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In the Country of Dreaming Caravans by Gerard HouarnerIn the Country of Dreaming Caravans

Bedlam Press, 2017

Aini’s journey is dreamlike, wrapped in prose as ethereal as her stories (“their laughter danced over the sand like lost scarves in the wind”)…”

“Readers who enjoy stories in which the telling of the journey is more important than the destination may appreciate this one. “

– Publisher’s Weekly

“Houarner, always a maestro of the “smart” horror tale, further hones his art in this scary provocative nod to The Thousand and One Nights and other ancient traditions of phantasmal story-telling. Chock full the macabre and populated by the arabesque horrors of a culture far older than ours, this great new work by Houarner is a Must Read for all venturers into weird fiction.”

– Edward Lee, author of White Trash Gothic and City Infernal

“A redemptive story of the saving magic of story itself. Lose yourself, and find yourself, in the tale of Aini, a virgin storyteller cast adrift by selfish parents to the whims of the desert to make her way in the world… maybe all the way to the Caravan of Dreams. In this short novel, Houarner has crafted a fantastic, beautifully dark journey to the center of the secret heart!”

– John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and NightWhere


Into Painfreak: A Journal of Decadence of Debauchery edited by Gerard HouarnerInto Painfreak

Bedlam Press, 12/16





The Sting of Wonder, the Seed of Faith by Gerard HouarnerThe Sting of Wonder, the Seed of Faith

Short Novel

Dunhams Manor Press, 2016









“Houarner is a smart, intelligent talent who has a gift for writing with serene beauty about the most atrocious things.”

– Ed Bryant, Locus

“Gerard Houarner is a master storyteller, able to guide the reader beyond the boundaries of the ordinary and into a world textured with what lurks beneath — the shadows, the raw and terrible beauty, the variety of human and otherworldly frailty.”

– Douglas Clegg

“One thing is clear — reading one Houarner story does not, necessarily, prepare you for the next.”   

– Algis Budrys, editor of Tomorrow SF, author of Rogue Moon, Hard Landing, Who?


 Novels and Collections Featuring the Character Max

Painfreak by Gerard HouarnerPainfreak

Features 3 stories introducing Max, the rest are erotic horror stories

Necro Publications, 1996 (Out of print)

“…a writer to keep an eye on.”

– Ellen Datlow, ed., 10th Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

“…he doesn’t need to jump on any bandwagons, he doesn’t need to follow any trend.  Yes, most of his tales are strong and graphic, but that’s not the source of their appeal and that is not what will guarantee their longevity.  It is Houarner’s ability to write that makes his stories successful and will ensure their artistic validity long after most of his peers are dead and their work completely forgotten.  Real writing skill is a rarity in the small corner of the field in which Houarner works, a seldom glimpsed attribute that occasionally shines through the otherwise deadingly flat prose that afflicts work of most flavors of the month, but is abundantly evident in Houarner’s impressive output.

“…real writing ability…is what separates the wheat from the chaff.  It is what will enable Gerard Houarner to write horror, soft horror or even a goddam romance novel and make people read it and believe it and follow it to the end.”

– Bentley Little, author of The Ignored, The Mailman, Evil Deeds, and the Bram Stoker award winning author of The Revelation

“…the entire point seems at first to be the elaborate description of decadence.  You can read the stories this way if you want, but there is more going on.  Beyond the peculiar methods of titilation  — or the depraved depths of absolute misery — there are indeed plots here, explorations into psyche, motivation, and resolution.

“Houarner writes a good story.”

Small Press Review, #287, December 1996

“Houarner draws you in through vivid, disturbing detail and carefully thought out characters.  Houarner’s stories have the impact of a highway pileup where you slowly drive by, ogle the body parts and mutter ‘there but for the grace of God…’”


“…a book that strips away our inhibitions and expertly strums our desires.”

Pirate Writings

“…Houarner is a gifted writer with a facility for fine characterization…”


“The comparison has to be made right up front.  A writer who writes stories dealing with relationships and their extremities; who explores sex and death, pain and pleasure, and doesn’t flinch when dealing with the intricacies of fetish and desire; who offers the most fetid portions of the societal body with no remonstration or suggestion of redemption; whose stories are introduced to us primarily through genre magazines and small press limited editions — yeah, sounds like Lucy Taylor.  Well, it’s not. If at least part of the future of horror belongs to Ms. Taylor, then Mr. Houarner is bidding for his piece.

“These aren’t nice stories and their power lies in their ability to draw you into this distorted world where you begin to willingly accept its terrifying society.  It’s a dangerous book.

“…Houarner makes the extreme all too acceptably fascinating and the reader comes away somehow changed.

“…the raw power and depth of his imagination combine to give him the ability to truly transform the reader.”

– Darkecho (on-line horror newsletter), OMNI on-line

“Too many authors confuse erotic horror with an excuse to mix violence and sex.  Not Gerard Daniel Houarner.  This up-and-coming author has written a powerful collection of stories that superbly mixes up a terrifying potion of horror, erotica, and violence.  Watch Houarner — if this collection is any indication, he’s going to be very big, very soon.”

Barnes and Featured Subjects — Horror and Suspense: Editor’s Picks

The Beast That Was Max by Gerard HouarnerThe Beast That Was Max


Leisure, 2001 (Out of print)

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2011
(Includes material previously published in Painfreak)

“You’ll be dazzled along the way by Houarner’s distinctive prose and unique blending of natural and supernatural elements.  I can guarantee you’ve never read anything like it before.  In a time when many writers merely try to reproduce the work of more successful novelists, Houarner treads his own path.  You’ll never mistake his work for someone else’s.”

– Garrett Peck, Gauntlet Magazine

“His strength is in throwing out ideas at an alarming rate, presuming an intelligence on the part of his readers that’s refreshing.  Popping like a Rob Zombie version of the James Bond theme, Houarner’s imagination creates a tremendous thrill ride.  This is a rare chance to get in on the ground floor of a new mover in the world of horror.”

– Thomas Deja, Fangoria 207

“….one of the most unusual horror novels of recent years.  A very intense, brutal, and bloody novel.”

SF Chronicle

“Gerard Houarner’s gutsy brand of literary wetwork deserves note simply because it is so deliciously extreme.”

Cemetery Dance

“Gerard Houarner combines the elements of a techno-thriller with that of a horror novel to create an original riveting tale. The engaging anti-hero hooks the audience in spite of his profession and the blood lust that consumes him. THE BEAST THAT WAS MAX is a strong candidate for a Bram Stroker award.”

– Harriet Klausner,;

“I love a well written story. There’s nothing I enjoy more than visceral imagery so lush that you can feel, taste, smell, and see it. When the rhythm of the words is like a song with a hook that gets stuck in your head for days. THE BEAST THAT WAS MAX does that for me. It fulfills my thirst for the clever turn of phrase and well-crafted imagery and metaphors. At times it’’s almost poetic. The good news is that it doesn’’t lose any of its horror in being so and in fact the beauty of the words (if that’’s even an appropriate phrase to use in reference to descriptions of wanton carnage) amplifies the impact of each description. The most horrible imagery is artfully described as the hero of this story rips the guts out of zombies and eagerly recalls scenes of rape, murder, and mutilation from his past.

Perhaps I’m biased because I’m a poet myself and an unrepentant gore-hound and this book provided both poetry and gore in equal quantities, but I fucking loved this book.   At times it reminded me of Tom Piccirilli and even occasionally of Clive Barker. I would not be surprised if Houarner listed both among his influences.

I highly recommend this book.”

– James “Wrath” White,

“Perverse spirituality, sublime pain, malignant heroism, male pregnancy – These are just some of the many concerns that course through this volume’s blood. Puzzling, intense and liberating of sorts, this narrative beast roams lyrically free, while what Houarner riffs is just as wild. Houarner’s voice is hardly manic. The control, calm weirdness and amorality segue back to the granddaddy of them all, Naked Lunch by Williams Burroughs.

Characterization is grounded in tropes of traits, yet there is true substance to the personnel as well. This is a tough trick to pull off, and Houarner leaves all trickery in the dust.

Images collide with the unnerving power of a bad acid trip. Inimical cosmic forces vie with hired killers’ wetwork, yet the chasm between the two is never filled, just fleshed out to no more than muscle, nerve and viscera caged by bone, as most mysteries here are never fully revealed, let alone resolved.

Houarner doesn’t allow you to fill in the gaps yourself; he hasn’t given you enough, just wisps and hints. It shouldn’t work, it wouldn’t in lesser hands, but here it is noteworthy to a fault, pitch perfect and pitch black, the pitchblende giving off the hardest radiation around.

Amidst this novel’s heavy breathing is an open-eyed wonderment that cadges imagery from nightmare and hits you in the face with it, though it’s more love tap than full frontal assault. This is Houarner’s greatest gift, the ability to keep the lid on while the cooking gets almost unbearable. Plus the ingredients are offered in a shotgun approach that finds every pellet ripping your brain apart to gray matter goo.”

Avon Grove Sun

“Houarner achieves a Barkerian sense of languid, brooding anticipation…”

Fangoria 163 review of “Truth and Consequences in the Heart of Destruction”

“Houarner’s single novella, “Truth and Consequences In the Heart of Destruction,” continues with characters first introduced in a trilogy of stories in his 1996 collection PAINFREAK.  Having read these earlier tales would undoubtedly enhance one’s understanding of the back-references, but it’s a testament to Houarner’s care and skill that it’s not essential.  He blends an unlikely but compelling combination of elements from Clive Barker and Andrew Vacchs, as a world-class assassin known only as Max gathers around himself a rainbow coalition of tribal healers to alleviate an unexpected but fitting revenge wreaked upon him by the spirits of all the women he has dispatched. It’s a furiously energetic piece, unfolding with hallucinatory fervor in one location and in linear time, careening between mystery, philosophical discourse, raw eroticism, and all-out carnage, in the space of mere pages.”

– Brian Hodge, Hellnotes, 11/21/97

“‘Truth and Consequences’ is of a quieter nature compared with some of Houarner’s other work but that does not mean it is any less powerful.  Indeed, his prose surrounds you with the tightness of the loft where the story takes places and plays out before you the anger and violence and hatred of the spirits who condemn Max.  It is a tense and building piece.”

– Wayne Miller, Lip Dink Book Reviews #17 (1/98)

“In Houarner’s richly textured universe many things happen, but everything has a cost.”

Pirate Writings 15 (1/98)

Road to Hell by Gerard HouarnerRoad to Hell


Necro Publications, 1999

Leisure edition, 1/03

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2013

“Gerard Houarner writes extremely well. The feel of early Clive Barker seeps in here, along with perhaps a tang of Cormac McCarty.”

– Ed Bryant, Locus

“Easily the most uniquely remarkable thing about Max (and the twin pair of lethal sirens who share his bed and life and warped passions) is that he truly walks in two worlds: the world permeated by shadow conspiracies and the continually shifting political aims of the military-industrial complex, and the even more showy world of gods and goddesses (typically demanding ) and spirits (typically vengeful). This mixture makes for more than just an intriguingly heady brew. It actually seems within the realm of possibility….and who’s to say that it isn’t? Boundaries, remember. They’re only as enforceable as you’ll allow them to be.”

– Brian Hodge, introduction to Road to Hell

“Houarner’s got a great knack for characterization and plotting, for keeping the people real enough (in the context of the story) and delivering a good story that moves along without losing any of the momentum it has at the beginning. If anything, things just get weirder, and for me weird adds interest.  Enjoy the Road to Hell, as it appears to be paved with magic, death, guns, desert sand, and sex-starved gods.”

inet Reviews, online, 9/99

“Houarner does a great job of filling this book with so much weird shit the book never wants for actions or interesting things.  Houarner’s got a great knack for characterization and plotting, for keeping the people real…and delivering a good story that moves along without losing momentum, never letting up for a breather, but pounding along non-stop.”

Midnight Hour

“On the surface, ROAD TO HELL is a horror novel, steeped in violence, gore, and the supernatural—Death follows Max like an acolyte, feasting on the carnage he creates.  But, to my mind the book is also grappling with the issues of fatherhood and parental responsibility—at its heart, it is a book about family ties and obligations.  Like many new fathers, Max struggles with his inner demons while trying to understand the emotions, both positive and negative, his child arouses in him.  Add to the mix his (admittedly unique) job pressures and personal issues, and ROAD TO HELL can be read as a metaphor for sacrifices and rewards of fatherhood, and for the pain of letting your children grow away from you.    This subtext grounds the more fantastic action, lending credibility to some of Houarner’s more outrageous scenes.

There’s much to like about this book—Houarner’s prose shines, and he displays a truly wild imagination (in his introduction, Brian Hodge refers to it as Houarner’s tendency to “color outside the lines”).”

–Hank Wagner, Hellnotes

“You may not know this just yet, but Gerard Daniel Houarner has been slowly making a name for himself in hardcore horror circles. …his mix of twisted sex, deadened emotions and black comedy has been garnering him a select circle of fans.  The Road the Hell is a well-written work, filled to the brim with twisted ideas.  Houarner’s work is great, and I recommend you acquaint yourself with it.”


“As horror novels go, it’s a doozy.  Roads to Hell is crammed to the gunwhales with an overload of sensual sensory imagery of exotic lands, eroticism and just plain sex, magic and myth, love and lust.  Gods, demons, and government functionaries trot on an off stage with operatic abandon.

Gerard Houarner writes extremely well.  The feel of early Clive Barker seeps in here, along with perhaps a tang of Cormac McCarthy.  And the sweatier, nastier, utterly doomed side of Africa hasn’t been seen in this degree of sensual detail since Lucy Taylor’s The Safety of Unknown Cities.”


“The nature of the protagonist’s character and situation makes it a bit difficult to identify with him, but Houarner manages to immerse his readers anyway.  For horror readers who are looking for something a little bit different.”

– Don D’Ammassa, SF Chronicle

“Whereas its predecessor was a collection featuring novellas and short stories, Road to Hell is a novel proper, though the author takes surprising liberties, which is a real treat for the reader. He still offers prose that is dense in the best sense, and ever with reality shifting and shuffled. This is even less of a straight genre horror novel in that the atmosphere here is more psychodrama than melodrama. It is postmodern fiction that is linear inasmuch as how a dream moves from Point A to Point B.

Told in plain language that still manages to get under your skin due to Houarner’s penchant for perverse imagery, this book shoves forward the mythos of Max into territory as equally warped as was the previous installment while still maintaining a real feel of being an outsider novel.

There are touches of droll humor drier than William Burroughs’ is. No belly laughs, but Houarner offers again and again just the right phrase or situation that illuminates to excess, though less gonzo than rhythmic.

A hypnotic pull here is matched by the chances the author takes with the tale’s structure, such as a lengthy chapter told in the first person by Angel. The pace lopes, gradually accumulating details, and there is a precision to this prose that goes with it being a full-length novel.

Houarner lets things unfold with an interior logic fleshed out with charged narrative particles, though some soon become nothing more than shadows, red herrings of a sort, with a phone that Angel plays with a perfect example. It almost appears as if Houarner is toying with us, forcing us to look away from the true evil.

Though not the hallucinatory tour de force its predecessor was, Road to Hell isn’t meant to be, as instead it is its own being, and as compelling on its own criteria. It is a transitional section in the Max saga, and full-length novel or not, it works more like a tone poem than an opera. Above all, however, no matter what, this is not a stand alone work, and really needs to be read after The Beast That Was Max. I wonder just what flavor Gerard Houarner will serve up next.”

– Robert Strauss, Avon Grove Sun

Road from Hell by Gerard HouarnerRoad From Hell

Necro Publicatons, 2007

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2015

“A non-stop rampage of exquisite horror. Houarner sets off a powder keg of awl-sharp imagery, occult intellect, and bad-to-the-bone super- naturalism to further evolve one of the most terrifying character-lines the genre has seen. An irresistible thriller, horror, and fantasy novel wrapped up as one, by an author who writes like Thomas Pynchon possessed by demons.”

– Edward Lee, author of House Infernal and Flesh Gothic

“A fascinating and thought- provoking dark fantasy that displays Gerard Houarner s top of the line literary craftsmanship, Road From Hell is the perfect finale to the Max trilogy. Steeped in mythology and the bizarre wonders of the supernatural, the novel crosses genre borders as Max battles ghosts and demons from the very pit of oblivion. Houarner s prose is tight, the imagery shocking, and the scenes haunting and diabolically terrifying.”

– Tom Piccirilli, author of The Midnight Road and The Dead Letters

“With his latest opus in the Max saga, Gerard Houarner conjures up some of the most exotic, ferocious depictions of evil and retribution you re ever likely to encounter. There s a genuine sense of malice and bad intentions here, yet it s unleashed in the service of a tale of love, sacrifice, and even something like redemption. The Road From Hell not only brings Max s current path to a fitting sense of closure, but also resets the stage for something fresh and new … whenever Houarner chooses to go down that road.”

– Brian Hodge, author of Mad Dogs and World of Hurt

A Blood of Killers by Gerard HouarnerA Blood of Killers


Necro Publications, 2009

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2012
(Featuring half Max stories, half non-Max stories)

“Prolific horror author Houarner (The Oz Suite) assembles a disturbing collection of 13 reprints and 12 originals. Most of the tales highlighting his twisted supernatural assassin, Max (featured in 2001’s The Beast That Was Max), are brief, but “Like Smoke Rising from the Burning Ghats” offers detailed descriptions of a young boy in Calcutta becoming something monstrous, and the novella “Dancing with the Skeletons at the Feast of the Dead” is almost symphonic in its depiction of brutality in a small Mexican village. The other stories are no less dark: in “Let Me Tell You a Story,” a babysitter manipulates her charges into committing acts of evil, while “The Shape” is a harsh tale of mental illness and abuse. The bleakness might turn off some readers, but fans of intense, psychology-driven horror and sharp writing will be more than satisfied. (Apr.)”

Publishers Weekly, 2/6/09

“A BLOOD OF KILLERS certainly lives up to its title. One of the more impressive aspects of this book has to be the sheer diversity Mr. Houarner brings to its theme, to its often less than sympathetic characters, the depth and range of the brutality that scars its pages. Also, one cannot ignore the skill and nearly poetic moments with which the author handles such grisly entertainment. And, without doubt, it is entertaining. That is, if you like your literature dark and unflinching, if you’re the type of reader ready and willing to immerse yourself in the more harrowing aspects of the human condition. A BLOOD OF KILLERS serves as an excellent introduction to Mr. Houarner’s work and it should find its way onto the “must read” list of any fan of horror fiction.”

– Ray Wallace, SF Reader

Story included:

“The issue opens with ‘Ash Man’ by Gerard Houarner, a bleak account of a man’s futile struggle with his, literal, inner demons. Houarner’s sketchy style of narration allows the time-frame of several years to be covered without losing pace.”

Horrorscope, October 2005, review of “Ash Men” from Flesh and Blood #15

Waiting for Mister Cool by Gerard HouarnerWaiting for Mister Cool

Short Novel

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2013

“…highly recommended.”

– Horrorworld

“Waiting For Mr. Cool is Gerard Houarner at his absolute best.  The novel is chock full of the deliciously debauched scenes of carnage and mayhem that we’ve come to expect from the author.  In fact, Houarner may have exceeded himself in a scene where he has Max trespassing through an underground tunnel that is knee deep in the corpses of headless teenagers who have been left there to rot.

What separates Houarner’s work from derivative tales of extreme horror is the author’s ability to convey the mind set and the madness of his lead character to his readers.  Houarner’s characterization is simply superb. Through intense internal dialog and the occasional bizarre conversations between characters, we have no doubt of the insanity Max suffers from his continuous battles to keep the beast at bay, or of his struggles when coming to terms with his emotional feelings for the twins and his friendship with Lee.

While Max has been featured in novella’s and short stories, the Max trilogy of books, The Beast That Was Max, The Road To Hell, and The Road From Hell are the treatments that have made Max the iconic figure he has become.  Waiting For Mr. Cool is the first full length novel since the trilogy and it stands on its own quite spectacularly. When you finish with Waiting For Mr. Cool and you if you’ve never read any of the Max novels, start with The Beast That Was Max, I guarantee you will find it a reading experience like none other you’ve ever had.

Waiting For Mr. Cool is highly recommended.”

Horror Fiction Review, July 2013

“This is Mr. Houaner’s latest Max novel, preceded by THE BEAST THAT WAS MAX, THE ROAD TO HELL, and THE ROAD FROM HELL. Max has become an iconic anti-hero whose lust for gore turns the pages of these novels blood red, yet and his storylines are meticulously plotted and his characterization dead on the mark. WAITING FOR MR. COOL is a welcome addition to the Max series of extreme horror thrillers, which might be considered a sort of hyper-violent X Files hybrid. Hide this one from the kiddies, y’all.”

The 2013 Tomb Top Ten — #10

“For a novella, Houarner packs this one with epic levels of action, fighting, and splatter that will test even the most jaded of gorehounds. Yet on top of all the fun, what makes this story (and the entire series) work is the author’s ability to make us care for both Max and the twisted demon that lives inside him. We hate ourselves for liking him/them, but like other classic anti-heroes, we just can’t help it. Max fans will love this one to death.

One of the strengths of Mr. Houarner’s writing—and there are many—is his ability to depict sustained sequences of violence, an ability he uses to full effect on a number of occasions throughout this novella.

I don’t want to give the impression, however, that all we have here is an exercise in mayhem and gore. Far from it. Amid the chaos, this grim tale manages a level of emotional resonance exceeding previous Max stories as we get a glimpse into our anti-hero’s true feelings for his nieces when he finds himself fearing for their safety. And if such capable, destructive creatures as Alioune and Keuer can find themselves in trouble, this alone should give potential readers an idea as to the depths of the darkness explored within this grim and utterly enjoyable tale.

If you are new to the series, then Waiting for Mister Cool is as good a place as any to start. Along with Tom Piccirilli’s Necromancer, F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack, and Andrew Vachss’s Burke, Gerard Houarner’s Max is one of the characters any reader of dark fiction should get to know.”

– Ray Wallace, SFReader



The Bard of Sorcery by Gerard HouarnerThe Bard of Sorcery

Del Rey Books, 1986

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2011





The Beast That Was Max by Gerard HouarnerThe Beast That Was Max


Leisure, 2001 (Out of print)

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2011
(Includes material previously published in Painfreak)





Road to Hell by Gerard HouarnerRoad to Hell


Necro Publications, 1999

Leisure edition, 1/03

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2013





Road from Hell by Gerard HouarnerRoad From Hell

Necro Publicatons, 2007

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2015





Waiting for Mister Cool by Gerard HouarnerWaiting for Mister Cool

Short Novel

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2013







The Sting of Wonder, the Sting of Faith by Gerard HouarnerThe Sting of Wonder, the Seed of Faith

Short Novel

Dunhams Manor Press, 2016









Painfreak by Gerard HouarnerPainfreak

Features 3 stories introducing Max, the rest are erotic horror stories

Necro Publications, 1996 (Out of print)










I Love You and There is Nothing You Can Do About It by Gerard HouarnerI Love You And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It


Delirium Books, 1/00

PB Delirium edition, 1/03

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 1/16)

“Gerard Houarner is an artist, one that’s not afraid to venture into new territories and try different hues and shades in his prose painting.  The artist has hung an entirely new show in his gallery, and it’s well worth coming in to view, the admission fee is inexpensive and the memories will linger a lifetime.”

– John Pelan, Introduction, I Love You And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It

“The twelve tales in I Love You and There is Nothing You Can Do About It show us Houarner’s philosophical side.  These stories concern themselves with the human condition and less with graphic depictions of physical trauma.  There’s plenty of horrible stuff going on, but the purpose is more to invoke terror…  This one will disappear fast and become scarce once the general public meets him.”


“Miss this one and you may well miss one of the most influential volumes of the year, and one of horror’s most beguiling, new voices.”

– Lisa DuMond, SF Site, MEviews

“There is a comfortable range of intensity here…and the stories work together as a whole nicely.”

“The Oddist…” a weird tale with the tonal impact of a nightmare transcribed…  thoughtfulness and attention paid to both the content and its audience.”

– Mehitobel Wilson,

“This is a very different collection than the author’s first — PAINFREAK (I996), a teratology of the extremes of relationships and the intricacies of fetish and desire — and a stronger one. These more moderate mappings of the darkside show an enhanced versatility and perception that is, perhaps, overwhelmed in his more extreme investigations. These tales have “staying power.” And (did I mention?) stories that stay with you are the best.”

– Paula Guran, DarkEcho

“…the stories that flesh out this book (flesh bruised and broken) are hardly romantic trifles, cynical or otherwise.  They are instead Grand Guignolish shockers reminiscent of John Shirley’s work.  Houarner’s introductions show a concerned and ethical individual at work, and his sharp literary skills insure that he always adheres closely to his personal moral compass, without sacrificing horrific impact.  ‘Our Lady of the Jars’ is my favorite here, straying as it does into the Borgesian territory of imaginary beings.”

– Paul Di Filippo, Asimov’s, “On Books,” 8/00

“Stark, compelling fiction by this perennial favorite.  Highly recommended.”

– Pam Chillemi-Yeager, Fantasque 6

I Love You And There Is Nothing You Can Do About It has plenty of literary scares. …..shows why he is so damn good at what he does.  Gerard Houarner is like a thirsty vampire, goes straight for the jugular every time – bloody good!”

– Michael McCarty, Indigenous Fiction, The IF Bookworm


Black Orchids from Aum by Gerard HouarnerBlack Orchids From Aum


Silver Lake Publishing, 5/01

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 7/13

“This book is unique and ingenious. Depending on what the reader wants to take from the stories, they can be anything from dark fantasies to warnings of what could be in a world with too much excess. This book is highly recommended.”

– Anita Jo Stafford,

Black Orchids from Aum is an anthology of stories by Gerard Houarner. “In the City of Aum anything can be bought. But you must always pay the price.” All of the stories focus on the inhabitants and travelers through Aum, the reason they have journeyed to Aum and the price they pay for their desires.

All travelers must pay for Aum’s tongue, a parasitic bug that works as a universal translator. Without the translator the travelers to Aum cannot communicate and are destined to become less than the human population. People can only travel to Aum when their planets are aligned. When the convergence occurs, travelers can leave Aum for the planet that is aligned with the gateway. The city is dark, violent, decadent and in many ways beautiful. It is a multifaceted world in which danger lurks on every corner.

The first story involving the debt collector draws the reader into the heart of Aum. It is an excellent way to introduce the reader to the realities of Aum. Cray’s story shows the reader the first of several stories that provide the reader an excellent view of life in Aum. As collector, Cray settles unpaid debts. After suffering through an abusive marriage, she no longer desires love. While she collects debts for others she is accruing one of her own. As the debt collected from Cray is revealed, the reader is drawn deeper into the book just as travelers are drawn to Aum. Kings, Princesses, rulers of all shapes and form pay for their desires in Aum. The title story, Black Orchids from Aum is riveting. Like the rest of the stories the Princess gets what she desires most. However, the price that Aum takes as payment again has a profound impact.”

– Anita Jo Stafford, Twilight

Included in collection:

“In Gerard Houarner’s “The Sea in Silence,” Jeloc, scion of the rulers of an immortal race, was banished from his homeworld for rebellion and has now forged a pirate force on another world through his magic. He plans to overcome the empires ruling his new home to make a place for his pirate allies. But his magic seems to be failing him in small ways, engendering doubt in his mind on the eve of battle.

Houarner offers plenty of adventure, as well as some nice turns of phrase, and more depth and introspection than many of the stories in this book. However, the ending is quite talky, with the young representatives of the three empires vying with each other to explain themselves to Jeloc.”

– Kimberly Lundstrum, The Fix (online) review of Sea and Sails anthology


Visions Through a Shattered Lens by Gerard HouarnerVisions Through A Shattered Lens


Delirium Books, 8/02

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 1/16

“In his fourth story collection, native New Yorker Houarner (Painfreak, etc.) offers 20 tough, uncompromising horror tales, nine of which are previously unpublished.  No reader is likely to enjoy all the stories, with their mostly urban settings and in some cases overly familiar themes, but there’s something here for every taste in adult horror.”

Publishers Weekly, October 14, 2002

“Houarner’s greatest strength is, hands down, his versatility of idea and style. In this collection, we experience the grand, almost poetic tales for which the author is often lauded, the ones that sweep off the pages in a lush beauty……and trail blood in their wake.   Naturally, the old horror standards of pain and loss are also in abundance, but this collection has a more playful resonance, a wider breadth of ideas and stylistic forms, than some of his earlier collections, and it’s all the stronger for it.   Gerard Houarner is rapidly shaping up to be one of the finest horror authors in print today through such divergent works as THE BEAST THAT WAS MAX, PAINFREAK and others.”

Richard Laymon Kills site, 12/02

“Visions Through a Shattered Lens does indeed offer a skewed portrait of the realities, both seen and unseen, that encompass the mysteries of our existence. This is powerful, primal work by a far from ordinary writer. It taunts with concepts too large to fit on the screen of the mind’’s eye, illuminating just enough of what can’t be clearly conceived to terrify and intrigue, while maintaining the essential mystery of enigma. This is the most definitive collection yet by an author who’’s only begun his journey of morbid discovery.”

Hellnotes, Vol.7, Issue 3, January 16, 2003

“…Houarner is a good writer, and he constructs some unusual plots….”

Joe Bob, 5/03

“…one of horror’s most unique talents…”

Hellnotes, 1/03


The Oz Suite by Gerard HouarnerThe Oz Suite


Eibonvale Press, 7/08
(Out of print)

“Houarner’s prose can sometimes be a bit heavy and not all that accessible to some (see his Max The Assassin novels) but his writing in this chapbook is very crisp and vivid. He is also reverent; in The Oz Suite, Houarner doesn’t mess with the classic movie so much as augment it.

These stories will plant a seed of paranoia in your mind and weigh you down with suspicion. The next time you watch The Wizard of Oz after reading The Oz Suite, you will find yourself paying more attention to the gloomier scenes and looking for things that you might have not noticed before. And, after reading these stories, you just might pause and ask yourself while watching the Wizard sail away in his balloon, who really was that man behind the curtain?”

– T.T.Zuma,, Feb. 2009

“With The Oz Suite, Gerard Houarner has given us a collection of three tales that riff on the idea of Oz, taking it to places we never hoped to (or hoped we’d never) dream of.

…they all share the same heart. Hell, what is The Wizard of Oz if not the mania-driven, fevered dreams of a girl with severe head trauma working her way back to sanity (assuming we can put aside the whole “refutation of the gold standard” thing).

What makes all of these stories work, and whew-boy do they work, is the unbridled honesty with which Gerard approaches his characters. None of them are what most of us would call “good” people; they are selfish, self-centered and perfectly willing to destroy the lives of others for their own ends. But at the same time, it is as impossible to hate them as it is to adore them unconditionally. Just like Dorothy, they are fractured and all they want to do is put the pieces back together in some way that makes a modicum of sense. The tragedy of it all lies in their inability to do so, but there is a sense of beauty and hope in the struggle itself.

In the end, this collection comes across as an exploration of off-kilter mental states What it is that drives us around the bend, over the (wait for it) edge (ha, tricked ya!). More importantly, how it must feel from the inside of the maelstrom. Gerard has granted us a view of people who have been torn from their moorings, set airborne on currents beyond their control and dumped into an uncertain land where the reality they have been presented with seems much more than a little bit unreal. These are lives dominated by confusion, pain, anger and fear. In other words, not too far off from what we all deal with daily.

There’s a reason we can’t seem to escape Oz as an intrinsic part of the American Unconscious.”

– Anton Cancre, 11/10/10

“Themed around the Wizard of Oz in a very dark way,” the Reviews Editor said. “Fanfic,” I translated with a mental sigh. Sometimes I love to be wrong.

Gerard Houarner’s inspiration for this slim collection of three shortish stories is unashamedly the film, not any of the books. Love it or loathe it, The Wizard of Oz is crammed full of images that will be instantly recognised by most sentient beings in the western hemisphere. Some of those images, though it takes the subconscious mind to realise it, are very dark, just with a thin veil of brightly coloured paint over the top. It’s these that are the psychological reference points in the lives of three middle American protagonists, all damaged in different ways.

“No We Love No One” comes closest to standing on its own, sans Oz. One night the population of the earth essentially doubles as spiral, snail-like shells drift down from the sky on parachutes, each one containing a human baby. This is the only previously published story, and while it’s both eerie and a rebuke of our instinctive dislike of the unlike, that’s not a novel message and you get a feeling Houarner was twiddling his thumbs a little, trying to think of something to tie in that would really give it that little extra kick. Then he hit on the Wizard.

And it seemed to work, so he wrote the next two, this time with the Wizard link foremost in his mind. “Bring Me the Head of That Little Girl Dorothy” actually seems to make Oz a real setting at first, as the opening narrator seems to be the King of the Flying Monkeys. I say seems to. It’s possible ‘he’ is also the Witch herself, or a middle-aged woman in our own world on the edge after a lifetime of self-loathing and dysfunctional relationships, or maybe all of the above are simply self-aware fragments of a twisted personality that is somewhere.

Finally, “The Wizard Will See You Now” is about a badly abused child coming to terms with his demons. The Oz images here are the building blocks of an entire life, constructed with care and well depicted by the author: they have to be, because if he saw his world in real-world terms it would be too horrible to stay sane. The danger of wanting to see the Wizard is not knowing exactly what the Wizard might give you: but, see the Wizard you must. Eventually.”

(Story reviews from original publication)

“‘No We Love No One,’ one of the weirdest ‘invasion’ and/or Wizard of Oz-inspired stories you will ever read.”

– Paula Guran, Darkecho, Sept. 2004

“Gerard Houarner’s ‘No We Love No One’ provides some of the most haunting imagery, as delicate spiral shells descend from the sky, each holding a baby, one for every adult on Earth; the resulting upheaval poses serious questions about what it means to be human.”

– Tim Pratt, Locus review of Damned: An Anthology of the Lost, #532, May 2005


A Blood of Killers by Gerard HouarnerA Blood of Killers


Necro Publications, 2009

Crossroads Press/Macabre Ink digital edition, 2012
(Featuring half Max stories, half non-Max stories)



Dark City by Gerard Houarner and Brian HodgeDark City

A Novella Collection with Brian Hodge

Necro, 2015

Cemetery Dance Review (Recommended) – see complete review:

“Overall, I enjoyed this collection as I was all but certain that I would. I was surprised to read that  Gerard Houarner has had over 280 stories published over the last 40 years. How has he escaped my attentions? I will try to track down more of his work in the future. Regarding Mr. Hodge-he already has my attention and it’s high time you gave him some of yours, don’t you think?

This book is due out on August 7th and I recommend it!”

Char’s Horror Review



Going Postal, edited by Gerard HouarnerGoing Postal

Anthology, Editor

Space and Time, 1998
(Out of print)

“Houarner has done an excellent job selecting stories that make you wonder if you’re next in line for going off the deep end.  Some stories are delightfully wicked…downright creepy…you’ll find plenty to like in this collection.”


“An anthology with but a single subject–yet a fascinating one…  Buy this book as a manual in modern survival training and as an assortment of Hitchcockian shivers.”

–Paul Di Filippo, Asimov’s

“Gerard Houarner’s vision for this book did not stop with the obvious entrapments, but include twisted, surprising moments of unraveling madness.   …delivers their own unique sharpness of what dropkicks someone over the edge.  Going Postal contains unique and delicately unexpected ways people can control under daily duress, and you will be engrossed and touched by each piece.”

Pirate Writings

‘The stories are much more varied than in most original anthologies: there are a lot of excellent ones…  The quality level here is as high or higher than in most anthologies from major publishers.’

SF Chronicle


Dead Cats Bouncing, edited by Gerard Houarner with GAKDead Cats Bouncing

Anthology, Co-Editor with GAK

Bedlam, 4/02
(Out of print)

“Dead Cat Bounce. Chapbook from Space and Time. Gerard Houarner write. GAK draw pictures. Big success. Get Stoker nomination. Win friends and admirers. Star, they say. Famous, they insist. Other writers want tell Dead Cat stories. Whatever, Gerard and GAK say. Edit new anthology for Bedlam Press. Debut at World Horror Convention. Fun!

You. Buy book. Read stories. Study pictures. Laugh. Gasp. Snarl. Whatever. No eat sand. Purr. But take mouse. Please.”

–Garrett Peck, Hellnotes

“It’s one of the most bizarre premises for an anthology I’ve ever heard of. “Weird stories these. I confess I scratched my head more than once while reading this book. Why the hell were all these authors writing stories about an undead cat? What tha F%ck? But once you stop trying to get it and just read the damned thing it’s a pretty enjoyable little ride this uncanny collection takes you on. Some of these stories are indeed great parables. You can definitely pick up one or two things bouncing through hell with a dead cat. But I would not read these fables to children. A mature audience is suggested.

I mean this cat dragged himself out of hell where he had every excuse to give up but he didn’t. He bounced. Don’t you just wish you could fall so far and still land on your feet? Don’t you just wish you could bounce too?”

– Wrath,

“This is a book for the kid in every adult, for the person who’s seen what else is on the shelves and just wants something unexpected.  Call if a book of bedtime stories for the already-damaged child.  Call it whatever you want, just grab it quick before Gerard and GAK do it again with another Dead Cat book, or better yet, Dead Cat the Animated Series.  And then it’ll be Dead Cat stuffed toys for everyone.”

– C.Dennis Moore

“This very strange collections of stories, poems, and artwork is one of those books that defies categorization.  The illustrations are without exception brilliantly twisted.  (The stories)….tickled my – well whatever bone it is that is tickled by such demented writing.”

– Don D’Ammassa, SF Chronicle

“If you’re up for something so off-the-wall as to be alien, this is the book for you.”

– Thomas Deja, Fangoria


Dead Cats Traveling Circus of Wonders and Miracle Medicine Show, edited by Gerard Houarner with GAKDead Cat’s Traveling Circus of Wonders and Miracle Medicine Show

Anthology, Co-Editor with GAK

Bedlam, 5/06
(Out of print)

“Dead Cat’s Traveling Circus of Wonders and Miracle Medicine Show” is another hilarious collection of Dead Cat philosophical writings.  If you have never caved and bought or read a Dead Cat collection, now is the time to weaken.  If you like macabre humor and need a fresh start, Dead Cat can help.”

Midwest Review of Books

“At 338 pages, DCTCoWaMMS may seem like overkill for an anthology, but a lot of that is due to layout and artwork. Just open the book and you’ll see what I mean; GAK’s really outdone himself this time as far as the art goes. And the stories . . . yeah, there are some AWESOME stories in here.

I’m getting off track, sorry. DEAD CAT’S TRAVELING CIRCUS OF WONDERS AND MIRACLE MEDICINE SHOW was one of those books I didn’t want to put down, because with that combination of great stories and beautiful artwork, every page I turned seemed like it held new promise of something awesome. And more often than not, it did.

This anthology brings together so many different things, fantasy (“Puss in Boots”, by Houarner), science fiction (“Dead Cat Matches Wits with Ratnarokh, the Ultimate Sentient Super-Computer, On the Blood-Red Planet of the Porn-Bots” by Mark McLaughlin), horror (“Dead Cat Food” by Tim Lebbon–yes there are 2 stories titled “Dead Cat Food”–and “Lunch at the Kibbey Crematorium” by Michelle Scalise), humor (“Dead Cat Meets Rinn & Stumpy” by Brian Hodge), that no matter what your taste in fiction, if you dig great stuff, DEAD CAT’S TRAVELING CIRCUS OF WONDERS… will have something for you. Seriously, something for everyone. It’s that good.”

– C. Dennis Moore, Epinions


Into Painfreak: A Journal of Decadence and Debauchery, edited by Gerard HouarnerInto Painfreak

Bedlam Press, 12/16





 Chap Books and Stories

Dead Cat Bounce: A Fable to Horrify Your Inner Child by Gerard HouarnerDead Cat Bounce: A Fable to Horrify the Inner Child

Chapbook Short Story, Illustrated by GAK

Space and Time, 7/00
(Out of print)

“This poignant story manages to mix Don Marquis’ Mehitable with Karloff’s Mummy in a charming creepy-funny fashion, a tone captured perfectly in numerous B&W drawings by a mysterious artist known only as GAK.”

– Paul Di Filippo, Asimov’s Science Fiction, May, 2001

“…DEAD CAT BOUNCE, a delightful fable that will horrify your twisted inner child.  A strange hybrid of short story and comic book, DEAD CAT BOUNCE defies accurate description.  Suffice to say, it is unlike anything done before and wonderfully so.  Houarner has created a unique blend of poetry and prose; a literary assault that rolls off the page and picks through your brain like razors.”

– Brian Keene, Master of Terror website

“On an entirely different plane is Dead Cat Bounce.  Subtitled “A Fable To Horrify The Inner Child,” it delivers on that promise with a blend of the most bizarre illustrations, the blackest humour, and that uniquely pragmatic and fantastic Houarner is justly famous for. This is a fable with a guffaw and a shudder, never allowing us to move too far from these extremes.

Dead Cat Bounce is that book you lend to friends, just to see if you can appall them, the gift that earns you searching glances from everyone else at the party. And it is a well-camouflaged look at that mythical “fairness” of life. Most of all, it is a risk Houarner took that flails wildly but lands solidly on its feet.”

– Lisa Dumond, MEviews, SF Site

“Very enjoyable. I read it aloud to my wife and she nearly laughed up a lung.”

– Robin Sprigg, writer

“This is a narrative poem, or perhaps it’s a graphic chapbook.  Interspersed throughout the whole story are bits and pieces of satire or commentary on humans, religion, process, and other things.  The artwork is complementary and perfect in execution.  The whole package is quite nicely done and I’d recommend it.”

– Steve Sawicki, The Skeptic Tank, Scavenger’s Newsletter

“Gerard Houarner.  Write story.  Use minimal language.  Make R.C. Matheson seem wordy.  You.  Read chapbook.  Laugh and squirm.  Fun.  No bounce back to publisher.”

– Garrett Peck, Hellnotes


Bastards of Alchemy by Gerard Houarner and Tom PiccirilliBastards of Alchemy

Chapbook Collection with Tom Piccirilli

Necro, 8/02

“(The) prose, almost lyrical at times in its surreallity, gives…. a recognizable distinction——a voice unlike any other.  Houarner is an accomplished fantasy novelist, and even his horror stories occasionally dip into more magic realism than straight terror.  (He) is in his element, creating a rich tapestry of magic, occultism, and intrigue sure to please any fan of JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER.   I hope that Houarner will return to this new universe of his creation somewhere down the line.  In summary, BASTARDS OF ALCHEMY is the perfect one-night read, and worth picking up, especially for those who think hardcore horror fiction is nothing more than redneck cannibals and black humor. You’ll find none of that here——only images and words that stay with you long after the book is finished.”

 – Brian Keene, Horrorfind, on “The Bastard”

“Houarner’s “The Bastard” is the weirder of the two. Though it is nasty enough to be considered hardcore, it isn’’t overly concerned with going for the gross-out. As is often the case with Houarner’s writing, not everything is made clear. We don’’t know exactly what the folks who follow the unnameable path intend to do to the world, only that they’re rich and powerful and seek to transform it into something else, presumably unpleasant. That central enigma allows Houarner to hint at things our imaginations make worse than anything he could describe.”

– Garrett Peck, Hellnotes, on “The Bastard”

“Gerard Houarner’s “The Bastard,” on the other hand, deals with a different kind of hopelessness–which may or may not be madness, involving Gary, who converses with his father’s skull while taking calls (and grotesque or bizarre assignments) from an arcane secret group he knows as “the unnameable path” which is dedicated to chaos. Only now there’s a group within the group, and things may change. “The world was full of secret faiths in the invisible, conspiracies fearful of accomplishing their goal, cabals servicing the unknowable, each with their own taxonomy of lesser and flawed constructs of reality.” If that doesn’t blow your mind——along with some of Gary’s tasks——I don’t know what will.”

– William Gagliani, The Chiarascuro (online), on“The Bastard”


Dead Cat Bigger Than Jesus by Gerard Houarner and GAKDead Cat Bigger Than Jesus

Chapbook Collection with GAK

Bedlam, 4/03

“This mini-collection stays true to the fun-loving black humor of the series, but also moves Dead Cat into new and exciting territory.  It will please Dead Cat fans and leave them hungering for more—which will be forthcoming, as another multi-author Dead Cat anthology is in the works—and possibly win him new admirers.”

– Garrett Peck,

“You can look at Dead Cat — who started out as a mummified sacrifice back in ancient Egypt and somehow remains dead, but reanimated — as social commentary or philosophical (and theological) satire or the ultimate in anti-cuddly anthropomorphism – but that would make you a geek. Its best to just enjoy the crazy dark humor of it all and be happy that these two wackos channel their energies through D.C.”

– Paula Guran, DarkEcho, 09.29.03


The Dead Cat Poet Cabal, by Gerard Houarner with GAK and the Poet CabalThe Dead Cat Poet Cabal

With GAK and The Poet Cabal
Story/Poetry Anthology Collaboraion with Michelle Scalise, Tom Piccirilli, Linda Addison, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, Jill Bauman, Mack McLaughlin, Dian Niall Wilson, William P. Simmons, Joahn Lawson, Kurt Newton, Michael Arnzen, Marge Simon, Darrell Schweitzer, and Corrine DeWinter

Bedlam, 4/05
(Out of print)

2005 World Horror Con giveaway




“Gerard Daniel Houarner’s ‘Child Jar’ is excellent, quiet and strange and remote…”

– Mehitobel Wilson, Asylum anthology review,

“The finest piece to be found in this unsettling collection of unsavory vignettes would have to be ‘Boxes and Bags’ by Gerard Daniel Houarner, a surreal and poetic indictment against the fallacies of desire and the shortcomings of human nature.  To say this dulcet and philosophically detached paean to compartmentalized grief is out of place in this gathering is an understatement.  But existing as it does–a precious jewel amongst the bitter dregs of sociopathic cravings–makes this anthology a recommended must.”

– Blue Food, reviewing ‘Boxes and Bags’ from the Nasty Snippets anthology

“Houarner does an excellent job creating an unreliable narrator and making us feel her paranoia as she moves through a series of disturbing events.  Kudos to this one.”

– David Felts, TangentOnline, re: “Skin Seconds”

“Questions of identity abound in ‘Memphis Blue Again,’ an intriguing story by Gerard Houarner.  Houarner revives the hoary tale of the wandering generation starship with a mixture of current sfnal ideas and quirky settings.”

– Chris Markwyn, Tangetonline

“Gerard Houarner expertly blends several standard SF tropes into something special in “Memphis Blue Again.”  An eccentric VR version of old-time Mississippi River life serves as the backdrop for a secret underground movement opposing the all-powerful (and power mad) AI that runs a colony seeding, multi-generational starship.  Using high-tech to escape the dehumanizing aspects of runaway technology is the deliciously perverse theme here.”

– Jim Lee, Scavengers Newsletter

“…’The Three Strangers’ is a fantastical glance at corrupt law and revenge.”

– Review of The Last Pentacle of the Sun: Writings in Support of the West Memphis Three
Rue Morgue
, Sept/Oct 2004

“‘Signal To Noise’ by Gerard Houarner is a real gem. In it, the protagonist is unable to filter out all the extraneous signals that we are bombarded with every day. At first, it’s just parents; but as his social circle expands, more and more signals join the chorus. The protagonist is the receiver, unable to stop the voices of all the others in his head. Medication fails him, as his life and marriage disintegrate. He knows his mission——he was given the answer, and now he only needs to be asked the right question and be discharged of his responsibility. The stream-of-consciousness prose is effective, and Mr. Houarner puts his experience working in a psychiatric hospital to good use, creating a convincing and deeply sympathetic portrait.”

 – E. Sedia,, review of Cemetery Dance 49

“Saturated with musical and rhythmic undertones, ‘Spider Comes Home”’ by Gerard Houarner reads much like a tribal myth. A young boy leaves his village to find and confront a man creature known as Spider, upon whom all the villagers blame their misfortunes. How much better would everyone’s life be, the boy thinks, if only he can convince Spider to stop doing the bad things he does? Rich in imagery and almost epic in nature, it is a deeply satisfying conclusion to this Weird Tales issue.”

–, review of Weird Tales 344

“Gerard Houarner’s ‘They Play in the Palace of My Dreaming’ takes mysticism to a deep dark level. While reading it, I couldn’t help but think the main character, Carlos, should’ve listened to the common wisdom about the corrupting effect of power. But if the character had any simple common sense, there wouldn’t be a story, much less a story that teaches about the inherent danger of separating your self from your humanity. The biggest problem with Carlos is there isn’t much about him this reader could feel sympathy for; although, the lack of sympathy was balanced out with the sympathy felt for his family, all of whom end up as victims in one sense or another. Though Carlos, justifiably, gets his just desserts in the end, it is not in a way you would expect or even wish for. A tragic tale all around, and one well worth reading.

‘They Play in the Palace of My Dreaming”’ builds slowly in a way character-based stories tend to do, but Houarner knows how to keep a reader reading. The climax is sudden and completely unexpected, yet is entirely within the character of the power-hungry Carlos. There are writers who write stories for the sake of entertainment, and then there are storytellers who understand what stories and myths are meant for. Gerard Houarner is both a writer and a storyteller.”

– Scott M. Sandridge, review of Heliotrope 2 (online)

“Gerard Houarner continues his love of ancient mythologies in ‘Devoured by Her Enigmatic Smile,’ a story whose title alone kinda gave me wood. Here he uses the previously mentioned Egyptian creature to weave a tale of emotional emptiness and wasted life that gives a whole new view of identity theft.”

–Anton Cancre,, review of Abominations

“…Gerard Houarner’s ‘Dead Snake Medicine Woman’ will shake you up.”

Bill Cider’s Pop Culture Magazine (online)

“Downplaying the stories that display a threadbare tie or tenuous link – that’s not to discount tales with challenging yet rewarding connections – among the highlights in Blind Swimmer are Gerard Houarner’s ‘The Flea Market,’ which also serves to represent the open-endedness and ambivalence at the heart of life itself. Here 58-year old Derrick, an auto-mechanic and war veteran lives alone upon the deaths of other family members, and spends his Sundays poring over old records at the flea markets and thrift stores; it’s a good way to channel his expertise since his would–be dreams of being a musician didn’t pan out. On one particular day at the flea market, however, Derrick is struck by the cover illustration of a certain album:

“His lonely Sunday morning vanished and new day washed over him, as if a new sun was rising, summoned by organ music church choir, called into existence by all the lost music in crates and boxes, on vinyl and tape and shiny disks… He fell into a sky lit by this different sun, into light that changed the values and meaning of familiar shades, broke the code of color he’s grown up with and into by rite of passage, heritage and revolution.” 

Derrick could feel the change. The thickness of muscle and fat became smooth and wiry, his hands, now once again a piano player’s hands, more lean. Derrick wondered “how far his metamorphosis might spread through him.” He imagined he had new fingers, felt the surge of rhythms and harmonies he’d absorbed from the long-ago influence of Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans. He buys up the albums that affect him so and sets up shop, so to speak, at home, but further developments and promising hours ahead are too premature and un-rooted in reality — or are they? — to call new beginnings anything but ephemeral.”

– Review of ‘The Flea Market,’ Blind Swimmer anthology

“Gerard Houarner’s The Flea Market begins on a similarly uncanny note, with an old man who finds some incongruous vinyl albums at a flea market. The records have an odd effect on him, causing memories of his lost loved ones to come flooding back. Decay and disintegration seep into this story, yet it still manages to be pleasantly uplifting.”

– Ros Jackson, Warpcoresf site

“Saturated with musical and rhythmic undertones, “Spider Comes Home” by Gerard Houarner reads much like a tribal myth.  A young boy leaves his village to find and confront a man creature known as Spider, upon whom all the villagers blame their misfortunes.  How much better would everyone’s life be, the boy thinks, if only he can convince Spider to stop doing the bad things he does?  Rich in imagery and almost epic in nature, it is a deeply satisfying conclusion to this Weird Tales issue.”

– Phil Soletsky, tangetonline, Weird Tales 344 reviews 2/2/07

“’The Flea Market’ by Gerald Hourarner introduces Derrick, a Vietnam vet who is alone not because he chooses to be, but because his entire family is dead. Derrick fills his lonely hours by searching through flea markets and second hand stores looking for rare albums. Derrick discovers what appear to be handmade album covers in a flea market stall and is startled and confused when the artwork on the albums awakens memories of the people and dreams he thought he’d lost. 

An odd story, but I found the portrayal of Derrick’s loneliness to be the most realistic of the whole collection. Derrick reacts to his loss and loneliness the way many people do—he ignores his feelings and fills his days with endless, meaningless tasks so he doesn’t have time to think too much about what’s missing in his life. There’s a truth in this story I didn’t find in many of the others.”

– Rena Hawkins, Tangetonline, 2/2/11

“’They Play in the Palace of My Dreaming’ builds slowly in a way character-based stories tend to do, but Houarner knows how to keep a reader reading. The climax is sudden and completely unexpected, yet is entirely within the character of the power-hungry Carlos. There are writers who write stories for the sake of entertainment, and then there are storytellers who understand what stories and myths are meant for. Gerard Houarner is both a writer and a storyteller.”

– Scott M. Sandridge, Heliotrope 2, review 9/13/07

“Don’t dance with the Devil—because he won’t let you go. But is it better to dance with the Devil’s woman instead? The thunder of fast cars and dark nights rumbles through this darkling tale, and the feckless teen equates the law with the Devil forever pursuing him.”

– C.L. Rossman, tangetonline, 1/4/10