Sensorama (edited by Allen Ashley) was published by Eibonvale Press in March 2015.
Information about Allen Ashley:
Writer, editor, poet, writing tutor. Founder of Clockhouse London Writers. Latest book: "Dreaming Spheres" written with Sarah Doyle (PS Publishing/Stanza, 2014).
His favourite sense is touch, just wouldn't want to be without the others.
Click here to visit the editor's official website.
Information about Sensorama:
The Senses. We've all got them and are using them constantly. Even the Pinball Wizard had a couple. What's that sound? Did you see that? Don't let that touch me. Smells delicious. The taste of heaven...
As humans, we are constantly processing our responses to the sensory input. With this in mind, editor Allen Ashley has collected together 21 new stories that explore our relationship with our primary senses. What's it really like to be invisible? What can we do against sounds that kill? And what do you think is truly in that feely bag? These are stories from British and north American writers that will take you to the far reaches of the sensory world and beyond. You may not look at / hear / smell / taste / touch reality in quite the same way again.
A REVIEW OF SENSORAMA (EDITED BY ALLEN ASHLEY)
Sensorama was a pleasant surprise for me, because I was impressed by its contents. This anthology is one of the most entertaining, rewarding and thought-provoking anthologies I've ever read, and I dare say that it may well be the best anthology of the year.
Sensorama is a unique and remarkable anthology of stories centering around our senses. This anthology takes readers on an imaginative and compelling journey into a sensory world where anything - even the impossible - is possible and where all kind of things can happen to people.
As we all know, we constantly use our senses and process the sensory input we receive. We use our senses to see, hear, smell, taste and feel things. I think that many of us don't even think about how much and how often we use our senses in our daily lives (because we use our senses automatically and we process the input immediately without thinking about it, we hardly pay any attention to most of our senses). In these stories, readers have a chance to see how our senses are used in different ways to perceive the physical world, what we do with them and what we experience with them. It's possible that after reading this anthology many readers will think about the senses in a slightly different way and have a greater appreciation of them.
Sensorama offers an exciting glimpse into the writing talents and imagination of talented authors that may still be unknown to quality-oriented speculative fiction readers. All of these authors have done their best to write memorable stories that resonate among readers who want the best from their fiction. This anthology showcases the authors' writing abilities in an excellent way.
When I read Sensorama, I noticed that it clearly stands out among other anthologies published during the recent months. There's much more originality, depth and thought-provoking elements in this anthology than in many other new anthologies, and there's no annoying fluff in any of the stories. I was surprised when I noticed that underneath the layer of entertainment there was quite a lot of depth in these stories, because each of the authors gave me something to think about.
Sensorama contains the following stories:
- Blinding a Few Dogs by Gary Budgen
- Stone by Richard Mosses
- Stain by Ian Hunter
- Little Fingers by Christine Morgan
- Good Old Dirt by Aliya Whiteley
- Graft - Adam Craig
- Making See by Mark Patrick Lynch
- The Taste of Turtle Tears by Rhys Hughes
- Going Dark by E. Lillith McDermott
- Musk by Douglas Thompson
- The Impression of Craig Shee by David McGroarty
- Maneater by David Gullen
- Wide Shining in the Remote by Kelda Crich
- Bang, Bang, Thud by Ralph Robert Moore
- A Mimicry of Night by Jon Michael Kelley
- Space by Terry Grimwood
- The Sound Cyclones by David Turnbull
- A View from a Crowded Street Corner by David Buchan
- Watching the Ashbless Bloom by T.J. Berg
- The Crystal Gazer by Stanley B. Webb
- The War Artist by Tim Nickels
All of these stories differ from each other, and all of them are worth reading, because there are no weak stories in this anthology. Allen Ashley has clearly paid attention to diversity and quality when he has selected these stories. It's nice the editor has managed to gather all kinds of stories to this anthology. These stories range all the way from fantasy to science fiction, so there's something for everybody in this anthology.
Here's a bit more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
Blinding a Few Dogs by Gary Budgen:
- A story about Avery who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration and will someday become blind.
- The author writes well about Avery's obsession towards Jennifer, because Avery wants to see Jennifer as much as possible before he loses his sight, but she doesn't want to see him.
Stone by Richard Mosses:
- The protagonist in this story is interested in putting up an exhibition of her work.
- This is an especially interesting piece of speculative fiction because of an intriguing connection to Greek mythology.
Stain by Ian Hunter:
- In this fascinating story the protagonist is intrigued by a stain.
- A well written and a bit different kind of a horror story with a disturbing ending that will please horror readers.
Little Fingers by Christine Morgan:
- A story about Margot who amuses children by telling them a story about a witch.
- A good horror story with a brilliant ending.
Good Old Dirt by Aliya Whiteley:
- An intriguing story about Tasterama technology that allows a person to experience a taste in a new way.
- This is a science fiction flavoured story that is something a bit different.
- In my opinion this story is one of best stories in this anthology.
Graft - Adam Craig:
- An excellent story about Russell who has been in an accident.
- The author writes well about how Russell feels about his skin growing back.
- I enjoyed the way the story grew gradually towards a perfect ending.
Making See by Mark Patrick Lynch:
- An interesting story about a man whose girlfriend has become invisible. They both have to come to terms with the invisibility.
- In my opinion the author explores invisibility in a surprisingly deep way, because he tells what it means to be invisible.
The Taste of Turtle Tears by Rhys Hughes:
- A fantastic and beautifully written short story about butterflies who drink tears in order to gain salt.
- An excellent story that will please fans of Rhys Hughes and also newcomers to his stories.
Going Dark by E. Lillith McDermott:
- A brilliant story about Marta who is an enhanced soldier with technology in her body.
- The author explores Marta's feelings about the technology in her body and the new sensations caused by the technology in an excellent way.
Musk by Douglas Thompson:
- An excellent story about a man who suddenly notices his own smell, musk. He also notices the scent of other people and things, because his senses have become extremely heightened.
- A brilliant and impressive short story about heightened sense of smell.
- This is one of the best and most captivating stories in this anthology.
The Impression of Craig Shee by David McGroarty:
- A beautifully written story about Caron who visits Porthaven. Porthaven is a place that inspired her mother to do her greatest work (the painting called The Impression of Craig Shee).
- The author writes well about how Caron feels about her mother and the place called Craig Shee (the Fairie's Rock).
- This is one of my favourite stories in this anthology, because the author has written a surprisingly beautiful story and writes well about Caron.
Maneater by David Gullen:
- An intriguing story about a group of people who search for an escaped Onca man.
- It's interesting that the author has written a story in which the protagonists are gender neutral.
Wide Shining in the Remote by Kelda Crich:
- A story about Theia who is employed to scan a collection in the Society's library. The Society is an old-fashioned institution and its members prefer quiet companionship.
- It was interesting to read what happened to Theia and how her life changed when she found out that she has an ability that nobody else has.
Bang, Bang, Thud by Ralph Robert Moore:
- An interesting story about a man who hears a noise and wonders what it is and what causes it.
- It's nice that this story has been written in a second person narrative mode, because it creates quite an effective atmosphere.
A Mimicry of Night by Jon Michael Kelley:
- An excellent story about Dario who collects insects. Dario has turned his hobby into a profitable business.
- This is one of the best and most impressive stories in this anthology, because it has fascinating weird fiction elements in it. I think that this story will please readers who enjoy reading weird stories.
Space by Terry Grimwood:
- A story about Nyk who is fascinated by a woman and wants to spend time with her.
- The author writes fluently about Nyk's feelings and his confusion when something unexpected happens to him.
- An excellent and well written science fiction story.
The Sound Cyclones by David Turnbull:
- A story about Tash who lives in a future society where sound cyclones - products of experimentation - cause problems to the civilian populace.
- The author paints an interesting picture of a society in which precautions have been taken to fight against the sound cyclones.
A View from a Crowded Street Corner by David Buchan:
- An interesting story about a person who watches how firemen try to help a man who's on the roof of a burning building.
- A short, but effective story with a brutal ending.
Watching the Ashbless Bloom by T.J. Berg:
- An excellent story about a man who hunts worms that are a threat to the city and its people.
- The ashbless trees described in this story are interesting trees.
- This is one of my favourite stories in this anthology.
The Crystal Gazer by Stanley B. Webb:
- An interesting science fiction story in which the happenings take place on the planet Scry.
- The author writes well about the life and work of Professor Spektar who is the planet's preeminent Scryologist.
The War Artist by Tim Nickels:
- A compelling and also a bit disturbing story about a man whose occupation is war artist.
- This is one of the best and most memorable stories in this anthology.
Here's a few extra words about some of the stories:
Gary Budgen's "Blinding a Few Dogs" offers an interesting and fascinatingly disturbing glimpse into the life a man who stalks a woman. When the man begins to lose his sight, he seems to be able to see the woman he wants. He soon learns that he has a special ability that is of interest to certain people.
Christine Morgan's "Little Fingers" is a good and effective horror story. I'm not going to give away the ending of it, but I'll mention that Margot has done something horrible to others. What she has done will please fans of horror stories.
Adam Craig's "Graft" is an excellent and memorable story about a man who receives a new skin for himself after being in a bad accident. When recovers from the accident he experiences strange and new feelings caused by the skin, and the world seems new to him.
Rhys Hughes' "The Taste of Turtle Tears" is pure Rhys Hughes from start to finish. It's a delightfully different kind of a fantasy story about butterflies that can make a turtle cry to be able to drink salt. This story is almost like a quirky fairy tale.
Douglas Thompson's "Musk" is an excellent story about scent and what it means to have a heightened sense of smell. The author explores the protagonist's life in a deep way as he becomes more and more interested in scent. He writes fluently about the protagonist's descent into a scent maniac. The ending of this story is perfect, because the author delivers a surprise plot twist that takes the story into a new direction.
David Gullen's "Maneater" is one of the most intriguing science fiction stories I've read during the last couple of years. The author explores the lives of the Onca and their behaviour in an excellent way. What makes this story especially interesting is that the author writes about the protagonists in a gender neutral way (this is rare in modern speculative fiction).
Jon Michael Kelley's "A Mimicry of Night" is an excellent and well told story about Dario who collects insects. I enjoyed reading about how Dario found a new cicada species that had special abilities to avoid its captors. I think that this story will be of interest to readers who love the weirder side of speculative fiction.
Terry Grimwood's "Space" is an especially interesting postapocalyptic science fiction story. It's one of the best postapocalyptic stories I've ever read, because it's a well told story about a man who wants to spend time with a woman, but ends up being tested in an interesting way.
T.J. Berg's "Watching the Ashbless Bloom" is one of the best speculative fiction stories I've read during the recent years. In my opinion the author writes excellently about what the protagonist, Theodore, does and what kind of a relationship he has with Matthew. The ashbless trees described in this story are fascinatingly trees that bloom in a different way.
Stanley B. Webb's "The Crystal Gazer" offers an intriguing glimpse into the life of a professor who's so busy with his work that he ignores his wife. The author handles well the relationship between the professor and his wife, because he writes how little time they spend together and what happens to them.
As you may have already guessed by my descriptions about these stories and their contents, they're something a bit different. They're beautiful, terrifying and also - at times - touching stories about our senses and what we experience with them.
The prose in these stories is excellent. All the authors have done their best to create memorable and beautifully written stories. There are no faults in any of these stories.
The experiences and feelings of the protagonists are described in a believable and also realistic way. The authors write fluently about their protagonists and their lives, relationships, problems and work, and they're capable of surprising their readers with intriguing plot twists and unexpected happenings.
The author address different themes and issues in their stories and they do it extremely well. For example, relationships are handled in an excellent and exciting way in certain stories. Douglas Thompson's "Musk" and Stanley B. Webb's "The Crystal Gazer" are good examples of stories in which relationships are handled perfectly, and Gary Budgen's "Blinding a Few Dogs" is a fantastic story about obsession. Postapocalyptic themes are also handled in an admirable way in this anthology. Terry Grimwood's "Space" deserves to be mentioned when talking about postapocalyptic happenings, because it's an excellent glimpse into a world ravaged by a plague.
Although these stories center mainly around our senses, they reveal quite a lot about human nature. They offer intriguing glimpses into our hopes, dreams, feelings, faults and lives in a new and daring way.
I'd already read a few stories and novels from some of the authors featured in this anthology, but a few of the authors were totally new to me. It was interesting to read stories from new and unknown authors, because they wrote excellent stories. I can mention that I intend to keep an eye on them, because I'd like to read more stories from them.
Sensorama is an anthology that should be read by all readers who appreciate well written speculative fiction, literary fiction and compelling stories, because Allen Ashley has gathered original stories from new and already established authors. He has done his job well, because all of the stories are original and excellent. They're quality stories to readers who want to read imaginative, original and stylistic stories.
Sensorama is a unique anthology that deserves to be read and praised by many readers. If you enjoy reading quality stories and want to read something new, I can guarantee that this anthology won't disappoint you. Please, take a bold step into the sensory world and let yourself be immersed in good fiction.