Out of the Dark: A Storybook of Horrors
By Steve Rasnic Tem
Steve Rasnic Tem once said his writing was filtered through “a different lens to view the world.” With a style all his own, Tem has galvanized and thrilled fans of weird fiction worldwide. His efforts have earned him the Bram Stoker, World Fantasy and British Fantasy Awards. His métier is the monstrous secret, the unsettling darkness hidden within all of us.
“Bedtime Story” opens with a line that defines Tem’s style: “I don’t know why bad things happen. There’s never a good reason. They just do.” The story introduces us to a nightmare conjured from the mind of a child, preparing to victimize her own father.
“The Unmasking” takes us into the tortured psyche of a horribly deformed recluse obsessed with the intricacies of human skin. “Outside,” one of several homages to the great H.P. Lovecraft, melds Tem’s uniquely poetic style with the cosmic horror created by that twisted gentleman from Providence.
“The Masque of Edgar Allan Poe” focuses on Tem’s fondness for mask imagery, and how the veneer we wear on the surface can become immobile, consuming our souls. “The Doll Thief” is a deeply disturbing exercise in pathos, perversion and psychosis. In “Pulled Down to Sleep,” a man fights to remain awake, knowing that sleep will doom him to a life of unspeakable nightmares.
“Worms” is a frightening tale of vengeance that will literally leave your skin crawling. With “Mother Hag,” Tem gives us a “grim” fairy tale about monstrous motherly love, courtesy of a grotesque, carnivorous witch.