Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fright Mare--Women Write Horror (2016),
Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman

Reviewed by Anthony Servante


In the Romantic Era, the literature often associated with women were Gothic novels, thanks in part to authors Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) and Mary Shelley (1797-1851). Although the genre was created by a male writer, Horace Walpole (1717-1793), women introduced elements of the supernatural to the gothic tale. The undead, ghosts, demons, necromancy, witchcraft and the dark arts, and even satire are some such elements introduced by women writers of this period. In "Northanger Abbey", Jane Austen mocks the trappings of the traditional "male" gothic by placing her heroine "Catherine" in the mundane setting of the Abbey where danger and intrigue are expected but nothing transpires. Imagine a Gozilla movie without a giant monster. Austen gave us the first gothic tale without any gothic elements. Women could always be counted on to add layers to traditional literature. 

It is always a thrill to read what new takes women will devise for the genre of Horror. Which brings us to FRIGHT MARE--WOMEN WRITE HORROR (2016), Edited by Billie Sue Mosiman. 

Fright-Mare is an anthology of horror stories written by women, and as much as I'd love to say these women writers bring something new to the genre, just as the Romantic women helped the Gothic novel to evolve, that isn't the case here. What has been accomplished here in this anthology compiled by Billie Sue Mosiman is that these horror stories hold up on merit alone. It is not a case of a gender specific story base. These are not "women stories"; they are primal examples of terror, subtle horror, and base fears--elements not uncommon to any good tale in this male-dominated field. As such, that makes these stories all the more noteworthy. We are not here to say these stories compare favorably to male-written stories of horror. Not at all. We are here to say that this anthology does not need comparison between genders. Fright Mare stands above comparisons. It is simply a frightening selection of stories that will scare you on so many levels that you'll wish you had chosen a less threatening male-written horror anthology.

In her introduction to the book, Billie Sue writes, "I hope you enjoy these works and spend a few hours in reading pleasure. That’s what all writing is about anyway. Not who wrote it. Not the gender of the author. It’s the story. It always was and always will be." No one ever says that a woman wrote "Frankenstein". Fans merely point out that it is a great book. That is what we have here--a great book. And Ms. Mosiman has accomplished exactly what she set out to do with this anthology. She captured the Horror, and it is indeed sublime. 

The Authors and Their Stories:

Contance Craving - Raven Dane
The Goblin Box - Hillary Lyon
Tintype - Elizabeth Massie
The Whole of the Wideness of Night - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Snow Angel - Amy Grech
Secrets of the Sargasso - Morgan Griffith
The Ouroboros Bite - Marie Victoria Robertson
Here I Lie - Lorraine Versini
Sakura Time - Loren Rhoads
Promises, Bliss, and Lies - Rose Blackthorn
Backslide - K. L. Nappier
City Girl - Kathryn Ptacek
What Storms Bring - KC Grifant
Pegasus - Mara Buck
Third Time’s a Charm - Tonia Brown
Ballerina - Sarah Doebereiner
One Hour Before the Dark - Mary Ann Peden-Coviello
Dead Messengers - Lucy Taylor
Sin - C.W. LaSart
Sense Deprived - Kristal Stittle

Editor: Billie Sue Mosiman


New from Autumn Christian

Book Description:

New on Fungasm Press.
"The gene-splice baby of Philip K. Dick and Poppy Z. Brite." -- John Skipp, from his introduction.


From the moment you start to turn the pages, it will soak into your central nervous system, subtly and subversively reprogramming you at the DNA level. Each of these ten stories is engineered to disrupt a different psychic threshold. Pierce the layers between dimensions. Unleashing visions, demons and demiurges of the deepest collective unconscious, both beautiful and terrible.

From deeply haunted Southern gothic strangeness to interplanetary quests of illuminating doom and profound cosmic transformation, Ecstatic Inferno is a heroic dose of hallucinatory modern speculative fiction, uncut and unforgettable.

So taste the brain of Autumn Christian, where every line of idea-drenched, intoxicating prose bleeds with razored wit and revelations so sharp they poke holes in the night. Side effects may include: flashbacks, unshakeable awe and terror, the sense that your reality will never be the same.



Autumn Christian is a fiction writer who lives in the dark woods with poisonous blue flowers in her backyard and a black deer skull on her wall. She is waiting for the day when she hits her head on the cabinet searching for the popcorn bowl and all consensus reality dissolves.

She's been a freelance writer, a game designer, a cheese producer, a haunted house actor, and a video game tester. She considers Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Katie Jane Garside, the southern gothic, and dubstep, as main sources of inspiration.

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