"Borderlands: Volume One - The Anthology of Weird Fiction" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Published by Riverdale Avenue Books
Edited by Thomas F. Monteleone
1988, 280 pages, Fiction
Released on November 18th, 2018
Every once in awhile I get assigned an absolute gem of a book, one that is thought provoking, fun, and just a little bit uncomfortable. Borderlands: Volume One - The Anthology of Weird Fiction is that kind of assignment.
One of the things that impresses me about this anthology is each story comes with a short introduction from the editor, Thomas F. Monteleone. These range from why he chose the story to maybe a personal anecdote about the author. These intros, enhance the stories and give the reader a deeper appreciation for the story they are about to read.
When I say uncomfortable I mean it. There are many elements in these chosen tales which are gruesome and a few are definitely not traditional in our politically correct, constantly offended culture we are sadly immersed in – which is not that surprising because this was originally released three decades ago.
My favorite entry is “But You’ll Never Follow Me” by Karl Wagner. The plot centers on Marsden, a Vietnam vet watching his parents deteriorate into the indignities of old age. I hate reviewing stories like this because there’s an amazing twist ending that I don’t want to spoil for future readers. In fact, a lot of the tales in this anthology have terrific twist endings. This is one story that I would love to see turned into a full-length novel.
Speaking of life and its many indignities, check out “The Calling” by the late Daniel Silva. This entry genuinely surprised me. At first glance it’s a story of a son dealing with his mother’s cancer but it goes way deeper. If you have ever lost someone close to you then you’ll greatly appreciate the brutal honesty that the author conveys. I spent most of the story thinking “This isn’t really horror,” before having the rug swept out from under me.
Another fun and gruesome entry is "By Bizarre Hands" by Joe R. Lansdale. Now this is one of the stories that falls under the little bit uncomfortable category, but actually make that very uncomfortable. "By Bizarre Hands" centers on Preacher Judd who travels around attempting to save the souls of the mentally disabled. His ulterior motives prove to be much more disturbing and make the story hard to read. However, there’s such a wild, wrong, and chaotic vibe to the narrative that makes it equally hard to put down.
"The Good Book" by G. Wayne Miller is another favorite. The plot centers on a corpse that has been mysteriously impaled on a flagpole outside of a rural gas station. While the station’s owner Bob wants it gone, his wife believes it’s a sign from God and insists that the body stays. "The Good Book" manages to be funny and thought provoking with a wonderful twist ending.
There are a lot of dark and amazing stories in Borderlands: Volume One - The Anthology of Weird Fiction and I am excited to see what other weird tales and mental terrors that the rest of the Borderlands series has in store.
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