Squeezed somewhat awkwardly between Parts 2 and 3 of the Trilogy Award, there was a chance last weeks award coukd have passed by unseen. Instead we received a rather obscene number of entries, setting the scene for a quality contest pitting some of NiTHs finest authors in a bid to see who could be the most sympathetically grotesque. Let’s recap:
Sophie Macdonald returns to the short list after a short hiatus with A Letter To Dr Franz Heimer, an errily atmospheric letter of slow brewing gothic horror:
My dearest Franz
I do not know if you will read this letter, but I pray that it will make its way to you and that you will save me.
Forgive me if my thoughts sound confused, but it has all happened so fast, and I can no longer lay claim to presence of mind nor coherence of thought.
While Jeanette Stampone lightened the mood with a remix and retelling of the big bad wolf with Who’s Afraid
“No more hunting,” I muttered to myself. “I’m changing my ways for good.”
Within a few days of that unfortunate incident, posters with my photo were pinned on trees throughout the forest.
Beware – Big Bad Wolf!
Elise Oliver upped the creep factor with heart thumping diatribe You, Me, We
You know that feeling you get when you walk down a quiet corridor, the feeling like someone is following you? Or when you catch something moving in the mirror out of the corner of your eye but it turns out to be nothing? What about that lance of fear that streaks up your spine when your foot is hanging over the edge of the bed just a little too far?
That’d be me.
C R Gardner made waves during the major contest earlier this year with a couple of grest genre pieces. Angel Warrior continues that trend, a bold fantasy title with scintillating action punctuating a subtlety paced plot:
‘Scary,’ interrupted Elise, wrapping her arms around Wyan possessively.
‘I was going to say, a Prime.’
‘She’s been fighting in those unclean Eastern Wars. Who knows what she’s got!’
Alicia Bruzzone contributes to push boundaries with The Punishment Of Time, a fabalist myth paced to creep up on you like and itself:
Fire burns through my chest at the insult, heating my blood and ire. A pained laugh finds its way out of my throat, causing the guard to flinch. He can’t bear to look at me for too long. None of them can. They won’t get close enough for me to touch them either.
While high scoring compatriot Lydia Trethewey tests her hand at fantasy with the bittersweet thematic of magical realism in The Moon Flute
Batuk watches their laughing rebellion and feels kinship. The Dri’it would be his people, if he were free. If Pla’ah hadn’t inhabited him when he was born, leaving her demon mark in pink scabby abrasions all over his body.
The Dri’it boys scamper off as Vu’ur, the sun, falls below the horizon. Batuk grabs his broom and gets to work
Finally, Georgia Willis returned to the short list with Dead Man Walking, a desperate denouement that shadows the individual and society at its worst:
Tears poured freely down my face as I knelt there listening to the man about to proclaim my death as the only solution to my crime. I remembered growing up my parents trying to keep me from these shows, but my attendance was inevitable. The rabid crowd was so persuasive; even though I knew I was marked, I remembered spitting and calling for the person’s death along with everyone else.
And that wins up the recap. Let’s find out who won.
So a bevy of tales grotesque, gruesome and grave. Authors both long in the tooth and clawing their way through the ranks, stories both sad and salty, savage and scintillating, stupendenous and… And…
The winner is week has shown versatility and veractity in their recent offerings, often going unrewarded despite mixing it at the top end of town. Please congratulate the wonderful Jeanette Stampone, who brought us the funny and homage-er-ly original Who’s Afraid. With this win Jeanette moves another rung up the leaderboard, inching closer to the top spot.
And speaking of top spots, part 3 of the Trilogy Award is up now. Authors were compelled to write the third part of someone else’s trilogy, and the results are both surprising and entering. Check them out here.