Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beneath the Ziggurat [Short Story Review]

Genre - Horror/Short Story
Year Published - 2017
Length - 24 (digital) pages
Written by David Dubrow

Rating: Near Perfect!

Plot Summary:
Beneath the Ziggurat takes the reader on a Lovecraftian journey through pre-Columbian Mexico, where dread lurks behind every step of rainforest and the old gods still hold terrible sway. Descend into a nightmare of brutal Spanish conquistadors, bizarre aboriginal tribes, and unspeakable alien horrors in a tale that David Angsten, author of Dark Gold and Night of the Furies lauded as “an instant, timeless, phantasmagoric classic.”

Does anyone remember, years ago, there was a book publisher that had stickers on the front of select books that stated, "Guaranteed to love this book or your money back"? (I only remember maybe 3 or 4 books having that sticker, and I remember all of them being good books.)
Anyway, Dubrow could slap one of those stickers on this story and not have to worry about losing a dime!

I started this one last night, after putting the kids to bed, and completely lost myself for the next 30 minutes or so!
This book has solidified the fact that I absolutely love a great first-person narrative!

Check out this out: (the opening page of the story - used with permission, of course)

"My hands shake, but that is due to age. As my life creeps toward its end, the fear that has gripped me for decades has loosed its fingers. See you the splashes of ink, the words that meander upon the page? As I said, it is age. I will die soon. I should have no more to fear. Matlaltemoc was the name given me on the fourth day after I emerged from my mother’s womb, shrieking as all newborns do in confusion, terror, and loss. The date was 6 Acatl 1 Ehecatl 11 Malinalli, or, as Friar Rodrigo would have it, April 15, in the Year of Our Lord 1511."

Does that not completely thrust you, immediately, into the life of Matlaltemoc?
After this, you will learn that Matlaltemoc (Mateo for short), a Tlaxcalan, Mexican Indian, is being forced on a quest set in motion by Tezcatlipoca, a dark Aztec god of terror and evil.

As I was reading this, it brought to mind how I felt when I first discovered Burroughs - the narrative is that good!

Dubrow's writing brings a kind of melodic fluidity to the narrative. (I kept reading segments aloud, much to my wife's dismay) Dubrow leaves the graphicness of certain situations to your own imagination, and the story is better for it.

I honestly do not see a way that this story could be improved - it is that good!

This is the stand-alone short story to beat this year, and I am not sure that it will be.


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