Reed's Recommendation Corner: No One Will Come Back For Us and other stories by Premee Mohamed

No One Will Come Back For Us and other stories by Premee Mohamed

I've been following Premee Mohammed since I heard one of her stories on Pseudopod (specifically, episode 555: Four Hours of a Revolution, which is also included in the collection). I read the Void trilogy as they were published, usually devouring them within a day or so (and you can find information on the first book here). Mohamed's way with words just makes my heart and soul sing and shiver. I was really excited when I read about this collection, and I bought it as soon as it was available. 

And hooooo boy, did this collection provide the shivers. The first story, titled "Below the Kirk, Below the Hill", really sets the tone for the rest. In it, a lone lighthouse keeper discovers a young girl who has been spit by the sea onto the shores near his home. Although he tries to make a home for her, she is never stops being a walking corpse. So, together, they return her to the sea and the family she had left behind. But the sea has indifferent creatures that can't be seen, but demand their due.

That is the theme throughout - indifferent and demanding deities who don't care for the fragility of the people they demand worship from. In "The Evaluator", a company man tracks down a young girl who has become possessed by a god - a new god, who has learned from the old, who have improved upon the methods of the old gods by taking over locals. 

In "The Honeymakers", a young girl begins to learn the dances of bees, of nature. She recruits other girls to her dances. Naturally, the parents are worried about them, about the fact that they sneak out at night to dance among the bees in the woods. They are creating something, calling something to them, while their parents watch in horror as their children disappear where they cannot follow. 

Two stories stand out to me as my favorites. The first, "The General's Turn", is about a war game played on a moving stage, where a soldier can escape death. It's a rigged game, with an audience of hungry officials who want to see this young soldier die. Death wants her due.  The second, "The Adventurer's Wife", a reporter finds that a famous adventurer was married and is forced by his editor to claim the first interview with her. What he finds is more dangerous than he knows. I loved the nod in this to cosmic horror (especially the mention of a certain university that haunts my dreams). 

All of these stories linger once they are done. I tore through this book just like I tore through the Void trilogy, but some of the stories haunted me long after I had finished. I love that about Mohamed's writing - it makes me feel the ultimate horror of living in a world where many things remain unseen. 

As much as I want to go through all of the stories in this collection, I would much rather you pick up this collection yourself. Read it by candlelight, and when you are done, make sure you put out the best you have for an offering, to please the old gods. Leave your milk and bread, your sugar cubes and tea. Leave them for the old gods, so they can protect you from the new. 

And remember, when the final chapter is read and the last page turned, I shall be here with another recommendation, should you need it.