Book Review: The Collection - Bentley Little

The Collection by Bentley Little

ISBN: 0-451-20609-6
Published by: Signet
Reading Time Four Days (27/02/2009 to 02/03/2009)

With 32 short stories and 452 pages we can get a big picture what’s Bentley Little all about.
Some of the stories are not that scary, some are just plain dull, others are strange as hell (who would come up with that?) and others are pretty good. I have only read before The Association from Bentley Little and I was a surprise with him. He is good horror writer. I am now reading The Walking.
One thing I must say…. He is prolific and can write horror stories about anything.
Little leaves his readers to make connections at the end of each piece of their own. I think this adds to the stories's intrigue. They are disturbing, demented and twisted, just the cup of poison Horror Aficionados desire!

Now about the stories…

The Sanctuary - Here Little attempts to understand what goes on behind the closed doors of the fanatically religious.
The Woods Be Dark – Homage to William Faulkner. Little manages to capture the spirit of Faulkner’s Gothicism, if not (thankfully) his turgid prose.
The Phonebook Man – Persistence
Estoppel - a man has to control his speech or the world around him and his role in it changes
The Washingtonians - the facts of American history are government controlled
Life With Father - recycling carried into the Twilight Zone
Bob – Mistakes leads on!
Bumblebee – Evil Town
Lethe Dreams
Paperwork – Paper is ev!il
The Idol - James Dean still gets the girls
Skin – It gets you chicken skin.
The Man In The Passenger Seat - is one of those quirky pieces based on the human tendency to imagine lives for strangers we see in passing. It was occasioned after Little spied a sinister looking transient on the street and speculated how he would react if the man walked over and sat down in his car, demanding to be taken somewhere.
Comes The Bad Time – She will never leave us!
Against The Pale Sand – Aliens? Strange tale…
The Pond – Old and new dreams of a new and old Man.
Roomates - desperation makes for some strange bedfellows
Llama – Numerology to extreme.
Full Moon On Death Row – Indians meet horror tale.
The Show - Come one! Come all! See someone snuffed LIVE at The Show!
The Mailman – The Dwarf cometh. How deep people go with their fears… How sick are Dwarves with their goldie.
Monteith - Is another of these stories where the author attempts to project his imagination beyond closed doors. The title of the story refers to a mysterious word a husband finds scrawled on a notepad after coming home early one day. The word causes him to ponder the eternal male question: just what does my wife do with herself all day while I’m away at work? Of course, housework and child care couldn’t possibly be sufficient to consume anyone’s day.
Pillow Talk - Erotic Fleece
Maya's Mother - Be careful whose daughter you mess with!
Colony - Winning the American Revolution was a publicity stunt, forcing the US presidents to go along with the lie! Tea anyone?
Confessions of a Corporate Man - How fierce can business man be.
Blood – Some food will kill you.
And Here I am, Fighting With Ghosts - How to draw dreams… Dreams are strange. This story is strange. This story are several dreams…
The Baby – Kill, Baby, Twisted Mind.
Coming Home Again – Loves makes you do things you can’t imagine.
The Potato – I like potatos but from now on I will stick my fork before eating one…. Good story.
The Murmurous Haunt of Flies – Death suits you fine.

The stories are full of satire and humor. Two stories are about history (my favourite subject) and carry the pessimistic view about accepted knowledge. What we see as a fact but sometimes historical lies are necessary to cover something horrible or terrifying. The stories are Colony and The Washingtonians. Other subject he writes about is about when we take things to far. (ex. Life with Father.)

Highlights: The Sanctuary; The Phonebook Man; Estoppel; The Washingtonians; Life With Father; Bob; The Idol; The Man In The Passenger Seat; Roomates; Numerology; The Mailman; Pillow Talk; Maya's Mother; Colony; Confessions of a Corporate Man. (Almost half of them are pretty good)

I would advise to anyone to read horror and/or dark humor. If you’re already a Bentley Little fan, you’ll enjoy The Collection , his second book of short stories. Little's tales are evocative of Rod Serling’s writing in that everyday life can have hidden, sinister undertones. Those familiar with Little’s numerous novels will already know that this sort of “horrors of everyday life” theme is what he does best.
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