For Those Who Dream of Monsters REVIEWFor Those Who Dream of Monsters by Anna Taborska
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Mortbury Press on 31st October 2013
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Ghost Fiction, Urban Gothic
Pages: 212
Format: eARC
Source: Advanced Reviewer's Copy
Goodreads
Amazon UKAmazon US four-half-stars
What are you afraid of? What are you haunted by? What waits for you in the dark? Face your fears and embark on a journey to the dark side of the human condition. Defy the demons that prey on you and the cruel twists of fate that destroy what you hold most dear. A sadistic baker, a psychopathic physics professor, wolves, werewolves, cannibals, Nazis, devils, serial killers, ghosts and other monsters will haunt you long after you finish reading FOR THOSE WHO DREAM MONSTERS by Anna Taborska
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For Those Who Dream of Monsters REVIEW

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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, Mortbury Press).

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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.

Urthwild

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FOR THOSE WHO DREAM MONSTERS
The debut collection by Anna Taborska
With an introduction and illustrations by Reggie Oliver
Cover art by Steve Upham
CONTENTS
Introduction
Schrödinger’s Human
Little Pig
Fish
Buy a Goat for Christmas
Cut!
Arthur’s Cellar 
The Apprentice
The Girl in the Blue Coat
A Tale of Two Sisters:
I. Rusalka
II. First Night
Halloween Lights
The Coffin
The Creaking
Dirty Dybbuk
Underbelly
Tea with the Devil
Elegy
Bagpuss

four-half-stars

About Anna Taborska

Anna Taborska

Anna was born in London, England. She studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and went on to gainful employment in public relations, journalism and advertising, before throwing everything over to become a filmmaker and horror writer.
Anna has directed two short films (Ela and The Sin), two documentaries (My Uprising and A Fragment of Being) and a one-hour television drama (The Rain Has Stopped), which won two awards at the British Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2009. 
She has also worked on seventeen other films, including Ben Hopkins’ Simon Magus (starring Noah Taylor and Rutger Hauer).
Anna worked as a researcher and assistant producer on several BBC television programmes, including the series Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution and World War Two: Behind Closed Doors – Stalin, the Nazis and the West.
Anna’s feature length screenplays include: Chainsaw, The Camp, Pizzaman and The Bloody Tower.
Short screenplays include: Little Pig (finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival Screenplay Competition 2009), Curious Melvin and Arthur’s Cellar.
Recently published short stories include: ‘Buy a Goat for Christmas’ (Best New Werewolf Tales Vol.1, 2012), ‘Etude’ (This Hermetic Legislature: A Homage to Bruno Schulz, 2012), ‘Tea with the Devil’ (Strange Halloween, 2012), ‘Cut!’ (The Screaming Book of Horror, 2012), and five stories published in The Black Book of Horror, volumes 5-9 (2009-2012).
Anna’s short story ‘Bagpuss’ was an Eric Hoffer Award Honoree and was published in Best New Writing 2011, and her story ‘Little Pig’ from The Eighth Black Book of Horror was a runner up for the Abyss Awards 2011 and was picked for The Best New Horror of the Year Volume Four (2012).
Poems include ‘Mrs. Smythe regrets going to the day spa’ (Christmas: Peace on All The Earths, 2010), ‘Song for Maud’ (No Fresh Cut Flowers, An Afterlife Anthology, 2010) and three poems in WHAT FEARS BECOME: An Anthology from the Horror Zine, 2011.
Anna’s debut short story collection, FOR THOSE WHO DREAM MONSTERS, was published in November 2013 by Mortbury Press, with a novelette collection planned for release in late 2014.

Rating Report
Plot
4.5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Pace
5 Stars
Cover
4.5 Stars
Ending
4.5 Stars
Overall: 4.7 / 5
Summary
Reviewer
Urthwild
Review Date
Reviewed Item
For Those Who Dream of Monsters Book
Author Rating
4

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urthwild

Reviewer of speculative fiction.
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