Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: The Bleeding Edge anthology


The Bleeding Edge Edited by William F Nolan and Jason V. Brock
Cycatrix Press and Dark Discoveries Publications
288 pages

It only takes a short conversation with this book's editing team Jason V. Brock(of Dark Discoveries magazine) and William F. Nolan (Logan's Run and Dark Universe) to know they put a ton of work into this anthology. It's been a long time since an anthology had such a treasure trove of authors involved. Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson(Both father and son), Joe R. Lansdale, Dan O' Bannon, and Gary Braunbeck to name a few. More importantly for me personal favorites John Shirley, Lisa Morton and Cody Goodfellow. In the horror underground rumors of well known authors in the field being turned down and rigorous editing cuts only helped to create a buzz for this release.

As I opened the beautifully laid out and packaged limited edition book I was worried it could not live up to the hype.The sheer presence of Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson rose eyebrows, these are not re-prints so the excitement level is justified. One of the ways they achieved this high stature of names, was by not limiting the collection to prose. This book included screenplays(An excerpt from O'Bannon's Omnivore),plays(The Matheson's Madri-Gall),teleplays (George Clayton Johnson and Norman Cowin) and an essay (Frank M. Robinson). The diversity in form is interesting and I enjoyed it. Not sure

 I'll be honest with you the Bradbury story is to me the weakest story in the book. I know how hard it is to believe, but this story may be unpublished, but is not exactly a new story. It's a politically charged piece that he wrote in the 50's."Some of My Best Friends are Martians," about inter-racial dating. At this point the story's only value is as relic showing how far we have come. I know Bradbury is one the world's greatest living legends in the field but as opener it didn't do much for me.

Luckily the story after "Just a Suggestion" by John Shirley (author of Demons and Bleak History) is a fantastic ghost story about a haunting at a costco. Anyone reading my blog knows JS is my favorite author and it is no surprise that his story is at the top of my list. Next behind it for best of the collection would be Joe R. Lansdale's short but effective "The Boy who Became Invisible" which is both disturbing and evocative in only a few pages. Some of the shortest stories are the most effective, case in point co-editor William F. Nolan's short but touching piece.

There are many stories I consider highlights, ironically these are written less by the living legends but by the younger voices. Nancy Kilpatrick's Goth erotica tale "Hope and the maiden", Lisa Morton's "Silk City" and Cody Goodfellow's super bizarro "At the riding school." were among my favorites.

The Bleeding Edge lives up to it's hype, not only that but it's soy inked and wind power produced and edited by two ethical vegetarians. This book is a green horror classic in the making. The kind of high quality that doesn't happen every day in our field. It presents a cross section of styles and forms, but best of all it's authors stretch through several generations of horror. Packaged with beautiful art and laid-out with a reader friendly system of pictures and bios at the end of the stories this book is not to be missed. Great job by Brock and Nolan I can't wait for the follow-up, best part is they have already promised it will come.

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The Deluxe Edition includes 75 signed/numbered hardcovers with individual author pages and five illustrations by Kris Kuksi. ($175.00 — Get $20 off the full retail of $195.00 for pre-orders, shipping will be a flat $15 in the US for Priority Airmail with Insurance and Delivery confirmation. More for overseas.)
There will also be a Trade hardcover retailing for $65 ($55 with pre-reserve). This will be an unnumbered print run of only 400 copies, signed by the editors William F. Nolan and Jason V Brock.