BOOK REVIEW: THE NEW FLESH edited by Sam Richard and Brendan Vidito

Review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.

18 tales of bizarro body horror paying tribute to the films of David Cronenberg. 

Transformation, technology, and bodily fluids galore—this anthology is weird and gross and 100% my shit. I had a blast seeing how different authors took inspiration from the same place, but interpreted it in such a variety of ways to suit their different styles. Even the stories that didn’t click as well with me I still couldn’t help but respect them. It’s hard to single out favorites here, because I genuinely just enjoyed myself from beginning to end!

Lackers by Leo X. Robertson is probably the story most rooted in reality, but is every bit as unsettling and strange as I could hope for. It felt like such a well thought out story, where every piece fits perfectly with the rest, and every element serves a purpose—to me it felt like such a perfect example of what a short story should be in terms of form, and I can’t wait to read more from Robertson!

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Hekati Yoga by Max D. Stanton might be the one for me. A woman reconnects with an old friend who introduces her to a unique yoga class that is truly transformational.  I loved how it takes such a yuppie/Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP scenario and makes it so bizarre and sinister.

Typhoid Ananya by Madeleine Swann hits a little too close to home at this moment. A young woman is isolated in quarantine after infected numerous people with a strange green goo while working as a housekeeper. The toxicity of social media, xenophobia, and a pandemic makes this feel all too real despite its surreal elements.

Charles Austin Muir injects some humor into the collection with A Future of Violence, and it was so much fun getting to read one of his meathead dudebro narrators again. Muir does it so well and never fails to crack me up!

And of course, the closing story by Sam Richard, Reborn of Ash, doesn’t tug at heartstrings so much as it completely annihilates them. What greater horror is their than losing the love of your life?

I could honestly praise every story here, BUT I’M A HACK OK! This anthology has a little something for everyone, and I don’t think you need to be a Cronenberg super fan to appreciate what’s on display here, but your appreciation for transgressive, bizarro, body horror will be a huge factor in your enjoyment. I personally found it incredibly solid for my tastes and enjoyed the hell out of it.



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