Burnt Black Suns

Burnt Black SunsBurnt Black Suns by Simon Strantzas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After four collections, weird fiction author Simon Strantzas is still going strong. Maybe even better than ever. Strantzas’s brand of weird fiction draws from numerous sources — Lovecraft, Chambers, Ligotti, Aickman, Barron — but thematically they are unmistakably his own. His protagonists are deeply flawed people, usually fragile men who have suffered some terrible emotional blow and are making the wrong choices to set it right, and who uncover unknowable and relentless occult secrets that shatter what’s left of them. Of the nine stories present in BURNT BLACK SUNS, the ones I liked the most are “By Invisible Hands,” about a senile old puppet maker who is charged with creating a new and terrible puppet by a secretive client; “Emotional Dues,” which follows a struggling artist as he falls into the hands of an eccentric benefactor; and my favorite of them all, the centerpiece novella “One Last Bloom,” which is a stunning piece of scientific horror with an ending that packs a wallop. Any of Strantzas’s collections are a good jumping-in point, but BURNT BLACK SUNS presents the author at his most confident. Highly recommended.

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