Death’s Realm: The Anthology Review

by William Burns



Grey Matter Press continues to publish high quality horror/speculative fiction with their anthology Death’s Realm.  The theme of Death’s Realm is the crossing over between life and death and back again as the stories in this thought-provoking anthology suggest that states of existence and nonexistence might not be so absolute after all. Editors Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson have selected an eclectic collection of stories that showcases a wide range of moods, themes, and styles, and yet they all ingeniously highlight the cracks and fissures that occur when the world of the living and the world of the deceased overlap. The opening selection “Omniscopic” by Rhoads Brazos is a perfect example of how the stories in Death’s Realm exist on the cusp of different genres and approaches to what happens when we shuffle off this mortal coil. Brazos’s story mixes science fiction and horror, physics and metaphysics, and machine and spirit to suggest that conquering eternity might not be a victory but the worst defeat. John F.D. Taff’s “Some Other Day” is a particularly somber meditation on mortality while John C. Foster’s “Burial Suit” is a nightmarish smash up of noir fiction and splatterpunk. Several pieces like JG Faherty’s   “Foxhole” and Paul Michael Anderson’s “To Touch the Dead” suggest future worlds and technological advances but the questions of the meaning of life and death are still unanswered. Perhaps the most melancholic story in Death’s Realm is Gregory L. Norris’s  “Drowning,” as a survivor of the Titanic finds it impossible to shake the feeling that he should have perished on that fateful  night in 1912. All the stories in Death’s Realm offer engrossing conjectures on the horrors of life and the mysteries of death as well as all the midway points between.

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