My fourth short story collection, Spontaneous Human Combustion will be out on 2/22/22. I honestly think it’s some of my best work to date. Not sure if it’s for you? Here are the reviews and blurbs we’ve gotten so far.
Reviews for Spontaneous Human Combustion
“Thomas breathes fresh air into the genre of dark speculative fiction with a brilliant collection that teems with haunting elements, dark nostalgia for lost love, dysfunctional families, and self-torment. Equally devastating and refreshing, this is a collection to be savored by horror fans and literary readers alike.”—Starred Review at Publishers Weekly
“Fans of science fiction, horror, and dark fiction will relish immersing themselves in this collection for all its grit, lyricism, and unquestionable profundity.” —Library Journal
“Horror fans will be drawn to this compelling anthology.” —Booklist
“Each story is filled with vivid and evocative details and provides a fascinating journey that explores the dark places of our existence and engages its readers throughout…[Richard Thomas] does not disappoint.”—New York Journal of Books
Transgressive, dark and masterfully written—with Spontaneous Human Combustion Thomas forces the reader to run the gamut of human emotions. With beguiling and devastating prose one can’t help but see the beauty in the macabre morsels Thomas has given us to consume. A truly breathtaking collection.’—STORGY
“Richard Thomas pushes the envelope of what is possible in fiction, and strives to show us something truly sublime. Perhaps the collection is best summarized in…his story ‘Undone:’ ‘…everything I could never be, nothing we have been before.’” —Joseph Sale, at The Mindflayer
“…in the manner of some of the original American gothic writers, Thomas’s most fertile ground is the darkness of each human’s heart…This collection of fourteen stories shows an incredible range…Above all, this collection asks us to think about the true horrors of existence and about the sacrifices that must be made to hold those horrors at bay.”—Rhonda McDonnell
“Richard Thomas is a seasoned professional…He is such a fantastic writer with so much depth and subtext in every single paragraph. Every single line has punch to it…This collection is damn near perfect!” —Edward Lorn, author of Life After Dane
“Imaginative and propulsive, the stories of Spontaneous Human Combustion confront universal human fears in supernatural, futuristic worlds.”—Foreword Reviews
“If you dig Black Mirror or any surrealist, neo-noir fiction, then you definitely need to check this out, because this would be right up your alley.”—Jenny Ashford, 13 O’Clock Podcast (Tomes of Terror)
“Genius. Masterpiece. Auto-buy author. Best collection I’ve read in 2021. 10/10, will re-read these stories. Hell, I may even re-read a few over the next few days. Cannot recommend enough.”—The Nerdy Narrative
“It’s rare I read a collection of this size and feel each story is a 5 star read, but this one is it…Now I want to read EVERYTHING Richard Thomas has and anything he has coming out in the future. Top short story collection of the year for me—trust me, it had some steep competition too!”—The Nerdy Narrative
“This is our final recommendation for 2021. In this new collection, Richard Thomas has crafted fourteen stories that push the boundaries of dark fiction in an intoxicating, piercing blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Equally provocative and profound, each story is masterfully woven with transgressive themes that burrow beneath the skin.”—Puzzle Box Horror
“There are a wondrous range of stories here from dark fiction to fantasy and horror, some with elements of sci-fi…all are beautifully written.”—Well Worth a Read
“My-oh-my did this one take me by surprise…strong and impressive…poignant, artful, and fun.”—Uncomfortably Dark
Blurbs for Spontaneous Human Combustion
“In range alone, Richard Thomas is boundless. He is Lovecraft. He is Bradbury. He is Gaiman.”—Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club
“Equally devastating and refreshing, this is a collection to be savored by horror fans and literary readers alike.”—Starred review at Publishers Weekly
“A feast for the senses, this collection is simultaneously lush and terrifying. Horror and dark fantasy fans are sure to find many delights within.”—A.C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling
“Richard Thomas gives us a timely and eloquent reminder that, no matter how far we run, we take our darkness with us.”—Priya Sharma, author of Ormeshadow
“By turns poetic and brutal, this is a stellar collection.”—Lucy A. Snyder, author of Sister, Maiden, Monster
The language here is dense and richly evocative, achieving at times a transgressive and surreal quality reminiscent of Rimbaud in its beauty and brutality.” —Steve Rasnic Tem, author of Figures Unseen: Selected Stories and Thanatrauma
“Thomas masterfully combines noir and horror. He paints the beauty and the meanness of human life with an ease that belies how damned hard a trick it is to accomplish. Spontaneous Human Combustion is a bottle of the top shelf stuff—smooth, but it burns. Burns all the way to the bottom.”—Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase
“In this collection, Richard Thomas leads us through a vivid sequence of ever-darkening dreams. Strange, surreal, terrible and beautiful—I didn’t want to wake.”—Karen Runge, author of Doll Crimes
“With Spontaneous Human Combustion, Richard Thomas bravely leads us into the darkest recesses of the human soul. As always his writing is superb—precise, evocative and moving.”—Kate Jonez, author of Lady Bits
“Richard Thomas’s Spontaneous Human Combustion is a marvelous monster made of blood, anger, fear, guilt, grief, hunger, and pain. These gritty, blood-soaked stories pull readers into the darkness of the single black heart beating at the core of horror and noir, and somehow makes them love every second of it.”—Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs
“Dark, but rarely bleak. Punishing, but never sadistic. Thomas’s stories drag you into the light as often as they knock you into the abyss. A necessary collection.”—Doug Murano, Bram-Stoker winning editor of Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders
“Soaked in dread and wonder, Richard Thomas’ work has a way of worming deep into your heart to take hold like a beautiful sickness. And true to form, every piece in his magnificent Spontaneous Human Combustion hits like a fever dream you wish would never end.” —Matthew Lyons, author of The Night Will Find Us and A Black And Endless Sky
“Richard Thomas isn’t just writing stories in his new collection, he’s taking that part of yourself you look away from, the dark thoughts and forgotten nightmares, and showing them to you with the clarity and power only our best working writers possess. Take it from a guy who’s actually been on fire—Spontaneous Human Combustion delivers.” —Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back and To Dust You Shall Return
“Nothing will prepare you for Richard Thomas’ stories, for the brutality, for the intense white-hot horror, for the blood-soaked gorgeous beauty of his writing. Reading his fiction is like sinking into a fever dream, filled with an alien-yet-familiar wondrousness to it all that makes you long to be back inside those seductive terrors long after they’ve ended. I was not prepared: I can’t wait to return.”—Livia Llewellyn, author of Furnace
“The stories in Spontaneous Human Combustion sizzle and burn. Richard Thomas is a narrator of the human condition at its most feral, and a master at the damnation game.”—Usman T. Malik, award-winning author of Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan
“Richard Thomas brings us expertly crafted tales steeped in violence and beauty. Each richly detailed story teases the reader with equal parts emotion and stoicism. Spontaneous Human Combustion is truly a work of dark wonder.”—Bram Stoker Award-winning author Mercedes M. Yardley
I have a new essay up on recent films that have informed my writing. ENJOY!
Robert Stahl is a student, peer, and friend of mine. He wanted to dig in deeper to my upcoming short story collection, SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION (out on 2/22/22 with Turner Publishing). Click on over and read his review as well as my thoughts on some of the stories. Warning—there ARE spoilers. Books are shipping now, so pick up your copy when you get a chance. I think it’s some of my best work to date.
“Writers understand that a story must show a character going through a change, and Spontaneous Human Combustion delivers on that notion with terrifying vigor. The characters in these pages transmogrify in ways that defy comprehension, whether by a glorious epiphany that ultimately vindicates them, or by a fatal misstep that leads to their eternal damnation. “
For more, head on over to his website. THANKS!
Thrilled to get another STARRED review of SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION, this time over at Library Journal. Totally made my day. Very exciting.
An excellent review of SHC over at TOMES OF TERROR!
Jenny discusses a brand new short story collection, containing 14 tales of unsettlingly surreal dark fiction. Find this book and more at the 13 O’Clock Amazon Storefront!
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Thrilled and honored to be on this list of “all the horror books we’re excited about in 2022” over at Tor Nightfire. My fourth collection, SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION, will be out on 2/22/22. What an amazing list of books, too. In great company here.
So, not a big year for me, as far as NEW work, but 2022 is looking to be quite active.
I had two stories come out this year—”Saudade” in the PRISMS anthology, and “Rotten to the Core” in the Liminal Spaces anthology. Both are eligible for nominations in the short story category. I would say both stories fit into the dark fantasy and horror genres, as well as new-weird.
A short interview with Mercedes, a good friend, and an amazing author.
Hillary: What is the most magical/terrifying place you’ve visited?
Mercedes: Goblin Valley in Utah is an absolutely beautiful, twisted landscape. They used it for an alien planet in the movie Galaxy Quest. It’s gorgeous red rock and it truly looks otherworldly. When we were children, my father would take us to Goblin Valley during a full moon. He’d park at the top of the park and turn the headlights on so we always had a point of reference. My brother and I would take flashlights and scramble down to play among the rocks. We’d stay out all night. It’s one of my favorite memories.
Hillary: How does place generally fit into your writing?
Mercedes: My work is firmly rooted in the concept of place. It’s one of my major themes, and I really like to play with the idea of place being cognizant. In my…
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We’re giving way TEN ARCs of my short story collection, Spontaneous Human Combustion! Click over to Goodreads now to enter.