Tearjerker by Steve Berman

[dropca[]T[/dropca[]he wonderful things about anthologies is you never know when you’re going to stumble upon something wonderful. The odd thing is, I never intended to pick up Paper Cities in the first place. It just sort of fell off the shelf at my local library and, due to the weird location on it, I wasn’t sure where to reshelve it. Which is kind of peculiar since I used to work in a library. But basically I decided it was just easier to check it out rather than figure out where to drop it for the shelf clerk.

Flipping through the book, I happened to land on Steve Berman’s Tearjerker, a wonderfully dark tale of addiction and ruin. In a city scarred and quarantined after a cataclysmic event that granted special powers to only some of the inhabitants, young Gail finds herself for some old sisters who peddle in dependancy. Their big thing is the addictive tears of a little girl named Brennan. Even Gail can’t keep herself from lapping at the sad child’s cheeks. Continue reading…

A Child of Wight by A.R. Kahler

I‘ll be the first one to admit that this was a surprising read. Having read much of A.R. Kahler’s body of work, A Child of Wight has a very different tone than his other work. It is sparse, and quiet, and grey, evoking the Edward Gorey books I have loved since my admittedly macabre childhood.

Sparse and quiet and grey are not words usually used to describe either the man himself or his writing. And yet, here we are. Time for something new, something oddly restrained. But for a story about death, and dying, and coming up short of expectations, it works. It works beautifully.

Continue reading…