A huge truck is headed right for you but you’re pinned in the glare of its headlights and can’t move. As it hits, you feel your bones shattering, your skin splitting, and your head bouncing off the asphalt. But then the truck is past you and you’re still standing there in the middle of the road. You look around for your broken body but there’s only one whole you and not a speck of blood is in sight.
That’s how some of the things in Do Not Go Quietly made me feel. My body may be intact but I still feel like I got run over by a tractor trailer. It’s an amazing feeling.
Now I’m going to be brutally honest here. Not every story did that to me. A few I enjoyed but they didn’t make me feel different. A couple… Well… A couple left me feeling like I’m at a party and everyone is laughing but I didn’t get the joke. Worse I didn’t even realize anyone was making a joke.
But that’s okay. Because I bet someone else got the truck feeling off the ones that left me going “huh?” No matter what your taste or experience, unless you hate well-crafted prose and stories and poems that lean a bit to the dark and creepy side of life, you’re probably going to find at least a few pieces in the collection that hit you so hard you can barely manage to say, “Wow!” Ones that make you want to read them to your friends so you can bask together in the glory of their word magic.
This collection leans to the dark side of speculative fiction, but not fully into horror, in my opinion. I try to avoid horror because I don’t like to be scared, but none of these made me wish I could stand to put the book down and definitely no nightmares.
Even a few days after reading (and having mixed some other stuff in when I really needed to read something less inclined to keep me awake to finish), many of these stories have stuck with me, both as a reader and as a writer. They’re the kind of stories that make me think as a reader. As a writer, they make me wonder how I can manage with my writing to make people feel some fraction of what I felt from this collection.
So once again Apex has managed to demand one of my heavily hoarded 5th stars. I highly recommend this collection both to readers of speculative fiction and to people who want to write it and have their work published.