You may be one of the many folks sucked into the Netflix series Stranger Things. If not, it’s time. It really is that good. I was more than skeptical of the show, as I’m not a sci-fi or horror junkie by any means, but still gave it a chance.

And yet I also recently gave Brian Evenson’s short story collection A Collapse of Horses a whirl, which could be labeled from a distance as sci-fi or horror as well (depending on the story).

Neatly packaging this new series and this book into a particular genre would be a mistake, but pairing them wouldn’t be.

Here’s why:

  • They’re haunting and unsettling but in a refreshingly new way.
  • They’re approachably grotesque.
  • They question the relationship between perception and reality.
  • They’re both genre-bridging in their reach, dealing with core human emotions amid characteristically sci-fi/fantasy/horror elements.
  • They play with unfamiliar creatures encroaching on familiar places.
  • They cater to the curious. You’re on the hook and you know it and you can’t help but like it. I mean really like it. (Though I did shake my fist at Evenson when *spoiler* a character would not open a box. At all.)
  • Even though you feel like you’re on the aforementioned hook you don’t see anything gimmicky or cheap about the suspense they create.
  • They force us to sit in the state of not-knowing, which is good practice for life.
    They force us to sit in the state of not-knowing, which is good practice for life.Click To Tweet
  • They make parades for paranoia. Because who doesn’t have an us-them, conspiracy-theory itch that needs to be scratched?

Savor this TV/book pairing. I’ll be over here in my ringer tee and corduroy bellbottoms, relishing in the nostalgic fashion choices from Stranger Things, which you can appreciate even if you weren’t alive during that era. Or maybe you were and you don’t even know it…