It has been a big year for anthologies, particularly within the horror genre. Grey Matter Press have continued their excellent run of form and Crystal Lake Publishing recently released ‘Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories’ – a collection that I will be reading in the not to distant future and one that features heavyweights Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker to name but two.
So where does this leave ‘Lost Signals’, the latest release from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing? As is often the case with PMMP, the cover art (another belter from Matthew Revert) is sublime. What it does is give you an idea about the sort of stories contained within. ‘Lost Signals’ is a anthology of horror that centres around transmissions and signals. It is certainly a collection of stories that I found enjoying more as I got further into it. The opening story by Matthew M. Bartlett is a cracker. Creepy and weird but brilliantly written. Bartlett continues with the mythos he has created around the fictional town of Leeds – a place where nothing is as it seems. Bartlett also pops up again later in the anthology though this story wasn’t quite as memorable. Josh Malerman really nailed it with a great story before David James Keaton left me scratching my head wondering what the hell I just read! Ted E. Grau came up trumps with ‘Transmission’ a story about a man seeking answers in the desert. On his search he begins to pick up strange signals through his radio. After this there are a string of brilliant stories. Highlights were the brilliant ‘Darkhorse Actual’ by George Cotronis – a story set in Iraq, ‘The Desert of Wounded Frequencies’ by Betty Rocksteady (a writer who I always look forward to reading) and the emotional ‘Roseabelle Belive’ – a tale which pulls at the heart strings and provided a welcome emotional slant on things. Matt Andrews ‘Children of a German Autumn’ was also superb. I am a big fan of Matt and am expecting big things from him in the future. His tale was set in West Berlin and features tentacles!!!!!
As I forged on with the anthology things got even better. John Foster’s tale set inside a radio station in Alaska was superb and Damien Angelica Walters provided my absolute favourite story in the collection. Those familiar with Damien’s work will be well aware of just how good it is. This emotional tale packed a real punch and the ending is one that I don’t think I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, brilliant. Paul Michael Anderson’s supernatural tale was also very good and James Newman’s ‘Something in the Code’ was a great way to finish things off.
‘Lost Signals’ is a superb anthology. There is great variety within its pages. It isn’t just a string of short stories about radio signals-what these writers have done is original and exciting. As with all anthologies you will find yourself drawn to some tales more than others and that is the case here. The stories I mentioned really stood out for me but you might find others that resonate more. One or two didn’t quite hit the mark for me, but that’s purely down to taste. As an added bonus each story is accompanied by a picture from artist Luke Spooner. I love it when publishers do this. It just gives the book that little bit extra that makes it stick out. ‘lost Signals’ is a huge book, filled with horrors both natural and supernatural and comes with my highest recommendation.
Check out some of the excellent accompanying pictures from Luke Spooner!
‘Lost Signals’ will be available from August 2nd. You can pre-order the paperback from the publisher here.