The Comfy-Cozy Nihilist: A Handbook of Dark Fiction (Short-Form Life Sucks Splatter Fiction)


Having always been a big fan of short story collections, I knew when I saw this available to read I would make fast work of it and most likely love it. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when a story just doesn’t work in short form and needs more than a few pages to make sense, but I’m glad this collection had no problems there; each story is completely individual. For some, it’s clear that the author takes mundane, or very normal and human issues that occur through life (grief, taking holiday and hotel workers for granted, how social media and keeping up appearances) and turns them into dark and gory tales. A lot of the stories are filled with wit and it balances them out, so they aren’t all doom and gloom, something which happens often in horror or splatterpunk. All too often I find they take themselves too seriously, with no break or leeway for some comedy for the reader. 


“The priest has returned with the exorcist. Two car doors slam just outside. No footsteps just yet. We can smell them. The Roman reeks of patchouli and stromboli. A disgusting combination. The fat priest’s heart is racing. He knows what lies ahead. We could explode it with but a stare if we choose to manifest it in full. Or we could just take a quick power nap. Maybe they’ll have lunch before we start things up. After all, we are so very tired.”


Each story is full of personality and wacky ideas, which never seem to deplete. Even the last, where a man creates clones of himself who ultimately just want to have sex with each other, leading to deaths and accidents waiting to happen. I heavily appreciate the notes at the end, as well, which give more insight into the stories; always just a nice touch in collections like this. The stories themselves are quick-paced from the start, even the slowest-paced example is still very fast. There were a few I’d love to have read as a long-form book such “Is that you?,” a chilling story about doppelgangers with little humor. This gathering of such crazy stories is highly recommended, and the author will be going on my ‘definitely read again’ list. Remind me to never consider wanting to be cloned.


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Written by Arianne, Sovereign Deity of the Damned

The Comfy-Cozy Nihilist (2023)
Nathan D. Ludwig
GenreBlast Books
Cover Art: Joey Souza
5 / 5