Dark Rainbow – Edited By Andrew Robertson
Reviewed by J. A. Sullivan
- Paperback: 286 pages
- Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books (20 Oct. 2018)
Something that has always bothered me is the misconception that horror promotes violent sexual acts. Instead, I think of the genre as a place to tackle all the aspects of humanity which polite society would prefer to ignore. Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror is a fantastic example of bringing together our multifaceted human condition. Lust, greed, survival, grief, and a search for acceptance are just a few of the themes presented within the 15 stories of this anthology. And although each story is told through the perspective of queer culture, everyone can relate to these themes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Meet a drag queen with a unique approach to waiting out a zombie apocalypse in “Goldilocks and her Undead Bear” by Julianne Snow. Take a trip back to the Old West where witchcraft and a brothel offer Jolene an escape from her abusive husband in “The Dark Gem” by Lisi Damette. Follow Tara, a model for a life drawing class, as she learns to love herself and explores her sexuality with artist Robyn in “The Life Model” by Jim Towns.
My favourite in the collection was “Think of Me” by Lindsay King-Miller. The story is told from the perspective of Jess, as her spirit is trapped in our world by her grieving wife. While the concept captured my interest straight away, the strength of the writing was superb and had me hanging on every word. Longing, guilt, and being tethered to the past are just a few of the emotions this beautiful and poignant story evokes.
Of course, like all anthologies, not every story resonated with me, but I thought all were well-composed. Personally, I would have liked a deeper sense of horror in some of the stories. There are definitely a few tales that barely held an element of fear. However, most contained enough fright and dread to keep me happy. Overall, the range of characters, situations, and styles kept the book feeling fresh throughout, and I’m eager to read more works by many of the featured authors.
Keep in mind each entry contains erotic elements, so if you’re feeling prudish this is not a book for you. But, for those of you looking for steamy horror, this book has something for most tastes. The hotness factor ranges from tender first kisses all the way up to needing a cold shower after reading, and everything in between.
Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror is a wonderful anthology which holds true to its title bringing the reader a full spectrum of delights, both in terms of erotica and horror.
There has always been a special relationship between queer culture and horror.
Horror is a genre about the ‘other’ and being a part of queer culture often comes with feelings of ‘otherness’ or being an outsider based on your desires…maybe you see a freak onscreen during a midnight madness screening and you think to yourself, Well, I feel like a freak too.
Maybe the monster is just misunderstood…we all hunger for something, right?
Dark Rainbow: Queer Erotic Horror is the first volume of a short fiction anthology series edited by award-wining queer writer and editor Andrew Robertson.
Published under Riverdale Avenue Books’ Afraid imprint, it features many members of the Horror Writers Association along with writers from all over the world.
Dark Rainbow contains 15 tales of dark appetites, hidden fantasies, sex and slashers including new work from Angel Leigh McCoy, Jeff C. Stevenson, Sèphera Girón, Julianne Snow, Derek Clendening, Spinster Eskie, Lindsay King-Miller and many more.
J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.
Her latest short story can be found in Don’t Open the Door: A Horror Anthology (out July 26, 2019), and other spooky tales can be found on her blog. She’s currently writing more short stories, a novel, and reading as many dark works as she can find.
You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan
Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com
Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan