Full disclosure: Mr. Taylor and I are colleagues, and he was kind enough to lend me some great advice about fight scenes for my last novel. That said, I generally follow the old Charles DeLint rule of only reviewing stuff I dig.
And I dug S. Boyd Taylor’s “Teddy Bears and Tea Parties,” for the whopping sum of .99 cents!
Like a maniacal Ray Bradbury, Taylor shoots us a dreamy, spongy nightmare tale of a young girl hunting for her sister in a mimetic world that has melted into the dark dreams of children, with armies of teddy bears that bleed jelly under the control of a man known as Hymn. Much more violent than Bradbury’s stuff, and with a surrealist twist, it’s a wicked horror story that not only evokes the mood of “strange” but does so with great word choice. It feels like you’ve slipped into a little pocket world of bizarre, like Carrol’s Alice stories or the short work of John Collier and some of Al Sarrantonio’s work. It actually had the same “wow” factor, and similar vibe, to Sarrantonio’s’s first story in his collection ToyBox, a real gem called “Pumpkin Head.” And like reading Toybox, I wished there was another story after “Teddy Bears and Tea Parties,” ready to give me another dose of weird, vibrant horror.
If you like your horror with a glass of strange, this story is more than worth the price of admission.