I decided to tackle my, to be read pile, and not only that, I decided to focus my efforts on all the kick-ass women authors in my, to be read pile. Therefore, to kick off Women in Horror Month, we’re starting with Betty Rocksteady’s novella, The Writhing Skies.
The Writhing Skies released back on Oct 1, 2018, from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. I bought it when it first came out and then it quickly found a home in my ever-growing pile of books. 2019 was a shit-show when it came to reading for pleasure, but I vowed 2020 was going to be different. So far I’ve stuck with that goal and I’ve read four so far.
Here’s the synopsis:
THE SKY IS HUNGRY
Glowing lights and figures in tattered robes force Sarah from her apartment. Outside, phosphorescent creatures infiltrate her every orifice. They want to know everything, especially the things she would rather forget.
Featuring 20 black and white illustrations.
It’s a short synopsis but it accurately hits on what this story is about. If you are a fan of weird cosmic sex horror, then this book is definitely for you.
First off, this book is strange. Rocksteady for sure hit it out of the park when she was going for cosmic horror. We never really find out exactly what’s going on, and that’s perfectly fine because the true horror isn’t what’s currently happening to Sarah and the rest of the world, rather the true horror lies in what has already happened to Sarah.
The story evoked all sorts of feelings, from horror, disgust, and sadness. My hat’s off to Rocksteady for being able to hit me with those kinds of feels in such a short tale. However, if you read my review of her collection of short stories, In Dreams We Rot, you’ll know that she is a very capable writer. Also, you can check out my interview with Rocksteady here where we dive into what makes her the awesome author she is.
This is a novella that makes you think, makes you cringe, and makes your face twist into all sorts of different expressions as you read it. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Now, on to a spoilery discussion. Leave now if you don’t want to know the inner secrets of, The Writhing Skies.
In short, his plan to abort the baby is kicking the shit out of Sarah until she starts bleeding. Truly horrifying, and while I would like to think that his chosen method of abortion doesn’t happen that often, I would probably be shocked at how often that it, or similarly dangerous methods occur. A reason why safe and obtainable abortion options need to be readily available for those who need them.
Horror often is a medium that highlights current social/political/economic issues and this novella didn’t hide that fact. Everything that is happening is a result of those choices as if the act itself awakened some cosmic beast from its slumber. The way the creatures or entities interact with Sarah is a metaphor for her own feelings on what happened to her. They can simultaneously make her feel at ease, pleasured, hurt, disgusted, sad, and confused, which I believe is how she probably felt during everything leading up to the abortion.
This story stuck with me long after I finished it and I’ve thought about it many times.