Original short stories steeped in creepiness, unease and the horror of The Abject are at the heart of a new anthology released on the 29 October, edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page, and published with Manchester’s Comma Press. The New Abject is a highly-anticipated sequel to Comma Press’ sell-out horror anthology 'The New Uncanny' (winner of the Shirley Jackson Award 2008) and features newly commissioned stories by both acclaimed and debut authors: distinct voices sure to thrill. It is available to pre-order here.
But what is The Abject? The term derives from a psychoanalytic theory of horror developed by the critic and philosopher Julia Kristeva (author of Powers of Horror). It describes the sense that we have lost something of ourselves, lost what we once were – the distinction between ‘self’ and ‘other’ may break down, and meaning falls into question. To be faced with the reality of this can be terrifying… and that is the horror of The Abject.
Corpses, wounds, body horror, dirt and decay are all examples of fearsome things that present us with The Abject… reminders of own mortality, the awareness that something we can become disgusting, even horrific, to ourselves. In The New Abject stories from a range of authors including Mark Haddon, Lucie McKnight Hardy, Ramsey Campbell and Lara Williams explore this evocative angle of horror; with tales taking on everything from obsessively plucking body hair to a society of ‘the Wretched’ and ‘the Treated’. It is part of Part of Comma Press’ wider Modern Horror series.
Some stories take the form of a series of short sharp shocks, others are more of a slow burn – all are meticulously crafted. Other authors featured are Alan Beard, Bernardine Bishop, David Constantine, Margaret Drabble, Saleem Haddad, Mark Haddon, Maeve Haughey, Adam Marek, Christine Poulson, Sarah Schofield, Paul Theroux, and Gerard Woodward… highlighting a fascinating range of approaches and encounters within.
As The New Abject follows on from award-winning The New Uncanny –which included the story ‘Possum’ by Matthew Holness, now a major motion picture – cutting-edge stories with captivating content can be expected. It is also an opportunity to explore another side to horror, through one its most provocative, potent and powerful forms.
Whether on the lookout for bold short stories, a horror fan, or just interested in an anthology of something different, 'The New Abject' is likely to enchant a range of readers. Stay updated via the Comma Press website: https://commapress.co.uk/books/the-new-abject
By Emily Oldfield