Ecstatic Inferno is as haunting as it is beautifully written. Autumn Christian’s ten short horror stories offer an exploration to the human psyche; of the broken, the needy, the lonely, the outcast. Christian shows no mercy as she digs into our deepest fears and flaws and displays them on a silver platter, leaving behind a feeling of deep melancholy but at the same time a firm resolve. This is us, the monsters, the imperfect, and yet we can still feel love and empathy. How strange of a world.
The concepts used in Ecstatic Inferno are beyond imaginative, the ease in which Christian uses horror a breath of fresh air. For example, the first story you’ll encounter isThey Promised Dreamless Death, where some salesmen sell the product of undisturbed sleep to the anxious and depressed folk, which will make you basically run on autopilot for the next ten years.
Yes, you will live your life, go to work, talk to friends and family, do your usual activities, make dinner, and be your usual self, but you wouldn’t be doing any of it. It would be the machine. And if you didn’t tell anyone, nobody would probably notice either. Scary thought, isn’t it? That something could control you like that, act exactly like you, and nobody would know. You would just go to sleep one day and wake up ten years later, with your life seemingly worked out well for you.
But is it something really alien? Is that self not you without your inner demons? Is it something really controlling you if nobody can tell the difference, if you act exactly as you would in that situation? Are you really a walking zombie, or was the previous you the brain dead one?
This is the kind of questions that the book presents, the existential horror not ever lost on the reader.
There are many other type of stories to choose from, though. Which I’m sure will enchant every type of horror reader out there: where girls that get bit by dogs can transform into something strong, gods and goddesses walk and breath our air, dark and twisted romances bloom, cyborg girls are created but they can’t ever lay still, and so much more.
The author also finds the time to create a semi-autobiographical tale of two artists and how that creative path may lead to self-destructive consequences. And with an awesome introduction by John Skipp you’re more than settled to enter Autumn Christian’s demented wonderland, where all poetic disturbance is in the details.
As you can tell, I really, really like this book. I think it’s a great pickup for everyone who loves the horror genre, and I might be even bold to say that even if you don’t much prefer these type of stories you should consider getting yourself a copy. I think the author’s prose and ideas are an enough incentive to try something out of your comfortable zone. And, who knows, it might be even the thing that makes you cross to the dark side.
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