When it comes to horror for me as a genre, what I find infinitely more effective than pure scariness is in fact the unnerving; the unsettling and the disturbing. Things which may not actually be frightening as such, but which crawl into the dark corners of your mind and stay there for much longer. Tales from the Lake is such an anthology, and the short story format is always fantastic for this genre, because the length of each story leaves so much unresolved, and in many ways, the unresolved issues are the most disturbing.
What is also appealing about TFTL is the labour of love taken by its authors and editors in the creation and selection of the pieces involved. You can really feel the personal touch in involving so many talented up and coming authors. Such a tone is of course the result of the smaller scale publishing involved, but I for one enjoy it very much.
What is also appealing is the range of topic that are part of this genre being involved. We have body horror in one story; cursed theme parks in another; purely unexplainable Invasion of the Body Snatchers-esque events in another; and even some local flavor in the form of Sergio Pereira’s tale of a coven of witches located at an abandoned Capetonian hospital.
I kept on wishing intently that I could have stayed in the world these stories created, even if they were disturbing and upsetting, just because there always seemed to be so much more lurking behind the surface, waiting to be revealed. The range of cultural backgrounds visible in the stories also makes them refreshingly diverse, and the arrangement of stories is always well-selected to avoid boredom.
I’m very eager to see what the team behind Tales From The Lake brings out next in the volumes to come, as I feel they are honouring the spirit of the weird and terrifying in the best way possible.