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Few works more with Gwendolyn Kiste




The Few works more with Gwendolyn Kiste



Vastarien Vol. 2 Issue 1


Magic, Madness, and Women Who Creep:
The Power of Individuality in the Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman


Examining and unwrapping with wonderful clarity three works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. One can see why an award befits this essay. Philosophy of a work by an author who does understand the medium very well and great guide in helping Gilman’s dream and legacy be understood by widening the cycle with deciphering and carrying forward the art of the outsider with this piece. It leaves you with two more things to do to read Charlotte Perkins Gilman and read more by Gwendolyn Kiste.

“A witch with virtually total dominion over the world—if only for a few days.
A creeping wisteria vine that coils its way across the decades, all while concealing a gruesome secret.
A moldering wallpaper that might hide not only a desperate figure, but possibly the answer to freedom.
These are some of the eeriest features of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s most famous horror stories. Gilman’s legacy is an extensive one. She was extraordinary in not only being published during a time period notoriously unfriendly to female writers, but also in how vocal and committed she was in her political activism.”

“Madness—at least in the Gilman tradition—can become a means of escape. After all, remaining sane in a world dead set on strangling all freedom from one’s daily life is hardly a bearable existence, especially for those already on society’s fringe. Gilman counted herself among the outsiders.”

“Furthermore, madness, magic, and individuality form a triumvirate of power in Gilman’s work, a kind of refuge from the despondent banalities of everyday expectations.”



The Invention of Ghosts


Two girls share a dorm room and there is a relationship in trouble in continuing changes one has displayed and continues to grow with, “A girl with arcane aspirations, secrets she planned to unravel.”
Undying love with ghostly aspects and need to break from the past from a crucible and the solid matter.
People have a need for entertainment and spectacle they can’t leave one girl Everly alone they insist on more.
Things need to align, pasts to be remembered and things to be put right with this pensive and ethereal experience.

This work is on The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction.

“That would explain it, why my entire life had escaped me. I’d misplaced who I was, easy as forgetting where I put my house keys.”

“That night, I went walking among shadows and forgotten spirits. All campuses were strange, spectral places, even if the brochures never bragged about it. Too many broken dreams not to be haunted.”

“There were secrets left in the world, and they were mine to unravel.”




Nightmare Magazine Issue 86

The Eight People Who Murdered Me
(Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)


My heart goes out to you Lucy if only you saw me you didn’t need to do this: “I could have laced my corset a little tighter, kept my shoulders a little straighter, been the kind of girl who might have made my mother proud” I was going to sweep you off your feet in marriage anyway but I missed my chance and someone else go to you instead.
“Because in a countryside filled with monsters, there isn’t time to mourn the ones like me forever.” But I did mourn you and this testament and accounting vivid and beautiful and forever remain in my heart.

The writing visceral and poetic with this becoming of Lucy and the terrible men she had to encounter. A great story, a vampire story revitalised with a sense that the author has an even greater story to tell and expand with this vein of telling with a fully fleshed vampire novel.

“There at the corner, emerging beneath a gaslight, your voice a sweet melody that could pied-piper all the children of London to their unmarked graves.”

““Pick me, Miss Lucy,” their voices echo through the house, following me no matter where I hide. Nobody notices that my skin has gone pale, my eyes receded, and that perhaps I’m more in need of a passable doctor than an eligible bachelor.”

“Outside, the wisteria is blooming in the garden, but its scent dissolves in the air, lost to me in the same way that I’ve lost everything else.”



Places We Fear to Tread 

Lost Girls Don’t Cry

There is case of missing girls from fall to winter in increasingly concerning numbers and the main character puts it just right: ”each of them seemingly dematerializing into thin air, like the pretty assistant in a magician’s act.”
There is a Crybaby Bridge that enters the tale and things turn all mysteries and mythical.
Haunting good tale that she does exceedingly well time and again.

“It was one lesson I learned early in life: the world keeps moving on, whether you like it or not.”

“Our senior year in high school, we’d come out here every weekend, the hatchback on my Ford Aspire popped open so we could hear the radio—all god-awful 90s metal, all the time. The boys and I would sprawl out by the meager creek and laugh and smoke broken cigarettes we’d pilfered from our mothers’ purses, the edge of the woods reaching overhead like hands in prayer, all of us make-believing that one day we’d really get past that county line and keep on going.”




Nightscript 2

Reasons I Hate My Big Sister

Being the second child of fourteen years of age not great for our teller with Elise being the first child and one who is unique, an anomaly, an attention grabbing elder whose shedding.
A spate of quarantine heading her way in a hospital and sisters apart and all she wants is normality how it used to be being the second as “Ellise’s little sister.”
She does love her though and her new found beauty but at the same time misses the sister of old.
Little tale of sisters with an escape of the norm and expecations, embarrassing uniqueness and change with new ways of feeling content.
Concise little memorable grotesqueness beauty horror.
Fly butterfly fly and be a beauty.

“One customer shrieks and another and another after that, the screams going right down the line like keys on a piano scale.”

“Beneath the places where skin should be, there’s something tough and iridescent—a casing of armor over her bones.”

“I’m no one because of her. I have no name, no identity of my own. I’m just “Elise’s little sister.” Without her, I don’t exist.”



Nox Pareidola

When the Nightingale Devours the Stars


This review was from a collection I reviewed in 2109.

Do you see birds gathering in the trees and ground and is there a girl with “a tragic smile that could break a heart in two.”
Unfathomable things may arise.
This is a tale of Ella Jane, the one who came back home to small town, not from war, and unwillingly, a survivor of a kind of a cult in a remote oasis desert, one of death and sacrifice.
Her only friend invites us in elaborating on her life before leaving the town and the dilemma of now with the mystery of Ella, the terrible things she has seen and back from with the town folk feeling she owes gratitude in them returning her home safely.
The mystery of Ella Jane with the great expectations and disquietness, carefully crafted storytelling immersing you till the end.




About Gwendolyn Kiste:

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing; And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books; and the occult horror novelette, The Invention of Ghosts, from Nightscape Press. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Tor’s Nightfire, Vastarien, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Unnerving, Interzone, and LampLight, as well as Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series, among others.

Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. You can also find her online at Facebook and Twitter.