As most of you probably know, we launched the Dreadful Tales Book of the Month Club, a book club for macabre maniacs hosted by The Mortuary, this past April with a reading of Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!. This short story anthology was initially on my radar because it included “Paraphilia” by one of my favorite authors, Lisa Mannetti, but it turned out to be a perfect collection for a horror book club, wonderfully morbid with widely diverse content. Zippered Flesh, edited by Weldon Burge and published by Smart Rhino Publications, contains 20 short stories by genre veterans and relative unknowns, but all share one common theme: (as you may have guessed) body enhancements.
Undoubtedly, each reader has their own expectation of what constitutes body enhancement and how that will be presented in Zippered Flesh, but you will find there are more imaginative horrors to body modification than strangely placed tattoos, piercings, or plastic surgery for wannabe Barbies.
One woman tries to become the ultimate sex object in Graham Masterton’s aptly titled “Sex Object.” Don’t be fooled though, this story isn’t concerned with ridiculously large breast implants or liposuction; rather we are introduced to a doctor that “used his surgical genius to create such erotic aberrations…”
There are historical pieces, like the deadly delights on the high seas in Elliot Capon’s “By Hook” and P.I. Barrington’s “Independence Day.” A couple stories present frighteningly realistic psychopaths while others still exist in the supernatural realm of our darkest fantasies.
Zippered Flesh features psychological drama with an unbelievable twist like Charles Colyott’s “Comfort;” straight science fiction, for example in “Unplugged” by Adrienne Jones; and future worlds offering body modification to unbelievable extremes like Jonathan Templar’s darkly humorous “Marvin’s Angry Angel.” This is a truly exceptional collection of stories sure to hit the hot spot of any horror fiction fan. Almost every tale is burned into my memory and with 20 entries that is phenomenal.
I could go on and on about how wonderful this collection is, and I do along with Jason Darrick in our Zippered Flesh podchat.
Be warned, there could be cursing, bad grammar, mispronunciation of author names and just regular English words! Please send all hate mail or complaints to the head of our complaint department, Jason Darrick. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook. Direct all compliments to the head of the compliment department, me (Meli)! You can post praise and romantic flourishes here or here. We can also be reached at dreadfultales AT gmail DOT com.
(If you are interested in joining the book club, we are currently wrapping up Greg Lamberson’s zombie road novella Carnage Road. This is a short one, so a great time to start. We’re discussing the book here.)