Burning Love And Bleeding Hearts: Edited By Louise Zedda-Sampson & Chris Mason
Reviewed By Ben Walker
Love is a burning thing, and in Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts, from Things in the Well, it burns for a long time. It’s the heftiest charity anthology I’ve seen in a while, comprising of a whopping 60 stories, donated by a range of international authors with the proceeds going towards Australian bushfire relief efforts. A mix of reprints and original tales, weighted heavily toward the latter, featuring horror and sci-fi, prose and poetry, all loosely based around the theme of love. All of it wrapped in some gorgeous cover art from Luke Spooner.
Most of the pieces run to 5 pages or less, so while there’s plenty to sink your teeth into, these are light bites – some much lighter than others as flash fiction pops up alongside a couple of longer pieces. And there are plenty of stand-out tales to make this worth stumping up your cash for: Miguela Considine gives you a tropical taste of death in Old Stones, a grim fairytale filled with vivid imagery and discomforting darkness. A discarded heart looks for love in Kardia by Donna Laemmlen, a truly bizarre and brilliant piece, rollercoastering between downbeat and hopeful, gruesome and weirdly beautiful. Josh Strnad offers you A Receipt to look over and chuckle at briefly, as does Janis Butler Holm in a pun-filled flash fiction piece called Abduction Again – you can probably guess what that one’s about.
Beyond that, you get tales of poisoned lovers, kindly and not-so-kindly spirits, sacrifices that don’t go as planned, teleportation that doesn’t go as planned, vampires, mermaids, murders and more. There are experimental pieces, traditional narratives and quite a few poems. It’s great in terms of variety, but not every story is a winner, not every poem a lyrical masterpiece. There are many solid efforts but also the occasional stinker, so I can’t really say this is an essential piece when there are far stronger love-themed anthologies out there. That said, it’s all for a good cause, and just like a box of Valentine’s chocolates, you can always pick out the best ones for yourself and forget about the coffee creams*.
*Please don’t @ me about your love for coffee creams, keep it to yourself you weirdo.
Burning Love And Bleeding Hearts
The title says it all.
Who would think love could be so… dangerous? A mix of poetry and short fiction – love found, love lost, love experienced in ways you never imagined. Weird and macabre, sometimes humorous, often terrifying, these tales – presented by an international line up of authors – will make your heart skip a beat
Ben got a taste for terror after sneaking downstairs to watch The Thing from behind the sofa at age 9. He’s a big fan of extreme & bizarre horror and well as more psychological frights, and most things in between. When he’s not reading, he’s writing, and when he’s not writing he’s on twitter @BensNotWriting or reviewing books on his YouTube channel, BLURB.