The award-winning and critically-acclaimed master of horror returns with a pair of chilling tales—both never-before-published in print—that examine the violence and depravity of the human condition.
Bringing together his acclaimed novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and an all-new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, John Hornor Jacobs turns his fertile imagination to the evil that breeds within the human soul.
A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself.
In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South—which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself.
Breathtaking and haunting, A Lush and Seething Hell is a terrifying and exhilarating journey into the darkness, an odyssey into the deepest reaches of ourselves that compels us to confront secrets best left hidden.
What They’re Saying:
“It’s time to declare John Hornor Jacobs as major author: every sentence he writes feels drawn from a pit of fire and hammered into a sword. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is transporting, disorienting, appalling, and gorgeous.” – Daniel Kraus, Award-winning author of The Shape of Water, Trollhunters, and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch
“Jacobs just keeps getting better. Seldom has cosmic horror been so naturalistically, so vividly, wrought. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is a squirm-inducing glimpse of humanity’s inner darkness, and worse.” – Laird Barron, Award-winning author of Blood Standard, The Croning, and Occultations
“The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is lush, terrifying, beautiful, and disturbing–and hands-down my favorite novella of the year. John Hornor Jacobs’ language draws you into a world of mounting dread, where all-too-human acts of violence bleed into supernatural horror. I read the last half of the book in one sitting, and I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time. Don’t miss this.” – Daryl Gregory, Award-winning author of Spoonbenders, Pandemonium, Raising Stony Mayhall, and We Are All Completely Fine
“Ending stories of cosmic horror effectively is perhaps the most difficult part of writing them. So much has been hinted at in the early pages of the story, it’s a challenge to arrive at a climax that doesn’t squander those hints by either diluting or overinflating them. Jacobs walks this narrative tightrope with grace and bravura, bringing his novella to a crescendo that is at once shocking and resonant. A story of transformations and translations, of the wounds history inflicts upon the self, of the scars we embrace to save ourselves, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is moving and memorable, one of the novellas of the year.” – John Langan, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of The Fisherman, writing in Locus Magazine
“As with all of Jacobs’s work, this is a wonderfully conceived piece of fiction that is so incredibly well-written. Jacobs has a tremendous sense of story structure and an equally great ear for dialogue. In his latest work, he taps into a version of cosmic horror that’s all at once vast while feeling deeply personal. The atmosphere Jacobs builds, along with the sense of dread and anxiety, makes for such a largely unique reading experience. This is a smart, layered, and compelling work of fiction, and I adored it. Once you start on Isabel’s journey, you won’t be able to stop.” Michael Moreci, author of Black Star Renegades, Roche Limit, Star Wars Adventures, and Batman Detective Comics, and Superman
“The dark, measured prose, mixed with this gradual immersion into otherworldly horror, makes the novella confident, powerful and abiding. Parts of it are not easy to read, the author does not flinch from the description of what a brutal regime can and would do. And yet, I find myself, too, wondering what it would be like to travel to Magera, and photograph and document, and bear witness to what I might find there. The imagery and landscapes reminded me of The Motorcycle Diaries, but the depiction of those landscapes and the use put to them is far, far different. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky is possibly Jacobs’ best work yet.” – Paul Weimer, writing for the Skiffy and Fanty Show
“Lovecraft meets Bolaño in the waning days of the Pinochet regime… This was creepy and evocative, and indisputably better written than 95% of the genre. Good stuff.” – Daniel Polansky, author of Lowtown and A City Dreaming
“The author does an excellent job of immersing the reader in this culturally rich setting […] but it’s Avendaño’s backstory that is the Lovecraftian foundation of the story […] raising the story from something merely good to something deliciously sublime.” – Kirkus Reviews
“The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky is so fabulous, I can’t imagine him achieving anything greater. For many, this would be the crowning achievement. The novella is dark and touching and lovely with enough conspiratorial nastiness that even this old soul was satisfied.” Weston Ochse, Author of Burning Sky, Seal Team 666
“Equal turns poetic and hypnotic, Jacobs resurrects the surreal imagery of Jorge Louis Borges and couples it with visceral prose that cuts to the bone.” – Teresa Frohock, Author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and Where Oblivion Dwells
5/5 Stars – “This is a lushly literary narrative, one that is first and foremost a character study of political exiles, and Jacobs’s authorial skills are tack sharp. Highly recommended. ” – Michael Patrick Hicks, author of Broken Shells and Mass Hysteria
“A masterpiece of modern cosmic horror that grounds itself in humanity. Jacobs does a lot with a little; his prose is lyrical and evocative. The setting and characters are captivating and unique to the genre. Moving cosmic horror away from the dreary hills of New England and to the streets of Málaga, Spain and the mountains of South America was a refreshing change. The result is a surprisingly deep novella that recasts cosmic horror’s themes with a raw originality. I was enthralled from start to finish.” – K.M. Alexander, author of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road