Thorn’s Thoughts: Strange is the Night by S.P. Miskowski

Strange is the Night is the second S.P. Miskowski book that I’ve read this year (the first being her remarkable new novel I Wish I Was Like You). Based on these two works, it’s clear to me that Miskowski offers the world of contemporary dark fiction something vital and distinct, not simply ‘delivering the goods,’ but rather, writing on her own plane entirely. This collection is a page-turner of the first order, yes, but it’s also something more.”

Read the full review on Unnerving Magazine‘s website.

31 Days of Horror: Join Mike Thorn in His Darkest Hours

Tim Murr reviews Darkest Hours:

“Horror fiction, regardless of how well it is written, often goes exactly where seasoned reader expect it to go. It’s rare that a writer in the horror genre hits us with a perspective or idea that we didn’t see coming. Nor is it unusual for a story or novel to haunt us with creepy images, vivid descriptions of gore, or a heartbreaking death. How often, though, does an author pull this off with superior literary quality?

This is the territory the reader will find themselves in with Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours.”

Read the full review in Biff Bam Pop.

“A most disturbing collection” – Review of DARKEST HOURS by Brandon Wilson

Darkest Hours

Brandon Wilson of The Weal wrote an early review of Darkest Hours (coming this November from Unnerving Magazine‘s book line).

Excerpt: “Thorn’s stories seem to nearly always feature the desires of their characters becoming corrupted and turning back on them tenfold. It’s really this theme that keeps the reader’s attention, that their initially innocent desires could be twisted, corrupted and fed back into some unspeakable primal evil.”

You can now read the full review online.

Thorn’s Thoughts: The Wish Mechanics

When I reviewed Daniel Braum’s The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales, I focused primarily on its dealings with the horror genre. Upon finishing his newer (and stranger, and maybe even better) collection The Wish Mechanics, I realize that I cannot (and should not) even try restricting my reading of Braum’s work to a single category. If anything, it’s worth exploring the ways in which Braum’s work consistently evades the controlling containment of individual genres. The Wish Mechanics is full of stories that probe at the perimeters of fantasy, horror, science fiction, magic realism, weird fiction, and everything in between.

Read the full on Unnerving Magazine’s website.

Andy Muschietti’s It Struggles with Adaptation

There is no hard and fast rule for parsing out the relationship between literary sources and cinematic adaptations. Context is key. When it comes to Andy Muschietti’s It (loosely based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel), the correspondence between versions is too complicated and vital to ignore. The novel uses a network of perspectives and interwoven timelines to translate the individual experiences of seven alienated people (the self-proclaimed “Losers’ Club”). These characters bond over their shared traumas and work together to defeat It, a malicious shape-shifter occupying the sewer system of their small home city, Derry. In the time that elapses between the characters’ childhood and adulthood confrontations with It, they uniformly repress and forget the past. King’s decision to oscillate between timelines and points of view is not only a structural choice, but it’s also crucial to his book’s allegorical concerns: the titular “It” functions as a socially denied and repressed object of violence (manifesting often in the form of misogyny, racism and homophobia), while also taking on the shape of horror built into the social-collective unconscious. King takes matters further by attributing It and its foil (the turtle) with cosmic qualities, suggesting that humankind’s ugliest sociohistorical trends are the work of some twisted higher order. Questions of King’s “literary merit” still occasionally haunt discussions of his work, but It demonstrates the author’s ability to meaningfully deconstruct his own genre of choice while also employing techniques specific to modernism, postmodernism and realist fiction — and this is not to mention the book’s complex philosophical and critical questions, many of which arise from disturbing engagements with psychoanalytic thought.

Read the full review in Vague Visages.