The Dark Sea Within by Jason V. Brock
Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Press – Jul 2017 – 348 pages
This much-anticipated second collection by Jason V Brock fulfills the promise of his successful first volume, Simulacrum and Other Possible Realities (2013). In pieces long and short, Brock uses weirdness, fantasy, and science fiction to probe deeply into the tortuous complexities of the human condition in the face of an indifferent or malignant universe.
Such works as “Brood,” “The Shadow of Heaven,” and the title story draw upon the cosmic terror of H. P. Lovecraft, while “Transposition” adapts themes from Robert W. Chambers’s The King in Yellow in a story of medical horror. The grimness of war is the focus of “Memento Mori,” and the inexplicable power of dreams is highlighted in “A Darke Phantastique.”
This volume also features an unpublished, richly textured two-part post-apocalyptic novella, “Epistles from Dis”—a nightmarish epic that carries the reader along from beginning to end in appalled fascination. Included here are a brace of Brock’s provocative and transgressive poems, ranging from the Miltonic “Fallen: A Lament and Affirmation” to the poem cycle “Out of Their Heads,” a paean to decapitation in homage to Edgar Lee Masters (Spoon River Anthology).