As I've probably mentioned once or twice already, I'm a sucker for anthology titles. It's genetic, I assume - something to do with my generation getting more than its RDA of 2000AD during its formative years. If you've contributed material to a UK anthology I've probably read it, I probably remember it and I probably enjoyed it.
Like I said, I'm an easy sale.
That said, it really does take something pretty special to raise its head above the herd in this kind of arena, and that's the absurdly mixed metaphor I'm going with to steer this post toward two anthology books I've been waiting for with great interest.
Rich McAuliffe and Mark Chilcott's Damaged Goods is a wide-ranging manifesto of terror from a powerful and profoundly disturbed creative team. Each exquisite little slice of nasty it contains is a thing of unnatural beauty and an object lesson in how irresponsible it is to let people like this tell horror stories or handle sharp objects. It'd be hard to go into specifics without spoilerising the shit out of the stories, but particular highlights for me include Zombie Bride and Clown, both of which tick most of my boxes at a stroke.
At over 100 pages, Tw1sted Vision is a virtuoso performance from cover to cover by artist, Valia Kapadai. Shifting effortlessly in style and subject matter, the book is a stunningly beautiful showcase for an artist of great range and depth. She takes on stories from a variety of writers and gives each a life and vitality of its own. With a handful of artists of half her talent, I could probably end the world.
The true danger in all this, of course, comes from the uncontrolled synthesis of already-volatile components. The binary agents in this ludicrously strained analogy are Rich and Valia, who have taken it upon themselves to collaborate on an ill-advised and probably hazardous joint venture. The projected product of this unholy alliance will be known as Snow. Described on the Insomnia blog as "a sensuous and disturbing story that rips the meat from the bones of what you know, right down to the last bloody scraps," I shudder to think of the damage it will do when it goes off.
God help us all...