Written by: Drake Morgan
As a subgenre, gay horror is a challenge for readers. There is not a single “style” of writing and that can become difficult. Some writers cross over into erotica while others avoid the sexual elements, but include gay themes or subtexts. Even the erotic writers diverge considerably with some including very explicit sex and others focusing on more sensual/ romance elements. The anthology Enter at Your Own Risk: Fires and Phantoms adds another facet to the growing hydra of gay literature. This anthology is a collection of Gothic style ghost tales. It not only includes a host of modern writers, but there are also two stories from the 1800s as well.
All of the stories in this collection are gay-themed ghost tales. Sadly, lesbians are underrepresented with only a handful of stories, but the scope of the tales is broad enough to satisfy any taste. Dead strippers, dead lovers, murdered lovers, tortured souls, religious fervor turned deadly, haunted brothels, deadly castles with monstrous parties, ghostly students in a gay literature class, and more provide enough creepiness to make the skin crawl for hours. The older stories create a sense of continuity; a reminder that the gay community did not suddenly spring forth from nowhere after Stonewall. The introduction also ties all of the stories together and gives the reader a link between then, now, and the future.
While this is a collection of gay-themed stories, it is by no means just for gay readers. The themes of lost love, nightmarish relationships, traumatic lives, tragic decisions, and fear cross both gender and sexual orientation. Perhaps because of the erotica elements, mainstream horror fans often avoid gay horror, but this anthology is one that transcends the subgenre. It’s not erotica horror, just great Gothic horror. It has its weak moments as I think any anthology does, but the bulk of the stories are well-written, clever, and definitely dark.
Head over to Amazon and add this one to your collection now!