Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Much fiction and nonfiction has been written about the psychological impact of rape on women. Not as much addresses the impact of the event on the victim’s spouse. How does a husband cope with the reality that, despite his best efforts, he was unable to protect his wife? What if she was to become pregnant as a result of the atrocity? How does he come to terms with the woman he loves carrying a child that isn’t his, but rather the progeny of the fiend who violated her?
Matt Shaw explores these issues and more in his novella, Seed. The story follows Mark and Becky, a young married couple. When Mark suspects something is wrong, he confronts Becky. She tells him of a rape which occurred weeks before. The news floors Mark. His rage becomes all consuming. Mark needs to find this rapist and see that he pays for what he has done. He needs to make sure the man can never do this again. However, how does a regular man catch an anonymous villain? The deeper Mark delves into finding the culprit, the faster his world begins to tear itself apart.
Matt Shaw is known for plot twists. Seed delivers an ending the reader will either love or hate. In many ways, it is an indictment against obsession. Mark is unable to move on. Could you?
Much of the horror in Seed is psychological. However, there are some fairly visceral moments, as well. While not necessarily in the vein of Matt Shaw’s extreme horror collection, the book is not for the easily squeamish. Fans of Sick B*stards, Porn, and Whore will be satisfied with the violence, both sexual and otherwise.
The narrative also carries with it a strong sense of social commentary, if not social justice, which Shaw has popularized in some of his more highly regarded works. Seed may not live up to some of these other works, in terms of horror and lasting impact, however they share a common thematic element of role reversal. In Seed, who is the real victim? The answer may not be a pleasant one.