R. B. Russell's short story collection, Leave Your Sleep, was published by PS Publishing in 2012.

Information about R. B. Russell:

R. B. Russell has only recently started writing fiction seriously, having previously written lyrics, composed music, and drawn in pen and ink for his own amusement. He runs Tartarus Press with Rosalie Parker from their home in the Yorkshire Dales.

Information about Leave Your Sleep:

If only we would take the time to look a little closer, delve a little deeeper, when ordinary life goes awry, we might find the world more strange and unexpected than we ever could have imagined...

Following on from Literary Remains, R.B. Russell's previous collection for PS Publishing, the twelve stories of Leave Your Sleep concern sex and death, love and loss. Russell allows his characters to disappear, slip into alternate realities, or re-write their own histories. They find they are able to do the most extraordinary things, even though they may not immediately realise it? And who is in control of their actions, or those around them?

In 'An Unconventional Exorcism', why is a young woman who claims to talk to the dead so shocked when her aunt comes back to haunt her? In 'The Red Rose and the Cross of Gold', when an engineer in a crumbling city stumbles upon a messy murder, who cleans up afterwards? And in 'Mathilde', what do lovers do when everyone is against their relationship? These and other questions are explored in Russell's beautifully evocative prose.


R. B. Russell is one of my favourite authors, because he writes wonderful literary stories. Because I enjoyed his previous short story collection (Literary Remains), I decided to read and review this new collection. I'm glad that I did so, because I liked it very much.

Leave Your Sleep contains the following twelve stories:

  • An Unconventional Exorcism
  • The Red Rose and the Cross of Gold
  • Leave Your Sleep
  • The Restaurant San Martín
  • Another Perspective
  • The Dress
  • A Woman of the Party
  • Mathilde
  • A False Impression
  • Gala Gladkov's Exquisite Process
  • Reunion
  • The Beautiful Room

It's a bit difficult to categorize these stories, but I think that the best way to categorize them is to say that they're pretty close to weird fiction, but they're not the usual kind of weird fiction that is associated to H. P. Lovecraft and other similar authors. As experienced readers may know, weird fiction encompasses quite a lot of different kind of stories that range from subtle and weird terror to cosmic horror. R. B. Russell is one of those authors who uses the lesser known aspects of weird fiction to their advantage.

Here are a couple of examples of what's in store for the readers, when they begin to read this collection:

An Unconventional Exorcism is an excellent story about Nathaniel, Aunt Imelda and Bernadette, who's a medium. Aunt Imelda is quite a person, because she causes problems even after her death. The author writes splendidly sarcastic, humorous and witty prose in this story.

A False Impression is one of my favourite stories in this collection. It's a bit different kind of cosmic horror, because the protagonist realizes things about the universe.

All the other stories are also fascinating and enchantingly "skewed".

R. B. Russell's prose is exquisitely beautiful, mesmerizing and evocative. I've always loved good and beautiful prose, so R. B. Russell's prose made a huge impression on me (the older I get, the more I love and appreciate this kind of good prose). The high quality of the prose is one of the reasons why I like and praise this collection. In my opinion this kind of literary prose deserves to be praised, because the author has clearly spent a lot of time polishing the prose.

In these stories R. B. Russell writes fluently about love, loss, relationships, sex and death, and how they are connected to each other. The author also writes amazingly well about the little oddities of life and how unexpected life can be. His vision of life, relationships and reality is fascinatingly weird and unsettling.

Leave Your Sleep is a collection that lingers on your mind for a long time after reading it. Because the stories are hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable, and the prose is amazingly good, it's easy to say that this collection is speculative fiction at its best.

I can highly recommend this collection to all speculative fiction readers who love good prose. If you like Nina Allan, Laird Barron, Richard Gavin, Brendan Connell and other similar authors who write elegant prose, you should take a look at R. B. Russell's stories, because he writes excellent stories.

Highly recommended!

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