Review: Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed

MidianEdited by Joseph Nassise and Del Howison

Tor, Out 28th July 2015

The tribes of the moon at large…

The jumping-off point for this anthology of tales featuring Barker’s famous Nightbreed is the finale of the original novel, Cabal. Boone and Lori have gone forth to find a new home for the breed, a new Midian where the monsters might finally settle – leaving the remnants of Midian scattered, hiding, seeking a place where they can remain hidden amongst humanity.

With a preface by editor Joseph Nassise and a reprint of Clive Barker’s 1989 introduction to The Nightbreed Chronicles, as well as an essay by Lisa Majewski titled Return to Midian, the scene is set for 22 short stories by authors such as Lilith Saintcrow, David J. Schow, Christopher Monfette, C. Robert Cargill and Weston Ochse, among others.

The anthology’s theme is evident in each of the stories, every one being a variation on survival away from Midian. As a result, although the quality of writing is never less than good, there’s a certain sameness to some of the stories – but several stand out as worthy of mention.

In ‘Button, Button’ by Ernie W. Cooper, a small boy keeps finding buttons laid out for him, but who are they from? He finds himself befriended by Simon, a Breed child, running from The Button Man (a nod to the original novel).

In ‘I Am the Night You Never Speak Of’, C. Robert Cargill writes from the point of view of Bacchus, as he encounters Naturals and leads them to ‘sin’, explaining his nature to the reader.

In ‘The Devil Until The Credits Roll’, Weston Ochse takes us to Afghanistan, and a very different take on what it means to realise you’re Nightbreed.

In ‘A Monster Amongst Monsters’, Stephen Woodworth and Kelly Dunn tell the story of the Pariah, a member of the Breed cursed to be outcast forever by Baphomet – and his encounter with a group of Breed hiding in an old theatre.

‘The Jesuit’s Mask’, by Durand Sheng Welsh, is an interesting tale of the Mongrel, Boone’s son, and Button Face, the mask worn by Decker in Cabal – and the creation of a new god.

Perhaps my favourite story of the anthology is Lilith Saintcrow’s ‘Bait and Switch’, telling of two friends’ journey to find a new Midian, and the trap they find themselves driving into.

Never less than entertaining, Midian Unmade is definitely an anthology that fans of Barker and the Nightbreed will enjoy. Well worth reading.

Verdict: New tales of the Breed – an enjoyable read for all fans of Midian. 8/10

Marie O’Regan

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