Apocrypha Sequence: Insanity by Shane Jiraiya Cummings is the second book that I have read in Shane’s Apocrypha Sequence series. As Shane mentions in the foreword to each, some of these stories are found in other works.
The idea of producing the Apocrypha series was to collect works thematically. The works in Insanity are an ‘exploration of the human mind as it is pushed to breaking point.’
- Ian - The tale of a young women, brought up in an isolated and strict home in the wilds of Tasmania, every man she meets is named Ian.
- Stop – A story that blends horror with being stuck in traffic
- Itch- Ever had the urge to scratch just a little bit harder, or to enjoy that fine line between pleasure and pain. Itch takes the idea further
- Song of the Infernal Machine – The relentless hum of the machine drives some to madness
- The Black Door – A Hitchcock-esque tale of persuasion.
I’d read three of the stories in this collection before, in Shards. It was, however, Ian that messed with my head the most and thereby takes the title as my favourite. It’s so maddening crafted that by the time that I got to the end of the story I began to feel sympathy with main character and dread the name Ian. Shane displays very good use of repetition to develop a sense of unease in this piece. Itch was interesting, and maddening, as I read it while suffering from an a particularly persistent itch myself. The power of suggestion?
In terms of the series I prefer Insanity over Divinity, it’s more psychological and suggestive horror, easier to suspend my disbelief and get drawn into the story. The collection has a distinct twilight zone or weird tales feel to it.