A new collection of short stories, compiling the novella (Un)Bury Your Gays and six other pieces of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction. Reanimated best friends, monsters beneath the kitchen sink, desires made manifest, creek creatures, 80s cyberpunk, ghosts, and crashed alien ships all find homes between the pages of this anthology.
(UN)Bury Your Gays:
It's the late 2000's. Humphrey West and his best friend Danny are just trying to survive their senior year. Unfortunately, Danny falls short of that goal after a risky rendezvous. But Humphrey has just the thing: a concoction borne of magic and science that is able to bring the dead back to life (at least it's worked on a bee so far). Against all odds, Danny comes back from the clutches of death.
The Danny that returns is...different. And it's not just the missing memories. Soon, Humphrey is doing everything in his power to keep his friend alive, but none the wiser to what is happening.
A queering of the Lovecraft classic "Herbert West - Reanimator", (UN)Bury Your Gays is about blurring the boundaries between life and death, love and obsession, and secrets and lies.
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This book is, in itself, a collection of a few different stories. Let us have a look at each in detail, for to think about the book as a whole, we must first look at each story that makes up a component of the completed book.
(UN)Bury Your Gays
There is a difference between surviving your senior year at high school and being brought back to life during your senior year. Namely in the second one, you clearly didn’t survive the year. Humphrey has been obsessed with finding the answer to the colony collapse bees are suffering from, but when his best friend, Danny, is killed, Humphrey must turn his immediate attention away from the bees, and use his research to reanimate his friend.
The Danny that comes back, however, is not the Danny that died. He now doesn’t look well and doesn’t act right. Humphrey must figure out how to keep his friend alive, while also trying to get his old friend back. Once I started reading this book, I was immediately drawn in and couldn’t stop reading. This story is utterly captivating, I found it next to impossible to put it down and walk away. The mystery as to what Danny has become is more than enough to keep you reading. I also loved that, while the two were both gay, there was no romantic relationship between Humphrey and Danny. This is not a horror story with a romantic sub-genre, it is simply who the characters are. The story does not push them towards each other but simply lets them exist as two individuals who are very good friends. The book itself is well crafted, there are small hints throughout the book revealing what effect Humphrey’s actions have had on everything around him, making the story incredibly realistic in the telling.
You & Me and the Devil Makes Three
Alan Jr has started to grow concerned about his mother. She seems to spend a lot of the time in the kitchen and often talking to… something. She isn’t mumbling to herself, she is definitely having a conversation with someone. But there is no one there. When Alan starts investigating, though, things start to go rapidly downhill. This is a very short story, easily readable in under 20 minutes, but it is not lacking in anything. It is an incredibly creepy story, one that can, and will, easily send chills down your spine.
A man would rarely have made it so far in life without getting their Wanting, but so far, Walter has avoided it. But, it seems to have finally reached him, and he might not be able to hold it off any longer. This story is a little more on the slightly strange side, and definitely more on the sexual side of things. This story is not my usual kind of read, and while I wasn’t too much of a fan of the sexual storyline, it is very original, I don’t think I have come across anything like it before, and, like the rest of this book, it is very well written.
The wisdom of a grandmother is not always accepted at first, even though everyone knows she is probably right, and should be listened to. Although there was a warning not to go down to the crick, what better way to escape the stifling heat of the summer than with a nice, cool, swim? Of course, making sure to keep an eye out for snakes… This story is fast-paced and keeps you reading with everything happening quite quickly. It doesn’t have time for suspense, it is simply action-packed from beginning to end. It is undoubtedly an exciting read, and another excellent addition to this book.
Nessie has just started a new job, one that comes with a large paycheck, but a few things are a little on the strange side. To start the job, Nessie had to have surgery, to implant ports into her brain, and so when she arrives for her first day, she is not entirely sure what to expect. The strangeness of the job, as well as the uncertainness as to what she has let herself in for builds to suspense and concern, keeping you reading to find out what will happen to Nessie. I think this was one of my favourite stories in the book. It has just the right level of unease and intrigue to make you want the story to keep going on and on. I would love an extended version of this story, as I think it has so much to offer.
Seeing Kyle in the prom pictures was a shock, especially since he had been dead for nearly a year. Yet, here he was, posing for the picture, and digging up feelings that had never truly gone away. The pain of losing one you love so much, mixed with the morbid curiosity of trying to find out if that loved one is still lingering in the land of the living, makes this story a very emotional one. There are some darker emotional levels to this story, which have been handled by the author with care, and I truly felt for the main character as I read about their despair.
The human race has always wondered about aliens, whether they are out there or not, and what they might be like. So when proof arrives, the world comes together to try and find out as much as they possibly could. But what they find isn’t necessarily what they want to find. This story shows that, sometimes, what we don’t know can’t hurt us. I loved the whole premise of this story, and think that this one would also make a wonderful full-length novel.
There are plenty of absolutely amazing stories within this book, and with so many different themes, there is something for everyone. The first story is much longer than the others, and is certainly the main attraction for the book, but the stories that come with it are a wonderful addition, and with them all quick enough to read during a short break, they make the book perfect to put down and come back to when you have a few minutes. The author has clearly explored several threads of creativity and genres within this book, and has been successful in the creation of a book full of wonderful stories.
If you like a good supernatural suspense story, a bit of gore, a touch of space-travel, and a little bit of the weird and wacky, you are bound to love this collection of stories!
Born and raised in Bowling Green, KY, Clinton W. Waters holds a degree in Creative Writing from W.K.U. Their work has been featured in university publications from W.K.U. and the University of Regensburg. They are the lead writer/co-founder of Sundog Comics and their webcomic Variants.
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