Edited by Jeani Rector
Review by Charles P. Zaglanis
Editor Jeani Rector has stitched together a wonderfully terrifying creature for our enjoyment. Cobbled together from new and well-seasoned writers, artists, and poets; the book sprints off the slab and grabs you by the throat. What Fears Become is the latest anthology produced by The Horror Zine; an online venue for short fiction, poetry, art, and news. Owned and edited by Jeani Rector, and ably supported by Assistant Editor, Dean H. Wild, The Horror Zine is a mecca for anyone desiring quality horror entertainment.
Visually, the book is enticing. The cover depicts a ghoulish woman snarling as she peers from behind a headstone. Behind the lurking creature, we see a fog-enshrouded graveyard bathed in spectral light. The artwork is crisp and fonts are easy to read. Overall, it has a very nice effect. The back cover features a foggy graveyard bathed in moonlight. Above and below the copy are blurbs from Midnight Street Magazine and Gabrielle Faust. Here, I have two small complaints: the white copy becomes less readable as it blends into the moonlit fog. Also, there’s no price listed anywhere on, or in, the book.
Within, we are greeted by a title page featuring a font-free version of the cover. It is a nice piece, kudos to Sapphire Designs for putting it together. After the copyright page, we find a page of blurbs, one for acknowledgments, and finally, an extensive table of contents. What Dreams Become boasts the work of fifty-eight writers, poets, and artists; not including a nicely written forward by Simon Clark and two stories by Jeani at the end. That’s a hell of a buffet to dig into. After the bulk of the book is finished, it concludes with one page ads from The Horror Zine and publisher, Imajin. Font size and style is easy to read. Content is broken up into three main sections: Fiction, followed by poetry, then art. There is some additional artwork sprinkled randomly throughout the book.
I found the poem “The Light Under the Door” by Teresa Ann Frazee particularly good. It evokes the joy of childhood, even though the participants have long stopped breathing on this mortal coil. The poetry of Joe R. Landsdale was, unsurprisingly, also very well done; especially “Apache Witch.” To be honest, most of the artwork was not to my taste; I did like the moody piece, “Raven” by Felicia Olin though, and I applaud the fact that many different styles were represented.
It’s in the fiction that What Fears Become really shines. Jeani has assembled a laudable group of talent for this book. There isn’t a bad story in the batch, just varying levels of strength; which is just about the best thing you can say for an anthology. Obviously, not every story resonated with me, but I didn’t read any that were broken or out of place. None of the “pros” phoned it in. Graham Masterson’s tale of an anti-archeological company that unearths a dangerous—and hungry—bit of history was equal parts funny and dark. Ramsey Campbell is suitably creepy in “Next Time You’ll Know Me” and anyone who’s been in the business awhile fully expects something similar to show up in their mail someday. The up-and-comers made a strong showing here as well. Christian A. Larson set a high standard with the book’s first story, “Bast,” about a nursing home cat with a fiendish agenda. “Adelle’s Night” by David K. Ginn, about a woman whose life is available on DVD, was a perfect blend of weird and creepy.
To sum up, What Fears Become: An Anthology from The Horror Zine, is a highly entertaining book. If this anthology is representative of the quality of work available at The Horror Zine, Jeani Rector just found herself another reader.