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Lesser Demons

Posted by Steve the Bookstore Guy On Monday, August 16, 2010

Since starting this review blog, we have noticed a huge increase in the amount of short fiction that has made its way onto our bookshelves. This is a good thing. We have held the opinion for a long time that short fiction was evil, and in many cases this is still true. However when Subterranean Press puts a collection together, the results are always (at least so far!) fantastic. We got our hands on the recent release of the collection LESSER DEMONS by Norman Partridge, and absolutely loved the Horror stories inside.

LESSER DEMONS collects some of Partridge’s stories from the past few years, as well as a brand new one. Here are a few of the highlights:

“Second Chance” is a doppelganger story, and the leading story of the collection. It was quite enjoyable, though if you are looking for a concrete explanation as to the “how” and the “what” at the end you’ll probably be disappointed. Stop thinking so hard. Geez.

“The Big Man” is a story about the after-effects of nuclear testing. Naturally from the title, the main point of the story is a giant man. Like a lot of Partridge’s short fiction, there is an Old West feel to them (regardless of the actual era when the stories take place). A solid story that feels like it belongs in an old pulp Horror magazine.

“Lessor Demons” is, obviously, the story the compilation the story was named after. It is also perhaps the best story of the collection, and one of our favorite entries into short Horror fiction. We’d kill for a full-length novel set in this world. It feels like a zombie novel, but these things aren’t zombies. They are WAAAY better. Completely awesome.

“The House Inside” feels like the Horror version of Toy Story, only where all humans are dead. It was one of the most fun stories in the collection.

“The Iron Dead” is a bizarre Horror/Diesel-Punk hybrid that had our imaginations racing. We wish we’d thought of it. We also wish there was a novel based on the ideas here. This story, along with “Lesser Demons”, were the A+ stories. Phenomenal.

Now, like all collections, there was one or stories that just didn’t click for us. “The Fourth Stair up from the Second Landing” was that story for us. It just didn’t work in our opinions. But neither was it enough to hurt the overall collection of works.

At the end of the collection is an explanation by Partridge about writing short stories, and a “where these stories came from” detail. It seems like Sub. Press includes these in a lot of their compilations, and we love them. They should be required in every short fiction publication.

Now, one thing you have to understand about LESSOR DEMONS is that many of the stories leave a lot of questions open. For Horror, we think this is important. We don’t want all the questions answered. We don’t want all the mysteries uncovered. Don’t show us the monster. Partridge does this extremely well. He wants the imagination of the reader to take hold. Just keep that in mind when you are reading; the mystery is a lot of enjoyment.

This was our first exposure to Partridge’s work, and we are impressed. At 280 pages, this collection is completely worth your time and money. You may want to head over to Subterranean Press and grab a copy before they are all gone.

Recommended Age: 16 and up.
Language: There is some, and it can be strong, but it doesn’t saturate any of the stories.
Violence: Yeah. It’s pretty well done too.
Sex: None shown, but some hinted at.


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