It’s difficult to write anything new in horror. Many readers have grown jaded from a lifetime of reading and television and movies. They’re seen it all and read it all. It’s the smart writer that understands that and, instead of ignoring it, embraces such a history. Jason V. Brock is one such writer.
In his new novella, MILTON’S CHILDREN, Brock evokes echoes of many that have come before. There is Poe here, some Lovecraft, winks and nods to films like KING KONG and even a taste of William Hope Hodgson. When you hear about an Arctic expedition, you can’t help but think of AT THE MOUNTAIN OF MADNESS and even THE THING. Normally, such a comparison would come up lacking for the new material but Brock manages to capitalize on that shared expectation and expand it. Unlike other authors who might downplay such echoes, Brock not only accepts them but points them out as well.
The best weird fiction isn’t just about something ‘horrific’. It has several layers that enhance the reading experience and invite multiple re-readings. MILTON’S CHILDREN is such a work. While, at its heart, it is an adventure story about men facing unbelievable terrors, it is also an allegory about man and his place, not just in the universe, but on this planet he claims to own.
MILTON’S CHILDREN is an energetic story that keeps the reader moving quickly, giving them just enough time to let an idea sink in before launching into the next one. It is a tale not to be missed by true lovers of weird literature and one that will stay with you long after the last sentence is read. And in the end, that is the best and truest test.
The basic scenario is one that would be familiar to most fans of Hodgson’s work: expedition/ship comes across island with strange creatures. What Brock does with that concept makes MILTON’S CHILDREN truly unique and sure to be enjoyed by fans of WHH.
MILTON’S CHILDREN is available from Bad Moon Books and can be ordered here. I highly recommend it and Brock’s many other works as well.