UNFORTUNATE ELEMENTS OF MY ANATOMY
Published by The Seventh Terrace / Available May 2021
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
Overview: Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy isHailey Piper’s debut collection, featuring eighteen stories. Though most of these shorts have appeared elsewhere, two are brand new. The closing entry is also a never-before-published novelette. If you don’t get around much with anthologies (there are many in the horror community, to be fair) or fiction-hosting magazines, then chances are all of this material will be fresh for you (as it was for me)!
The Good: Let’s briefly cover my favorite entries:
- “Feast for Small Pieces” is poetic and gruesome, bringing to mind Sara Tantlinger.
- “The Law of Conservation of Death” has a haunting concept that travels through the ages – “…when you’ve begun to claw at your skin – how can he touch you if there’s no skin? – they accuse you of madness…” was probably my favorite line of this collection.
- “Candyland” is weird and creepy. I would love to explore this world further, as it made my guts twist and my mind curious.
- “Aggressive Mimicry” is a sad story about a heart being pulled apart. I was a bit crushed when Omar reveals why he’s brought Miguel to the pond.
- “Crones in Their Larval State” has a great premise. This short feels like the opening scene to a novel I would like to see Piper write.
- “Hairy Jack” is a cool and intriguing blend of science-fiction and witchcraft.
- “We All Scream” was really odd and unnerving.
- “The Burning of the Blueberries” was interesting and fantastical, yet played almost quietly.
- “Recitation of the First Feeding” is an emotional, thought-provoking, twisted, and wonderfully entertaining novelette.
The Bad: There are a few stories I didn’t like for one reason or another. I also felt like some of the witch stories should have been spread apart some; they felt back-to-back.
The Takeaway: Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy is poignant, terrifying, and darkly creative! This hefty collection proves Piper’s talent with ease, solidifying her as a rising giant in the horror community.
File Under: Short Stories, Story Collections, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Horror, Speculative Fiction, Queer Fiction
Also See: The Worm and His Kings … The Possession of Natalie Glasgow … Benny Rose, the Cannibal King