Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Anthology Review: Skelos issue 1

Cower not, fierce readers! You! In the back! Stop cowering! This is not a safe space, and if you need one, I recommend the disemvoweling sites of SFF.

Anyway, yes, I am considering Skelos as an anthology. The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is rather sizable at 150+ pages. That's a bit much for a "magazine", though perhaps small for an anthology. I'm ok with that, there's a lot here, and some will definitely make the SocJus  crowd wail.

The Dead Unicorn by Scott Cupp- This is a quick and frightful way to start the anthology. The first half of the first page of the story feels fairly normal for fantasy. Then things go horribly wrong.

The Drowned Dead Shape by Keith Taylor- Ooh. Yeah, that's the stuff. Very much a Weird Fiction tale. The old Irish culture is a nice  backdrop for fear, paranoia and desperation.

Hungry by Charles Gramlich- This was unexpected. A proper weird SF tale with regret, compulsion, and resignation. The stark notes make me want more from this author.

Diary of a Sorceress by Ashley Dioses- The first poetry piece in here. Honestly,  It felt like the start of something, and then an end. Decently done, it just felt incomplete to me.

The Night Maere by Scott Hannan- Gah! Courage, fierce reader! You are not the target within this tale. Well done, and enough to creep some out for days. I had to go back to work, instead.

Nameless Tribes by Jeffery Shanks- I'm not going to type the full name of this scholarly text. It's a fine paper on Robert E. Howard's worldbuilding, specifically his tribes. This is followed by the examples the paper is specifically about:

The Nameless Tribe Drafts by Robert E. Howard- This is really interesting to see the growth and changes in REH's writing via drafts. It grants me more confidence in my abilities, if I'm willing to try to find what methods work for me.

Midnight in the Ebon Rose Bower by K. A. Opperman- This second poem is likewise short, but pulled me in just enough, gave just enough images, to feel like a half glimpsed dream.

One Less Hand for the Shaping of Things- by Jason Ray Carney- This is a faerie tale of survival, dissatisfaction, and obsession. There is loss, abandonment, and an eventual embrace.

The Writer by Jason Hardy- Another poem, this one is a bit more on the tongue in cheek side of Weird Fiction.

The Casualty of the Somme by Frank Coffman- This poem has a descent to the horror side as it goes along. Well metered and written.

Grettirr and the Draugr  adapted by Jeffry Shanks and Illustrated by Samuel Dillon- Illustrated Norse mythology. Yeah, it's good stuff. A collection of this would put Northlanders on watch.

From the Cosmos to the Test-Tube by Karen Joan Kohoutek- Another scholarly work, and while somewhat interesting, I honestly drift off reading about HP and Machen. That said, there is some reminder that men who were intimately aware of the Bible wrote much better than our modern version of materialist/atheist.

The Yellow Death by David Hardy- Ok, you've got me. This feels like a Edgar Allen Poe story, perhaps rewritten by Howard.  The language is tight, and the narrator reminds one of that of The Cask of Amontillado.

Totem by Pat Calhoun- Yes, there's more poetry. If you don't care for it, I think you're missing out.

The Burning Messenger by Matt Sullivan- More in the Norse mythos vein.  A village of warriors gets hit by something...other.

A Sword-edge Beauty as Keen as Blades by Nicole Emmelhainz- I haven't read much C.L. Moore, and that probably kept me out of this paper somewhat. Of course, the fact that it's about "gender dynamics" is likely the rest. No offense, but your topic bores me.

Dangerous Pearl by Ethan Nahte- A tale of a fierce pirate crew, and their unfortunate encounter in the fog.

Surtur by Kenneth Bykerk- A final poem of mythology, filled with alliteration, and rhyming rhythm to be read aloud.

The Bone Yard- Skelos' selection of reviews of Weird Fiction. Well written, and filled with materials previously unknown to me. I may grab the Western collection mentioned.

I enjoyed much within this volume, and I lay no fault for the parts I cared less for; scholarly work on only a few segments of fiction interest me. Either way, Skelos is a haunt-filled volume to chill the heart. I grant this volume 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.


  1. Thanks for the review! Diary of a Sorceress is the first poem in my forthcoming debut poetry collection of the same name. It is meant to hint at something more. If you are interested, here is my book page for it.

  2. I'm just seeing this. Thanks for your kind comments on my story, "Hungry." It was a pretty good group to be in