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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 09/2022
  • 9798986748801 B0BB5KSS97
  • 424 pages
  • $34.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2022
  • 9798986748818 B0BB5DDD7R
  • 424 pages
  • $19.95
Ebook Details
  • 09/2022
  • 979-8-9867488-2-5 B0BBJPYT5Y
  • 391 pages
  • $4.95
Michael Bailey
Author, Editor (anthology)
Chiral Mad 5
Michael Bailey, editor (anthology)
Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Michael Bailey brings you the fifth and final installment of the Chiral Mad series, featuring a diverse writers from around the world. Includes fiction and poetry by the likes of Stephen King, Josh Malerman, Zoje Stage, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Victor LaValle. Linda D. Addison, Sheree Renée Thomas, and the late Jack Ketchum (writing with Lucky McKee). With illustrations throughout by artist Seth Brown, enjoy a chiral dance of speculative, horror, and dark science fiction one last time.
Reviews
The striking fifth entry in novelist Michael Bailey’s Chiral Mad speculative fiction anthology series bursts with talented voices and stories and poems that delve into the darkness of humanity—but for a good cause, as, once again, proceeds benefit Down Syndrome charities. Each entry explores the world we live in taken to Black Mirror extremes, such as Koji A. Dae’s standout “Lifetimes,” which plumbs dark aspects of motherhood, and how women can find themselves saddled into it despite their aversions. Dae imagines government-mandated virtual simulations that determine if couples are fit to be parents. “Pruning a person toward goodness takes more time and energy than turning him into a man,” notes Shauna, a woman running her first simulation.

What’s most unnerving—and often, as above, insightful—about these rich entries is how close they are to our own reality, often reading less like tales of fantastical terror or allegorical cautions than straight-up foreshadowing. Wrath James White’s poem “Colorblind” delves into calls for society to be more colorblind in response to overt systemic racism experienced the world over, with the final line being, “I wish / I was never reminded / that you / and I / are different.” Elin Olausson’s stinging “Swan Song” turns on a surprising glimpse of life–and danger–in a dying land.

Horror fans will be excited to see Stephen King himself offering “Strawberry Spring,” a story that faces what lies beneath the masks we all wear, while Bird Box author Josh Malerman’s “There Are No Basements in the Bible” finds tension, resonance, and crack dialogue in a child’s forced playdate—and a staring contest. These big names are welcome, but one shivery pleasure of the series is Bailey’s championing of new talent, as up-and-comers offer many of this edition’s best. Bailey notes in an introduction that this anthology will be his last. While readers will inevitably find some entries here hit or miss, the hits outnumber the rest—here’s hoping he relents.

Takeaway: A strong collection of horror-tinged stories that urge us to look at the world anew.

Great for fans of: Pellucid Lunacy, The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 09/2022
  • 9798986748801 B0BB5KSS97
  • 424 pages
  • $34.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2022
  • 9798986748818 B0BB5DDD7R
  • 424 pages
  • $19.95
Ebook Details
  • 09/2022
  • 979-8-9867488-2-5 B0BBJPYT5Y
  • 391 pages
  • $4.95

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