Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Micro Mention "The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All"

I once said of Laird Barron's short story collection "The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All" that it was awesome, and I wouldn't qualify that further because it’s awesome. So here we are, qualifying that further. It has a Robert Aickman-Esque quality that I appreciated, but while sometimes meditative like that author, Barron never takes his hand off the wheel of terror. Each story is working toward a specific effect, and it's always grounded in some sort of fear, typically cosmic in origin.

My favorite story in this collection is "The Men from Porlock," which starts off as just a story about lumberjacks that eventually morphs into a nightmare involving things—puppetmasters from beyond normal reality. I love that—taking something rural and seemingly salt of the earth common and slowly twisting it into a feverish night terror. This story's pacing strategy is one of my favorites too, slow at first, but with an ever exponentially accelerating pace, so that by the end, events are speeding by, leaving you whiplashed.

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