LONG PIG, edited by Dorothy Davies and published by Static Movement

I guess it came as no surprise to me that Long Pig is not about bacon. I actually knew the term and was slightly concerned about how a collection of cannibalism stories might turn out. I mean, how many stories can you tell about one person eating another?

Well, I was surprised. The 39 poems and short stories featured in this anthology managed to cover it all. From tales involving the supernatural, madness, disaster-based desperation, sexual perversion, genetic inbreeding, zombies, and aliens, they explored the desire to eat human flesh in all its variations.

Now, that being true, I wouldn't say this collection is for the faint of heart. Oh, no, this collection requires that you have the stomach for it. (Yeah, I said it.) But if you are game, it is well worth the effort. I will mention that the collection is better suited for a mature audience with descriptions of a violent and/or sexual nature being, at times, rather graphic.

My favorites start at the beginning with "Tonight's Fare" by Neil Leckman. It's a clever little poem that acts as the appetizer to the collection. That's immediately followed by Timothy Fraiser's "Necessary Cold Ruthlessness." It's a Nazi-era tale of clinical violence and inhumanity told with such deftness that you find yourself en(gross)ed in more ways than one.

B.T. Joy's "A Celebrated Taste" is a mesmerizing psychological examination in the vein of Hitchcock's "Psycho." Can you pity a madman? Then there was "The Butcher of Barcelona" by Marija Electra Rodriguez. Her prose is lush and detailed. You see, taste, smell, hear, and feel everything. The tale itself should have been longer but I could imagine the rest.

"Here's One I Prepared Earlier" by Steven Gepp was clever and well-written. The big reveal is ruined, however, by the fact that we can guess where the meat came from. "Eating for Two" by Ash Hartwell was disturbing on way too many levels. It played on more fears than I knew I had.

"I Am the Hunger" by T. Fox Dunham read like a modern folktale. His blend of Chinese history with Chinese mythology was intriguing and given the state of nations like North Korea you can imagine these circumstances playing out all around us. And the list of noteworthy stories goes on.

To be fair, there were a couple of "head scratchers" in this book that left me uncertain as to the writer's intent. But if you have a taste for deranged back-wood farmers, luckless travelers, or depraved jet-set millionaires -- all of whom like to dine on their neighbors -- then this is the collection for you.

Reviewed by Arthur Sanchez
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