BOOK REVIEW: Vivisepulture

Vivisepulture is a collection of stories of the weird and bizarre from some well known, and some aspiring, names in horror, fantasy and science fiction writing today. Names such as Adrian Tchaikovsky, Lee Harris, Ian Whates, Jordan Reyne, Danie Ware and the late Colin Harvey grace its pages giving different takes on the premise of the anthology; to plumb the depths of their own twisted, feral and nightmare imaginations.

The anthology takes us on a journey across genres, worlds, history and into the depths of hell. We are introduced to zombies, a demonic Cupid, an Inquisition of the future, ghost hunters and a novel approach to employee relations using automatons.

As an anthology it delivers on many counts and keeps itself fresh with the diverse nature of the stories included across a variety of settings. For example, a humorous tale about necrophilia by Lee Harris, and yes, it will put a smile on your face, is followed by Colin Harvey’s post-apocalyptic vision of

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a family festival where heretics and revolutionaries are tortured for their sins. A story, if you forgive the pun, which is very well executed.

My favourite story from Vivesepulture was Wind Project NX104 by Jordan Reyne. On face value the premise sounds dull, a small child has conversations with a sentient wind turbine, yes you read that right, a sentient wind turbine in a future version of our world. For me, this was one of the most touching stories I have read in a long while. The childlike innocence of the turbine, unaware it is soon to be decommissioned, and its inquisitive nature are so well told with a beautiful blend of humanity and pathos. A perfect example of the art of the short story and one which you just have to read to appreciate.

Another treat was to see Adrian Tchaikovsky, whose fantasy writing I love

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(do yourself a favour and read Empire of Black and Gold), turning his hand to humour with a tale of ghost induced plumbing problems. And for a sacrilegious version of the Bible, try Ian Watson’s Tales from the Zombible which gives a new spin on the New Testament from the view of our favourite undead.

There are a couple of stories which didn’t really excite me though this is often the case for me with anthologies. These tended to be stories set in worlds from the author’s other work rather than being standalone for this book. I felt that I was missing some back story and that I may have got more from the tales had I read their previous works.

That said, this was a good collection of stories and a great chance to see into the minds of some authors you may have wanted to pick up for a while; think of it as a gourmet tasting menu for literature. Being short stories,

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the length of each piece makes this a great book to dip in and dip out of and I’d recommend that you get your hands on a copy.

Rating: 4 out of 5
GS Reporter: Phil Ambler

Phil is a co-host on Scrolls, the podcast for literary geekdom. Listen to it here on the Geek Syndicate Network.
You can also follow Phil on Twitter @phlambler for general book and writing banter.

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