MORE MONSTERS FROM MEMPHIS
Edited by Beecher Smith
Zapizdat Publications / 315 pages / Limited 1st edition (December 18, 1998)
Regional horror is hot right now. If you like your fiction with a little Southern flavour, chances are good that you already read the first volume of this series Monsters From Memphis. Bet you’ve been hoping for a second infusion of that deep south mixture of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Here it is. And it’s chock full of good stuff.
Smith has made it easy to find just the right story for you. More Monsters From Memphis is divided up into five unusual and tasty portions that pretty much run the gamut of possibilities. I say pretty much because there is always more to explore.
Things That Go Bump In The Night includes all those little, unexplainable thingies that tend to pop up and bite you in the hinder. Starting off strong with Brett Monahan’s wry look at life in the Memphis Museum, it’s an even dozen of widely warying tales. For capturing the otherworldly feeling of night, that sense of unreality that sets in in the early morning hours, turns to Steve Rasnic Tem’s surreal “What Slips Away.” The award for just plain disturbing goes to “He Who Dwelleth In The Blue Sky,” an uncomfortable short about the penalties for pride and silence. In between those three, there is a wealth of weirdness.
That Ol’ Man River delves into Big Muddy with tales of strange goings-on on the water and under it. “Just Beneath The Surface” follows the downfall of a rabble-rouser and offers a new perspective on human behaviour. Not many stories do that for you; you can thank Alan Gilbreath for that one. On the other hand, Lou Kemp’s “From The River” just proves what I’ve always felt about the Mississippi. It may be a treat to beat your feet in the Mississippi mud, but you won’t catch me doing it.
For all those Elvis fans (or foes, I suppose) four tales fill out The Once And Future Kingssection. (Can you write about Memphis without mentioning Mr. E.A. Presley?) The Colonel returns to wreak havoc and create something more offensive than a monster in Kiel Stuart’s tongue-in-cheek “Now Or Never.” This tale will keep you up nights hoping it didn’t give anybody any ideas.
Memphis’ name is the link to a trio of stories in “I Am Dead, Egypt, Dead.” Now, I have never figured out what’s supposed to be so terrifying about mummies, but Fara Moore puts as much fright into it as anyone ever has in “Memphis On The Nile.”
All Hell Broke Loose wraps it up with a hearty serving of the unholy. If More Monsters From Memphis doesn’t really put a scare into you, the closest you’ll come is the creepy “The Demon At Big Rock.” There’s something about things chasing cars… “A Dybbuk In Dixie” swings from hilarious to sickening in a story that proves godliness is next to nauseating.
And you thought Atlanta was the only happenin’ spot south of the Mason-Dixon line.