An author who will have his first collection of (very) short stories for youngsters–Afraid Of Everything–published this week has taken a page from the Bard’s book.
A pretty fair country writer named William Shakespeare once noted that: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Apparently, author Adam Tierney thinks that philosophy also applies to horror fiction.
His book–which will be rolled out by IDW Publishing June 2–takes a unique approach to telling scary stories to children. Tierney told Horror News Network that his goal for his first-ever collection was to write “genuinely scary, dark horror fiction for kids, closer to what we had when I was growing up in the ’80s (ala Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark).”
Tierney added that he’s “a firm believer that horror can be appropriate for any age, as long as it’s written with the target audience in mind.”
And he’s doing just that, writing one-page horror vignettes–illustrated by Matthieu Cousin–for every letter in the alphabet. In fact, the book’s subtitle–An Alphabetical Compendium Of People’s Weirdest Fears–sums it up well. And Tierney doesn’t pull his punches, resorting to “kiddie horror”. His stories are the real deal.
For example, for starters, Tierney tackles arachnophobia (fear of spiders) in his opening story. Eloise, a teenage girl with a spider problem in her new room, learns there are worse things than having spiders on the outside. Creepy.
And then there’s the story about college student Casey, who has a bad–and ultimately fatal–bout of electrophobia (fear of electricity). If nothing else, the tale proves that being struck by a bolt of lightning can be good–and very bad–news.
A chilling story of a school janitor who suffers from juveniphobia (fear of children) would be enough to make any young student avoid tool sheds near his school. You never know what may happen.
Or, how about poor Simone, who has a severe case of melissophobia (fear of bees)? Have you ever caught a bee in a glass or jar on your front lawn? This one-pager will show you why this is a bad idea!
A story about pyrophobia (fear of fire) reveals how feeding a fire may keep you warm during a cold evening, but a price may be paid come the dawn. Can you feel the chill?
If you suffer from scopophobia (fear of being watched), maybe you should skip the “S” entry in this book. Young Wanda has a frightening experience when babysitting one night. She is sure a dark figure is watching her through the windows. But when she returns to the security of her own home, she surely will be safe. Right?
Believe it or not, there’s even a condition called uranophobia (fear of heaven). And when you read the story of an unfortunate young man named Liam, you’ll understand the consequences of that phobia.
Tierney even has a pleasant surprise for his readers after a frightening (but touching) story about zoophobia (fear of animals): a bonus section containing 11 additional stories with illustrations from animators, comic book artists and video game developers. These tales–ranging from A (alienophibia–fear of aliens) to V (vintagophobia–fear of video games)–are a continuation of the same sort of quality excursions into fright for young readers.
All in all, this collection of original horror yarns for the younger set is well worth the reading–for children of all ages. One suggestion (and this comes from Tierney himself in the book’s forward): Read this volume at night, with a blanket over your head and a flashlight for illumination. It’s fun to get scared!