Micro-Reviews for the Stories in Reggie Oliver's The Sea of Blood

[Contact Me] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

[Jump to Site Links]

Summary: As I read through The Sea of Blood, I left micro-reviews of most of the stories on Twitter. Here is the complete collection, in the order they show up in the anthology.

UPDATE June 30, 2015. A Reggie Oliver fan contacted me to let me know I was incorrect when I described four of the stories as new. There are, in fact, two stories new: "The Rooms are High" and "The Trouble at Botathan". The other two I considered new were previously published: "Absalom" in The Ghost and Scholars Book of Shadows 2 and "The Druid's Rest" in Terror Tales from Wales. I am leaving the tweets alone since my idea was to not edit them, but wanted to add this note and thank the fan for correcting my error and providing previous publication information.

BLOT: (26 Jul 2015 - 09:59:35 AM)

Micro-Reviews for the Stories in Reggie Oliver's The Sea of Blood

As I read through Reggie Oliver's The Sea of Blood—a survey anthology of many of his major tales plus a few new ones—I started out with the new stories and posted micro-reviews of them on Twitter, with the hashtag #SeaOfBlood [though obvious, it made for some odd bedfellows since many of the other tweets with that hashtag are either dedicated to the show Hannibal or to real life tragedies]. Then, after finishing those, I went back and read the "older" stories, some of which I have read before, and continued the trend. This worked well up until a dentist appointment gave me a chance to read several stories at once, and my rhythm got off, so I had several backlogged and decided to just get them all out, here, rather than over a week or so on Twitter.

Cover of book depicting skeletal woman in white walking across a sea of blood

The basic rules of the micro-review are simple. They must fit inside of a single tweet (so, 140 characters) and must include the name of the story, the hashtag #SeaOfBlood, and then whatever idea I felt best encapsulated my feelings about the story. Some are comments. Some are actual reviews. Some are other things. They are presented below in the anthology-order, which is roughly chronological order I believe. I give them to you unedited, so [sics] are appropriate, where appropriate. Those marked with "*" after their hashtag were not posted to Twitter, so therefore show up here for the first time. Footnotes are of course added after the fact, to talk about details.

A fuller review of the collection should hopefully surface in a day or two.

If I had to pick five favorites from the collection, it would be "The Dreams of Cardinal Vittrioni", "Among the Tombs", "A Donkey at the Mysteries", "Mrs. Midnight", and "Holiday from Hell". Read those five, and you will see the bits about Reggie Oliver I like the most. Of course, I do not have to pick just five, but life is arbitrary, by and large.

Weird Fiction, Reggie Oliver

1: I tweeted more details, spoiling the "1-story, 1-tweet" rule [though the review was entirely in the first, above, tweet]: "To explain, going to spoil it for you. Dude has a 'blue room' in his house that makes people real horny from 12am-3am. So he puts these virginal, waifish women in it, and then BAM...freaky sex for three hours while they can't control themselves. Eventually, has an older royal woman + this young sweet thing visiting. Puts YST in the blue room, but the RILF tricks him into torrid sex. So the ending is a little bit, 'Ha, dumbass, you plowed a fat old chick!' But damned if Oliver doesn't almost make it work."

2: There are some stories, with "The Constant Rake" being one, where the human drama is tense enough that little or no supernatural obviousnesses is required, though Oliver will then work in scenes of spookery which feel tacked-on. In some, like "Mr. Poo-Poo", it is dreamlike enough that it still works, in others, like "The Constant Rake", it actually detracts.

3: It is Ramsey Campbell to which I refer, here. While the story is definitely Oliver, it has touches of Campbell in the dialogue and the descriptions of horror.

4: achondroplasiaphobia = "fear of little people".

5: For one bit of homework, see "The Botathen Ghost" by S.R.Hawker.


Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."