Torture of girth by Nicholas Alan Tillmans
In Springwood, it’s never okay to talk about the world “outside.” People wonder about it. It can’t be helped. But there’s no point to talking about it. No one who’s been there shares anything. Besides that, it’s dangerous. “Talkers”—people who are overheard talking about the world outside—are routinely monitored. If they are caught sharing too much or saying something threatening or disparaging about the powers that be, they are arrested and often imprisoned or even put to death. All it takes is a mere mention of the world “outside” to warrant an arrest.
Harry Gorman is an underachiever, working in a butcher shop, spineslessly taking a pay cut, not really connecting with his wife (who he doesn’t know is having an affair) and not being able to summon the effort to properly clean out his fish tank. However he doesn’t know that the city he lives in is on top of an underground prison containing odd, evil, spiritual creatures perhaps his must be why no-one is allowed to leave the city? This is a tale of spiritual possessions and has a fair share of horror (both psychological and physical) and mostly the plot just scoots along. There were a few errors that crept in towards the end and there are important new characters being added even in the last few chapters (and sometimes it was hard to differentiate between some of them). I’d also have liked a bit more of an explanation of the setting and maybe more work to ground the plot. It’s a pretty dark tale but does have some levity, comedy horror is difficult to pull off well but mostly Tillmans succeeds. There is talent and story here but as with many self-pub you can’t help but feel it lacks a little bit in polish, however this is head and shoulders above many out there and worth parting with a bit of cash for an entertaining ride.
Overall – If you like Scott Sigler you’ll probably like this. Enjoyable horror.
The Reason I jump by Naoki Higashida, translated by David Mitchell
This is a short book by a 13 year old Japanese boy with Autism who answers a series of questions such as “What is the reason I jump” – it is mostly sparse and honest prose but occasionally beautiful, and includes a highly symbolic story at the end. There isn’t much to say about this one. If you’ve ever wondered about what life is like with autism, or want an autistic perspective on the joys of repetition then this book will provide answers. I mostly picked this up because it’s translated by David Mitchell and I was at an event but it I’m very glad I did.
Overall - I think this should be read by everyone really, as it is a study in empathy