This May marks the sixth year Astral Audio Entertainment has been around. The original podcast started in the fall of 2007; however, astralaudio.net wasn’t launched until May 17 the following year.
Starting tomorrow, we are going to go through seventeen stories by a total of thirty-five authors. That isn’t a misprint. Most of the stories are written by two authors working together; however, one of them had the fortune of being created by three. Dark Duets: New Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy edited by Christopher Golden is an experiment to see how talented creators do when given the chance to work together. I am going to break down each story while attempting not to be full of major spoilers. Along the way, we will find out what soars above the rest, what lingers in the middle of the pack, and what falls flat. We will then wrap things up with a full review. If there is enough interest from you, I’m open to the idea of doing a podcast roundtable on the subject as a bonus.
I wanted to do this for multiple reasons. You know I’m a fan of horror. I talk about it, review it, watch, and read it. Character studies are why I keep coming back to the genre. Fantasy also holds a special place in my heart because you get introduced to different kinds of people and worlds when produced well. I like collections because you can experience different authors and different styles of storytelling. (This might explain why I enjoy horror film anthologies so much but that is a subject for a different date.) My objective in this case is to approach each story from a horror reader and film reviewer’s perspective. As such, I’m going to do my best to tell you why I think a particular piece may or may not work if this were brought to film. Here is the full list of stories and their authors.
“TRIP TRAP” by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson
“WELDED” by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright
“DARK WITNESS” by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine
“REPLACING MAX” by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie
“T. RHYMER” by Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry
“SHE, DOOMED GIRL” by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan
“HAND JOB” by Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch
“HOLLOW CHOICES” by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss
“AMUSE-BOUCHE” by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte
“BRANCHES, CURVING” by Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith
“RENASCENCE” by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson
“BLIND LOVE” by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale
“TRAPPER BOY” by Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala
“STEWARD OF THE BLOOD” by Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore
“CALCULATING ROUTE” by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene
“SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS” by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, & Holly Black
“SINS LIKE SCARLET” by Mark Morris & Rio Youers
You should definitely come back starting tomorrow as we raise the curtain for the first of many dark duets. If you are a fan of any, several, or all of these authors, what do you think of this line up? Have you read the anthology? Share your thoughts in the comments.