"Aseptic and Faintly Sadistic: An Anthology of Hysteria Fiction" Book Review

Written by Zach Rosenberg

Published by Cosmic Horror Monthly

aseptic and faintly sadistic poster large

Edited by Jolie Toomajan
2023, 294 pages, Fiction
Released on May 21st, 2023

Review:

Edited by Jolie Toomajan in response to restrictive rulings and laws against bodily autonomy, Aseptic and Faintly Sadistic: An Anthology of Hysteria Fiction is a righteous font of terror and rage. An unmistakably brilliant collection of stories by some of the best writers working today.

Opening the anthology is Jennisher Lesh Fleck’s “The Girls of Channel 9,” a haunting dystopian horror story in which women are punished for sexual “transgressions” by being forced to become living seed mounds. Vivid and terrifying, Fleck imagines one of the grimmest futures imaginable.

With a tough act to follow, Joe Koch wastes no time in delivering a knockout of his own with “By Their Bones Ye Shall Know Them.” In a short amount of pages, Koch builds a cast full of depth and turns the issue of forced birth upon its head.

Kelsea Yu’s “China Doll” tackles themes of racism and expectation. A haunting story from the perspective of a mysterious doll made in the image of a woman long dead. The doll observes a Chinese woman in a bad relationship that steadily gets worse. Yu touches upon all the ugliest stereotypes of fetishizing Asian women with an ending that will haunt the reader long after the story is over.

Haunting tales continue with Laura Blackwell’s “The First Mrs. Edward Rochester Would Like a Word,” a story out of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre from the perspective of the forgotten Bertha Mason.

Literary adaptations continue apace with Hailey Piper’s “The Claws that Catch,” a macabre story of a girl that is also a Jabberwock. Piper holds nothing back in this dark retelling of when girls grow out from the shadows of men.

Every story in Aseptic and Faintly Sadistic: An Anthology of Hysteria Fiction is expertly picked, haunting, and brimming with dark and righteous fury.

Grades:

Overall: 5 Star Rating Cover
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Zach Rosenberg
Staff Reviewer
Zach Rosenberg is a fantasy and horror writer living in Florida. He appreciates the ocean, wildlife and his love of literature was constantly nurtured growing up where he practically lived in the libraries, reading every horror and fantasy book he could get his hands on. His print debut short story "The Teeth Of the Deeps" is featured in the fifth short story collection from Dead Sea Press.
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