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Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume Three / Edited by Angela Challis

Brimstone Press / February 2009
Reviewed by: Blu Gilliand

Australia, with its mix of vast, untamed wilderness and beautiful cities, has its share of dark corners. The tales in this collection, written largely by those unknown outside their native country’s shores, do a fantastic job of shining a flickering light into those deep shadows, exposing ideas and legends that are simultaneously terrifying and beautiful.

“Subtle Invasion,” written by David Conyers, stands out in this fine collection as one of the best. Strange plant-like growths which Conyers describes as having “hooked and barbed intrusions” appear on the narrator’s property one day. Even as he charts the slow takeover of his land by these strange plants, reports begin circulating of similar growth in various spots around the world. You can guess the rest from there, but that’s beside the point – Conyers generates a fair amount of suspense with such a seemingly innocuous enemy.

Gary Kemble’s “Dead Air” takes the zombie story to new heights, literally, as a harried passenger finds himself thousands of feet over the ocean just as a very Romero-like rise of the living dead takes place in the cramped confines of an airliner. Action packed and featuring a light dose of humor, Kemble displays a sure touch.

Joanne Anderton also ventures into Romero territory with “Trail of Dead.” Anderton’s tale works thanks to its unique mix of characterization and action, and because it ventures out of typical zombie lore to include witchcraft.

There are fewer fantasy tales than horror in this collection, and those which are included have a decidedly darker bent, so don’t let their presence throw you off if you’re looking primarily for scares. Those can be found here, and in abundance. This collection is refreshing in that it not only introduces a big batch of new authors to be on the lookout for, but it delivers plenty of new twists and approaches to standard horror fare. Seek this one out, and check the publisher’s site for news on Volume Four, which should hopefully be out soon in the New Year.

Purchase Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume Three edited by Angela Challis.

Posted on Monday, February 15, 2010 at 04:20PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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