Transformation Is Rapture AKA a review of NIGHTMARES IN ECSTASY by Brendan Vidito
A collection of 13 tales of body horror featuring conjoined lovers, tapeworm romance, an interesting form of alternative therapy, and so much more. Surreal, grotesque, beautiful, and disgusting, every story is a gem.
Short story collections are probably my favorite reads, be they single author or anthologies, and I have read some that are really good across the board with some standouts (and of course some collections have stories that just don't connect with me). In Nightmares in Ecstasy I honestly can't pick out a story that feels like the weak link, it's hard to even choose my favorites because they are all so good! Disgust is balanced with beauty, the erotic with the horrifying, and every story compliments the next. I kept waiting to find *that* story, the one that even if it's good, just doesn't quite fit with the rest, but it never happened. If I have to play favorites I think I'd have to go with The Androgyne, Rebound, and Piss Slave.
The Androgyne is about two lovers who through their passion for each other become attached at the hip--literally. Now imagine what happens when the passion cools and the love fades. Breakups are generally rough as a rule, but not as rough as this.
Rebound is the much mentioned erotic/romance/horror story...with a tapeworm. A young man forms an unhealthy attachment to his tapeworm after a breakup, and while it's weird and gross it's also beautifully written examination of a toxic relationship.
Piss Slave disturbed the hell out of me. I'm sitting here trying to think of how to describe it, but I can't find the words to express what it really is, but I loved the way it played with perspective and identity.
Vidito is like the love child of David Cronenburg and Clive Barker, making even the most grotesque beautiful. I can't recommend this collection enough and can't wait to read what he puts out next!