The Black Maybe: Liminal Tales written by Attila Veres and translated by Luca Karafiáth
Paperback – Valancourt Books – 2022 – 310 pages
Every so often a new horror writer bursts onto the scene with a book that is so dazzlingly original, so bone-chillingly terrifying, that it instantly alters the landscape of contemporary horror fiction. Hungarian author Attila Veres’ debut collection The Black Maybe is one of those books.
This volume collects ten of his best tales in English for the first time, ranging from weird fiction like ‘In the Snow, Sleeping’, in which a couple’s vacation to a health spa erodes into a surreal nightmare, to folk horror like ‘Return to the Midnight School’, in which the things that emerge from the soil in one rural farming community are bizarre and horrific, to Lovecraft-inspired tales like ‘Multiplied by Zero’, written as a wry travelogue in which a man sets out on a deadly holiday tour to explore Lovecraftian landscapes.
And in the title story ‘The Black Maybe’, which Steve Rasnic Tem calls ‘one of the weirdest tales I’ve read in years’, a girl and her family escape the bustling city to experience farm life, only to discover with unimaginable horror the truth of what is really being harvested there.
These stories are thrilling, frightening, sometimes blackly humorous, and totally unlike anything you have read before. As Tem writes in the introduction, ‘Given both the range and originality of his dark fiction, Attila Veres’ career is one to watch.’ After reading this book, we have no doubt that readers will agree.