Review (Part 3) – Dead Letters: An Anthology edited by Conrad Williams

Posted: June 26, 2016 in Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Tags: , , , ,

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A manic week of DIY has left no time to read, or do anything else beyond a bleary-eyed half hour brain drain in front of the TV. But, a relaxing Sunday meant that a quick journey into the weird world of dead letters was in order.

Cancer Dancer by Pat Cadigan is another quality short story, epitomising the feeling of this collection yet adding the very heavy hearted emotion of cancer diagnosis. The letter in this tale contains a cryptic message, an address and an odd bank-like swipe card. What starts out as a distraction from the crushing news of a cancer prognosis soon escalates.

As the protagonist begins to investigate the note she soon discovers that the letter’s original recipient has died and that his supposed daughter is aggressively keen to get her hands on that weird bank card. Her enquiries lead her to a strange building with an even stranger meaning behind it. Heartfelt and engaging, Cancer Dancer is a clever, cathartic tale.

I’ve been wanting to read more horror lately yet know little about where to start in the genre. Apart from the Stephen King and James Herbert stuff I enjoyed in my youth, I’ve been looking at who to read and Ramsey Campbell is clearly a good beginning.

The Wrong Game is meta-fiction at it’s finest. Referring to the editor of this anthology, Campbell relates how the letter he received, thinking it the prompt, was something else entirely. A spiralling sense of dread fuels the author’s investigation into the contents of the letter until a memory surfaces that sets in motion a visit to a creepy, abandoned hotel. Campbell acknowledges his own place in the story as fact and fiction merge and flow. However it is the gritty, grimy conclusion which gives this story it’s true worth.

During all the DIY, I’ve finally begun to unpack the tower of book boxes. There’s lots I’ve yet to read and some great new stuff I’ve been sent recently so expect more posts soon.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books

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