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B. Horror and Other Stories

144 pp.
ISBN 0-942979-62-1 (Cloth); 0-942979-61-3 (Pap.)
Livingston Press 1999

Has Robert's bride forsaken her self just as the mummy did for the Egyptian princess? Or will a prenuptial facelift convince her that even swamps and wild mushrooms are better alternatives? Will an older brother pull his younger sister from withdrawal by mimicking Godzilla? Or are there depths that even "Big Greenie" cannot swim? Do werewolves really lurk a Lituanian village? Or do buzzing, vintage WWII fighters planes remind us that terrors infinitely more horrible than Hollywood stalk us yet? In Wendall Mayo's second story collection, we probe what lies behind the dailyness of life, often through B. horror movie images and plots. Not all of these stories are dark, however. In the playful "Who Made You," the Baltimore Catechism's rote question-and-answer sessions offer an unexpected anchor to a couple on the verge of financial disaster. And even the title story, "B. Horror," leaves a whimsical, idyllic Frankenstein poised before his infamous, well with an equally idyllic young "girl" forever reaching to soothe his aching scars. Dark or light, Mayo's skein of words will thread through insistently, beautifully, and poignantly.


"When I get home the sub is cold anyway. I put it in the microwave a minute; I start laughing. At first it feels good to laugh. I am laughing at Robert and his weird Bride. Then I realize I am alone, laughing. I mean I am alone, and laughing about Robert's Bride, and I don't feel bad or anything, just scared--I continue to laugh because I am scared--and I get more scared as time passes, laughing the way you do when you're really frightened by something, like a shadow or a noise, then the earthly reason for the apparition appears, like a cat, or a book slumping over in the library and hitting the floor--and you're relieved because it was only some object, or thing, or a cat--but you're still laughing and scared at what it might have been. Something ghastly. Something that's dead and alive at the same time. Like Robert's Bride."


"Beguiling ... Mayo, in his third book, demonstrates that 'horror' can mean something as simple as fear and apprehension, and in patient, sharp prose, he pushes his characters into small psychic duels, where people come close to understanding each other but can't--or won't--get there ... There's no need for standard B movie tropes--Roger Corman's buckets of blood, Ed Wood's bad lighting--to shock the reader here. In Mayo's world, each character already wears a cheap, unconvincing mask; that these disguises hew so close to reality is terrifying enough." - The New York Times Book Review

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