Saturday, October 22, 2011

"A Library of Unknown Horrors" Initial Impressions

I’ve just begun to look at “A Library of Unknown Horrors”, and I wanted to share my initial impressions.

One of the first things that grabs anyone’s attention when looking at a book is, of course, the cover. The cover of ALoUH is atrocious. It’s a bad line drawing of some kind of animal dressed up in human clothes. What this has to do with horror, I’m not sure. The back cover is only moderately better, but the text is mostly illegible scrawl. At least, the editor managed to spell his name and website address correctly on this back cover (unlike the recent “Ethereal Gazette 13” / "Lossil Fossil Press" debacle).

The next page inside is a badly Photoshopped photograph of someone’s face – perhaps the editor’s? Again, not a professional look by any means.

Following a surprisingly coherent, although still ungrammatical and self-centered, “Special Acknowledgements” section, we come to the Table of Contents.

Of the 28 stories included in the anthology, 12 are public domain and, presumably, on the Internet for free. Four of the non-public-domain stories – “A Night in the Unlife of Roger Sparks”, “Scarlet Frost”, "Bathtime”, and “The Eve of All Shadows” – are also available for free on the Internet where they were posted by their authors. That leaves only 12 stories in the anthology that are (possibly) exclusive content.

The TOC also contains a number of errors. In reviewing Lake Fossil Press anthologies in the past, I have assumed that the story title and author name that appear in the body of the anthology are correct, i.e. what the author sent to the editor, who then simply copied and pasted the story into the master document. Where the TOC and the body of the anthology differ, I assume the TOC is incorrect.

In this TOC, the editor misspells Scot J. Savage’s name, Douglas Araujo’s name, and Ken Kupstis’s name. He also misspells words in the titles of “Scarlet Frost”, “The Great Morgan Family Reunion and Snipe Hunt”, and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. At least he got the page numbers right this time.

Overall, my initial impression is of sloppy editing and bad artwork. I hope that the stories show more promise.

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