By Allen Ashley
Our body connects with the outer world by means of our five senses ( not to mention the sixth sense for those endowed with it…). We take our senses for granted and realize their importance only when they become defective or when we miss one of them entirely. But what happens when one of our senses gets weird, distorted or abnormally enhanced?
This usual, original theme is developed in the latest anthology by editor Allen Ashley who has assembled twenty-one new pieces of speculative fiction (ranging from SF to horror, from the neo-gothic to the downright weird) addressing the issue of wayward senses.
By all means a good collection of solid fiction, the book not always worked for me because some of the stories, although interesting enough, appear to pursue originality at all costs rather than to offer credible plots, well crafted characters and authentic emotions. Thus, although I appreciate the authors’ gallant effort to surprise the readers, I found that a number of the contributions are not convincing enough and accomplished enough.
Nevertheless, I encourage the lovers of speculative fiction to purchase an anthology which remains a thought-provoking and intriguing endeavor. Furthermore, the volume does include some excellent tales which are well worth mentioning. A few examples:
“Bleeding a Few Dogs” by Gary Budgen is a very effective story of stalking, wasted love and declining vision, while “Stone” by Richard Mosses is an offbeat, subtly disturbing piece featuring a sculptress whose creations have many peculiar qualities.
Mark Patrick Lynch’s “Making See” is a surrealistic tale depicting the terrible results of a virus-induced temporary invisibility of as young woman and Douglas Thompson’s “Musk” is a vivid story, perfectly in tune with the anthology’s theme, where a man becomes hypersensitive to his own smell and other people’s scents.
Another brilliant contribution is the atmospheric “ The Impression of Craig Shee” by David McGroarty, which, by describing the disquieting effects of a famous painting, cleverly investigates the power of sight and the role of the brain in the process.
Written on 21st August 2015 by Mario Guslandi.