From Publishers Weekly
Artists of various stripes give the uncanny shape and dangerous substance in this pleasing horror anthology from Pelan (Lost on the Darkside
). Steve Rasnic Tem leads off with "The Disease Artist," a Kafkaesque account of a performance artist in an antiseptic future who simulates disease symptoms to reacquaint people with their mortality. Matt Cardin and Mark McLaughlin close the book with "Nightmares, Imported and Domestic," a cleverly inverted story about an artist whose dreams of an alternate life in a depressingly bleak and ordinary world begin to overwhelm his waking hours. These two fine tales serve as bookends for 20 stories that tend to feature gruesome works of art that prove to have a basis in real life or artists whose dark visions expose the grim reality of existence, notably Brian Hodge's "With Acknowledgments to Sun Tzu" and Lucy Taylor's "I Hear You Quietly Singing." Other contributors include Gerard Houarner, Tim Lebbon, Jeff VanderMeer and David Niall Wilson. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For this distinctively spine-chilling anthology, editor John Pelan solicited the ideas of his fellow colleagues in the Horror Writers Association for an exploration of the dark side of creativity. The protagonists are authors, painters, sculptors, or artisans with their own unique vocations, each of them involved in shadowy undertakings arising from his or her chosen craft. Echoing Kafka's classic tale of the hunger artist, Steve Rasnic Tem's "Disease Artist" peeks into an antiseptic future free of suffering, in which a performance artist infects himself with deadly diseases to remind audiences of their mortality. In Edo van Belkom's "The Art of Madness," a painter discovers that a rival, famous for painting crime scenes, may be more involved with his unsavory subject matter than the law can abide. Patricia Lee Macomber's "Chained Melody" eavesdrops on a 12-year-old piano player who not only entertains with virtuoso performances but also calls forth and frees the trapped spirits of the dead. While collections of never-before-published stories often suffer from uneven entertainment value, this one is consistently first rate. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved