Book Review: Eternal Frankenstein, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

“These stories and characters are sewn together to create one hell of an exquisite monster.”

Ross E. Lockhart and Word Horde have a reputation for putting out some wonderful anthologies, among those are The Book of Cthulhu and Giallo Fantastique. Eternal Frankenstein shines alongside them with an intensely dark and beautifully macabre mix of tales. This anthology is dedicated to Mary, and her monster. The writing within is a true testament to the love shared for the classic penned by Shelley, even after so many years have passed her inspiration endures. Each story is its own take on the making of monsters, the defiance of god and the realization that death can be more than an ending.

‘Torso, Heart, Head’ by Amber Rose Reed gives you glimpses into the deaths of those that may be providing body parts to sew together your very own monster. A grand opening for this anthology, setting the mood for those embarking on this journey into the realms of that misty area between dead and undead. ‘Thermidor’ by Siobhan Carroll leaves the reader wondering who the real monsters are? Is it the reanimated, pieced-together dead, or is it the men who brought them back? In ‘Sewn into Her Fingers’ by Autumn Christian, A girl is brought back to life, and while working with the dead a scientist begins to see that beyond the search to end death completely there are other important lessons to learn. ‘Orchids by the Sea’ by Rio de la Luz tells about a man who stitches together the bodies of suicide victims to create a divine being and what happens when she awakens. ‘Frankenstein Triptych’ by Edward Morris gives us glimpses through the eyes of man-made monsters of alternate realities. ‘The Human Alchemy’ by Michael Griffin a medical school drop-out gets an invitation from an alluring couple. Their secrets are revealed to her once they begin to shed their clothing…a way to live on forever.

‘Postpartum’ by Betty Rocksteady tells the tale of a heartbroken young mother, left alone after the death of her son’s father. After bringing home a strange skull she finds half-buried in the dirt she pieces it together with other random animal bones she has a collection from her time with her lost love, but she finds it’s missing something vital. ‘Living’ by Scott R Jones is about a wealthy group of men that engineer the perfect weapon, something constructed from beings once dead, but how can something truly be alive when all its programmed to do is kill, is that really living?

A young girl describes her life as the outcast in every school she’s ever attended in ‘They Call Me Monster’ by Tiffany Scandal. Her body is scarred and stitched back together after her parents refuse to let her die in a few tragic accidents, she struggles with bullies and finding out if there really is a monster beneath all of her scars. ‘Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice’ by Damien Angelica Waters is told from the point of view of a teenaged girl who, along with a few of her friends, are determined to find out the ugly truth behind why their classmate looks and smells so weird.

‘Baron von Werewolf Presents: Frankenstein Against the Phantom Planet’ by Orrin Grey is an imaginative telling of a child watching their favorite television show but they notice that the host, Baron von Werewolf is acting a little odd after broadcasting a film that is rumored to bear heavy consequences for showing it. An amateur scientist finds himself stuck between Nikola Tesla and a secretive employer in ‘Wither on the vine; or, Strickfaden’s Monster’ by Nathan Carson. Nathaniel Baldwin commissions the infamous creator of the death ray to construct just the opposite for him and his congregation, but its results are not what he hoped for. ‘The Un-Bride, or No Gods and Marxists’ by Anya Martin tells the story of an elaborate plan to breathe life into a different kind of monster, one that would lead the Soviet Union. ‘The New Soviet Man’ by G.D. Falksen explores what happens in a Russian laboratory and its reeducation program. When two skeptical security officers are sent to check in on the doctors progress they find his work to be much more horrific. They find themselves to be subjects in the old doctor’s pursuit of building the New Soviet Man.

‘The Beautiful Thing We Will Become’ by Kritsi DeMeester is about best friends, each sharing their terrible secrets with each other. One wants to waste away while the other is being taken apart piece by piece, can they become something beautiful when they come together. ‘Mary Shelley’s Body’ by David Templeton finishes the anthology. It takes the readers into the mind of Mary Shelley herself. It talks about her life and the creation of her monster, as well as other ghosts that haunt her. The perfect ending to a stellar collection of stories.

For fans of not only the original monster but those also seeking tales what lies beyond death, from the far away corners of Russia to Hollywood to alternate futures and even your ordinary neighborhood, these stories and characters are sewn together to create one hell of an exquisite monster.

                                                                                                                    MICHELLE GARZA


Publisher: Word Horde
Pages: 221
Release Date: 9 October 2016

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