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A Korean War veteran must rely on wits, improvised weapons, and words from the dread NECRONOMICON to escape the lair of a deranged cult. A ghost cannot communicate how she died, no matter how desperately she tries, while an unconventional ghost hunter incurs the venomous wrath of the Queen of Night. Murderous conspiracies reveal themselves in online video clips, a saint blasphemes as a serial killer prays for mercy, and corrupt families in ancient kingdoms trade blood and souls for leverage over foes. Enduring nightmares for a living can lead to a fate worse than burnout. A gruesome invasion from outside space and time tests courage—and corporate loyalty—past all rational limits.
In these twenty-three stories and poems, two-time World Fantasy Award nominee Mike Allen spins twisted narratives, some wound through the fabric of our world, some set in imagined pasts or futures, all plumbing the depths of human darkness. “The consistency, here, is simply excellence,” writes Bram Stoker Award finalist and PUNKTOWN creator Jeffrey Thomas in his introduction. “You are holding in your hands an overflowing cornucopia of monstrous goodness.”
A Note From the Publisher
Cover art by Danielle Tunstall, cover design and interior black and white illustrations by Mike Allen and Brett Massé.
Nebula, Shirley Jackson and two-time World Fantasy award finalist Mike Allen wears many hats. As editor and publisher of the Mythic Delirium Books imprint, he helmed MYTHIC DELIRIUM magazine and the five volumes in the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX anthology series. His own short stories have been gathered in three collections: UNSEAMING, THE SPIDER TAPESTRIES and AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT. He’s won the Rhysling Award for poetry three times, and his most recent collection of verse, HUNGRY CONSTELLATIONS, was a Suzette Haden Elgin Award nominee. A dark fantasy novel, THE BLACK FIRE CONCERTO, appeared in 2013.
For more than a decade he’s worked as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he and his wife Anita live with a cat so full of trouble she’s named Pandora. You can follow Mike’s exploits as a writer at descentintolight.com, as an editor at mythicdelirium.com, and all at once on Twitter at @mythicdelirium.
“From heartbreaking character studies to exercises in Grand Guignol excess, from scalpel-sharp poetry to sledgehammers of blood-soaked prose, Mike Allen displays not only his own considerable range, but the range of the horror genre as well. AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT will surprise and delight you at every turn.”
—Nathan Ballingrud, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of WOUNDS
“As a huge fan of Mike Allen’s first novel, THE BLACK FIRE CONCERTO, I was excited beyond belief to have the opportunity to devour his new collection, AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT.
“In this collection, Allen demonstrates again and again his masterful ability to infuse cosmic, existential terror into the most intimate, and mundane aspects of our lives, while never failing to point out the self-made horror already there.
“From his introductory piece that credits Poe as a conjurer of inescapable, psychic horror and a muse-sinister for Allen, to the title story that force-marches the reader through rising terror, like a tea kettle screaming, for which there is no escape, no sanctuary, even within your own mind.
“With every one of Allen’s works I get my hands on, I am more and more impressed with his dream-like prose, his knack for seeping cold, inescapable dread into the ‘normal’ foundations of his tales. Allen is a craftsman and this collection represents him at the height of his game. These stories will stick with you long after you have finished them. I highly recommend AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT for fans of Allen’s work, and for those who will have the envious pleasure of discovering him for the first time.”
—R. S. Belcher, Locus Award-nominated author of THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL
“From World Fantasy Award-nominated author and editor Mike Allen comes a mesmerizingly beautiful, classic horror collection of short stories and poems. Each tale in AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT packs a punch that will keep you willingly pinned to the wall. A master of the hook and a perfect ending, Allen’s fast-paced, fluid prose engages you from the very beginning and does not let you go until it is done with its story. Even so, the stories will keep resonating in your mind like a wonderful, terrible memory that haunts and thrills you. ‘Six Waking Nightmares’ scared and intrigued me, ‘A Deaf Policeman Heard the Noise’ had me turning the pages for more, ‘The Cruelest Team Will Win’ is an arachnophilic thing of beauty, and the title story is an apt reminder of the horrific monsters our god complex creates. Allen writes with a mystical precognition of knowing the deepest terrors in your gut. If you don’t want to ever sleep again, read AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT just before bedtime. It’ll be worth it.”
—Christina Sng, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES
“From a university library’s forbidden collection, to a manse occupied by cursed souls, to seemingly ordinary suburban homes haunted by memories and otherworldly beings, AFTERMATH takes readers on a journey, and Allen deftly imbues each world visited with its own own special kind of dread.”
—A .C. Wise, Nebula Award-nominated author of CATFISH LULLABY
“AFTERMATH OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT puts the weird in Weird Fiction. The stories range from clever twists on the Lovecraft mythos, to the downright madcap (spider demons nesting in suburban souls!). Allen weds the brute visceral punch of early Clive Barker with the demented whimsy of darker Neil Gaiman.”
—Craig Laurance Gidney, Lambda Award-nominated author of A SPECTRAL HUE
Official launch events were planned pre-COVID-19 crisis to take place in July at Readercon in Boston and the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York. Should these events not happen in physical space, hopeful there will be virtual alternatives. More events forthcoming.