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J.R. Hamantaschen’s third collection of short stories delivers more inimitable dark fiction. These are eleven tales of macabre horror, filled with estrangement, honor, wonder, terror, delusion, pity, desperation and perseverance.


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J.R. Hamantaschen’s third collection of short stories delivers more inimitable dark fiction. These are eleven tales of macabre horror, filled with estrangement, honor, wonder, terror, delusion, pity, desperation and perseverance.

30 review for A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Char

    4.5/5 stars! The work of J.R. Hamantaschen has been on my radar for years now, beginning with YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY. A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE is another short story collection from this author and this is his best yet! It's easy to see how his work has matured in the depth of these tales and in the range which they cover. We have everything here from mental illness to strange, unknown things in a men's room stall, dissolved marriages and bullied teenagers. Of all the stories 4.5/5 stars! The work of J.R. Hamantaschen has been on my radar for years now, beginning with YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY. A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE is another short story collection from this author and this is his best yet! It's easy to see how his work has matured in the depth of these tales and in the range which they cover. We have everything here from mental illness to strange, unknown things in a men's room stall, dissolved marriages and bullied teenagers. Of all the stories here though, 7099 BRECKSVILLE ROAD, INDEPENDENCE, OHIO was my absolute favorite. Creepy and atmospheric, it was not what I've come to expect from this author at all. I love to be surprised, don't you? I'm not going to get into each story, (there are eleven of them, total), but I will say that none of them are like the next-they're each stand alone creations. They often have strange titles, which I enjoy, for example one title was: STORY TITLE REVEALED ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH. This author is quirky. I like that! I never fail to read the blurbs he has listed in the front of the book, because they're never all legit. He'll slip things in there that are funny to discover and they also make me laugh. Even the copyright page has a little bonus. The only criticism I have, and it's a small one, is that a few of these stories verge on the title of novella, rather than short story. As I said, it's a small beef. That's all I got! A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE was dark, soul crushing, beautiful, funny and intriguing all at once. J.R. Hamantaschen always delivers-just maybe not quite in the way you expect. The variety on display here shows how diverse he can be and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2AugTvI *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **A special thanks to Goodreads for deleting all of my reading updates on this book. All my story notes *poofed* away which I did NOT find helpful.**

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    What we have here is '...a scrum of chaos.'  There is nothing neat or tidy about the stories included in this anthology.  Do not expect to come up against anything that is run-of-the-mill.  This author gives the reader credit to use his or her own imagination.  Some of these tales will leave you with a vague feeling of disquiet, irony looms large in other stories.  Many of the meek and mild are featured, the ones who are too eager to please, or who try too hard to blend in with the woodwork so a What we have here is '...a scrum of chaos.'  There is nothing neat or tidy about the stories included in this anthology.  Do not expect to come up against anything that is run-of-the-mill.  This author gives the reader credit to use his or her own imagination.  Some of these tales will leave you with a vague feeling of disquiet, irony looms large in other stories.  Many of the meek and mild are featured, the ones who are too eager to please, or who try too hard to blend in with the woodwork so as not to be noticed.  Do not discount these individuals, or you may rue the day.   As a marriage founders, a crack in the wall grows; is one reflective of the other?  A unsettling disassociation from one's own mind takes place, another yearns to reach for a wider reality.  In a filling station restroom, a simple request for toilet paper goes horribly wrong. And so, for those of us who so often carp about cookie-cutter titles, ubiquitous book covers, and the continual rehashing of the same tired story lines, this one is completely different.  A showcase of the oddities that reside in lives that outwardly appear to be normal.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Note: In all fairness, I must inform you good readers that I received a copy from the author in exchange for a fair review. While I appreciated this greatly, it in no way changed my stance on the stories within. __________ This is one of those books that made an immediate good impression on me. I opened the book and saw this towards the bottom of the praise section, mixed in with the actual praise: "J.R. has crushing debts, and the book is pretty cheap now, so why not help him out?" - Paraphrasing Note: In all fairness, I must inform you good readers that I received a copy from the author in exchange for a fair review. While I appreciated this greatly, it in no way changed my stance on the stories within. __________ This is one of those books that made an immediate good impression on me. I opened the book and saw this towards the bottom of the praise section, mixed in with the actual praise: "J.R. has crushing debts, and the book is pretty cheap now, so why not help him out?" - Paraphrasing the moral from J.R.'s credit card statement. I genuinely laughed out loud. This sort of humor continues throughout the praise section, as well at the copyright info. So, if you pick up a copy, make sure you take a look through all of it. The second thing I noticed, was the index of stories. Now, let me just say that it takes more than a slight touch of genius to come up with some of these titles. While not all of them are gems, a few actually stunned me even before I eve read the actual story. These are the sort of titles that immediately draw my curiosity and in at least one case, again had me chuckling. The collection contains the following stories: Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains No One Cares But I Tried That's Just the Way Things Are These Days Bleecker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli 7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio Upon a Path Suddenly Irradiated at Some Halfway Point by Daydreams as Rich as Hers I've Read With Some Interest About... Faithfully and Lovingly Story Title Revealed About Halfway Through A Gob of Minty Spit in the Sink I Will Soon Be Home and Never Need Anyone Ever Again And yes, “Story Title Revealed About Halfway Through” is as amazing as it sounds. I found this collection of horror stories greatly disturbing. Not so much for the actual “horror” (at least in the classic supernatural sense) and more for the way it dealt with real life issue. Topics many of us have experience such as suicidal thoughts, bullying, office politics… these are where the true horrors lie. The supernatural may creep into these topics, but their source is the real world and that makes it all the more disturbing. I’m not going to lie, while I was intrigued by many of these ideas, some were uncomfortable enough to not be “enjoyable” reads. I recognize that could be viewed as both a compliment and a criticism. That, I think, will be up to each individual reader, and nothing I can say can prepare for some of the content. In terms of the stories, there is a range of diversity, from the more dramatic, to the humorously campy. All contain a bleak atmosphere and a recurring theme of isolation, but the styles change up enough to make for an interesting theme, and discussed in such different ways that it remains fascinating throughout. Would I suggest the collection? Absolutely, to those who are immediately intrigued by my above statements. I enjoyed almost all the stories to varying extents (the only one I didn’t particularly care for was “No One Cares But I Tried” which just didn’t catch my fancy, but I can certainly see where others may like it. I’m just not a fan of office drama, even with a horror spin). That said, if you’re the sort who prefers your horror more… unrelatable, you may want to give it a bit of thought before proceeding. For all others, enjoy the ride.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janie C.

    J.R. Hamantaschen's third collection of stories does not fail to keep the reader in a constant state of unease. Much of the author's work pries underneath our normal levels of comfort while examining human nature and our responses to unexpected situations. The results are both disturbing and otherworldly. This collection explores the depths of distress and how we deal with it. What happens when the voice in your head is not your own? How do you respond to its orders? Is suicide a peaceful ending J.R. Hamantaschen's third collection of stories does not fail to keep the reader in a constant state of unease. Much of the author's work pries underneath our normal levels of comfort while examining human nature and our responses to unexpected situations. The results are both disturbing and otherworldly. This collection explores the depths of distress and how we deal with it. What happens when the voice in your head is not your own? How do you respond to its orders? Is suicide a peaceful ending, or an insidious invitation? Is being faithful a fate worse than death? There are monsters here, both in the privacy of one's home and in a simple public rest room. Some people find it hard to experience a sense of caring. Hypnotherapy can provide a cure, but what if one begins to care too much? Causes become dangerous. Complacent victims seek revenge. It is easy to get caught up in the plight of each character in this new collection. The author lures us into seemingly everyday situations that give way to strange territories. Pick up your copy and join in. Just don't get too comfortable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    I got that lucky feeling again. Fairly certain I've said those words before, and not so long ago. Finding a good story can be like the toss of the dice. But then again, when you rely on good reviews, wise friend's choices, and some plain old investigation, luck can be a very small part of it. When it comes to a collection of short stories though...well, if you don't know the author, you just don't know. But here's the thing I've experienced lately: With the more short stories I read, often ventu I got that lucky feeling again. Fairly certain I've said those words before, and not so long ago. Finding a good story can be like the toss of the dice. But then again, when you rely on good reviews, wise friend's choices, and some plain old investigation, luck can be a very small part of it. When it comes to a collection of short stories though...well, if you don't know the author, you just don't know. But here's the thing I've experienced lately: With the more short stories I read, often venturing further out from my comfort zone, the more open and inquisitive I become to the new-to-me authors, differing writing styles, and unexpected ideas. The ventures taken has proven their worth. I have a “for instance” to share – from this very book I'm reviewing. The deeper I read into “The Deep Horror that Was Very Nearly Awe”, the more I appreciated the direction it took me, and the more willing I was to let it. At three stories in, although I liked the twists that came with each, I thought all three were on the par of 3 stars – more than fair to read, even if a little wordy. At four stories in I felt differently. This one expanded on scope and significance in the telling of a new friendship that suddenly ends. In it, I felt the effect of the loss. At five stories in – one doozy of a story - tells of a quiet roadside gas station and the little monster that waits quietly inside the restroom out back. It culminated in a wild and fast ending, in a way that I didn't quite expect. I thought that a good thing. Don't take the reader where we expect to go, especially in horror. As long as it's done well, take us to the place we don't anticipate. In the preface, Hamantaschen mentions that this, his third collection of short stories, may be the last, for a time anyway, as he moves into writing longer fiction. If his final story in this book is any indicator to the quality of those longer books to come, then all looks well. During that final story, a novella of about 100 pages, a young boy named Thomas struggles through that period of life we call 14, but the true struggle here is what it means to be bullied. Tormentor and tormented. Thomas's escape arrives in the form a new friend, a young man that seems real but somehow appears differently to each who see him. The lesson of this story is understanding what persecution can be to a boy of 14, but gift of this story is what friendship can mean for a whole life in that same boy. Loved it for that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*

    Phenomenal. Where has this writer been hiding? Oh, behind impenetrable cover art and mouthful titles, depending on the indie horror and weird fiction underground for recognition and circulation. Someone, please shine a limelight on this fellow! Full disclosure: the author contacted me on Goodreads and offered his book for free. The transfer-of-document didn't work, likely because I am a Luddite, but I looked at the 'Look Inside' preview on Amazon and wouldn't you know it, his copyright page was s Phenomenal. Where has this writer been hiding? Oh, behind impenetrable cover art and mouthful titles, depending on the indie horror and weird fiction underground for recognition and circulation. Someone, please shine a limelight on this fellow! Full disclosure: the author contacted me on Goodreads and offered his book for free. The transfer-of-document didn't work, likely because I am a Luddite, but I looked at the 'Look Inside' preview on Amazon and wouldn't you know it, his copyright page was sufficient to convince me to buy it. Did you catch that? The copyright page alone is strong enough to drive sales. I think my reviews are always honest regardless of the source. So. Here's the skinny on J.R. Hamatansasetchen or whatever his name is: he has a voice. It's unique, refreshing, honest, and often discomforting. I simply love how his characters think. I have very similar feeling about Haruki Murakami's books (in translation); something about how his characters think and express themselves endlessly fascinates me. Hemantoskeletor's characters, at least in this collection, are typically young adults or teenagers (yes, those are actually two separate things), and without resembling each other at all, they often display personas full of self-doubt, insecure self-analysis, shaky confidence, and recognition of emotion and interpersonal manipulation that, clearly, is very hard for me to describe. Just go read some of his stories, okay? These stories address many aspects of everyday life, including family, romantic relationships, friendship, depression, coming home to find a demon in your kitchen, sex, bullying, pooping in public restrooms, finding your place in the modern world, suicidal ideation, all that stuff. They are light on horror, or at least delayed in introducing anything out of the ordinary, and when it does hit it's nicely subtle. One story is about a pair of teenagers in love, planning to lose their virginity together, and it's very sweet and conscientious and you're very proud of how smart and mature they're being about it and oh by the way for the last twenty years a small percentage of men become instantly homicidal upon having penis-in-vagina sex but don't worry. The internal lives of the main characters are unfiltered, and many stories made me very uncomfortable when they caused me to reflect on parts of my own life. Isn't that what a great story should do? Make you feel uncomfortable examining your own life? The stories don't even need horror or weird elements to carry them. They're strong enough even before you get to those parts. The longest stories in this collection are the best, I thought, and so I will join the chorus of whiners about the lack of longer-form fiction coming to us from this fellow, who said in this book that he was working on this, but he's a liar so I will just have to keep reading his newer and older short story collections until it maybe happens.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ✨Bean's Books✨

    Okay I admit... When I first picked up this book I read the title and I honestly had no idea what this book had in store for me. At first glance I thought the title was a bit cheesy. But then after having read the introduction and the copyright page I found that this was no ordinary book. This was a book written in the Lovecraftian style. A total of 11 short stories that will invoke more than inner thoughts and fears... they will invoke the very horror of the human psyche! Although the author write Okay I admit... When I first picked up this book I read the title and I honestly had no idea what this book had in store for me. At first glance I thought the title was a bit cheesy. But then after having read the introduction and the copyright page I found that this was no ordinary book. This was a book written in the Lovecraftian style. A total of 11 short stories that will invoke more than inner thoughts and fears... they will invoke the very horror of the human psyche! Although the author writes some of the stories in a Lovecraftian format, it is very much updated to make for very thoughtful yet horrific reads throughout the collection of short stories. The author does lack the word usage and sentence structure that Lovecraft penned himself but I do think this is all for the better in order to write more comprehensive stories for the current day and age. Still keeping to the bones of the matter however, this author does a brilliant job of following his mentor's outline. Not all of the stories are written this way however and the author obviously toys with different writing styles. I personally like this because it keeps the reader guessing. Short story compilations that do not follow the same format each and every time are good for the reader to keep them on their toes. Most authors cannot pull this off but this author did beautifully. Like most collections of short stories, some I liked and some not so much but all were written with the same style and panache that this author is able to pull off and very well indeed. For the most part I enjoyed the entire collection. It harkened me back to my younger days when I used to read horror short stories in between classes and during lunch to inspire my own short stories. I would like to thank this author personally for bringing such wonderful memories back to me. I had nearly forgotten 😘 This book is on my list of books to recommend to those who like horror and appreciate the Lovecraftian style done well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I originally picked this up because the crazy cover art really caught my eye! Sadly I think this collection of horror stories just wasn’t meant for me. While I did enjoy a couple stories featured in this collection, for the most part they just didn’t do anything for me. Most of them failed to capture me interest and I felt myself wanting to skim the pages. I do think a lot of horror fans would enjoy these stories, they just weren’t my style!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Despite a tendency to "overdescribe"--that is, rendering the action almost in slow motion, with every plot or character's movement calculated, with a history and writerly significance-- a tendency to affect the rhythm, pace in ALL these eleven ingeniously-titled short stories-- it works! And well. That the outcome of each vignette is completely unguessable is a big understatement. Personally, I needed some random distraction, and this provides that, as well as acquainting myself with a new voice Despite a tendency to "overdescribe"--that is, rendering the action almost in slow motion, with every plot or character's movement calculated, with a history and writerly significance-- a tendency to affect the rhythm, pace in ALL these eleven ingeniously-titled short stories-- it works! And well. That the outcome of each vignette is completely unguessable is a big understatement. Personally, I needed some random distraction, and this provides that, as well as acquainting myself with a new voice that I will surely visit in his future work. (Also, I'm quite in love with this book's cover--again, expect the unexpected!)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Maye Holiday

    It took me awhile to read this book, but it was definitely worth it. A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe a unique short horror story collection that focuses more on the eerie spookiness of everyday life and humanity rather than the typical fantasy beings of ghosts and zombies. In that way, it's a bit like the works of Stephen King when he puts out short story anthologies, but A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is entirely original in its own right. Going into it, I knew it was a horror st It took me awhile to read this book, but it was definitely worth it. A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe a unique short horror story collection that focuses more on the eerie spookiness of everyday life and humanity rather than the typical fantasy beings of ghosts and zombies. In that way, it's a bit like the works of Stephen King when he puts out short story anthologies, but A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is entirely original in its own right. Going into it, I knew it was a horror story anthology, but I didn't know exactly how it would play out. It was full of unexpected surprises, poignancy and even brought up serious real-life issues. A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe doesn't conform to the predictable tropes of the genre, instead carving out its own path. Very much in the realm of psychological horror, these are tales perfect for anyone who loves similar literary themes such as those in the works of Edgar Allen Poe, but with a contemporary edge that slices into the depths of the darkness underlying modernity. The characters are very realistic, adding an extra element of detail and complexity to this anthology. I also loved the introduction to the book, and in itself, A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe functions as a work of art as well as a story collection, both in the cover illustrations and in the author's unforgettable prose.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Seregil of Rhiminee

    Originally published at Risingshadow. J.R. Hamantaschen's A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is the author's third short story collection. It's a wonderful companion to his previous collections (You Shall Never Know Security and A Voice that is Often Still Confused but is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer), because it's a fascinatingly dark and rewarding reading experience that offers readers intelligent and impressive dark fiction stories. A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe shows how much Originally published at Risingshadow. J.R. Hamantaschen's A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is the author's third short story collection. It's a wonderful companion to his previous collections (You Shall Never Know Security and A Voice that is Often Still Confused but is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer), because it's a fascinatingly dark and rewarding reading experience that offers readers intelligent and impressive dark fiction stories. A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe shows how much J.R. Hamantaschen has developed as an author, because he has matured and writes more confidently than before. Each of the stories in this collection is "something different", because he has original ideas and he is not afraid of touching upon themes of isolation, loneliness and death. He boldly explores the lives of his characters and reveals their fears and hopes to readers in a stunningly effective way and avoids easy resolutions and predictable outcomes. In this collection, the author delivers his readers memorable visions of relationships, family ties, friendships and tragedies, and also observes the human condition and human nature from an enticingly bleak and skewed angle. I was impressed by his effortless way of writing about what happens to the characters and what they have to go through, because nothing felt preachy or underlined (there's quite a lot of psychological depth in this collection). This collection contains the following eleven stories: - Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains - No One Cares But I Tried - That's Just the Way Things Are These Days - Bleecker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli - 7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio - Upon a Path Suddenly Irradiated at Some Halfway Point by Dayreams as Rich as Hers - I've Read With Some Interest About... - Faithfully and Lovingly - Story Title Revealed About Halfway Through - A Gob of Minty Spit in the Sink - I Will Soon Be Home and Never Need Anyone Ever Again I enjoyed reading all of these stories, because they're exactly the kind of dark fiction that captivates me. I especially enjoyed their bleak atmosphere, because the author has infused his stories with a sense of distinct bleakness, isolation and disquietness. One of the best things about these stories is that the author examines the lives of the characters in a surprisingly honest and fresh way by writing about their feelings and deeds. Dark thoughts and sinister deeds can be found in them, because the characters' lives are not easy. In these stories, everyday situations turn into something else and the author forces his readers to serve as witnesses to the unfolding events that push and stretch the limits of normality powerfully towards weirdness. Disturbing, unsettling and unpredictable elements are handled well in them. I found the diversity of the stories fascinating. They contain elements that range from ghosts and mental issues to psychic powers and monsters, and they have plenty of creativity, imagination and surprises. Some of the things explored in them are achingly realistic and serious while others are more entertaining and imaginative. Here's a bit of information about the stories and my thoughts about them: Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains: - A story about Kristen who wants to die and thinks about killing herself. - The author writes vividly about Kristen, her feelings and her fascination towards death, because he explores how Kristen feels about living and dying. - One of the most intriguing things about this story is that the author writes about how a person who is about to commit a suicide can give her/his life force to another. - This is one of the best and most memorable stories I've read this year, because it's something different and thought-provoking. I was impressed by this story's tender brutality and emotionally harrowing atmosphere. No One Cares But I Tried: - A story about half-Vietnamese Carol who works for a design and marketing firm. One day, she begins to hear disturbing thoughts in her head that are targeted at her. - The descriptions about Carol and her situation are intriguing and unsettling, because the author writes about how Carol feels about what is going on and what happens to her. Carol's desperation is perfectly conveyed to the reader. - This is a well written story that will make readers think about things concerning work place environment, co-workers and bosses. That's Just the Way Things Are These Days: - In this story, Nathan and Sara are about to have sex for the first time. - The author writes excellently about what Nathan feels when he's about to have sex and what kind of thoughts go through his head. He tells of Nathan's fears and thoughts in a surprisingly honest yet emotionally brutal way that is difficult to forget. - There's something in this story that slightly reminds me of Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach, but this story is *much* darker. - This is one of my favourite stories in this collection. Bleecker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli: - A story about Ken who becomes friends with a gay guy called Kaz who works at a coffee shop. - It was intriguing to read about what kind of a friendship Ken had with Kaz, because they got along well and enjoyed each other's company despite being different and having different backgrounds. - This is an excellent story with a dark undertone that will make you think about friendship and life in general. It's a story that invites you to explore the friendship between the protagonists and touches you in a strangely effective way. 7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio: - In this strange story, Ormond puts his terrifying creations into the stalls of truck stops and gas stations that have inspiring names. - I won't write anything more about this story in fear of writing major spoilers, but I'll mention that this story is one of the best monster stories I've read in ages, because it's wholly original. - If you love monster stories, you'll be impressed by this story, because it something different and memorable. Upon a Path Suddenly Irradiated at Some Halfway Point by Dayreams as Rich as Hers: - A story about Barbara who notices a strange crack in the wall. One day, strange wires fall out of the wall to the floor and Barbara wonders about what they might be... - The author writes well about what happens when Barbara calls a handyman to take a look at the wall and how things escalate from there on into something else. - It was interesting to read about Barbara's divorce and her relationship with her daugher and ex-husband, because everything was handled well by the author. - An excellent story with a cool touch of unsettling weirdness. I've Read With Some Interest About...: - A well written story about Jen who has lived three years in a building, but hardly knows any of the other people. One day, she suddenly hears a pounding on her apartment's front door... - I enjoyed reading about Jen and what kind of observations she made about the people living in the building. I also found it intriguing how Jen reacted to the pounding and she responded to it. - This story is very good and will impress many readers. Faithfully and Lovingly: - A story about Brian and Katie who face an unexpected and horrifying moral dilemma. - It's great that this novella has been included in this collection, because it's one of the author's finest stories. This novella was already familiar to me, but it was nice to read it again. - An excellent and memorable story that will certainly linger on the readers' minds. Story Title Revealed About Halfway Through: - A story about Ryan who suffers from depression and sees a therapist who uses hypnotism as a tool to help him. - The movie theater scene in this story is simply excellent. The author writes about movie theater etiquette and how certain people act in a movie theater in an observant way. - It was interesting to read about Ryan, because the author explored Ryan's thoughts and actions in a mesmerisingly macabre way. - A well written and thought-provoking story that will stick to your mind. A Gob of Minty Spit in the Sink: - This marvellous short story tells of a man who has choked to death. - This is the shortest story in this collection, but it's an amazing story with a bit of black humour. I Will Soon Be Home and Never Need Anyone Ever Again: - A story about Thomas who enjoys wandering in the woods near his house and is good at school, but has to endure bullying. - This story has some of the best descriptions I've ever read about what life is like for a teenager who is good at school and does what is expected of him. The author writes excellently about bullying and what kind of effects it has on the person who is being bullied, because he shows its effects to his readers. He also excels at writing about friendship and loneliness. - This novella-length story is perhaps the best and most compelling story in this collection. I was deeply impressed by this story and found it fascinating and thought-provoking. The author's dark and a bit twisted sense of humour is one of the key things that makes this collection unique. His witty observations about various situations and his way of examining seemingly normal things from a twisted perspective emphasise the weird elements in a stunning way. The author writes surprisingly boldly and thought-provokingly about sex and sexual situations. It's great that he doesn't shy away from sexual elements, but dares to explore them in his stories, because it adds fascination to them. What also makes this collection unique is the author's uncanny ability to combine discomforting and entertaining elements in an effortless way. This unusual combination works perfectly. I have a feeling that this collection will strike a chord among readers who love weird stories, because it's original, fascinating and unsettling in the best possible way and the characterisation is excellent. It's something different and mesmerising. If you love dark fiction and modern weird fiction, J.R. Hamantaschen's A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe should be at the top of your reading list. This collection is one of the best collections available for quality-oriented readers who want to read good stories, so please, don't hesitate to read it. Highly recommended!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    I'm mostly worried when I get sent a book direct by an author* (as opposed to being sent it by a publisher), in that I'm worried I am going to have to give a not good review for a bad read, but on this occasion the exact opposite happened! A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is a way too long title, a theme that continued to the naming of the 10 tales therein; fortunately that was the only issue I had with these stories! The book is composed of 1 3-page story, 8 short stories and a 100 page no I'm mostly worried when I get sent a book direct by an author* (as opposed to being sent it by a publisher), in that I'm worried I am going to have to give a not good review for a bad read, but on this occasion the exact opposite happened! A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is a way too long title, a theme that continued to the naming of the 10 tales therein; fortunately that was the only issue I had with these stories! The book is composed of 1 3-page story, 8 short stories and a 100 page novella at the end. The short stories vary from 3 to 4 stars, and have a horror or supernatural l lilt - the really good thing about them J.R. Hamantaschen's writing. He has a solid way of character building using mostly omniscient third person narration, in fact it's pretty much top drawer and draws you into his writing within a few pages. Hmmm you say... but you haven't mentioned the novella. The novella is a gem of a story, a story of coming of age, of not fitting in and adult decision making. A lonesome, very smart, but at times boastful and contentious 14 year old is being bullied psychological by one of the popular jocks. There seems no way out of his situation, and he feels like he has lost control of his life, maybe his future. Then he makes a friend, and all bets are off! This last novella kept me on tenterhooks throughout. Very well crafted, paced and tone, it's a must read for horror and all readers... which is what my overview of Hamantaschen's work is, it's accessible to a much wider audience; I', not a big fan of horror (other than Stephen King), but I really enjoyed this. 8 out of 12. *I was very kindly provided a copy of this book, by the author J.R. Hamantaschen in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    Much like J.R. Hamantaschen’s last collection these stories largely focus mental problems, turmoil and suffering. This time the variety of the stories is of a larger range, so defining the genre of this collection is much harder. We have blood soaked horror then a subtle story about loneliness aside each other and I’m happy to say that all the tales in the collection are well written and absolutely fantastic. The stories and weird, unpredictable and enthralling - I’d highly recommend this, it’s Much like J.R. Hamantaschen’s last collection these stories largely focus mental problems, turmoil and suffering. This time the variety of the stories is of a larger range, so defining the genre of this collection is much harder. We have blood soaked horror then a subtle story about loneliness aside each other and I’m happy to say that all the tales in the collection are well written and absolutely fantastic. The stories and weird, unpredictable and enthralling - I’d highly recommend this, it’s one of the best short story collections I’ve read in quite some time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I have a love-hate relationship with short stories, but I’m always willing to give them a try. J.R. Hamantaschen’s A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe offered a collection of horror short stories, my favourite kind of short stories to read, and I was more than happy to give each story a try. Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains was a great start to A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe. Although it wasn’t quite the horror I had expected – it was not a short story filled with frights and reasons to k I have a love-hate relationship with short stories, but I’m always willing to give them a try. J.R. Hamantaschen’s A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe offered a collection of horror short stories, my favourite kind of short stories to read, and I was more than happy to give each story a try. Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains was a great start to A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe. Although it wasn’t quite the horror I had expected – it was not a short story filled with frights and reasons to keep on lights – it was a chilling little read that had me hooked. The story was unexpected in the best of ways, making you stop and thinking, offering something entirely unique. I devoured this four-star short story in the blink of an eye. No One Cares But I Tried was another unique story, but it didn’t wow me in the way Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains did. Due to my complicated relationship with short stories, I’m very picky and this one didn’t quite do it for me. It was a bit longer than the first, and I found myself wishing it either would have been a shorter story or had been pulled into a full-length novel. Mainly the latter, as I wanted to explore this one a lot more than I did. All in all, it had me curious to see how it played out, but I didn’t fall in love with it, which made this one a two-star rating. That’s Just the Way Things Are These Days was a story I felt rather mixed feelings towards. A part of me found it to be another unique story, that took something and make it rather twisted, but another part of me wanted more from it. At the same time, the fact we never went as deep as we could have added to the unsettling vibe of this one. Although it’s not quite a full three-star rating, I was happy to round it up. Bleeker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli was a story that hinted at the supernatural world without ever really entering it. We’re a distant observer rather than being thrown into the middle of it, which made for an interesting way of telling the story. It allowed for a lot of ideas to roll around in the mind, making it an entertaining read. It was another four-star story I devoured. 7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio was another story I powered through in no time. From the start, it pulls you in with potential that has you happy to keep turning the pages to see how everything plays out. I admit, it did feel a bit slow in the middle, but it came together in a wonderful way. It’s a story that will change the way you look at certain things, one sure to entertain. This was another four-star read. Upon a Path Suddenly Irradiated at Some Halfway Point by Daybeams as Rich as Hers was a story I wasn’t overly crazy about. At first, I thought it was going to grip me. As the story progressed, however, I found I wasn’t won over by it in the way I had anticipated. I feel this one could have made for a great full-length novel, but as a short story it didn’t win me over. Some are sure to love it, but for me this was a two-star rating. I’ve Read With Some Interest About… was another fun little story that I powered through. This one had vibes of a few different horror films, ensuring I was hooked. Although I enjoyed this one, I would have liked a wee bit more from it. It was an entertaining read, but I feel it’s another story that could have been made into so much more if it had been longer. Even though I was left wanting more, this was a three-star rating. Faithfully and Lovingly was closer to novella length than the short story length of the prior stories in this collection, and it’s another story where my feelings are conflicted. It took a while for the supernatural element of this story to appear, and for a while felt a bit slow. Once the supernatural appeared it became interesting, and I found myself wanting a lot more. For me, this one either would have worked better as just the later part with the supernatural or as a much longer story that investigated everything in depth. Although it’s not the strongest three-star rating, I was happy to round it up. Story Title Revealed About Halfway Through gives you exactly what the title suggests. It made for an interesting way of storytelling and had me curious to see what the title would be when it was revealed. Although it was a fun way of telling the story, I wasn’t as won over by this one as I was by some of the other stories. I think this is one of those cases where my pickiness with short stories came into play, making this a two-star rating. A Gob of Minty Spit in the Sink was the shortest of the stories in A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe. It was a weird story in the best of ways, something that kept you hooked throughout. It made for a great short story, but I can also see this as part of a much larger story. All in all, another three-star rating. I Will Soon Be Home and Never Need Anyone Ever Again was the final story in A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe, and it was the longest. This one certainly fell into the novella category, providing a story that gave a lot. It was interesting to watch how this one developed, with the lingering air of questions ensuring you’re happy to keep turning the pages. An enjoyable ending to A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe, and another three-star rating. All in all, A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe was an enjoyable collection of short stories. As is always the case with collections, there were some I enjoyed more than others – my mixed feelings towards short stories playing a large role in this – but it’s certainly a collection worth reading if you’re looking for horror short stories that are more about lingering unease than about frights to keep you up at night.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angel Gelique

    "It's amazing how one clings to the illusion of normality, especially when things were going completely, horrifically awry." If I had to describe this collection of short stories in one word, it would be extraordinary. With strange, lengthy titles, you never know what to expect as you begin each story. Although direct and straightforward, Hamantaschen's writing is anything but simple. He masterfully weaves clever, thought-provoking tales that fully engage and nourish hungry imaginations. They "It's amazing how one clings to the illusion of normality, especially when things were going completely, horrifically awry." If I had to describe this collection of short stories in one word, it would be extraordinary. With strange, lengthy titles, you never know what to expect as you begin each story. Although direct and straightforward, Hamantaschen's writing is anything but simple. He masterfully weaves clever, thought-provoking tales that fully engage and nourish hungry imaginations. They are refreshingly unique and wildly entertaining. My only complaint is that, at times, I felt too many unnecessary details were added. But on a more positive note, the last story in the book, entitled I Will Soon Be Home and Never Need Anyone Ever Again, was absolutely brilliant! It's the story of a bullied young teenager and I think it may very well be the best story I've read all year. Highly recommended to those who wish to have their prefrontal cortex tickled.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    Review: A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE by J. R. Hamantaschen This author falls into a special category all his own: a specialized category of the Outre, New Weird, and exceptional. I can only think of one other who is consistently an author of "Something Else," Darren Speegle. Both have the quality of causing the reader to ponder, "What Dimension is this? And how did I get here?" With each story by Mr. Hamantaschen, I am transported to somewhere that on its surface is consensus reality, b Review: A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE by J. R. Hamantaschen This author falls into a special category all his own: a specialized category of the Outre, New Weird, and exceptional. I can only think of one other who is consistently an author of "Something Else," Darren Speegle. Both have the quality of causing the reader to ponder, "What Dimension is this? And how did I get here?" With each story by Mr. Hamantaschen, I am transported to somewhere that on its surface is consensus reality, but in actuality is no more our reality than is a mirror image "the real thing." Like some nightmares, these stories refuse to quietly depart. Instead, once you read them, they're here to stay. A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE is Mr. Hamantaschen's third collection, and features eleven stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Deacon D.

    Having read good things about J. R. Hamantaschen's work, I decided it was time I personally checked it out, and man, am I glad I took the plunge! A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is a unique collection of weird and original stories that, quite frankly, blew my freakin' mind. Hamantaschen has a knack for taking rather ordinary and relatable characters and thrusting them into some truly fantastic and bizarre situations. There was an underlying feeling of unease present throughout these storie Having read good things about J. R. Hamantaschen's work, I decided it was time I personally checked it out, and man, am I glad I took the plunge! A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is a unique collection of weird and original stories that, quite frankly, blew my freakin' mind. Hamantaschen has a knack for taking rather ordinary and relatable characters and thrusting them into some truly fantastic and bizarre situations. There was an underlying feeling of unease present throughout these stories, sometimes laced with feelings of shock, sadness, and WTF-ery that really kept me enthralled...and often disturbed. Quite simply, Hamantaschen is a helluva talented writer, and A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is one helluva creepy collection that I highly recommend.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a solid, well-written short story collection. I loved the slow build that most of the stories had and the anticipation of knowing that something fucked up was going to happen, but not knowing what or when. I enjoyed the author's writing style and thought they did a good job of writing realistic characters and dialogue, though the writing was a bit verbose at times. The stories in this collection had a tendency to end with no definitive conclusion, so if that is something that bothers yo This was a solid, well-written short story collection. I loved the slow build that most of the stories had and the anticipation of knowing that something fucked up was going to happen, but not knowing what or when. I enjoyed the author's writing style and thought they did a good job of writing realistic characters and dialogue, though the writing was a bit verbose at times. The stories in this collection had a tendency to end with no definitive conclusion, so if that is something that bothers you, this might not be the collection for you, but I like when an author leaves some things to the imagination, especially in horror. I would, however, love to read more of some of these stories because I found the ideas so curious and engaging. (Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    Really enjoyed reaching for this one every time I needed something quick (for the most part) to get lost in. May I just say that I live in Ohio, and Hamantaschen's story in here "7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio" has made me look sideways at all gas stations. Really. Because there is something in the restrooms.... This story was my favorite of the collection. The author has a writing style in this particular tale that is accessible and I was IN IT from the start. There were a few stories Really enjoyed reaching for this one every time I needed something quick (for the most part) to get lost in. May I just say that I live in Ohio, and Hamantaschen's story in here "7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio" has made me look sideways at all gas stations. Really. Because there is something in the restrooms.... This story was my favorite of the collection. The author has a writing style in this particular tale that is accessible and I was IN IT from the start. There were a few stories that just weren't for me. I don't think it's anything other than personal preference, just my experience. Those particular ones seemed to be a bit more telling than showing (to me) and that could have played a part in it. For at least one it was the length. I am not going through which ones, another reader may very well love them. Finally, be sure to check out Char's review of this book - she does a smashing job and it was her review that made me agree to pick this one up in the first place :) . There is also a review up on Sci Fi and Scary from the lovely Graciekat! Thank you to the author for sending me a copy - I enjoyed my time with these tales.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Phillip Smith

    4.5 to 5 stars. This took me a while to read, but not because I was ever bored. I just felt that there was a lot to unpack. These are involved, subtle stories about natural characters encountering the sublime, the awe-inspiring... the horrific. You've met these characters (Hell, you might have even acted like them at a certain point in your life), so when the anvil drops, so does your stomach. Just a really well-done collection that reminded me flavors of John Langan for the depth of feeling and 4.5 to 5 stars. This took me a while to read, but not because I was ever bored. I just felt that there was a lot to unpack. These are involved, subtle stories about natural characters encountering the sublime, the awe-inspiring... the horrific. You've met these characters (Hell, you might have even acted like them at a certain point in your life), so when the anvil drops, so does your stomach. Just a really well-done collection that reminded me flavors of John Langan for the depth of feeling and Stephen Graham Jones for natural dialogue and cosmic weirdness.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    4.5 Stars! J.R. Hamantaschen knows how to tell a good story. His ability to inject dark humor into complex, distinctive storytelling is quite impressive. Every one in this collection is unique and quirky yet unsettling. I enjoyed every story, which isn't typical with short story collections. Also, make sure to read every single page, including the blurbs and copyright page. Hamantaschen snuck in a few funnies amongst them. I will definitely be reading more of his work! 4.5 Stars! J.R. Hamantaschen knows how to tell a good story. His ability to inject dark humor into complex, distinctive storytelling is quite impressive. Every one in this collection is unique and quirky yet unsettling. I enjoyed every story, which isn't typical with short story collections. Also, make sure to read every single page, including the blurbs and copyright page. Hamantaschen snuck in a few funnies amongst them. I will definitely be reading more of his work!

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    Interesting stories and strange situations. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1HJ Interesting stories and strange situations. My review is posted here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1HJ

  23. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    Next to discussing this author’s quality of work, that J.R. Hamantaschen continues to steadily produce pleasingly bleak fictions amid (or perhaps due to) the backdrop of social-media neediness is to be commended. In his collection, A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE, Hamantaschen, with an almost prosecutorial execution, submits fictions containing themes familiar to his fans; but this most-recently revealed cache of stories (eleven in all) is a bit more resilient in their aesthetic and tangi Next to discussing this author’s quality of work, that J.R. Hamantaschen continues to steadily produce pleasingly bleak fictions amid (or perhaps due to) the backdrop of social-media neediness is to be commended. In his collection, A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE, Hamantaschen, with an almost prosecutorial execution, submits fictions containing themes familiar to his fans; but this most-recently revealed cache of stories (eleven in all) is a bit more resilient in their aesthetic and tangible in their approachability. Along a literary landscape which, in some ways, has become distorted by the online channels of gnathonic, echo-chamber transmissions, Hamantaschen’s tales—devoid of a simpering sentimentality so prevalent in those interweb mediums—remain untinged by the typically mundane anchor of social-media activity, and reflect an admirable variety of isolation. That said, Hamantaschen invests energy to, and capitalizes on, focusing on (what would otherwise be considered) the mundane—those day-to-day interactions which most dismiss despite possessing a prism for our multiform realities (case in point: the story “No One Cares But I Tried”); and though I wager he’s knee-deep in the daily fray, A DEEP HORROR… budges very little when it comes to giving in. “He usually didn’t like people looking at him dead on,” writes Hamantaschen in one of the pieces; but that’s precisely how the writer scrutinizes his subjects. A few of these fictions are lengthy and contemplative (this volume contains a sturdy, novella-length study, Faithfully and Lovingly), and several pleasantly strain convention. “7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio” is a meta-exercise in set-up which has a pay-off punctuated by a “back-to-the-drawing board” relent in this drudgery of thankless creation. One of the more scalpel-sharp stories is the opener, “Rococo Veins and Lurid Stains,” which casts several regret-dwelling characters who—throughout several colorful exchanges—are plotting some sort of, well…exchange. Cautious of exposing too much of the tale, there exists in this piece a sort of literary loop, a “chain”: “You don’t come back as who you were before,” a central character suggests. “You probably come back as something else and it’s doubtful you’d have any real memory of who you were before.” My nits include several layout-formatting, general editing throughout the volume, and a number of distracting POV jumps (particularly in “That’s Just the Way Things Are These Days”). But audience members aren’t reading Hamantaschen for these reasons. Rather, it’s something more innately unique. Aside from a bleakly acerbic sense of humor, the most compelling characteristic to Hamantaschen’s work is his voice. Not unlike certain moments in life which bear the potential of developing into indelible vignettes, Hamantaschen’s resonant voice emerges in unlikely moments: a stylistic mechanism within his narratives which seamlessly serves to insulate an unnerving scenario—the scenario, in many cases with J.R. Hamantaschen, is simply existence.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adam Selby-Martin

    A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe J.R. Hamantaschen [Please note that the author sent me a copy of this title in return for a fair and honest review] The cover art of A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe scares the ever-living crap out of me. Author J.R. Hamantaschen not only sent me a digital review copy of his latest anthology, but also a physical copy as well. It’s an incredibly generous gesture, and there’s absolutely nothing like having a real book in your hands, as compared to the pale A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe J.R. Hamantaschen [Please note that the author sent me a copy of this title in return for a fair and honest review] The cover art of A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe scares the ever-living crap out of me. Author J.R. Hamantaschen not only sent me a digital review copy of his latest anthology, but also a physical copy as well. It’s an incredibly generous gesture, and there’s absolutely nothing like having a real book in your hands, as compared to the pale imitation of a digital one; but when it has a terrifying, disturbing piece of imagery on the front cover that makes me feel like my brain isn’t properly assembled, it’s rather more difficult to hide from. Whereas I can just turn my Kindle app off or go to the next book on my reading list, with the physical copy I ended up physically turning it around on my bookshelf. I still to this day, weeks after finishing the anthology, don’t know exactly what it is; I’ve found myself staring at it for minutes on end, even rotating the book to see if another angle will suddenly make it more recognisable. But there’s a little voice in the back of my head that queries whether I would actually want it to be recognisable, and in the end each time I just put it back on my bookshelf, a mild queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach for minutes afterward. Yet I keep going back to it, time and again, prodding at it like a diseased tooth. In many ways, the whole of A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is exactly like that – the stories found inside the cover are often horrifying, deeply unsettling and even made me genuinely uncomfortable at times with their themes and insights into human nature; and yet, above all, they were compulsively readable. I had to structure my reading in blocks, almost story by story, because of the way that Hamantaschen deftly and seemingly effortlessly devises tales that aren’t just simple horror stories; while there are always elements of horror, sometimes more overt than others, the author always manages to go far, far deeper than most horror writers I’ve ever encountered, providing tales that relentlessly analyse the human condition and what, exactly, makes people tick and behave in certain ways. An excellent example of this would be one of the earlier stories in the collection, titled No One Cares But I Tried. I think this might actually be my favourite of the entire collection, and it’s certainly one of the strangest stories that I’ve ever encountered in the Horror genre – it’s certainly one that’s stuck in my mind for weeks on end now, poking at me occasionally, again like a diseased tooth. On the one hand, this is a story that has a relatively simple and compact narrative structure – an officer worker discovers that she is being haunted by a mysterious disembodied voice, which starts off by whispering vicious insults at her, but rapidly escalates to showcase a terrifying power to implant incredibly powerful suggestions in a person’s mind, to the extent that they might endanger themselves or others as a result. The conflict in the story then revolves around the protagonist trying to discover where the voice is coming from, and then how to stop it. It’s well-written, with excellent pacing and characterisation; but what really elevates it in my eyes, and what makes Hamantaschen such a skilled writer, is that there aren’t any easy answers provided. As the story progresses we find out who is projecting the voice, and the extent of their powers, but the story finishes with so many questions left unanswered, and Hamantaschen refuses to do the easy thing and wrap the story up with a nice bow for the reader. The antagonist’s reasoning for inflicting such mental agony is barely explored, and it’s instead left to the reader to try and guess why they’d do such a horrific thing – and how, exactly, they managed to achieve that power in the first place. And for me, that cuts to the heart of both the author’s skill as a writer, and the human condition – sometimes people do the worst, most inhumane and cruel stuff because they just can, or because they want to see someone suffer. That’s the truth underlying the story, and Hamantaschen almost revels in it, resulting in a tale that is as discomforting as it is entertaining. As a result, Hamantaschen’s stories don’t leave you alone after you’ve finished reading them; instead, they always leave you with an unsettled or discomforted feeling afterwards, and they make you think incessantly afterwards, turning around all of the themes and angles that were brought together. It’s something that I discovered in the first short story of the author’s that I read, the excellent I’m a Good Person, I Mean Well, and I Deserve Better in the Terror in 16-Bits anthology from Muzzleland Press. That is a fantastic piece of short weird horror fiction, much like those found within this collection, and it also delivered a challenging and often uncomfortable gaze into the human condition, with a focus on unattained entitlement and a savage deconstruction of the ‘rescued princess’ trope so common still in videogames and fiction. Those are some of the same sort of themes and tropes that you’ll find within A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe, but twisted and reconfigured in so many different and unique ways. Indeed, as I worked my way through the collection – watching as aliens disrupted marriages, as creatures from another dimension climbed the greasy pole of business by deploying killing machines into gas station rest rooms, and as strange, vaguely unwholesome relationships blossomed between a man and his barista, I realized that each story was written and characterised entirely differently to its neighbours. It felt like a dozen different authors had been brought together, as in the usual sort of anthology; and if this had been sent to me to review without any of the usual author details, I believe that I’d have sworn blind each story was written by a different person. It’s an incredible feeling, to see one author demonstrate such skill in writing so different and coherently in such a diverse manner. Another thing to note is the distinctly unique nature of the book itself. There’s a dark and almost subversive sense of humour that runs through the entire book – almost every element of the title except for the stories themselves is in some way undermined and twisted around to poke fun at the author, the readers, and anything and everything else in between them. The copy-right text – usually sacrosanct in even the most humorous of books – is laced with witty comments, the rights reserved section is twisted into something that is almost non-Euclidean in nature; and even the author’s introduction is darkly comedic and slightly acerbic. It all combines together to create a written product that I’ve never really encountered before – Hamantaschen has effectively created a meta-horror book, where every element of it, even the unsettling and stomach-churning cover imagery, has been weaponised to turn it into something that will disconcert the reader and prepare them for the incredibly good writing to be found in the collection. In many ways this has been an atypical review for me – it hasn’t followed the same set patterns, the same basic template that I usually use for book reviews. Usually I break down anthologies and collections on a story-by-story basis, but the unique nature of this collection has completely disrupted my nice, safe way of doing things.. But that’s because A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is, to me, such an atypical collection of weird horror stories. It discomforts, challenges and refuses to mollycoddle the reader, instead unleashing a torrent of brilliantly-written, intensely imaginative stories that are embedded in the vagaries and horrors to be found in the human condition. Not only is this a fantastic collection of weird horror short stories, it is a gut-punch to the brain and the emotions that leaves you disturbed and uncertain, yet sincerely glad to have read it. I absolutely and heartily recommend it to anyone who loves the horror genre, but also those who like to be challenged by the fiction that they read. I will certainly be hunting out more stories and collections by J.R. Hamantaschen – as long as I’ve had some time to recover first.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

    I received an advanced reader copy from the author. Things came up, and I finally got to reading this book in the past few days. My ratings for the stories in this book averages to 3.63, thus rounding up to 4 stars. My reviews of the stories in this book can be found in this thread, posts 109 to 119: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... I received an advanced reader copy from the author. Things came up, and I finally got to reading this book in the past few days. My ratings for the stories in this book averages to 3.63, thus rounding up to 4 stars. My reviews of the stories in this book can be found in this thread, posts 109 to 119: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    "I'm an old lady, I don't often insult people. I'm a bit rusty.” J.R. Hamantaschen is that rare author who fits no category, genre, or style with his books. He likes to remain fairly anonymous but does indeed offer a richly detailed ‘biography’ I his Introduction: ‘I always tell myself that I should get one of my more popular or more respected peers to write my introductions. Yet it’d be hard for me to criticize the hyperbolic “this young author will blow your mind and probably cure cancer” type "I'm an old lady, I don't often insult people. I'm a bit rusty.” J.R. Hamantaschen is that rare author who fits no category, genre, or style with his books. He likes to remain fairly anonymous but does indeed offer a richly detailed ‘biography’ I his Introduction: ‘I always tell myself that I should get one of my more popular or more respected peers to write my introductions. Yet it’d be hard for me to criticize the hyperbolic “this young author will blow your mind and probably cure cancer” type of introductions that are so common in the small press world if I succumb to the temptation myself. Also, there’s nothing that readies the pitchforks of critical approbation like an introduction that overpromises and underdelivers, so like my mother told me growing up, keep expectations about yourself low and people likely won’t be as disappointed. This is my third collection of short horror fiction. It will likely be my last for the foreseeable future, as I move onto longer works. For fans of mine, I view this collection as a fitting end point and an encapsulation of the themes and motifs I’ve explored in my short fiction (particularly with the last story in this collection: hopefully that’s enough of an impetus to get you to read the whole book!), and a showcase of the styles that worked best in my previous two collections. Like always, I prefer that you read the stories in order. But it’s best to say as little as possible and just hope you enjoy what is to come. As always, I can be reached at [email protected] In addition to my previous two collections, “You Shall Never Know Security” and “With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer,” I also host a weekly podcast called The Horror of Nachos and Hamantaschen, where I bloviate about horror movies, horror fiction, and general horror “culture” with my trusty co-host Derek Sotak. I live in Queens, New York, and if you ever find yourself in New York City, I’m often available to grab a coffee (or a hamantaschen, naturally) and talk horror / ceaseless psychological torments. Over the years I’ve met several readers for coffee or at conventions, and you’ve never read any heinous news stories about any of these meetings, right? Right! That’s really all the commendation I can give to keep expectations correspondingly low.’ Hamantaschen (couldn’t resist the google challenge– ‘ a small triangular cake often made with yeast and filled with a mixture of poppy seeds and honey or with prune paste, prepared especially for the festival of Purim’) writes with such fine prose that even the very strange stories take on a beauty of language that is addicting. An example (from ‘Bleecker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli’) – ‘“SO, IT’S LIKE this,” Ken started, breaking through the lull in the conversation that took over at the gathered table. Ken paused to catch himself, noticing his thoughts were getting murky from the alcohol. He hated clichéd, rambly drunk-talk, and he wanted to make sure he sounded sharp and put-together with this next comment .... Actually, I’m Ken so it’s just easier if I tell this first-person. So ignore that first part in the third person. I’m Ken and this story is about me. Sorry for that, was going to go with an objective literary device but this is a subjective story so let’s be upfront about that and keep it that way from here on in. So, anyway, where was I? Right, sitting around the table, there was me, Tommy, Beth, Ron, Allison, and two or three other people I didn’t know. Beth and Allison were identical twins, and Tommy and Ron were each dating a sister. I was friends with Tommy, who was throwing the party at his three-bedroom apartment in Greenpoint, so I guess Aaron, Tommy’s roommate, and Aaron’s girlfriend were around, too; maybe one of them was also sitting at the table, I’m not sure. Greenpoint is a neighborhood in the northern part of Brooklyn, by the way, that used to be heavily Polish but is now heavily — correction — oppressively, hipster-twee. I’m not trying to be pretentious in telling you that part. I understand not everyone knows about New York neighborhoods so if you already knew that information, I apologize, just bear with me. So yeah, Tommy, you can do the math. Tommy had a three-bedroom in Greenpoint with only one roommate, so he was doing pretty well, or his Mommy and Daddy were doing well and sharing some of the largess with him, something I had no idea about but suspected. The suspicion was enough for me.’ Bizarre, yes, but such a delight to read that each of the eleven short stories of macabre horror, filled with estrangement, honor, wonder, terror, delusion, pity, desperation and perseverance bears re-reading – often. Hamantaschen is unique – a free spirit who translates his brainwaves well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe. With a title like that (and that crazy cover art and those strange story titles) I was curious to see what it contained. I was worried it might be pretentious. Spoiler alert, it was not pretentious. It was pretty darn great! J. R. Hamantaschen captured a lot of emotions in these stories and he did that with a certain grace and subtlety I haven't seen very often. The stories were the right blend of quirky and funny, bloody and horrifying. Hamantaschen write A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe. With a title like that (and that crazy cover art and those strange story titles) I was curious to see what it contained. I was worried it might be pretentious. Spoiler alert, it was not pretentious. It was pretty darn great! J. R. Hamantaschen captured a lot of emotions in these stories and he did that with a certain grace and subtlety I haven't seen very often. The stories were the right blend of quirky and funny, bloody and horrifying. Hamantaschen writes teens so we'll, I'd put his teens right up there with King's kids. He perfectly illustrates the teenage angst, the nervousness around a crush, the silly, I-know-everything mentality. But these immature emotions and thoughts are juxtaposed with a truly mature writing which ensures that they don't read like a YA story. There were two stories that were much longer than the others and those felt a bit meandering at times. However, in both situations the set-up proved to be indispensable. It is more about the journey than the destination after all. However, none of Hamantaschen's destinations disappoint! In one story, he used the phrase "bait and switch" and that is exactly how I would describe these endings. This man can pull the rug out from under you so quickly, you hardly realize it's happening. A perfect example of this, and my favorite story in the collection, is That's Just the Way Things Are These Days. I loved everything about this story. It was sweet and tender, awkward and funny, bloody and terrifying. I am drawn to stories that are in our world but just a little bit different, a little bit darker. It makes the thought of it coming to pass in our own world real and scary. And don't forget to read those pages at the beginning that are usually given a cursory glance if not skipped over completely. The "In Praise Of…" pages and even the copyright pages hold some truly magnificent gems that really set the tone for the collection and make me want to hang out with J. R. Hamantaschen because he seems like a really cool guy!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diamond

    (First off, I think I was in a weird kind of reading funk/book hangover whIle reading this that kept it from fully resonating with me, despite liking it overall) A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is full of average, mundane scenarios that take a turn into strange circumstances that range from pretty terrifying, to just slightly odd, but is consistent (and pretty impressive) in regards to Hamantaschen's voice, as well as the focus on the characters. While not every story really hit hard for m (First off, I think I was in a weird kind of reading funk/book hangover whIle reading this that kept it from fully resonating with me, despite liking it overall) A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe is full of average, mundane scenarios that take a turn into strange circumstances that range from pretty terrifying, to just slightly odd, but is consistent (and pretty impressive) in regards to Hamantaschen's voice, as well as the focus on the characters. While not every story really hit hard for me, every story definitely gave me incredible insight to it's character's thoughts and motivations. Even when things go sideways, and even when the character does or thinks something absurd (or crazy), their behaviors always felt believable within that specific story, for that specific character. I love that feeling of really getting into a characters mindset, but even more so when I feel an author truly understands their characters. Now, many of the stories felt a bit anticlimactic to me, or that the ratio of character focus to action/horror/weirdness felt a bit off balance. However, I'm pretty confident that's due to said weird reading mood I think I'm in, and I certainly enjoyed this collection, and appreciate a more subtle horror story. I actually think if I had read this during the winter months versus the summer, it would have been a completely different experience. For all of that, each story had a wildly unique premise, and a few that particularly stood out to me were Bleecker and Bleaker; or, Gay for Muesli, 7099 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio, and A Gob of Minty Spit in the Sink. For all my conflicting feelings these stories are anything but basic. This is a great collection for someone in the mood for some character focused weird fiction.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Lee

    The official synopsis blurb for A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe by J.R. Hamantaschen is very simple and straightforward. It also understates the depth and impact of the stories in this incredible collection. Hamantaschen’s eloquent writing engages your intellect and emotions and pulls you steadily down into unique and varied horrors. The characters are complex and engaging, real people you come to know, empathize with, get caught up in. This expert characterization is clearly a key elemen The official synopsis blurb for A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe by J.R. Hamantaschen is very simple and straightforward. It also understates the depth and impact of the stories in this incredible collection. Hamantaschen’s eloquent writing engages your intellect and emotions and pulls you steadily down into unique and varied horrors. The characters are complex and engaging, real people you come to know, empathize with, get caught up in. This expert characterization is clearly a key element used to build tension and dread, for you know you are reading horror and the foreshadowing is truly a warning. The entire collection is noteworthy, but you will have your favorites as I have mine. For me, one story of particular note is “That’s Just the Way Things Are These Days.” This story is the epitome of deep horror as alluded to in the title of the collection. This unique tale has an incredible and disturbing storyline and a startling ending. I found it very engrossing. I read it twice. These stories vary greatly in subject matter and intensity. Speculative horror, psychological horror, paranormal horror, even some violent and graphic horror. Whatever your preference, Hamantaschen has characters to grab you by the hand and take you there. The author’s versatility is truly astounding. Enjoy the stories at face value, or enjoy contemplating the subtext. Or both. This is a shelf-worthy volume, highly recommended for any library, physical or digital. My only criticism? The cover art. While it clearly is rich with symbolism, I do not personally feel the style and color palette reflect the contents of the book. But that is just my opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    I normally like to read straight through a collection of short stories, but this one took some time to finish. That’s not a bad thing - the stories are well-written and delightfully spooky, but they also highlight some real world issues in a way that was highly unsettling at times. Each of the 11 stories is completely different from the one before it, and they all have some of the most creative titles I’ve ever come across. In short - this collection might not be for everyone, but if you’re look I normally like to read straight through a collection of short stories, but this one took some time to finish. That’s not a bad thing - the stories are well-written and delightfully spooky, but they also highlight some real world issues in a way that was highly unsettling at times. Each of the 11 stories is completely different from the one before it, and they all have some of the most creative titles I’ve ever come across. In short - this collection might not be for everyone, but if you’re looking for some really unique and thought-provoking horror, it’s probably for you! J.R. himself recommended this one to me, and I’m very glad he did.

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