Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures was published by Shock Totem Publications in April 2016.
Information about Michael Wehunt:
Michael Wehunt grew up in North Georgia, close enough to the Appalachians to feel them but not quite easily see them. There were woods, and woodsmoke, and warmth. He did not make it far when he left, falling sixty miles south to the lost city of Atlanta, where he lives today, with fewer woods but still many trees. He writes. He reads. Robert Aickman fidgets next to Flannery O'Connor on his favorite bookshelf.
His short fiction has appeared in various places, and his debut collection, Greener Pastures, was published in spring of 2016 by Shock Totem Publications.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Greener Pastures:
In his striking debut collection, Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt shows why he is a powerful new voice in horror and weird fiction.
From the round-robin, found-footage nightmare of “October Film Haunt: Under the House” to the jazz-soaked “The Devil Under the Maison Blue,” selected for both The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and Year's Best Weird Fiction, these beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant stories speak of the unknown encroaching upon the familiar, the inscrutable power of grief and desire, and the thinness between all our layers. Where nature rubs against small towns, in mountains and woods and bedrooms, here is strangeness seen through a poet's eye.
They say there are always greener pastures. These stories consider the cost of that promise.
A REVIEW OF MICHAEL WEHUNT'S GREENER PASTURES
Ah, what a pleasure it was to read Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures! When I began to read this collection I was already familiar with some of the author's stories and knew how well he writes dark stories and weird fiction, but I was truly amazed by its dark and chilling beauty.
Greener Pastures is a gem among other weird fiction collections, because the author paints a unique landscape of captivating weirdness that fascinates and terrifies readers in equal measure. The stories contained within its covers evoke feelings of awe, terror and wonder in an effective way. Reading this collection quickly dispells all other collections from your mind, because you'll be enchanted by its subtle strangeness and quiet horror.
This subtle and outstanding debut collection leads readers into the strange and disturbing world of the author's dark imagination that seems to know no bounds. It's an essential collection for those who love the darker and weirder side of speculative fiction.
I consider Michael Wehunt to be one of the most talented authors of weird fiction to emerge during the recent years, beause many of his stories have quiet horror that is lacking from other horror stories. He has already garnered plenty of praise for his stories, but I think that this debut collection will cement his place at the very top of modern weird fiction authors.
One of the best things about this collection is that Michael Wehunt is not afraid to write something different and new. He wonderfully plays and experiments with a few ideas that are not often seen on the pages of weird fiction stories and fluently combines different genres. He's also capable of surprising his readers with stories that observe the world around us through a twisted lens and make us think about our own lives.
This collection contains the following stories:
- Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness
- Greener Pastures
- A Discreet Music
- The Devil Under the Maison Blue
- October Film Haunt: Under the House (original to this collection)
- Deducted from Your Share in Paradise (original to this collection)
- The Inconsolable
- A Thousand Hundred Years (original to this collection)
I found these eleven stories amazingly powerful and harrowing, because the author uses such things as family, loss of loved ones, painful memories and yearning as his building tools to create emotional responses in the reader.
Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them.
Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness:
- A mesmerisingly beautiful and strange story in which an old woman resides on a mountain that pours blood from its bowels.
- The author writes excellently about the woman's sister and life.
- I was very impressed by this story and its strangeness. It's one of the best and most impressive weird fiction stories I've ever read.
- A fascinatingly told creepy story about Adam, his old mother and a mysterious girl.
- This is an excellent story with a powerful and disturbing ending.
- This story is definitely one of the best modern weird fiction stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
- In this story, Forsyth talks with a trucker in the diner and experiences something strange.
- A wonderfully told weird tale with a strong touch of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, because the author writes about lonely nights and mysterious voices heard on the radio.
A Discreet Music:
- I'd already had the pleasure of reading this story, because it appeared in the excellent Aickman's Heirs (edited by Simon Strantzas), but it was nice to read it again.
- This is a story about an aging man called Hiram who has to confront widowhood. Hiram visits his old lover, Jim, and tries to sort out his feelings.
- An impressive and well told story.
The Devil Under the Maison Blue:
- In this beautifully written story, Gillian meets the ghost of a deceased jazz musician who tells her about his life.
- This story is a powerful exploration of quiet horror.
October Film Haunt: Under the House:
- A fascinating and deeply effective story about horror movie fans and a cult film called 'Under the House'.
- I consider this story to be a fine example of good and intense modern horror.
- This story is definitely one of the best stories of its kind because of the way the author writes about the characters.
Deducted from Your Share in Paradise:
- This intriguing story begins with women falling from the sky into a trailer park. Soon the women begin to build something.
- This is one of my favourite stories in this collection, because the author writes excellently about the strange happenings from various perspectives.
- An excellent story about a man, whose suicide attempt has failed, struggles with depression and faith.
- This story is one of the absolute highlights of this collection, because it's a memorably told story about difficult issues.
- A story about Mae whose husband has been exorcised. She's been unable to sleep since the exorcism. She and her husband consider their Japanese oak trees to be their children.
- The author writes well about Mae's life and feelings concerning her life and not having children.
- This story is a memorable examination of marriage.
A Thousand Hundred Years:
- A beautifully written story about a man whose daughter is missing. The man searches for his daughter.
- In my opinion, this story is powerful on so many levels that it will haunt readers for a long time after they've finished reading it.
- In this story, a man has lost his loved one during childbirth.
- A beautifully and captivatingly written story about loss and grief.
- This is one of the best stories I've ever read about loss, because the author examines loss in a harrowing way.
What makes these stories especially powerful is Michael Wehunt's way of being able to deliver stories that lie somewhere between literary fiction, fantasy fiction and weird fiction. This brings plenty of versatility to the stories and separates them from other weird fiction stories (when weird fiction and literary fiction intertwine with each other, the result is very powerful).
Michael Wehunt's stories are spellbindingly beautiful, disturbing, heartbreaking and bittersweet. This is quite an amazing achievement considering that he's only been active in the weird fiction genre for a few years, because there are authors who have been active for years, but haven't produced anything like this.
The author has an uncanny ability to write emotionally touching and harrowing stories that emphasise the pain and terror found in our everyday lives. His stories are filled with exceptional beauty and wistfulness that will touch each of us in different ways.
Michael Wehunt's prose is beautiful and filled with nuances. His evocative and eloquent prose is one of the reasons why I love his stories, because I expect beautiful prose from dark and strange stories (to me, good and well written prose is an essential part of weird fiction stories). With his distinct literary voice, he creates complex and observant stories that are heartbreakingly beautiful.
Greener Pastures is contemporary weird fiction at its finest and most impressive. It contains complex and strange stories that feature beautiful prose and uncanny happenings. I highly recommend it to fans of weird horror stories and literary strange fiction, because it's a memorable tour-de-force of dark imagination, spellbinding strangeness and beautifully written prose. Please, take a look at this magnificent collection and let your imagination be stimulated by compellingly dark stories and exquisitely beautiful prose.