TITLE: No Trouble at All
EDITORS: Alexis DuBon & Eric Raglin
AGE RANGE: Adult
PUBLISHER: Cursed Morsels Press
Politeness is the glue that holds society together. We are all expected to do our part—a pressure ripe with horror. Rotten, even. Whether we adhere to this contract or defy it, there are consequences. These fifteen stories respond to promises made for us, promises of compliance that cost too much to keep.
Featuring Nadia Bulkin, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Ariel Marken Jack, Gwendolyn Kiste, Avra Margariti, J.A.W. McCarthy, R.L Meza, Marisca Pichette, J. Rohr, Simone le Roux, Angela Sylvaine, Nadine Aurora Tabing, Sara Tantlinger, D. Matthew Urban, and Gordon B. White.
“Mind your tongue.”
“Where are your manners?”
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
As a Southerner, I’ve heard all the sayings, and I grew up witnessing firsthand the repercussions of impoliteness. “Southern hospitality” runs deep in the blood of most of the people I’ve spent my life around, and people even crack jokes about how we’re courteous to a fault, turning niceties into passive-aggressive barbs.
But what happens when that politeness goes too far and gets us into situations we aren’t safe in?
Ask any woman and she’ll tell you that being “too nice” has landed her in hot water a time or two (what other choice does she have?). On the other hand, ask anyone from a marginalized group (especially people of color) and they’ll have stories about the times they’ve been tone policed, told that people would listen to them “if you’d just word it nicer”. So many of us live our lives constantly trying to straddle the line between politeness and not being a doormat, but No Trouble at All‘s stories show us what happens when courtesy is used against us.
While a couple of stories missed the mark for me in this anthology, for the most part, it was a slam dunk. I loved most of the stories in this collection and was blown away by how well these authors captured relatable (and painful) life experiences, especially those surrounding objectification of girls and women, and how far it can go when adults don’t protect the children in our society from it, such as my favorite story in here, ‘The Man Outside’ by Simone le Roux.
A few other stand-out gems were ‘An Inherited Taste’ by Nadine Aurora Tabing (in which women literally eat their loved ones’ sorrows), ‘Acid Skin’ by Marisca Pichette (a brilliant, angry commentary on rape culture), ‘The Guest Room’ by R.L. Meza (a harrowing look at how powerless children are when adults don’t listen), and ‘Welcome to the New You’ by Gwendolyn Kiste (a delightfully fresh take on doppelgangers).
All in all, I highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys horror short stories, and I’m so happy I had the chance to read it. There are so many new authors on my TBR and I can’t wait to read more work by them, just like I can’t wait for the next anthology I pick up from Cursed Morsels Press!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.
WARNINGS (click to expand):
misogyny, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, child abuse, domestic abuse, kidnapping, murder, violence, gore, body horror, home invasion, cannibalism
BIPOC characters, queer characters, ace rep in ‘Acid Skin’
— destiny ♥