight Zone. After a fatal plane crash in the middle of the desert, a young woman follows footprints which she hopes will lead her to safety.
My personal favourites from this collection were Whispers of the Earth, A Serving of Nomu Sashimi, and A Journey of Great Waves. In the first, a town is concerned when sink holes start popping up in gardens all over the place. Concern deepens when it becomes apparent that the sinkholes are on the property of only those people who lost a loved one to an earth-slide several years before.
A Serving of Nomu Sashimi, is all about what it takes to get ahead and how far we’re all willing to go to be one of the top dogs. Will we do things that we know to be immoral if it improves our own chances? And, if we do, then do we deserve whatever we get?
A Journey of Great Waves speaks to us of family and commitments and curses. It’s beautiful and evokes a sense of Japanese horror such as Ring.
This is a well-thought-out collection and a great read. If you like horror, you should definitely give this book a read. I’ll be looking for more work by Guignard.