Do we always walk in two worlds? Our own we know, or think we know, and another we only glimpse? These twenty-two tales exploring occultism, religiosity, spirituality, existentialism, metaphysics, and the supernatural will attempt to answer that question.
“Throughout this fiery modern grimoire of mystical horror, we’re conscious of the restless urgency of the writing, as if the author is working against time to conjure onto the pages a sequence of transformations that must be seized and fixed before they dissolve again. Indeed, the task for the acolyte of the literary Mysteries today is to convey strange possibilities in a modern tongue, one which responds to the ceaseless now with news of a different eternity. They must have a need at least to suggest that there are aberrations in the world we usually take for reality. And, as the title of this book suggests, Aaron J. French is one of those willing to respond to that task.”–from the Introduction by weird fiction author and critic Mark Valentine
“Obsessively dark and razorous, these graphic takes on life, faith, illusion and self-delusion open paths where you need to watch your step.”–Tanith Lee, recipient of 2013 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award
“Aaron J. French leads his readers on dark and dangerous journeys, where the destination is never sure.”–Storm Constantine, author of the Wraeththu books
“French’s stories are always edgy, in content and in execution, pushing boundaries and redefining conventions. The nearly two dozen contained in Aberrations of Reality are no exception. Some will speak immediately to readers; some may fail to resonate on first reading, gaining power through the context of other stories–but all will lead readers into new territory, suggest new answers to age-old, imponderable questions.”–Collings Notes
“Aaron J. French’s collection of mystical fiction may not always be an easy read. I believe that is because the average reader has learned to strive on a steady diet of zombies, vampires and ghosts that are designed to scare and not necessarily to make you think. Aaron J. French makes you think. He eschews the easy scare, gravitating toward the confounding and inexplicable. The stories in Aberrations of Reality are as mystical and forbidding as the collection’s title. But that plays into the strength of the author as his writing is as intelligent as it is otherworldly.”–The Novel Pursuit
“This is a well written collection of razor sharp horror fiction. French has strong understanding of what makes the weird tale work. I am glad he got the gig editing short fiction for Dark Discoveries, they will be in good hands. Reality is always in question during this collection but the quality never is. Every library serious about intelligent high brow horror must get this book.”–Postcards from a Dying World
It’s dangerous to be a doctor… or a member of the Chapman family in this collection of three loosely tied together tales of the macabre by authors Aaron J. French, Erik T. Johnson, and Adam P. Lewis.
Aaron J. French starts this weird progression with “The Chapman Stain,” a kind of horrorized version of the nature vs. nurture debate. Is it genetics or is it demonic possession? The story moves quickly, with hints of both A Christmas Carol and The Exorcist lending touchstones to the proceedings. The story’s end is a heady blend of spiritualism and gore.
Erik T. Johnson’s “The Chapman Delirium” is a euphoric, phantasmagoric trippy trip through the world of a patent medicine called Etcetracaine. Johnson’s writing is, as always, mind-bendingly good, with passages you will read, stop, read again, then curse yourself for not having written.
And finally, the Chapman Family’s bad luck runs its course in Adam P. Lewis’ “The Chapman Remains,” a horrific tale of revenant corpses and life-draining ghouls. Lewis manages a shivery Fall of the House of Usher feeling throughout, which gives this tale of grave disturbance and… well… grave disturbances a nice depth.
“Interesting to see what three talented authors can do with a shared-world theme, The tales are different enough to hold your interest completely, but tethered enough to each other that they lend some deeper, more twisted meaning to their companion pieces. Highly recommended!”–John F.D. Taff, author of Little Deaths
“A group of photographs, newspaper clippings, and manuscripts were found in the house of Adam P. Lewis’s deceased aunt. These three manuscripts referred to a Chapman family in the late 19th century, with many references to scandals, mysterious deaths and occult incidences. Adam P. Lewis, with the help of Aaron J. French and Erik T. Johnson, took each manuscript and styled them into three separate tales. The Chapman Books thus make for a very eerie read and a spookingly pleasurable look at one of the strangest families to creep out 19th century America.”–Goodreads Review
FOUR TALES OF DEATH, DARKNESS, DESTRUCTION AND DESPAIR.
THE ORDER: “…a Next Age will follow, in which everything will be undone and made whole again.”
A bizarre murder in a New York museum takes retired detective Carl Sanford on a grim journey into the sinister world of the Order of Oriphiel…but he is not alone on his quest. An archangel, who speaks to him only in dreams, accompanies him, but to his own dark purposes…
SHADRACH BESIEGED: “…King or Parliament. Cross or Prophet. What happened to you, Shadrach? What unholy wars have you fought?”
An unholy icon stolen from its guardians during the First Crusade reveals its devastating true nature in the English Civil War, while a mysterious warrior, reborn in blood and fire, invokes demonic powers in an attempt to destroy its evil…
THE SERPENT’S EGG: “When oblivion comes, it is forever, as endless as the slumber of those beings that lie buried beneath the roots of the world, dreaming in darkness.”
A writer’s research into the legend of the Lambton Worm takes a horrifying twist when he uncovers the true origin of the story: a legend that stirs, knowing the time for its rebirth is near…
NEW HEAVENS: “I watched in horror, feeling an impending and inescapable sense of doom and damnation, as the New Orleans monolith broke in two.”
Alien obelisks rise from the oceans, their appearance a mere prelude to the horror that will befall the world. The heavens have changed; our planet has been translocated to another part of the universe, where entities older than time greet Earth’s arrival with an alien hunger…
“All four tales perform intriguing and successful twists on traditional components of the Mythos, bringing them to life in unusual yet highly effective contexts. The blend of verbal and visual throughout highlights the stories and makes Dreaming in Darkness a pleasure to read and to enjoy. Recommended.”–Michael R. Collings for Hellnotes
“Four meaty Mythos stories for the sanity-smashing price of just four bucks. Do I really have to sell you on that? A large coffee from Starbucks costs more than that and is nowhere near as good. Go now and get it, read it, love it. You can thank me later for the heads up on it.”–Brian M. Sammons for Innsmouth Free Press
“If like me your dreams are always nightmares, then Dreaming in Darkness is the perfect book to ignite your dreams.”–Ginger Nuts of Horror
The Dream Beings (Out of Print)
“Tough, relentless and unsettling. Dashiell Hammett meets Bram Stoker in a hard-boiled tale of supernatural terror.”–Graham Masterton
“A rollercoaster ride into a horror-noir world of mutilation and madness. Jack Evans has a psychic gift for solving crimes, but this time he encounters an adversary whose gift is as powerful as his own–a gift for murder.”–Donald Tyson
Born with a mysterious gift he never wanted… his abilities will now be put to the ultimate test. When Jack Evens’s name appears in blood at the scene of a bizarre ritualistic murder, the middle-aged private investigator is drawn into a conflict that extends beyond reality, into the realm of dreams. He soon discovers that a serial killer is after him, controlled from another world by mysterious alien creatures known as the Dream Beings. Now Jack must come to terms with his psychic ability, a gift that has haunted his life since he was a child. At stake are the women the killer has targeted, as well as Jack’s own life… and something much more, something of cosmic proportions that concerns Jack’s gift and even his own wounded soul.
Up From Soil Fresh: A Collection of Zombie Tales (Out of Print)
Eight tales of zombieism and zombification from one of the freshest new voices writing in dark fiction. Aaron J. French, editor of The Shadow of the Unknown and Monk Punk, utilizes a wide range of emotions, situations, and styles to bring to life the world of the living dead in unusual new ways. Open these pages and enter into French’s sinister realm, where the dead are ever present, and the soil is always … fresh.
“Aaron J. French’s stories caught me by surprise. He has a lyrical touch that lulls you in and then stabs you in the eye with a sharp stick. Aaron J. French is a writer to watch, and his collection Up From Soil Fresh is a great place to see the range of his talent.”–Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and The Savage Dead.
“Aaron J. French has already proven himself to be a great new editor in the last few years. With his new collection, Up From Soil Fresh, he shows everybody he’s also a great up-and-coming writer. Highly recommended!”–James R. Beach, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Discoveries magazine.
“An uncomfortable funeral, a gunfighter who transcends time, a drug deal gone bad, and a realm twisted by the forces of light and dark are just some of the highlights contained herein. Up From Soil Fresh has horror that will visit you again behind closed eyes…”—ZombiePop