Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the fact that the “King in Yellow” cycle of author Robert W. Chambers consists of only four core texts—two of them only tangential in reference, and all short stories at that—is the notion that someone might endeavor to create an anthology written in tribute to and existing in the same fictional world of that cycle. But seasoned writer and editor Joseph Pulver, Sr., himself the author of his own homages to Chambers, has endeavored to do just that, and he has taken on the additional tact of sourcing stories from some of the genre’s fiercest female writers, lending a stage to the women of Carcosa so that their song may be heard by readers and followers of the Yellow Sign alike.
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Though we’ve seen a deluge of new Weird Fiction in recent years, even the savviest reader might be at a loss to identify what exactly the “high strange horror” of Muzzleland Press’s anthology is. A quick glance at the cover with its Gray Man motel tenant and merit badges of mystery will give one a good notion. The book’s subtitle—“Weird Tales of Paranoia and the Damned”—is elaborated further in the introduction provided by editor Jonathan Raab. We soon find out that this is to be something different from the normal Weird genre fans are used to, something more in line with ominous television programs like In Search Of…, Unsolved Mysteries and Beyond Belief that documented purportedly true events of the paranormal, what Raab here defines using author and researcher Charles Fort’s term as instances of “the damned.”
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