Gordon B. White Is Creating Haunting Weird Horror(s)
Gordon B. White
Trepidatio Publishing (October 13, 2023)
Reviewed by Andrew Byers
I’ve had a chance to read (and review) two of Gordon B. White’s novellas, Rookfield and And in Her Smile, the World (co-written with Rebecca J. Allred), so I knew he was an inspiring writer, but this collection with the oddly meta title represents my first foray into White’s shorter fiction. I’m delighted to say that Gordon B. White Is Creating Haunting Weird Horror(s) is a tour de force of imaginative and evocative storytelling. This anthology of fifteen tales showcases White’s ability to meld the eerie with the contemporary, resulting in an experience that is both unsettling and thought-provoking.
Because there are simply too many excellent stories stuffed into this collection, I’ll just remark on a few that really stood out to me.
The collection opens with the award-nominated title story, “Gordon B. White Is Creating Haunting Weird Horror(s),” which sets the tone for the entire book. Spirit-possessed postcards and otherworldly encounters leave readers questioning the boundaries of reality and the power of the supernatural. White’s prose is nothing short of mesmerizing here, drawing readers into a world where the strange and the mundane coexist in eerie harmony. This was the perfect, chilling start to the collection.
“Dandelion Six”: A powerful piece of body horror as resistance/revolution in response to a perceived growing environmental catastrophe. This one is about transforming the world via bio-terrorism. Really interesting.
“One of the Good Ones, or: It’s a Gas!”: Set during the urban riots of 2021, a group of beleaguered cops get their hands on an experimental chemical weapon and, well, things turn out as well as might be expected when they start fiddling around with it at a cop bar. Nice little thriller and, of course, it is a savage bit of mid-pandemic social commentary.
“The Forever Home”: The spirit of a place, in this case, a house, in communion with the spirit of a woman who died in the house. Obsessive, creepy, wonderful.
“The Parts of Him That I Can Help With”: Seemingly set in a world where you can add organs from corpses to one’s own body or otherwise mix and match living and animated corpse tissues in a fairly extreme form of body modification. The narrator is one such “necromodder,” literally operating out of his garage and using his brother as a guinea pig. That goes exactly as well as you imagine it does.
“From October Vines”: Details a fascinating (and difficult to enact) occult ritual designed to offer insights into the future. It does not, of course, go as planned. This may well be my favorite tale in the collection.
“Fine and Fancy Arms”: A story about a man who may be the best dowser in history, and the tragedies that ensue when his gift becomes a tool for the powerful and his own greed undoes him.
“A Song Like Laughter”: A trailer park-living single mother meets her child’s father (or does she?) and has to turn the child over. Kind of a modern-day Rumpelstiltskin tale.
“In the Pines”: Perhaps the longest story in the collection. A woman dying of cancer spends a last weekend with her husband and siblings before she plans to end it all. Then a feral, naked man shows up in the backyard and, well, things don’t go according to plan. A nice meditation on death and dying.
The prose in Gordon B. White Is Creating Haunting Weird Horror(s) is rich and evocative, elevating the storytelling to a level of literary artistry. White’s ability to create vivid and atmospheric settings is commendable, and his storytelling is thought-provoking and chilling.
Gordon B. White’s collection is a remarkable exploration of the weird and the horrific. His ability to blend the supernatural with contemporary themes is a testament to his storytelling prowess, producing stories filled with surprises and provoking deep reflection. For fans of weird and thought-provoking horror, this collection is a must-read. Prepare to be entranced by Gordon B. White’s haunting narratives that blur the boundaries between the real and the surreal, leaving readers with a lingering sense of unease and wonder. Definitely recommended.