REVIEW BY JOHN BODEN
An anthology of stories that all concern transmissions and signals--radio, television, computer--the only premise missing here is a haunted hearing aid. These stories are wide-reaching in scope and theme but the common thread of them all is they're unsettling.
After a keenly insightful introduction by Scott Nicolay, we get going with the stories, opening with a tale by a man who has created an entire mythos around the theme of otherworldly radio and awkward audio, Matthew Bartlett. His tale (or tales as he has two present in Lost Signals) "If He Summons His Hero" is the story of a boy and his new friend, a strange kid with a large radio. They both give in to the siren's call of the boom box and follow it to very dark places. "Transmission" by T.E. Grau is a tale of a man not quite certain if he's running away or toward the blackness that is encroaching upon him. "Sharks With Thumbs" is a gritty and wild slice of modern paranoia served up as only David James Keaton can.
"How The Light Gets In" by Michael Paul Gonzalez is a powerful beast of a story, dealing with a couple--one a photographer--who detour from their vacation to take in a place of rumored weirdness. There is supposed to be a tear in the sky and once they reach their destination, they discover that to be true and that a rip is another word for a door. George Cotronis tells a tale of distance and loss and sadness with his short "Darkhorse Actual", wherein a group of soldiers are confronted with their personal ghosts but some real ones as well. "Rosabelle Believe" by Amanda Hard is a tale worthy of a Bradbury nod, when he was at his darkest. A man grows concerned with his sons growing interest in an old ham radio set, especially when all the boy does is scribble numbers of code every waking moment...
Gabino Iglesias appears with a story entitled "The last Scream" about a college assignment presentation that goes horribly awry. Artist/author Dyer Wilk tells us the terrible tale behind "The Man In Room 603." We end the collection on a story by James Newman, "Something In The Code" which, is like nothing I have ever read before...and we'll leave it at that. This story is like a hidden track on a cd, appearing only after the others have been read and you've waded through the "About the authors" section.
I could easily have touched on all of the stories here, as they ere all great and effective, but I try to keep these short as the average person only has an attention span of about two minutes. Lost Signals is a strong anthology, with a strong premise. The writer's gathered are some of the best we've seen in the last decade, as well as plenty of fresh faces. With a roster that includes folks like Damien Angelica Walters, John Foster, Betty Rocksteady, Christopher Slatsky and so many others, how can you go wrong?
Max Booth III and Lori Michelle has done a wonderful job of executing and stitching this monster together. You want something that will get under your skin, something that will stick in your mind and make you think twice about turning on the radio on a long night drive--this is that something.
Lost Signals is available from Perpetual Motion Machine Press