Posted on Leave a comment

Willow Croft’s Review of Standalone by Paul Michael Anderson

*Potential Spoilers Ahead*

Standalone takes its opening premise from a well-used horror trope. Then throws some lurid slashing in for good measure. Just another same-old-same-old read. But then comes the twist. And that twist has a twist. And soon you are dimensions-deep in a gore-splashed mystery that isn’t confined by the limitations of space and time. But there is a certain physics-based order to the mayhem that turns the initial assassins into the hunted, like the infinity loop symbol (lemniscate) that’s coming back around to meet itself at its beginning. And within this loop, the final kill is led by the Final Girl who meets the final assassin. But the final killer is the one who saves countless lives throughout time and space, and the cycle begins again when the killer becomes the attendant. It’s a fascinating read, and one I was keen to read again, as I love writing that explores the endless possibilities of the “Multiverse” as Anderson calls it. I, too, had this concept in mind when I penned many of the (not as gory!) poems in my own book, Quantum Singularity: A Poetic Journey Through Time and Space.

So, because of my own explorations with multiple dimensions, to read this gory, time-twisting horror tale was an exceptionally lovely delight. It took horror to a whole new dimension (forgive the pun!) and it also threw in the beauty and art and heartbreak and poignancy that often inevitably blossoms out of the telling of a good horror story. If I had any bones to pick with Anderson’s story, it was a little teeny wishbone, and probably not worth mentioning. It threw me out of the story a little bit to have a mention of DVDs when one of the characters is renting movies, because everything felt very 80s and old-school in the video-renting scene’s atmosphere. Yes, most likely the newer slasher movies would be on DVDs, but I had a strong mental image of older movies being on VHS partially  because of the scene setting Anderson had written, and partially because I actually grew up in a time where you could rent those older films referenced in the book on VHS. Also, the contrast of old (video tapes) meets new (DVDS) could have also been a fitting symbolism of the multidimensional world loop that the killer Jenkins himself was moving through. I couldn’t help but feel that Jenkins wouldn’t also have a VHS player to watch some of the older films from his apartment in his timeline.

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who like their sci-fi with liberal splashes of horror and body parts. It’s like a more brutal, dark, fatalistic version of the Fifth Element (which, yes, I still have in my movie collection. On VHS, of course!)

Willow Croft’s Author Website:

Leave a Reply