And Other Strange Tales
By Daniel Braum
Grey Matter Press
A collection of eleven short stories with a common theme of the dark, disturbed and deviant psychological nature of the average person, vying to cope in a world gone mad.
Music of The Spheres: A band’s obsession with a song has ominous consequences on those who choose to dabble in its composition.
Mystic Tryst: A rock star and his ex-wife cope with the ghosts of their failed relationship and pets.
A Girl’s Guide To Applying Superior Makeup And Dispelling Commonly Found Suburban Demons: A young girl has an epiphany while waiting in line for concert tickets overnight.
Across The Darien Gap: Nate struggles on the run, hiding from an heir to things he cannot fathom.
Spark: A man’s inability to cope with his daughter’s demise results in fiery consequences.
The Ghost Dance: Erin, an arresting police officer sees through the eyes of the perpetrator.
The Green Man of Punta Cabre: A vatican intervention could spell armaggedeon for a small villa’s crop.
Jellyfish Moon: A man’s lost love Marika returns to their initial paradise a year after separation in a torrid game of bait and hook.
The Night Marchers: A Hawaiian legend with a twist where spirits go.
The Moon and The Mesa: Jamie and David’s obsession with a world come unhinged could have dire consequences.
The Sphinx of Cropsey Avenue: Nate has an unfatomable task of deploring the woman he loves.
The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales is a reflection of contemporary culture. I could see these tales making a brilliant screen adaptation to a Black Mirror or Outer Limits type format. Whether references to literature in novels, film, music or other facets of pop culture, we associate these components with circumstances in which we are going through at that particular time. We hear a song, we associate it with a positive romantic memory. We read a particular compelling book we correlate it with a reflection upon a cherished summer. Films we gravitate towards mental keepsakes of those that we viewed it with or even engaged in stimulating conversation or debate about it long after the final credits. Author Daniel Braum seems to have a firm grasp on the sentiments of the mind and cultivates not only characters that subscribe to these philosophies but caters to a vast reading audience that will no question read these stories and reflect upon each long after the final pages. Braum’s work chisles through the cerebral cortex with memories of a most welcome escape.
Grey Matter Press always delivers with eclectic, thought provoking, speculative fiction. No inner recess of any mind is impervious to the darkened prowess between story to story. While the majority of their collections tend to spotlight a broad variety of authors in this case we’re treated to an expose of one very gifted writer. At any rate each anthology is just as impressive as the last. A release of a Grey Matter magnitude is one well worth investing and waiting for.
Looking at these tales it is difficult to choose a favorite or one that resonates the most. Just as I was discussing with my bride to be Aida, one afternoon about the poetry we’d become so fond of, it is next to impossible to pick one outstanding piece. Each in their own way are very much like children. To choose one that is more remarkable than the rest, simply does not do the others justice. Braum’s broad spectrum of protagonists in varying situations, vocational backgrounds, ethnicity, sex and perspectives creates a universal blueprint for a potentail massive audience to enjoy. One does not have to be a fan of horror, reading or other wise to fully appreciate and enjoy this anthology.
The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales makes an excellent seguay for those unfamilar with the works of Daniel Braum. If this is the shape of things to come from this flourishing author, then count me in for future work. I challenge any reader who takes on this anthology not to become an infectious fan of additional endeavors from this gifted writer.