Friday, September 4, 2015

A case of "depraved indifference"

Sex Death Rock N Roll

By Staci Layne Wilson & Darren Gordon Smith

Publisher: Excessive Nuance

Pub Date: July 16, 2015

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This is the second short story collection that features horror short fiction with a rock music theme I received in the past few months. I have always enjoyed the combination. There is a lively "take no prisoner" attitude in both art forms. When it works it is fresh and magical.

But that doesn't mean it always works.

Sex Death Rock N Roll is a collection of five short stories by Staci Layne Wilson and Darren Gordon Smith.. All of them with a rock and roll theme. The first one, "Fandom/Phantom" is a collaboration. Of the other four, "Little Rosie vs The Devil" and "Depraved Indifference" are by Wilson while "In(ter)vention" and "Fishing with Grandpa" are by Smith. Most of the stories are well written and enjoyable. Yet I kept looking for the sparks I expect in this type of rock horror hybrid. Unfortunately someone forgot to light the fire. "Fandom/Phantom" has the best rock music feel to it. It is definitely not a horror tale but for what it is, a sci-fi look at the relationships between the rock idol and his admirers, it is quite touching. "Little Rosie vs the Devil" is a cute deal with the devil story that doesn't go very far in its brevity. "In(ter)vention" falls totally flat as a not very well thought out parody of addiction intervention. Then there is "Fishing with Grandpa" a sleazy story that is frankly repulsive especially considering the recent news regarding older celebrities and their manipulative sins.

That leaves "Depraved Indifference" which is the best of the lot. It is a disturbing but riveting ode to rocker suicide as it follows a man who himself is obsessed with the idea of suicide in a decidedly dangerous way. It was the one story that stayed with me after I closed the book.

Overall, I wasn't that enthused with Death Sex Rock N Roll. You get death, sex, and rock N roll, yet the three very intimate subjects never really take off with the notable exception of "Depraved Indifference". It is ironic that I would see this story as the best of the lot since its title can also be a fairly accurate description of my own feelings toward this collection.

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