Best New Horror 2003
from The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: vol. 14, edited by Stephen Jones,
2003 edition, isbn 0786712376.
They raped me and ate my friend alive.’ Thus starts this work of erotic horror fiction filled with ‘sacrilege, blasphemy, and crime’–written in a style that is part H. P. Lovecraft, part Marquis de Sade, and part Octave Mirbeau–The Cannibal Within is literally ‘wet with sin, slippery with blood, and slimy with fornication.’
The novel’s central character is part Lara Croft part Sarah Connor. She/We has a choice: the evil may be patiently borne or savagely resisted.
We may think we are special–holy, honored, valued–god’s chosen primates–but that is a fraud. The dupes of superhuman forces, we are misfits and abominations. We have no higher purpose –no savior god died for our sins–we exist, only because our masters are infatuated with our meat.
‘The Earth is a farm,’ wrote Charles Fort.
‘We are someone else’s property.’
‘–no savior god died for our sins–we exist, only because our masters are infatuated with our meat.’
‘We have a choice: the evil may be patiently borne or savagely resisted.’
‘. . .one of the most unique horror novels to come along in a long time.’ – Dark Funeral
Reviewed by Tyler Ferguson
in Dagobert’s Revenge
‘While at face value the horror fiction genre may seem to be the right label to list this book under, we may find more than fiction lying under the surface. The author, a History professor at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, OH, has created a work that can be described as terrifying, revolting, sadistic and even fascinating. I prefer to describe it as fascinatingly terrifying, revolting, sadistic and somewhat familiar in an archetypal sense. The book makes the reader want to gasp and turn away, but it appeals to one’s morbid curiosity so well that you cannot but read on, because waiting for you is a horrific reality that you pray is only fiction. And in this (hopefully) fictitious reality you will find truth and secrets you are not ready for.
On the surface the book relates an encounter between the author and a strange women who wants to tell her story. The woman, obviously disturbed, begins to recount to the author a story involving her and her friend Maddalena. The story takes place on October 13, 1972 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Readers might recognize this as a setting of other notorious paranormal occurrences. Quite literally, the woman tells of the time she met God – or gods in this case. However, these gods do not follow our common idea of what a god should be. These gods are the gods of old; the jealous, lustful rulers of a forgotten past. Maybe they are the “watchers” or the reptilian deities so many pages have been devoted to. The author doesn’t clarify this point but tells us that they are the “Master Species”, a race driven by lust and hunger. And to them, humans satisfy both desires. These monsters seduce our main character and her friend by appearing in a form that they would assuredly trust, gaining that trust until they show their true nature. This is when the horror begins.
The author spares no detail in relating what the woman told him. The monsters tortured and ate her friend while she was being raped. The author goes on to recount the years our main character spent in captivity living in a subterranean world with the beasts. He describes the society and habitat of these creatures and their true intentions. Reader beware: we are spared no savage detail. As the book ends, the author tells of his last encounter with the woman and finally we realize our own horrifying destiny.
Now we must examine what hides in the dark corners of this book. The author himelf commented that, “This book is about violation in every form. In an occult context – in a style that is part H.P. Lovecraft, part Octave Mirbeau, and part Marquis De Sade, it explores crime, depravity, and madness. Some who penetrate the darkness will find illumination; others will simply despise and judge.” Read this book for only the superficial story and you have missed it entirely. The author has hidden in the text occult philosophies that many have spent lifetimes trying to understand. I tell you to read this book with your eyes open to the mysteries that are hidden on every page. I will not spoil the quest that I am sure the author hopes we undertake, but I can tell you that in this book are hidden the secrets of some of the world’s greatest societies, ideas and truths of a forgotten time, tenets of religions long believed dead, and observations of our world many know but are afraid to face. A poet once wrote:
” I used to see forever.
My future was mine.
My ideas were powerful.
Fear and hatred changes all.
I gave a body to them
Their return was a corpse.
Promises that never spoke.
But give more, they ask.
More of my death, which they began.
Do they always empty your head?
What gods that came for love
Then killed for selfish lust.
Lust, that is what they had.
Humans, the food that satisfies the thankless gods.”
I highly recommend adding The Cannibal Within to your occult collection. Place it on a shelf alongside Alcheishe Bruiloft van Christiaan Rozenkruis and read it in the same manner.’
Click on the banner above for more information and an extract featured on Mark L. Mirabello’s website, you will also find great resources for the dark side and the unusual.