Thursday, October 28, 2021

Review: Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories by Richard Van Camp, Aviaq Johnston, et al.


Taaqtumi by Aviaq Johnston, Richard Van Camp, Aviaq Johnston, et al. 
Inhabit Media
September 10th, 2019
Paperback. 184 pages.

Taaqtumi (an Inuktitut word meaning "in the dark") is an anthology that has been on my TBR pretty much since it was released, but for some reason I never had the opportunity to purchase a copy, and my library also never got it in. This past June, my mom grabbed a copy for me for my birthday (aren't moms the best?), and I'd been specially saving it for October to finally, finally read it. And it was wonderful! I love horror stories set in the arctic, and I've also been really loving learning more about indigenous cultures and the Inuit. I would absolutely recommend this book as a way to read horror from a culture other than your own, and simply because it's some great horror! There is also great glossary in the book with a pronunciation guide and definitions for all of the Inuktitut words that can be found throughout the book, and I found this glossary super helpful with that. Since this is a collection of short stories, I figured I'd go ahead and give each story a short review. The stories definitely vary in intensity, and some were far less so than others, but I think all contained some great scary elements that made them solid stories. 

Iqsinaqtutalik Piqtuq: The Haunted Blizzard by Aviaq Johnston: The Haunted Blizzard is short, simple, and sweet–in the most classically haunting way possible. It captures that feeling of not being sure of what's around the corner, not knowing whether to trust yourself or your imagination, and the feeling of being watched. I loved the active imagination theme in this one, but the reality of the situation as well. A great start to this collection! 4/5

The Door by Ann R. Loverock: The Door is about a man who, out of nowhere, comes across a lone door standing out in the snow one. It's quiet, haunting, and all about consequences and self-control. 4/5

Wheetago War II: Summoners by Richard Van Camp: I didn't love the writing as much in this one as others, but I found the story very compelling. I wanted to know a little bit more in the way of world-building, but as a short story I understand why it was limited. This was definitely a chilling story, and I'd love to see a longer version of this simply because it intrigued me so much. 4/5

Revenge by Thomas Anguti Johnston: This was a fairly gruesome story starring a hunter, a seal, and an ancient creature called the nanurluk. It was unexpected and gave me a more stilted writing style vibe, but it did a great job of capturing a more intense, violent atmosphere. 3.75/5

Lounge by Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley and Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley: This was the longest of the stories, and unfortunately was not one of my favorites. I struggled a bit with getting into the future setting and following the overall plot, but it was still a solid story with some very compelling points. The world-building itself in this one was top-notch, but the characters didn't particularly click for me. 3/5

Utiqtuq by Gayle Kabloona: This is a zombie story that incorporates other, more real-life horror elements of relocation of indigenous peoples. This was chilling and well-written, though I would've liked to get a bit more from the ending. I'm not usually much of a zombie fan, but this story worked really well for me. 4/5

Sila by K.C. Carthew: Sila doesn't contain any supernatural elements, but it remains one of the scariest stories for the sheer exploration of inevitable actions and unclear endings. This is one that will stay with me and constantly keep me wondering about how this story actually ended. 5/5

The Wildest Game by Jay Bulckaert: This is a delightfully creepy tale involving cannibalism in a truly unsettling way. This story absolutely hit the spot for horror, and the writing style and tone made it a favorite. 5/5

Strays by Repo Kempt: Strays felt like a more classically scary tale of a vet during a snowstorm and some of the patients that are helped. This felt like a much bigger play into the psychological, and it is entirely unexpected. 4/5

I really enjoyed this collection of stories and am eager to look up more works by all of these authors! I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a nice variety of small horror stories to keep you entertained and thinking. I've also recently become aware of another anthology of stories called This Place: 150 Years Retold featuring some of the same authors of this anthology, plus many more, and I'm very excited to check that one out sometime as well. 

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

1 comment:

  1. I love the sound of this, and it's new to me, so bonus😁