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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons, July 17, 2017

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Strange Horizons, July 17, 2017

The Dead Father Cookbook” by Ashley Blooms

Reviewed by Rebecca DeVendra

As the title promises, “The Dead Father Cookbook” by Ashley Blooms is a macabre, stomach-turning tale about a witch who puts her father’s ashes into food and eats it. She recruits her unwitting brother to help her with this task, only cluing him in after a bit of time. As their feast goes on, their bellies grow ripe: the scheme is to grow a golem and confront their father for his misdeeds once and for all. While the opening achieves a high level of tension, the ending changes the story’s mood. The effect is a bit jarring. What was foreboding and full of dread becomes an odd scene redolent of a Tim Burton movie. The character revelations are satisfying and sweet, but the Dead-Dad-Made-Of-Puke turns out to be an unnecessary distraction.


Rebecca DeVendra is a figure artist and speculative fiction writer living in Boston. She grew up in Ohio and went to school there, and has a background in curriculum writing. She's also a mom to three cacophonous, early-rising children. She's probably in her pajamas, but she has an emergency collar shirt for video calls. Check out her blog.