Friday, May 31, 2019

Short Fiction Friday: Skidding Into Oblivion by Brian HodgeA

I first discovered Brian Hodge in 2012 with Stephen Jones’s fantastic anthology A Book of Horrors. In an anthology full of truly excellent short stories, Hodge’s “Roots and All” was hands down a favorite and put him immediately on my list of authors I needed to read more of. The only problem was that much of his work was out of print at the time. So I sought out more anthologies!

“Root and All” just happens to be the opening tale in his latest collection, Skidding Into Oblivion, which released earlier this year. And trust me when I say that opening with that tale is a great indication of what’s to come. The entire collection is amazing! And mostly new to me (two Lovecraftian tales were the only others I was previously familiar with, though one was in a collection I was never able to get my hands on).

Hodge’s work runs the gamut from folklorish nightmares and creepy kids to cosmic horror and demons. Each story is a perfect short, a fully encompassed tale with a fully realized world and fully developed characters. He is, in my opinion, one of the best horror writers of the moment and one of the best short story authors I’ve ever read.

Yes, I know I’m fangirling a bit, but one of my favorite things about diving into any anthology is the promise of discovering a new-to-me author. And for seven years now I’ve never once read a story from Hodge that I didn’t love. They’re creepy but also, sometimes, pack an unexpected emotional punch as well. “We the Fortunate Bereaved” and “One Possible Shape of Things to Come” hit me hard as a new parent.

“Eternal, Every Since Wednesday” (a definite favorite of this collection) also had a bit of an emotional punch for me, but stands out simply because I abhor the cold and the snow! And yet I live in Colorado, which also happens to be where Hodge lives (and says he loves the snow). So the story hit close to home for that reason as well!

Any fan of the genre will be doing themselves a real treat in reading Skidding Into Oblivion. I highly, highly recommend it!

Here's a list of all of the stories included in the collection. Note, only "One Last Year Without a Summer" is new to the collection. All of the other stories have previously appeared elsewhere and are collected together for the first time here.

Roots and All
This Stagnant Breath of Change
Scars in Progress
Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls
Eternal, Ever Since Wednesday
Let My Smile Be Your Umbrella
We, The Fortunate Bereaved
One Possible Shape of Things to Come
Cures For a Sickened World
The Same Deep Waters as You
One Last Year Without a Summer

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