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Folk horror is quickly becoming the in thing, and it is easy to see why, the roots of it have been ingrained into psyche for generations, from the campfire tales to the fairy tales your granny you used to tell you, it's a genre that is perfect for these times.
The Fiends in the Furrows, takes the bustling in the hedgerows and turns them into your darkest nightmares, from Stephen Toase's delightfully macabre The Jaws of Ouroboros, mixes drug lords with an almost Quatermass weirdness, to the almost sensual terror of Lindsay King-Miller's The Fruit, and The First Order of Whaleyville's Divine Basilisk Handlers by Eric J. Guignard which sees old feuds stirred up by religious fervour, this is an anthology that will stir up those primal fears that are ingrained in all of us.
...because there are only nine stories. It probably rates nine out of nine, though.
This book describes itself as an anthology of Folk Horror. What is Folk Horror? Frankly, it's whatever you think it is, but that's not a problem, as here we have nine stories from (so far as I can trace) unknown writers, not one of which is a dud.
Having said that, three in particular stood out for me. In the order they appear they are Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks (a classical tale of the outsider in a strange village, which carries echoes of The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow over Innsmouth), The Fruit by Lindsay King-Miller (just when you thought it was safe to go back into the orchard...) and The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase (some carniverous landscape and a crime boss who'd make Don Corleone head for the hills). None of these will leave me in a hurry.
At least a couple of the stories could've used a little more care at the proof-reading stage, but this is a very minor point.
Although a long-term fan of weird fiction in general, this was the first collection specificity devoted to folk horror that I’ve read; and I’ve not been disappointed. I haven’t heard of any of these authors before, but David Neal and Christine Scott must be commended on selecting a really well written collection of stories. Many anthologies seem to have at least a couple of tales that are apparently just making up numbers, but not this one; I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all. Of course I’m still going to have my favourites, and I’d particularly recommend ‘The Jaws of Ouroboros’, ‘Pumkin, Dear’ and ‘The Way of the Mother’, all because of their originality, and because they particularly appealed to my love of the bizarre. If you’ve not read any folk horror stories before, I would suggest you start here.
When will I learn....despite previous disappointment from past horror anthologies I decided, because of the good reviews many readers provided to give this one a go. I should though have listened to my gut instinct and the few reviews that suggested this would turn out to be yet another let down. There were a few o/k stories but nothing exceptional. 'The Fruit' captured my attention and was a good read, I liked the idea of the living standing stones in 'Jaws of Ourobouros' but this wasn't developed and it moved into a modern storyline and lost it's way and certainly wasn't folk horror. It should probably have been part of a different anthology. The 'Basalisk Handlers' was o/k and the best for me was 'The Mother' which did create that sense of otherness, and rural Myth unease. The rest I found boring and instantly forgettable. I'm giving it two stars as I'm feeling in generous mood.
I absolutely loved this collection. Hard to say which is my favourite. Back along the old track, and the way of the mother are up there. But so is the fruit, the basilisk story and leave the night are fantastic too.
I do feel a bit bad saying this because I'm guessing the publisher announced a competition for writers to have their work feature in this very book, but it's really not worth the money. At best the stories are instantly forgettable, at worst they're a genuine chore to finish despite their short length
Started really strong with the first two stories, which primed me to expect some lovecraftian folksy horror - however, the quality tends to vary from a story to story. Some are good, some only so-so. Overall, I do not regret buying it, because the good stories make up to their weaker brethren.