Black Pockets and Other Dark Thoughts by George Zebrowski
|She asked, "Didn't you love me?"|
Bruno said, "There are some people you want to fuck, and other's you don't. It wears off."
Black Pockets and Other Dark Thoughts is a collection of short horror work from George Zebrowski. Mostly known for his science fiction novels Macrolife and Brute Orbits, Zebrowski slips on the horror hat impeccably with Black Pockets. He accomplishes the trick by never really changing what it is he is writing about -- people.
Hearkening back to the days of horror comic books and youthful conceptualizations of new and unique super powers, Black Pockets is both incredibly fun and eerily familiar. There is not overly much terror per se, but there are quite a few moments where the dark thoughts you'd never utter aloud are shockingly displayed on the page before you. It's disconcerting, thought-provoking, chock full of neat ideas, and overall a very good collection.
I believe the strongest story in this collection to be The Wish In The Fear. A man, Frank, is having a hard time keeping other peoples thoughts out of his head, to the point where he has a hard time figuring out which thoughts are his own, and which are unwelcome invaders. This confusion, this paranoia, manifests itself in Frank foundering into dementia, and the ride is well worth the price of admission.
The headlining story, Black Pockets, tells the story of Bruno, an everyman downtrodden by a lifelong bully. Bruno is given a secret power to gain revenge upon any person who has done him harm, but the benefactor of this gift is the very bully he most wishes to exorcise. Any sort of revenge is available to him -- except for that which he most yearns for. It's a neat story with creepy underpinnings, but the ending is very Stephen King's It-like. (As in, it pretty much ruined the tale for me.)
Black Pockets and Other Dark Thoughts was published by Golden Gryphon Press, the seeming heirs to Arkham House, and this collection certainly reads like it was published by Arkham. In a mostly good way.
George Zebrowski is somewhat collectible, though fans of starship sagas rarely translate to fans of horror, and so this book might not hit a chord with his fanbase. Either way though, this book, like all Golden Gryphon Press books, had a limited press run. (In this case, it was 2000 copies)
There were and are a lot of collector's whose goal was/is to collect every book ever printed by Arkham House. I foresee the same for Golden Gryphon in the future, and if that is true, this book will certainly be collectible. Just how collectible and in how much demand, is a very good question that I am unable to answer.