Jason Sizemore is a writer and editor who lives in Lexington, KY. He owns Apex Publications, an SF, fantasy, and horror small press, and has twice been nominated for the Hugo Award for his editing work on Apex Magazine. Stay current with his latest news and ramblings via his Twitter feed handle @apexjason.
Irredeemableby Jason Sizemore
Flowing like mists and shadows through the Appalachian Mountains come 18 tales from the mind of Jason Sizemore. Weaving together elements of southern gothic, science fiction, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, and much more, this diverse collection of short stories brings you an array of characters who must face accountability, responsibility, and, more ominously, retribution.
Whether it is Jack Taylor readying for a macabre, terrifying night in The Sleeping Quartet, the Wayne brothers and mischief gone badly awry in Pranks, the title character in The Dead and Metty Crawford , or the church congregation and their welcoming of a special visitor in Yellow Warblers, Irredeemable introduces you to a range of ordinary people who come face to face with extraordinary situations.
Whether the undead, aliens, ghosts, or killers of the yakuza, dangers of all kinds lurk within the darkness for those who dare tread upon its ground. Hop aboard and settle in, Irredeemable will take you on an unforgettable ride along a dark speculative fiction road.
- Seventh Star Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)
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Jason Sizemore's collection of short horror stories is pretty close to irresistible. Scenes vary, from real-world flights of faith and terror, to haunting horrors in present and future worlds. Alien and human monsters abound. And each story has a uniquely powerful sting in the tail, leaving readers to ponder, what did I miss? What really happened there? Unsettling, irresistible, un-put-down-able... The shortest tale of all might be the scariest. And the final page will leave you gasping, "Wow!" Irredeemable is a great collection, where tiny details matter and surprise just as much as the startling horrors, and hints of occasional redemption shine like unexpected rainbows, glimpsed through a volcano. If you like horror of any kind, this is the book for you. And if you’ve never read any horror, what a great place to get hooked. Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy when I hosted the author on his blog tour. Lucky me!!!
If you read intros, do as Mr. Girard says and just read the book first, that intro will be there waiting when you're done. I don't know if Mr. Sizemore chose the order of the stories to start small and build to the most intense but it's really what it felt like. While the first story, "Caspar" delivers a major shock and let's the reader know the title of the anthology serves a definite purpose, it is not the most sinister of the stories. I can't even choose the worst ending for all the irredeemable characters because each one has a major shudder factor. While some stories are futuristic or set in another part of the world, the common thread is the Kentucky countryside. If you don't understand the culture of the South, you may miss some of the deeper intricacies herein. Big Coal, dirty rednecks, and creepy church services are all weaved in the lifestyle. And let me tell you, as someone who has grown up in the culture, it's a sinister dark landscape. Mr. Sizemore definitely pulls the terror of that landscape in and runs wild with it, like a crazed apprentice with the wizard's wand. I won't go into detail of each story, or give any spoilers, but a few of my favourites were: Hope- Humanity faces its end but the real story lies in Hope finding the traitor of her coven. Pranks- All I'll say is...Cancer Beast! The bile still reaches my throat thinking about it! Shotgun Shelter- If you're sensitive to animal abuse, read with caution but know the irredeemable never win in this book. The Dead and Metty Crawford- Zombies!! I really liked this story and the little symbolism in it...awesome. The Sleeping Quartet- I laughed out loud a few times and then curled up in a ball from how disturbing it was. The really eerie thing is you're not sure if it was real or not! (I have heard a rumor it was though *cries a little inside*) Yellow Warblers- One of the most unexpected endings in a short story I have EVER read! Totally floored. All the stories were excellent and I can honestly say they all burrowed under my skin and left their eggs behind to hatch. If you have a copy of this anthology, you have increased the beauty of your collection. If you're trying to decide to buy it...what are you waiting for? Click on buy it now and add it to your shelves!!
I had high hopes for Irredeemable. Sizemore has proven himself a man of impeccable taste as a publisher. He knows what works in literature and makes solid use of that knowledge. However, I have a tough time giving the categorical high five I expected to his first collection of short fiction. The big problem that Irredeemable runs into is that it is incredibly uneven. There are some good stories here, to be sure, but there are just as many forgettable and bland bits as well. The first three stories came across as clunky, meandering and lacking in focus, with no real impact to them. To be honest, if not for the credit Jason’s reputation has built up, I would’ve stopped reading by then. That isn’t mentioning the overused Zombie-as-Divine-Retribution trope and a frigging Dream Ending in later stories. This was not the side of Sizemore I was hoping to read. But, with “For the Sake of Pleasing”, the collection turns around. The prose is every bit as personable, the characters as in depth and engaging and the ideas as complicated as I had every reason to expect from the man. It is, however, hampered by truncated novel idea syndrome. Aliens and psionics and other supernatural and superpowers with international spy conglomerates, beings who cannot feel emotions on their own and have to thrive on the pheromones and feelings of others and that huge history hinted at with the aliens are all too much to work in the slightly less than 40 pages given here. “Sonic Scarring” has the same advantages and problems, but if they are turned into novels that give them the room they need to build on what is introduced I will be throwing money at the man. Then there are “Pranks”, which pleasantly reminded me of R.L. Stine, “Special Delivery”, a fun and painful approach to employee motivation, and “Ice Cream at the Falls”, that had the feel of an old time ghost story told on the porch at dusk. Quite good yarns, those. “Mr. Templar” really kicks the door off the hinges, though. Such a wonderful way of dealing with the desperate grasping for hope and religious truth that uses the androids to terrific effect. More so with “Yellow Warblers”, that really nails the feel of backwoods Kentucky while playing with the issues of anthropologists going into tribal areas in a way that socked me square in my dangly bits. Why the heck was this one buried all the way at the end? Irredeemable shows a variety of interests, ranging from intimate gothic horror to grand science fiction, as well as some quite interesting ideas behind the stories. Too bad that it is hampered by far too many mediocre tales that fall so far below the level of talent and insight shown in the quality stories.