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Vivisepulture edited by Andy Remic

Zombie gunfighters, insane cherubs, government sanctioned torturers, bright orange snot and steam-punk thugs are just a few of the delights you’ll find amongst the pages of the latest short story anthology from Anarchy Books. It contains twenty-two, yes you read that correctly twenty two, short stories that range from the sublimely horrific to the ridiculously evil. At the princely sum of just eighty-nine pence that works out at roughly four pence per story, damn good value in these trying economic times.

The collection begins with the following advice –

…Vivisepulture is not a read to be taken lightly. No. You must dim the lights, envelop yourself in a calm, quiet, brooding atmosphere; maybe pour yourself a stiff sherry or a single malt; prepare for transportation into bizarre Other Realms; and hope that YOU, Dear Reader, never succumb to the act of vivisepulture…

Inside you’ll find that there are a plethora of quirky stories to enjoy. Some of my personal favourites are listed below.

Rotten Cupid by Ian Graham  – A man suffering from a broken heart finds himself in a fight to the death with Cupid. Is it just the booze, or is there something far more sinister going on?

You Always Remember Your First by Lee Harris – A young undertaker recounts his unnatural obsession with the fairer sex. This stands out as one of the creepiest entries in the collection.

Juice by Stan Nicholls – Bob and Craig do important work. They ensure the safe use of essences like compliance, joy and luck. They always do the job by the book. Their competition, however, aren’t nearly as strict.

Wanderwaffe by Ian Sales – On an alternate Earth a Nazi scientist is sent to investigate a miraculous weapon that could swing the outcome of World War II in Germany’s favour. He finds himself transported to another place via a mysterious portal.

METAmorphosis by Steve Savile – An author is visited by a group of unsavory individuals. After completing his most recent manuscript visitors all seem vaguely familiar but who are they and what is there intent?

Pipework by Adrian Tchaikovsky – This story confirmed what I have always suspected – plumbing is indeed the root of all evil. The good news is when plumbers fail there are another band of equally dedicated specialists who just may be able to help.

The Devil in The Details by Ian Whates – A man lives a life where he is able to constantly jump between different versions of reality. This ability is triggered by a simple touch. To ensure random jumps don’t occur he actively avoids direct contact with all other humans. Turns out that this isn’t the easiest thing to do when you decide to walk to work.

The rest of the collection is just as strong with excellent work from the likes of Vincent Holland-Keen, James Lovegrove, Ian Watson and Danie Ware.

These are truly iconoclastic tales that offer a marvelously skewed view of humanity.

The Human Dynamo™ that is Andy Remic, has managed in his role as editor to convince, jostle, plead, bully and harangue a host of first class authors to take part. I was consistently surprised by the quality of the work on offer. All of the stories left me wanting more. As an added bonus it is always a pleasure to be exposed to authors who you have never read before. There are are a number of names I will be actively seeking out in the future. This is a great collection that is definitely worth every one of its eighty nine pennies.

Oh by the way, for those of you who I’m sure have been wondering, you may find the following useful  – vivisepulture n. definition: an act or instance of burying someone alive. Not only was I entertained but I also learned a new word, nice. Anarchy Books aren’t just producing absorbing fiction but as and an added bonus, they are educating us as well.

Vivisepulture is available from Anarchy Books now and according to the info at the book’s end there will be a Vivisepulture 2 at some point in the future.

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