For Those Who Dream Monsters

For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska For Those Who Dream of Monsters, is a collection of short stories by Anna Taborska, and illustrated in turn by artist Reggie Oliver, who also provides the introduction.

(Incidentally, the illustrated prints accompanying each story are available to purchase from the publisher's website.

It is clear from the offset that Anna possesses an eye for rich cinematic composition and it is not surprising that she has a dual career in film as a director, script writer and as a short story writer. Each piece is evocative, conjuring up some fairly vivid visual imagery. Not content with keeping us in the same location Anna takes us on a seesaw tour around the world and through the centuries, from the London tube to a small village in a war torn country in Africa. From Poland during World War 2, to modern Poland and medieval England.

This collection of 18 stories contains death, revenge, sadness and betrayal, despair, also loss, madness, companionship, longing, fear, abandonment, and just pure evil. Whilst all of the stories have some degree of darkness in common, they are not all horror stories.

'Your mother sucks cocks in hell', a quote from the film the exorcist, is probably one of the most unfriendly things you could ever learn to say when mastering a new language, but it does not stop Pierre the stubborn blacksmith. In, 'Buy A Goat For Christmas' when his tiny African village is gifted a werewolf, stubborn Pierre's flair for languages may just come in handy.

In 'Fish', Harry Tomlinson's fear is quickly banished and he is remarkably accepting of his new predicament, which is beyond horrific, with surprising stoicism and schadenfreude, when he realizes just what he is now capable of.

'The Coffin', and 'The Creaking', and 'A Tale of Two Sisters: Rusalka', are three excellent tales in the vein of terrifying traditional fairy tales, with foreshadowing, premonition and ghostly embraces.

I thought that the very first story in the collection, 'Schrodinger's Human', was the sort of story that would have been filmed by the iconic British film studio Hammer, if they were still in existence. Nonchalant and superior, cats often have the upper paw in their dealings with humans and Schrodinger is not different to any other cat in that respect. However, unlike other cats, he is not a fan of the normal processed fare available to domestic felines.

Schrodinger, might have found a friend in, 'Underbelly', which was compellingly macabre, and terrifying at the same time. Just how far would you go to take away the pain?

My favourite story by far was in fact the previously unpublished, 'Dirty Dybbuk', a non-horror, (depending on which character you are), horror tale, in which a young woman is possessed by the spirit of her late aunt. Filled with wry humour this story caught hold of and rigorously, but delightfully shook my funny bone and for me it ended all too soon. Whilst all of the stories were excellent I would have loved to have seen this particular one develop into a novella.

A special mention to the incredibly sad, 'The Girl in the Blue Coat'.

The book's guest introduction was spot on, wow she's good.

When I grow up I am going to write just like Anna Taborska, (of course I am already over 100 years young).

The book was provided by the publisher Mortbury Press in exchange for an honest review.