The Seer of Possibilities and other Disturbing Tales is a collection of short horror stories. All the stories are independent, although there are some hints that suggest a shared universe for some of them.
A young boy gets his Christmas wish. A surveying expedition to a new world has personnel problems. A young artist is taught how to reach her full potential. Those are some of the ideas inside the collection.
Although the stories are different, there are some ideas that turn up several times. One of the interesting things about horror authors is that their fears sometimes shine through – Stephen King, for example, seem to have a particular horror of bodies breaking down. Thomas O., if he has a preoccupation, is interested in thought, and the consequences of thought. People who think, who plan, find that everything twists against them. It’s an interesting theme, and one that leads to rather more subtle horror stories than are common.
That’s a very good thing. None of the stories in The Seer of Possibilities rely on gore or shock value – what violence there is is tastefully handled mostly behind the scenes. That means the stories can focus on the significance of and the emotions around an event, which tends to make for creepier and more unsettling horror.
The collection is short but solid – there are no stories that fall markedly below the general standard, and there’s a lot to like about the collection as a whole. It’s thoughtful, restrained horror dealing with interesting ideas. I enjoyed these, and I’d like to read more by the author.