Masques Vby J. N. Williamson
Jerry Williamson's Masques is back, and fans of the series will be glad to hear that the series is as strong as ever, with Volume V serving up twenty-nine stories that run the gamut from good to great, all providing a satisfying reading experience. Editor Williamson has provided a winning mix of new and established authors, artfully arranging the tales for/i>… See more details below
Jerry Williamson's Masques is back, and fans of the series will be glad to hear that the series is as strong as ever, with Volume V serving up twenty-nine stories that run the gamut from good to great, all providing a satisfying reading experience. Editor Williamson has provided a winning mix of new and established authors, artfully arranging the tales for maximum impact.
Standout stories include: "Recall" by Ray Garton, wherein a businessman is forced to reassess his values; "A Thousand Words" by Judi Rohrig, a tale of a photographer who suffers to perfect her art; "How Sweet It Was" by Thomas F. Monteleone, a story which focuses on the power of childhood memories and on insidious influence of television on young minds; and "Waters Dark and Deep" by Tim Waggoner, a claustrophobic tale in which the heroine realizes that although "pressure makes diamonds," it can also utterly crush things as well.
Sadly, this is the last Masques to be edited by the late Jerry Williamson, who indicated in his introduction that this would have been his last volume at any rate. Hopefully, someone as protective and knowledgeable of the field as Williamson (maybe Braunbeck, whom Williamson certainly held in high esteem) will pick up the torch that Williamson so ably held aloft these past decades, carrying this important and memorable anthology series into a bright future.
What People are saying about this
Good storytelling has always been the hallmark of the beloved, successful 'Masques' anthologies, edited by the late JN Williamson, who sadly passed away while still working - after a hiatus of about fifteen years- on the present, fifth volume in the series. Graced with a cover design by the multitalented Clive Barker (who, unfortunately, did not contribute any piece of fiction), 'Masques V' is a bulky volume collecting twenty-nine horror stories by both established genre masters and newcomers. With very few exceptions-that I won't name-the tales are all fine examples of good storytelling, up to the expectations of any 'Masques' fan. For obvious reasons I'll refrain from commenting on each single story to mention only the ones which seem to me the best contributions.
Poppy Z Brite sets the tone with 'Wandering the Borderlands', an excellent mini-tale probing the secrets of death. Richard Matheson's 'Haircut' is a predictable but extremely enjoyable story featuring an unusual customer showing up in a barber shop during a hot summer day.
Horror writer Ray Garton unexpectedly provides an amusing Twilight Zone-like piece ('Recall') endowed with a moralistic touch.
Christopher Conlon's 'Ghost in Autumn' is a delicate and moving modern ghost story where a woman dead for twenty years comes back to visit her only son. In 'The Black Wench', a delightful reprint by the late Ray Russell, a British mansion is haunted by a ghost-to-be, while in Thomas Sullivan's poignant 'Phantom at the Rainbow' an old tragedy replicates every Friday night in a disused drive-in.
Jack Ketchum and PD Cacek ('The Net') set up a pleasant duet between two people chatting on the net and ending up in a far from predictable real encounter . Joe Nassise's ' Saintkiller' is a deeply unsettling story of violence death and deliverance featuring a tired but brave cop.
In the fascinating and heartbreaking 'In a Hand or Face' by Gary A Braunbeck, a peculiar fortune teller reveals to a distressed mother the fate of her young child (nothing is more terrifying than life itself), whereas in Tim Waggoner's 'Waters Dark and Deep', a series of nightmarish events shake up the quiet existence of a young girl obsessed with water.
Tom Monteleone's 'How Sweet It Is' is a marvellous tale describing how the nostalgic quest for an elusive, old TV show brings about the disclosure of an unexpected reality.
Ed Gorman contributes 'Intent to Deceive', a quiet crime story set in an Army town in the grim days of WW2. Personal anecdotes entwine to form a bleak tableau. J N Williamson himself creates a cute tale about "vagitus uterinus" ('Outcry') and its dire consequences for an inexperienced father.
You'll be entertained, pleasantly scared and cuddled by a bunch of skilled narrators. Furthermore, you'll find reasons for making some serious thinking about the world and the truths of human life.
A good story teaches us much more than any pretentious, solemn literary effort.
� Mario Guslandi, The Agony Column Book Reviews
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >