By Ryan C. Bradley
“Taaqtumi” is an Inuktitut word that means “in the dark”—and these spine-tingling horror stories by Northern writers show just how dangerous darkness can be. A family clinging to survival out on the tundra after a vicious zombie virus. A door that beckons, waiting to unleash the terror behind it. A post-apocalyptic community in the far North where things are not quite what they seem. These chilling tales from award-winning authors Richard Van Camp, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, Aviaq Johnston, and others will thrill and entertain even the most seasoned horror fan.
Published by Inhabit Media Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories
is compiled by Neil Christopher featuring stories by Aviaq Johnston, Richard Van Camp, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley & Anguti Johnston
Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories brings together nine stories that will chill the reader in more ways than one. Compiled by Neil Christopher, these stories all draw from Inuit mythology or feature Inuit characters living in the north of Canada and Alaska. Though there is summer up there, the authors focus on what the region is known for: brutal winters.
The horrors are more varied than the climate. In Aviaq Johnston’s “Iqsinaqtutalik Piqtuq: The Haunted Blizzard,” an ancient creature stalking a student through a storm. In Anne R. Loverock’s “The Door,” a doorway floats above a tundra, waiting to unleash a curse on any foolish enough to open it. In Gayle Kabloona’s “Utiqtuq,” a government agent from central Canada tries to convince a trio of survivors that he has cured the zombie apocalypse.
In the most extended story, “Lounge” by husband and wife Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley and Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Talli explores the closed-off mine in the Arctic. It is set in the future far off enough that Talli’s robot Drashtr perches on her shoulder, making her into “a science pirate.” She is not sure if she can trust the people exploring the mine with her. To alleviate that tension, she invites them into a virtual lounge, but some unexpected guests show up as well.
Christopher deftly puts the stories together without editorializing, allowing Inuit writers to tell their own stories about their own culture, something that our world sorely needs more of. Christopher is working hard to address the lack of representation through his work at the publishing company Inhabit Media Inc. and the production company Taqqut Productions Inc, both of which focus on Inuit artists.
Please, more anthologies like this. (★★★★★)