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CHIRAL MAD by Michael Bailey


edited by Michael Bailey

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1479152438
Publisher: CreateSpace

Horror—the psychological monster that lives within us all—is the focus of editor Bailey’s latest short-story anthology.

The 28 stories here explore the topics of horror and madness. The word “chiral,” an unusual term most commonly used in chemistry, describes an object that cannot be superimposed onto its mirror image. Although these stories deal with derangement, they are all ultimately dissimilar—because madness affects everyone differently. Some stories here focus on everyday things that can trigger madness: an abusive father in Monica J. O’Rourke’s “Five Adjectives”; a tenuous perception of reality  in Ian Shoebridge’s “White Pills”; or a sense of desperation in Meghan Arcuri’s “Inevitable.” Other stories explore the power of memories and the damage they can cause: the suffocating memory of parental abuse in Gord Rollo’s “Lost In a Field of Paper Flowers” or the sudden and surprising emergence of repressed memories in Chris Hertz’s “There Are Embers.” Editor Bailey, who wrote the anthology’s casually chilling final story, “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” has skillfully mixed and matched different types of stories here, such as Jeff Strand’s gritty “A Flawed Fantasy” and Julie Stipes’ dreamlike “Not the Child.” Unfortunately, none of the stories especially stand out to make the anthology one of compelling literary power. However, the collection works well as a glimpse into the lives of people entering or already inhabiting the soul of darkness. (All stories were donated by the authors; proceeds from book sales will go directly to Down-syndrome charities.)

A compilation of entertaining, if often disturbing, stories.