Reviews of Dark Fiction

Thanatrauma: Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem

Unsettling is the key word whenever Steve Rasnic Tem is the subject of discussion. In his latest release from Valancourt Books, unsettling seems too small a word. More on that later, right now I want to touch on just a few of the stories in this collection.

FIELD OF SHOES 2.5 pages of sheer disturbance. So short, yet so powerful.

A STAY AT THE SHORES Just a brief stay until the next ship arrives. If if arrives.

THE DEAD OUTSIDE MY DOOR How long before YOU are outside the door?

THE WALLS ARE TREMBLING In fact, the entire house is trembling.

SLEEPOVER That chilling final line. Will our children be mad at us for perpetuating and even escalating climage change?

Nearly all the tales here intrigued and disturbed me. Age old themes of… well, aging, grief and loss reside in these pages, as well as keen observations seen in a new light.

I’ve loved the writing of this man since I became a teenager and that will never change. His writing fascinated me during my teens and twenties, beguiled me in my thirties and forties, and now he’s unsettled the hell out of me again. Steve Rasnic Tem has been like family to me, (better than some real family, to be honest), because he’s been a part of my life for so long. Perhaps you should make him a part of yours?

My highest recommendation, especially to fans of dark, weird fiction!

Signed limited editions are available for pre-order here:

Thank you to Valancourt Books for this paperback ARC in exchange for my honest feedback,. This is it! I still pre-ordered my hard copy from them just the same.

Thanatrauma: Stories Book Cover Thanatrauma: Stories
Steve Rasnic Tem
Dark Fiction, Weird Tales, Horror
Valancourt Books
October, 2021
Signed Limited Edition

Thanatrauma: the dread of it erodes you, the shadows waiting at the end, the impending conclusion, the troubling dream from which you will not wake.

These 21 stories – four published here for the first time – explore some of our fundamental fears: death, loss, grief, and aging. In “Reflections in Black,” a man takes a phantasmagoric Halloween journey in search of a former love. In “The Parts Man,” a man enters a desperate contract with a sinister entity in a long, vintage automobile. The darkly beautiful “The Dead Outside My Door” is a haunting post-apocalyptic tale unlike any you’ve ever read. Other offerings include “Whatever You Want,” in which a Christmas wish has terrible consequences; “Torn,” a bizarre vision of a highly personalized hell; and “The Way Station,” a tribute to the legendary Stefan Grabinski. Also featured is a special bonus, “August Freeze,” from the lost, undistributed Winter 1985 issue of Weird Tales.

Steve Rasnic Tem has won the Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy Awards and has established himself as one of today’s finest writers of horror and weird fiction. In this new collection, by turns chilling and thought-provoking, Tem is at his very best. (less)

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