Liminal Spaces: Horror Stories
IFWG Publishing (March 1, 2022)
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
A prolific, award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia, Deborah Sheldon returns with a new, powerful collection assembling twenty-three short stories, mostly previously appearing in genre magazines or anthologies, and a novella. Sheldon is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors of dark and horror fiction and deserves to be more widely appreciated also outside the Australian speculative fiction setting.
For those who are not yet familiar with this talented writer, this volume is a splendid opportunity to get acquainted with her remarkable fiction.
Among the various tales included in the present collection, I will mention my own favorites.
“Carbon Copy Consumables” is an effective piece, halfway between fantasy and SF, addressing the subject of cloning and its unexpected consequences, while “Entombed” is a tense quickie with a claustrophobic beginning and a menacing ending.
The perceptive “The House Across the Road” features a single mother with two little daughters moving into a house, the hidden secrets of which will get gradually discovered.
In the excellent “All the Stars in Her Eyes” a rare eye disorder, a little girl born after a one-night stand, and an asteroid ready to hit the Earth are the ingredients creating a complex, unnerving piece on the SF side.
“A Multitude of One” is a cleverly ambiguous story where a woman who suffered a stroke thinks she’s fooled by a deceiving husband impersonating different individuals.
Finally, the novella “Hand to Mouth” is a veritable masterpiece ,featuring a man in prison writing to his son to explain the circumstances of a car accident in which his wife got seriously injured and lost part of her arm, subsequently substituted by a nasty prosthetic device. Much more is gradually revealed , with a great ,final twist in the tale.