Rocksteady is described as an author of cat mythos, cosmic sex, and bizarro fiction and after reading this collection, it’s not hard to see how she came by those descriptors. I got a big kick out of her tales involving cat mythos. My favorite was near the beginning titled, “Tiny Bones Beneath Their Feet” about an enormous colony of cats and a mysterious path of bones leading away from the house.
Some of the stories were downright disturbing. I found “Postpartum” particularly chilling about a single mother dealing with postpartum depression. She soon finds some purpose in taxidermy and that purpose begins to overtake her very being. Rocksteady’s voice blends real-world horrors such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and the awkward with frightening horrors. The horror she pulls from is mainly cosmic, speaking to creatures and beings that are unknowable and make you feel very insignificant. Her horrors creep (and sometimes wriggle or crawl) in and take over your sense of self until there is nothing left. Some of my favorite reads in this collection that really tapped into the cosmic horror were: “Elephants That Aren’t” about an artist who starts drawing strange creatures but doesn’t have any recollection of doing so; “The Language of Mud” about a spot in the grass that makes people disappear; “The Taste of Sand on Your Lips” which is a small collection of 55, 55-word stories that are bizarrely interconnected and tell a tale that could possibly make you go mad.
If you like strange, well-written horror, then you need to check out, In Dreams We Rot as you won’t be disappointed. Rocksteady’s voice is unique and she is elevating horror fiction with her words. Her collection has made me reevaluate my own writing and challenged me to make my future stories even better.
You can pre-order In Dreams We Rot here: