Detritus edited by Kate Jonez and S.S. Michaels
The impulse to collect springs from deep within the human psyche Squirrels gather acorns, rats collect shiny things, but only humans assign meaning to the objects they collect. Detritus is a collection of stories about the impulse to collect, preserve, and display gone horribly wrong. The stories in this collection can be about hoarders, cat ladies, people who keep cabinets of curiosities, folks who have secret stashes of strange and disturbing things or any other sort of person who has a frightening collection or a desperate need to gather up and keep things close.
My own personal obsession with short stories has grown considerably over the last couple of years to the point that any new anthology is something that I really look forward to. Detritus found its way into grubby little mitts via the wonder of technology that is Twitter. This collection contains fifteen short stories that range from the surreal to the gruesome by way of extremely geeky. There is a whole lot to enjoy here and my thoughts about my favourite entries are listed below.
Shots and Cuts by Mary Borsellino – A homicide detective discusses the rise of the violent Internet memes and you-tube videos that depict horrific crimes. This is one of the more gruesome tales in the collection. A fact is made all the more distressing when you realise it is also likely the most realistic as well.
Mrs. Grainger’s Animal Emporium by Phil Hickes – A mysterious shop and an equally mysterious proprietor who knows exactly how to deal with young boys who cause trouble. This was one of the real standout stories in the collection as it reads almost like a modern day fairytale.
The Tick-Tock Heart by L.S. Murphy – When two estranged sisters meet after years apart one finds the constant interruption to her highly regular routine more and more difficult to cope with. She eventually takes matters into her own hands with horrific results.
Arkitektur by Michael R Colangelo – This was one of the more surreal stories in the collection. The old house contains dark patterns and those patterns affect everyone that comes into contact with them. As this tale unfolds things just get stranger and stranger. I’m not adverse to a bit of odd and this certainly delivered that.
Armoire by Louise Bohmer – Sometimes when I read a short story it seems obvious to me that all I’m getting is the smallest of glimpses into a much larger world, Armoire felt like that. I think I could quite happily read an entire novel based around this stories premise – a young woman with magical powers becomes obsessed with collecting the spirits of inter-dimensional parasites.
Heroes and Villians by Michael Montoure – Anyone who has ever collected comic books will enjoy this story. Just how far would you go if the ultimate collection landed in your lap? Darkly comic, please excuse the pun, and just a little bit evil.
In His Own Graven Image by Pete Clark – There is a growing trend in the world for body modification and this story finds a man who has taken one particular type of modification to the extreme. A tale that masterfully examines the nature of obsessive behavior and how it can totally control a life.
Overall this is a solid little anthology that contains some real gems. I wasn’t blown away by every single story but at only £2 for the entire collection I think this is still definitely value for money. If you enjoy your horror in the short form then I would suggest you give this a try. I am sure that you will find something that you enjoy.
Detritus is published by Omnium Gatherum and is available for Kindle now.