Lost Voices was a real treasure to discover and read. Every story that I read just made me a prisoner and I knew I was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome as I never wanted to leave its pages.
From the front-page cover to the last page of this book, I felt at home. The cover image by Grandfailure is enticing and perfect. I love graphic art and the picture that greeted me just told me right from the start that I would love diving into this book, and I was right.
The foreword by Steve Stred offered a promise that was kept as I read this book, it offered great promise and it kept it’s word.
From stories that have a creepy factor that will entice us from the start, I can easily put a few stories in this category. Pareidolia: A Shallow Creek Tale by Ross Jeffery, Cyclamen by Emily Harrison and Pedicarium also by Emily Harrison. These tales gave me a nice creepy feeling towards the end of their stories, a bit like they entice you slowly and once they know you are trapped, they wack you with something unexpected at the end.
Other stories had the creepy factor put on maximum from the very moment I started to read them. I love stories that grip you by the throat from the moment you start reading them.
The Children by Emily Harrison gave me the willies the second I started to read it. It is the shortest story of the anthology but one of the most powerful.
Violent Homomorphic Slasher (VHS): A Shallow Creek Tale, by Joseph Sale, was one that really got to me the most. This would have made a killer horror movie and it had all the elements of that kind of a movie – it gripped me from the start, and it was gut wrenching.
Dump by Ross Jeffery was horrific because it puts us right were humanity is now, detailing how our trash is going to end up killing us all. It was a story that is really to the point, and will make me (you) think a couple of times before throwing something away.
The Tongue, Worm & Drum, by Joseph Sale, had all the elements of a horror movie once again. The depravity of humanity, killing for a religion and, in this case, mutilating a living body to serve their Godly purpose, made me it’s prisoner from the very start as it mirrors my own writing, it was awesome to read.
But I think Choke on this, by Joseph Sale, was the story that made me chuckle in its horror because I can relate to the main character who works at a call centre. I know how that job can be horror in itself. So, seeing how the protagonist deals with his co-workers was priceless to me. I would never do what he did, mind you. But it did fancy my buried frustration that I accumulated in that job.
The other stories in this book, I would put them in a poetic and tragic category. And in this category, Christa Wojciechowski is the queen. She always writes in such a poetic and yet tragic way that we can all relate to. Our lives can all go into her stories to some extent.
The Performance Artist, Blue Room (by Ross Jeffery), The Last Story, all these we can all get into in one way or another. Suicide is a common theme either emotional suicide when we lost part of ourselves in events in our life, of physical suicide where we just choose to stop going on in our lives because of loss.
Fangirl is a story that has suicidal themes, but it has also poignant themes of today’s society where people are ready to die because of passing celebrities. That the third wall that we hear about in theatre becomes no more and that what is on the screen, on the planks, can just bleed into real life in a distorted way that will leave easily influenced people forever changed that puts a lens on the disturbed mind of those affected.
Overall, all these stories will transform the readers, making their own fears, anxieties and pain float to the surface and the only thing they will be able to do will be to pick them out of the water and confront them head on, whether they want to or not.
In my case, I had forgotten about the very horrors of the call centre, and they came back to the light. Or how I would freak out being with these “Children” that are not children at all, in a dingy dark room. My fears came to light and now, I must take care of them once again.
Everybody that will read these stories will have to face themselves, whether they want to or not.
Emily Harrison is a North Yorkshire based writer and reviewer who spends her weekdays working in the third sector and her weeknights writing weird fiction (and occasionally, not weird fiction). Emily has been published in a range of online journals including Ellipsis Zine, The Molotov Cocktail, STORGY Magazine, Memoir Mixtapes, Idle Ink, Anti-Heroin Chic, Riggwelter Press and Retreat West. She has been in print with Verve Poetry Press and upcoming with STORGY Magazine and Coffin Bell. Emily uses writing as an escape from reality and doesn’t drink enough water. You can find her on Twitter @emily__harrison
Ross Jeffery is a Bristol based writer and Executive Director of Books for STORGY Magazine. Ross has been published in print with STORGY Books, Ellipsis Zine 6, Project 13 Dark, Shlock Magazine & The Bath Flash Fiction Festival – his work has also appeared in many online journals including STORGY Magazine, About Magazine TX, Elephants Never, 101 Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, Soft Cartel and Idle Ink. Ross lives in south Bristol with his wife (Anna) and two children (Eva and Sophie). You can follow him on Twitter here @Ross1982
Christa (Wojo) Wojciechowski
Christa is the author of The Wrong David, The Sick Series, and is working on a series called The Sculptor of New Hope. Her characters explore existential turmoil, mental illness, and the complexity of romantic love. She uses her stories to compare the dark, carnal nature of humanity with its higher qualities of creative expression and intellectualism. Christa currently resides in the mountains of Panama with her husband and a house full of pets. She works as a freelance digital marketer and helps thought leaders, podcasters, and fellow writers develop their marketing platforms. Christa enjoys foreign movies, yoga, wine, and rambling around in the cloud forests near her home. Most of all, she’s passionate about books and writers, and loves discussing them on social media.
Joseph Sale is an editor, novelist, writing coach and co-host of Monaghan & The Mindflayer. His first novel, The Darkest Touch, was published by Dark Hall Press in 2014. Since, he has authored more than ten novels, including his duology Gods of the Black Gate and Beyond the Black Gate. He grew up in the Lovecraftian seaside town of Bournemouth.
Reviewed by Sandra Hould
The Annihilation Radiation Short Story Competition is now open for entries.
1st Prize – £500
2nd Prize – £100
3rd Prize – £50
Closing date – 31st January 2020
Finalists will be published in ANNIHILATION RADIATION
£10 Entry Fee
For more details click here!
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EXIT EARTH & SHALLOW CREEK!
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