The wide, carnivorous sky and other monstrous geographies by John Langan is a short story collection about horrible things happening to everyone, whether they come from the deepest, darkest pits of the grave of the endless, open sky above.
At 218 pages, this short story collection features numerous flavors of horror; from reliable old splatterpunk to existential dread, the fiction in this volume is definitely a value-for-money kind of deal. My personal favorites, ‘City of the Dog’ and ‘The Shallows’ are visceral pieces that are sure to live a tangy, metallic aftertaste in your mouth. The cover art, by Santiago Caruso, brings to mind the grotesque chandeliers of the Sedlec Ossuary, encompassing the tone of this collection perfectly.
There is, however, a word of warning that comes attached with this review: the wide, carnivorous sky might be an expertly crafted collection, but the narrative styles in most of its stories do not seem to be made to appeal to most readers. If anything, after reading this volume, I realized that the majority of the stories (with perhaps the exception of the titular novelette and ‘Technicolor’) would be most appreciated by writers. John Langan’s work in this anthology varies too widely and takes too many bold (if sometimes highly experimental) turns, which only another writer could fully appreciate. If you are struggling with the profession and are looking for new approaches to your narrative, this collection makes for a great specimen sample. If instead, you are plainly looking for some atmospheric horror, I would suggest you look into other works by the author.
- A wide variety of stories
- 218 pages makes it a bang for you buck
- Cover makes a good argument for a physical copy
- Most of the stories have experimental narratives, making it more suited for authors