Back to Japan! So, a few weeks ago, my friend Edward Lipsett over at Kurodahan Press asked me to get Master of the Uncanny into the hands of a few reviewers, I said sure, of course and as a thank you, he sent me a few books.
Guys, if you know anything about me, I am a complete and utter sucker for weird and horror fiction written between 1920-1940. It’s a weakness, a disease, a need. On top of that, you may know that I have been explicitly seeking horror written by Japanese authors that focus around the time period of the Samurai.
Okamoto Kido was a young man at the end of the Edo period and grew up in the first days of the Meiji era. Meaning that he was smack dab in the waning days of the Samurai, something that figures into many of his stories. These stories are all at once a lesson in actual Japanese history penned by an artist who was witnessing it, and a brilliant collection of stories in the same vein as the pulp writers of the time period that I love so much.
I wrote about the cultural differences in American and Japanese horror literature a bit already, but it is even more pronounced in Master of the Uncanny. Each story is subtle, blending slice of life with tiny backdrops of supernatural elements that could almost be thought to be coincidence.
The smallness of the supernatural elements, combined with the often tragic events of their passing leaves one cold, uncertain, afraid. This book was a tall glass of water for my throat that was parched for subtle and sublime horror. I absolutely recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys understated and masterful weird fiction.