Saturday, 27 October 2018

Uncertainties: Volume III - Running Review

Here we go again with a nifty new anthology, this time from Swan River Press. Uncertainties III is doubly (or perhaps triply) interesting because it is edited by Lynda E. Rucker, a name familiar to ST readers.

Here are the details. It is, of course, a nicely-produced volume with a stylish, monochrome theme to the dustjacket and covers. What, then, of the contents?

In her introduction Rucker explains that the theme of the series is relatively broad, as the title suggests. Uncertainties means just that - the moments when we are unsure if we have glimpsed a 'little slip of the veil', exposing us to something that may be supernatural, or at least unknown.

The first story is 'Monica in the Hall of Moths' by Matthew M. Bartlett. This is a moving account of bereavement, or so I thought at first. The narrator talks of Monica, his love for her, and her sudden, shocking death. His grieving process is bound up with a strange children's book that he recalls, but which apparently never existed.

This is a very powerful lead story, balancing psychological horror with a disturbing fantasy element. It may be an account of a mind in chaos, but there details - particularly the Monica that returns to the narrator near the end of the tale - are firmly in the tradition of subtle, hallucinatory horror. So, a great start.

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'The Woman in the Veil' by E.F. Benson