Every so often a new horror writer bursts onto the scene with a book that is so dazzlingly original, so bone-chillingly terrifying, that it instantly alters the landscape of contemporary horror fiction. Hungarian author Attila Veres’ debut collection The Black Maybe is one of those books.
This volume collects ten of his best tales in English for the first time, ranging from weird fiction like ‘In the Snow, Sleeping’, in which a couple’s vacation to a health spa erodes into a surreal nightmare, to folk horror like ‘Return to the Midnight School’, in which the things that emerge from the soil in one rural farming community are bizarre and horrific, to Lovecraft-inspired tales like ‘Multiplied by Zero’, written as a wry travelogue in which a man sets out on a deadly holiday tour to explore Lovecraftian landscapes. And in the title story ‘The Black Maybe’, which Steve Rasnic Tem calls ‘one of the weirdest tales I’ve read in years’, a girl and her family escape the bustling city to experience farm life, only to discover with unimaginable horror the truth of what is really being harvested there.
These stories are thrilling, frightening, sometimes blackly humorous, and totally unlike anything you have read before. As Tem writes in the introduction, ‘Given both the range and originality of his dark fiction, Attila Veres’ career is one to watch.’ After reading this book, we have no doubt that readers will agree.
The 10 macabre tales that make up Veres's English-language debut stake their scares on their wildly unpredictable plots. All Veres's stories begin in realistically grounded settings before veering unexpectedly into territory rife with unforeseeable and surreal menaces. "Fogtown" is presented as the scattered notes of a rock journalist who succumbs to the fatal allure of a band whose only legacy, having never released an album, is the weird effect their music had on those who saw them live. "Multiplied by Zero" is one of several stories that evoke H.P. Lovecraft, in this instance through a tongue-in-cheek travelogue chronicling the narrator's excursion into a dark and dangerous otherworld. It has a companion piece in "In the Snow, Sleeping," about a young couple's sojourn at a vacation outpost that deteriorates into rot and decay before their eyes. These tales wear their resistance to conventional horror tropes and formulas as a badge of honor. Readers are sure to be impressed.