When I thought of journals that might review Watering Heaven, a horror magazine was one of the last places that came to mind. The closest to horror any of my stories gets is “Resistance,” and that, loosely at best as most of my stories are about “love and Asia.” So I was pleasantly surprised when Hell Notes reviewed Watering Heaven with some very generous praise.
“The stories collected in Watering Heaven by Peter Tieras Liu are not horror in the conventional sense, but they are beautifully written and have enough of a dark and strange bent that they will be of interest to some Hellnotes readers. Most are reprinted from literary journals, but others were first published in markets that feature surrealism and more literary genre fiction. Several could be accurately described as weird tales, or magical realism.”
I’ve always been fascinated by horror as a genre, especially when the creators do it right. There’s a great documentary out there called the American Nightmare which explores how early horror (aside from the schlock) became a venue through which directors made their social commentary about the events of the time, particularly with some of the original undead films like Night of the Living Dead. One of my favorite films is Dawn of the Living Dead. While Dawn did not inspire my story, “Resistance,” because I didn’t see Dawn until recently, my story was inspired in part by Dead Rising which was in turn inspired by Dawn. The documentary talks about horror as a form of catharsis, almost like a rite of passage for teens (in part, explaining why horror films skew young). I still remember the first time I saw Exorcist. The girl watching it next to me nearly ripped holes in my arms, she was gripping it so tightly. I couldn’t sleep for days, genuinely scared about closing my eyes. That has to rank up there with one of the scariest movies I’ve seen. My most horrifying experience with horror games still remains Resident Evil because it was the first time I actually played as a character in a game and even with blocky polygons, I was at the edge of my seat, unable to stop but too scared to go forward. I think beating the first two pretty much inured me to most horror films and games, ha ha.
I’m honored to have Watering Heaven reviewed in the pages of Hell Notes. I’ve been checking out the reviews and articles on the site and am really loving them. Check out the Hell Notes site and big thanks to KH Vaughan for a fantastic review.