Thirty stories dedicated to violations of the human body, including works by Red Lagoe, Tabatha Wood, Madeleine Swann, Laurel Hightower, Sara Tantlinger, and a whole lot more.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
Twisted Anatomy comes from the Sci-Fi & Scary review site, consisting of thirty stories brimming with ick and ew. If the human body already disgusts you, just wait until you delve into what these authors have to offer with their copious amounts of gore and body horror. I’d consider myself the target audience due to my particular tastes, therefore many of the stories appealed to me, even moving me with their deeper meaning – yes, it’s possible for a beautiful idea to include stomach-churning content. There were still a few misses along the way, but it was to be expected with such a large variety. What’s even more great, is that all profits from the book are donated to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, as well as the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
The Flavour of Life by Ian Fortey depicted a horrific transformation after an unfortunate dip, while the oddly beautiful Witness Bearer by R.J. Joseph told of a girl with thousands of eyes. Cul-De-Sac of the Affected by Madeleine Swann stood out as memorable due to its grotesque yet touching community, and Prey Eyes by Nick Stefan took the reforming of criminals to the next level. These are only a few I enjoyed, it’d be too much to list every single one. Just trust me, if you like being grossed out, then look no further.
My top three:
Blood Bogged by Red Lagoe – A biblical-level flow that she imagined would drown the world if it didn’t stop.
Erin struggles with a great deal of pain, her body desperate to expel her trauma. The bloodiest and most disgusting story of all, but not because of its subject matter – consider me well versed in the gory details of menstruation. It was the level of writing and sheer volume, every description leaving little to the imagination. It’s not often that I come across any mention of women having their periods in what I read, even when the main character is female, almost like it’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge. Lagoe more than made up for that, though.
Little Teeth by Tabatha Wood – They were there, in her bones, waiting to erupt.
Katy discovers a lump in her mouth, which leads to an urgent dental appointment. Everyone has nightmares about teeth, right? I know I do, mostly about losing them, while this one shot to the opposite extreme. I couldn’t look away from the page, morbid fascination taking over. What began as a mild irritation for the main character turned deliciously dark, with an ending that left me wanting more.
All in Your Head by Steve DeGroof – They followed him wherever he went, burrowing into his skull, tormenting him.
A sound only he can hear disrupts Isaac’s idyllic life with his wife. This one went places, and despite catching on fairly quickly as to what was happening, I still enjoyed it a great deal. It had a solid idea that was well executed, so much so that the concept struck me as something that could be suited to a full-length novel. It’s also an example of how diverse the anthology was.
In conclusion: There’s a lot of ways the human body can be used as a means to disturb and horrify, and the anthology by Sci-Fi & Scary, aptly named Twisted Anatomy, takes advantage of just that. With eyes, teeth, mouths, tentacles, foreskin and vaginas, it was a lot to swallow, yet worth it if being disgusted is your jam.
© Red Lace 2021