Today, I am reviewing ‘Weird Dream Society’ a collection of weird, speculative stories edited by Julia C. Day.
*Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher an netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Playful, whimsical, or dark, but always thoughtful and tinged with the inexplicably weird, the Weird Dream Society brings together twenty-three stories from the most innovative creators in speculative fiction.
Nathan Ballingrud, Carina Bissett, Gregory Norman Bossert, Karen Bovenmyer,
Christopher Brown, Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, Michael J Deluca, Gemma Files,
A.T. Greenblatt, Nin Harris, Chip Houser, James Patrick Kelly, Marianne Kirby, Kathrin Köhler, Matthew Kressel, Jordan Kurella, Premee Mohamed, Sarah Read, Sofia Samatar,
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Steve Toase, A.C. Wise
All proceeds from the Weird Dream Society anthology will go to RAICES. RAICES envisions a compassionate society where all people have the right to migrate, and human rights are guaranteed.
Some dreams can change the world.
‘Weird Dream Society’ is an accurate name for this collection. It is weird, in so many different ways and it makes for an interesting collection, that is incredibly bleak at times. It’s described as ‘whimsical or dark’, and I would say that it definitely leans more towards the latter, although not to the point where it was overwhelming or completely devoid of hope. The strongest stories in the collection, were those that were not weird just for the sake of being weird, but used the strangeness, the sense of otherness to make a point.
Now, this was not universal and there were a few stories, especially the first that didn’t work for me, either because they fell short of having this ‘point’ or were too weird for me, but that might be personal preference more than anything. Something else that some of the stories suffered from was the concept and writing was fantastic, but the idea needed more than a short story to really do them justice, and if they’d had more space, they would have been my favourite stories.
This was not a comfortable read, some of the stories made my skin crawl, or left me with the need to think and rethink the story, an almost niggling desire to make sense of the ‘weird’ and why it is weird. ‘The Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire, Part B’ in particular was guilty of this, and while it was strictly a ‘story’ it was one of my favourite pieces of the entire collection, because it made me THINK. Other favourites included ‘Glasswort, Ice’ which was beautiful and eerie, and I just loved the idea of Ice Whales; and ‘Skin like Carapace’ and I do feel that this collection, for the flaws there were, grew in strength and made for a fascinating, albeit uncomfortable read.
This will not be a collection for everyone, but if you are intrigued by the weird and other, I think you will find at least a few of the stories appeal to you. It was hard to rate this one, because there were ups and downs, and I feel this is one that if very much down to personal preferences but I would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little out there.
Weird Dream Society – Edited by Julia C. Day (To be released 26th May, by Reckoning Press) – **** (4/5 Stars)
If you’ve read or read this in the future, then please come talk to me about this weird, fascinating collection. And if you have any suggestions for more collections of short stories, then please send them my way.