NOTE: This review was originally published at High Fever Books in January 2020. That website has been closed, so I am republishing it here.
Publisher: Nightscape Press
Release Date: October 31st, 2019
Pages: 599 pages
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
What do you look for in a horror anthology? Is it new names in the table of contents? Or is it the old masters that draw you in? Are you looking for remixes of well-loved tropes, or something completely new? Let me step up and help you out here: these are all good answers. We live in a time where we are inundated with stellar anthologies that have all these things and more. There are so many publishers to look at as shining examples: Word Horde, Undertow, and yes, Nightscape Press.
Nox Pareidolia was edited by Robert S. Wilson and released (fittingly) on Halloween 2019. The first thing I noticed as I started into this for review, was the art. There is the cover to start us off (courtesy of Don Noble), and then all of the interior illustrations by Luke Spooner. The art is as break-taking and as vital as every story in the TOC. Each one gets a piece, and each is a fitting accompaniment.
The product summary describes Nox Pareidolia as ‘a new vision of weird and horrific ambiguity’. That’s unbelievable accurate. Un-themed horror anthologies live and die by their variety, and Nox Pareidolia lives up to its ambiguous promise. Weird fiction appears in all of it’s forms here: surreal (Hello by Michael Wehunt), achingly modern (When the Nightingale Devours the Stars by Gwendoyln Kiste, Watch Me Burn with the Light of Ghosts by Paul Jessup), and the classically strange (The Many Rooms of Agatha Tate by Wendy Nikel). There is a lot of content here, and a little something for all fans of weird fiction in 2020.
The only issue I have is that some of the stories don’t have enough room to breathe. Stories like these thrive in the ambiguity, but I often found myself sad when a story would abruptly end in the middle of the story’s apparent climax. This wasn’t a deal breaker, but something I took note of us I worked my way from story to story.
If you want a whirlwind glance into modern weird fiction, Nox Pareidolia is the book for you. Every flavor of strange and eerie can be found within, crafted by some of the best folks in the ‘biz. At a page shy of 600 pages, Nox Pareidolia is worth every penny.