The Sire — Steve Rasnic Tem


If Jonathan Swift ever wrote an Immodest Proposal, this would be it.  It is beyond shocking, and I shall have to be very careful what I tell you about it, and not only  because of the fear of normal  plot spoilers to which most reviews are susceptible, but also of a series of multiple  false Braxton Hicks. Natural childbirth alone. Moments of pregnancy’s hatching that would trip you up or diminish the healing shocks and leave you only the destructive ones. So this review hides things from you. Otherwise you would miss out on its full effect as Paula takes to living in her new rented abode as hung with folk horror omens,  and she is bearing the pent-up ripening fruits of a one night stand with the eponymous-sired man, and we end up with the severest possible polarity of Natalism and Anti-Natalism: “…the insatiable appetite of nature as mothers delivered both life and death into the world.” — being the only quote I shall dare give you from this work’s transcendence versus horror-apotheosis.

But, suddenly, I feel another quote from it is shortly to drop upon your reading care or scare, before I can stop it, as the father’s return-to-cull for a metaphorical Irish famine, and he  leaves one of them that might have fallen off (Paula wasn’t sure): one who, I think, grows faster than even the utter polarity I have already described above grows, if with a mouthless speech like these printed words tend to be. Balanced within the polarity, I guess, by almost a cartoon glimpse of a Watership Down type thing, where any happy bits may be embodied by a Mr Rabbit. Review avoidances of my responsibility aside, I can say without hesitation that this story has a truly truly unmatchable “scythe of arm” in its sweeping prose. Can’t say more.


This story can be found here: Mother: Tales of Love & Terror, eds. Christi Nogle and Willow Dawn Becker, October 2022

My reviews of Steve Rasnic Tem’s multi-hatching fictions over the years:

My ongoing reviews of such recent stories, one by one, by living writers:

Vastarien, Literary Journal: Vol. 4 No. 2



Jon Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

My previous reviews of this journal:

Work by
Romana Lockwood, Hailey Piper, Michael Uhall, Carson Winter, Philippa Evans, Mari Ness, Christi Nogle, Gwen C. Katz, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Greg Sisco, Tori Fredrick, John Claude Smith, George Prekas, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Georgia Cook, Sean M. Thompson, Joanna Parypinski, Rhonda Eikamp, Christa Carmen, S. L. Edwards, LC von Hessen, Sara Tantlinger, Perry Ruhland, Paul L. Bates, Jenny Darmody, Mari Ness, Emer O’Hanlon, Dejan Ognjanović, Clint Smith, Ivy Grimes, Kurt Fawver.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Nightscript #6



Edited by C.M. Muller

My previous reviews of Nightscript and C.M. Muller:

Stories by Timothy Dodd, LC von Hessen, Tom Johnstone, Ralph Robert Moore, Julia Rust, Jeremy Schliewe, Dan Coxon, Charles Wilkinson, Christi Nogle, Alexander James, Francesco Corigliano, Selene dePackh, Kurt Newton, James Owens, J.R. Hamantaschen, Amelia Gorman, and Gary Budden.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Vastarien: A Literary Journal: Vol. 2, No. 2


Grimscribe Press, Summer 2019

Jon Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

My previous reviews of Vastarien:

Work by Giuseppe Balestra, Paul L. Bates, Deborah Bridle, Alana I. Capria, Donyae Coles, C.M. Crockford, Tatiana Garmendia, Robin Gow, Danielle Hark, S.C. Hickman, Trent Kollodge, Andrew Koury, Christi Nogle, Valin Paige, Eden Royce, Lucy A. Snyder, D.P. Watt.

When I read this journal, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Nightscript Vol. IV


Edited by C.M. Muller

Stories by V.H. Leslie, J.T. Glover, Joanna Parypinski, Steve Rasnic Tem, L.S. Johnson, Daniel Braum, M. Lopes da Silva, Mathew Allan Garcia, April Steenburgh, Charles Wilkinson, Farah Rose Smith, Armel Dagorn, Cate Gardner, Jackson Kuhl, Christi Nogle, Ross Smeltzer, Jennifer Loring, Tim Jeffreys, Elana Gomel, Mike Weitz, Kirsty Logan.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Nightscript – Vol. III


“The Flower Unfolds” — Simon Strantzas
“A Place With Trees” — Rowley Amato
“What Little Boys Are Made Of” — Malcolm Devlin
“Grizzly” — M.K. Anderson
“Might Be Mordiford” — Charles Wilkinson
“Palankar” — Daniel Braum
“The Gestures Remain” — Christi Nogle
“House of Abjection” — David Peak
“The Undertow, and They That Dwell Therein” — Clint Smith
“Downward” — Amar Benchikha
“The Familiar” — Cory Cone
“Liquid Air” — Inna Effress
“The Beasts Are Sleep” — Adam Golaski
“The Witch House” — Jessica Phelps
“On the Edge of Utterance” — Stephen J. Clark
“Homeward Bound Now, Paulino” — Armel Dagorn
“The Affair” — James Everington
“When Dark-Eyed Ophelia Sings” — Rebecca J. Allred
“We, the Rescued” — John Howard
“Twenty Miles and Running” — Christian Riley
“Something You Leave Behind” — David Surface
“Young Bride” — Julia Rust
“The Other Side of the Hill” — M.R. Cosby

Edited by CM Muller

My review of Volume II HERE

I expect this to be delivered to me on 1 October 2017, but there shall be some delay before I real-time review it. When I do, my thoughts  will appear in the comment stream below….