Friday, August 1, 2014

Whom the Gods Would Destroy by Brian Hodge

It's been over ten years since Damien last saw his brother, Cameron. In that time, Damien hasn't spoken to their mother. He's gone on to create his own life separate and beyond the one he remembers as a boy. He considers it no great loss - his mother wasn't the most nurturing or supportive of mothers, at least not where he was concerned. No, her affection was spent on Cameron. And Damien's childhood memories are particularly twisted and garbled, to the point that he refuses to share them with anyone and wonders if they are even real. 

But when Cameron shows up out of the blue claiming to be able to set Damien up with a job, the grad student can't help but be a little curious. Turns out what Cameron wants to share is truly earth shattering. 

So I was looking for a nice little horror story to slip into my reading of late and settled on Whom the Gods Would Destroy. I'd imagined it would be quick and painless - I was a little wrong in that regard.

Warning: this novella may cause nightmares.

I only discovered Brian Hodge's work just recently thanks to a few different horror anthologies. What I've read so far has impressed me immensely. His ability goes beyond that of simply blending and melding bits and pieces of horror, whimsy and fairy tales (one story I've read recently), the very real terrors of everyday life, and now science fiction together to create a cohesive and enthralling tale. With each piece I've had the pleasure of reading so far, I've found myself becoming completely lost in the stories, coming up for breath pages later to realize the world has continued to go on around me as usual while I've been trapped inside one of the Hodge's twisted worlds. And I loved ever second of it!

Whom the Gods Would Destroy takes some pretty far out there ideas about space and space travel and brings them right here to the reader's backyard. There's a crazy cult, a former nun, family drama, and the very plausible horror of the stars all wrapped up in a nice, neat novella.

I'll be honest, this story hits the spot in my craving for more sci-fi horror - while also making me want more! Hodge proves yet again that space and the stars can be the perfect marriage with horror; I simply can't understand why it's not done more.

Whom the Gods Would Destroy is out now in e format from DarkFuse and earned Hodge a best novella nomination for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards. You can read about Hodge's inspiration for the story on his blog here.

No comments: