Friday, July 1, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Tesseracts Thirteen edited by Nancy Kilpatrick & David Morrell

Happy Canada Day!

Last year to celebrate my country's birthday, I posted a list of 20 Great Canadian Horror Films. This year I've decided to highlight Canadian horror literature by reviewing three anthologies this weekend which contain stories written by Canadian writers.

Tesseracts Thirteen is an anthology containing 23 short stories and one essay, edited by Canadian authors Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell.

The Tesseracts series of award-winning anthologies features speculative fiction short stories by Canadian writers. Because this is the 13th edition of Tesseracts, the stories focus on horror.

Rather than write about every story in the book, I'll just mention a few of my favourite stories.

In "Kids These Days" by Rebecca Bradley, a virus turns all children into zombies, but they can be controlled with medication. The story has a unique spin on zombies and a surprising and satisfying twist ending, making it my favourite story from the anthology.

"Quints" by Edo van Belkom is about a doctor who delivers quintuplets, reminding him of the Dionne quints and how they were exploited, prompting him to do something unthinkable. I found the plot of the story intriguing. The main character's thoughts and actions made me angry, but I think that just shows how well-written the story is.

"Silence" by Stephanie Short is a different version of the Pied Piper legend where the Piper controls children with his flute, but the kids come up with a plan to break free from him. This story is a bit gory and made me cringe at the end.

"The Tear Closet" by Suzanne Church deals with the difficult subject matter of spousal abuse and  child molestation. It's a very well-written and emotional story, making me tear up a few times.

"His One True Love" by Catherine MacLeod is the story that terrified me the most, out of all the stories in the anthology because I have a fear of birds. The main character in this story is also afraid of birds and is terrorized by a blue jay that flies into her house just as she returns from her husband's funeral.

The anthology also includes a short essay on the history of Canadian horror literature, "Out of the Barrens: Two Centuries of Canadian Dark Fantasy & Horror" by Robert Knowlton, which is very thorough and cites many novels by Canadian horror authors, that I will now be checking out thanks to this essay.

Tesseracts Thirteen encompasses a variety of dark plots including zombies, abuse, super heroes and myths, making me experience several different emotions such as anger, sadness, disbelief and disgust. As with pretty much every anthology I've read, I didn't love every story, but I enjoyed most of them and would say this book is worth a read.

Rating: 4/5


Unknown said...

Just found your blog, and LOVE it!
New follower :]

Melissa Helwig said...

Thanks! :)

Will Errickson said...

I don't know that I've read any Canadian horror writers! However, David Morrell wrote a favorite of mine, "Orange is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity," in the PRIME EVIL anthology.

Darkeva said...

Way to keep covering the Canadian horror lit, Little Miss! I really enjoyed this collection as well when I read it, as it's one of the better ones. Caught your review of "Chilling Tales" as well, which was interesting.