Spider Season


Fiction - Horror
294 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Billy Hanson is a writer and filmmaker, with projects ranging from music videos and comics to web series and films, including Lightning Dogs on Funny or Die and the acclaimed adaptation of Stephen King's Survivor Type, lauded as "one of the most jaw-dropping adaptations of (King’s) ever made…"

He has also written for the horror anthology comic, Grimm Tales of Terror and his first collection, Spider Season, will be released on October 9th, 2018.

Born and raised in Maine, Billy now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is a compilation of short stories and (surprise!) three screenplays. Hanson delivers each piece accompanied by a cover-style illustration and, with the screenplays, a personal note on how they came about. Ten tales of horror in total, all narrated independently and uniquely with strong and authentic voices, spirited along by extraordinarily well-developed characters that flesh out these short stories with a verve that some full-length novels don't capture as well. From the fantasy realm of Nylah's Magic to the board rooms and trains of modern-day Paris in Paris with the Lights Turned Low, Hanson unveils a short story series that is as thrilling as it is engrossing.

Spider Season is absolutely exceptional. I've been on a bit of a short story kick but have mostly avoided the horror genre, thankful, however, that I picked up this collection by Billy Hanson. The first thing that is evident when beginning to read is that Hanson is experienced in the craft of (short) storytelling. Light Sleeper and, especially, The Clearing are excellent heart-leaping points into the compilation, and it only gets even better from there. Foreboding and a heightened blood pressure build at a rapid but skillfully steadied rate, until the moment any number of antagonists—physical, spiritual, psychological, or all three—get their jump in. I feel like Hanson has so perfected his art that, honestly, I'm not certain my health could manage tales that were longer. One can only hold their breath in fear for so long... Highly recommended.

Lesley Jones

Enter the world of the paranoid, obsessed and unbelievable in this collection of short stories - Spider Season by Billy Hanson - that will make you gasp and question the human mind. Each of the stories tackles the weird and wonderful behaviour of seemingly normal characters. A man obsesses about his own death until the choice is made for him. The small girl who can unleash magical powers and curses if she feels threatened. The teenager and his rock band discover a deep-seated rage which gets out of control one night with devastating consequences. Once you enter the world of Spider Season, the impossible suddenly seems possible. The quiet and unassuming people that you seldom notice rise up and become your worst nightmare.

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is unique as he covers a wide range of writing styles and genres very well, from a psychological horror to a futuristic detective story. Each of the short stories in this compilation has great three-dimensional characters and excellent plots, each with the perfect amount of conflict and suspense woven throughout. The author also includes excerpts of three screenplays, Nylah’s Magic being my favourite, and one I would love to see in full. Billy Hanson clearly is an all-round excellent writer with an eye for detail and a fantastic imagination when building believable characters and story lines. Harold in Music From The Gun Room was completely vile and nauseating. In She Was Perfect, the whole story line was disturbing and Cyrus completely delusional and spine-tingling. To build such great plots, characters and diverse stories is an amazing feat and Billy Hanson is an author I would like to read more from.

Ruffina Oserio

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is a refreshing collection of short stories, written with skill and unusual clarity, all exploring the depths of the distorted minds of the characters. The cast is impressive, featuring characters from all walks of life — Trevor is married to Rebecca, and he suffers from an insomnia that culminates in a horrible way; teenage Henry falls in love but behaves in an unexpected way towards his mates, including the object of his love, out of an excess of jealousy; Cyrus succeeds in luring Christie and sells her off, and many more. This is a collection of stories about people who are strange, characters who are emotionally on edge.

The writing is focused and the author builds each story on a single idea and keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end of each tale. For instance, when Cyrus sets eyes on Christie, he thinks to himself, “She is perfect,” and the reader is intrigued, thinking he’ll get her to fall in love with him. But the end is a surprising twist. The shock you experience when you realize that the dinner and the dessert and all the talk had only been a build-up to the ultimate betrayal. Billy Hanson creates contrast when the narrator says: “Christie forced every smile. Cyrus pulled every smile back about twenty percent.” These stories are awesome for fans of horror, especially the first one, and nothing is ever what it seems in Spider Season. It’s a gorgeous treat, indeed, and the writing is masterful, the plots cunningly done. I couldn’t stop reading from one story to the next.

Justine Reyes

In this day and age, it seems there is a shortage of science fiction and horror anthologies. Growing up there was a plethora of books to choose from; however, as an adult, it seems as though there aren't nearly enough. Enter Spider Season by Billy Hanson. Spider Season is a collection of seven short stories and three screenplays written by Hanson. The stories are all quite diverse. The reader's first stop starts with a bang that leads an insomniac to rest. Further along the way are some screenplays, one of which involves a robot detective who has just been reactivated after many long years. Eventually, readers will find themselves having a wild rock 'n roll night with the Kicks.

I read Light Sleeper after the sun had gone down and I was settling into bed. I decided it would be my sample chapter and I'd read the rest the next day. After I read it, man oh man, did I feel paranoid. Hanson has a knack for writing suspense that will string you along till the bloody end. Of course, this isn't all that Spider Season has to offer; it isn't just horror, it's prime storytelling. Music in the Gun Room was tragic and heartfelt; short stories rarely bring emotions out in me, but I suppose that says a lot about Hanson's writing. In such a short span of time, he was able to draw out this coming-of-age story that began promisingly and ended in a cold, but satisfying way. All in all, I took pleasure in reading Spider Season and I believe most anyone who picks it up will enjoy it as much as I have.

Divine Zape

An exciting and absorbing collection with an irresistible appeal to fans of horror and short stories, verging on the dark side of human emotion, these stories capture the sense of fear and paranoia in the characters and they do so in a superb manner. These beautifully narrated stories will keep you tense, rattled, and surprised as you follow how the psyche of each character unfolds, allowing their fear to take hold of them. Trevor can’t sleep, obsessed with his fear of something he doesn’t even know, until it materializes... When Jeremy, the wood cutter, picks up the ax, what moves him? Such are the kinds of stories you find in Billy Hanson’s Spider Season and they make the narrative stand out with the gore, the blood, and the chills.

These are stories that establish Billy Hanson as a master of the dark and the gory, reminding readers of the nightmares that assail them, making them wake up dripping with blood. The language is beautiful and the author’s gift for balance and conciseness comes out beautifully in the writing. He blends the gift of prose with the uncanny ability to penetrate the depths of the twisted minds of his characters to create a world that attracts and frightens readers.

The stream of consciousness is one of the elements I enjoyed in the stories. Another thing is how the setting reflects the mood or contradicts the mood of the characters. Writing about Trevor, Billy Hanson says: “Despite the chill in the room, his skin was damp, hair matted to his forehead. For some reason, he was afraid, unable to piece together what had happened to him, like a drunk realizing that he’s somehow made it home.” Spider Season is one of the best selections of short stories I have read. You’ll keep the lights on after reading this at night.

Lit Amri

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is a collection of ten short horror stories for fans of the genre. It starts with Light Sleeper, about a man who has trouble sleeping since he and his wife moved into a new apartment. It’s a bone-chilling story that also gives the collection its title, and made me wish that I will always be a heavy sleeper. The second story is The Clearing, where some of its adolescent characters, the goriness, and its ambiguity as to whether supernatural evil is involved remind me of Stephen King’s horror novels.

The monochrome illustrations by Karl Slominski visually captured and enhanced the essence of the stories. There’s a link provided for readers to see his impressive works in color. Almost halfway through the collection, Hanson gives us an interlude titled Three Screenplays. Through his perspective as a screenwriter, he gives his thoughts on great scripts that went unproduced and tells about his participation in a short screenplay contest that led to the creation of Nylah’s Magic, Electric Detective, and The Red Helping Hand-which are included in Spider Season for our reading pleasure.

Every story comes with a twist, and while readers might see how one or two plots play out, the horror element comes in different forms for each of them, and personally I don’t see a dominant theme that ties the collection together. The stories and characters are wonderfully diverse, where frightening creatures, especially people consumed by the dark side of human nature, contribute to the terror of Hanson’s Spider Season. Simply put, a great read!

K.C. Finn

Spider Season is a chilling and graphic work of horror fiction short stories written for adults by author Billy Hanson. Following a series of dark and disturbed characters, the central theme of the collection digs deep into the psychology of the human mind, where delusions, paranoia and fear are born and thrive under the wrong circumstances. Collecting ten lengthy and detailed tales of horror, Spider Season presents the very worst of the world for readers to enjoy in all its macabre glory. Taking its influences from classic sources such as cursed land, obsession psychotics and dysfunctional family influences, each story brings its own sense that you never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s head.

Whilst it clearly ticks all the boxes of a thematically excellent horror collection, it’s the cinematic quality of author Billy Hanson’s description which really makes this a standout work for me as a major horror fiction fan. There are tiny details which send chills up the spine because they make the settings real and personal to the characters involved, connecting you so much that you feel you reach out and touch the objects and walk into the scenes as laid. The horror themes play strictly on the real world aspects rather than speculative, driving at the core reasons why people do terrible things, either willingly or because they have snapped. Overall, the pacing and construction make for excellent reading and each story is equally powerful but well distinguished and different from the next, making Spider Season a superb read for fans of the genre.

Jamie Michele

Billy Hanson offers a collection of chills and thrills with the release of his short story compilation, Spider Season. In this book of seven short stories and three screen plays, a mixed bag of sub-genres intermingle with a bit of scare for any adult who enjoys horror. Spider Season begins with the story Light Sleeper, in which Trevor is certain he hears bumps in the night while his wife Rebecca snores on without a care in the world (or otherworld, if you please). After The Clearing and The End of Edgar Wren, Hanson presents his three unnerving screen plays, followed by the remaining four short stories. The bookend is Everyone Else is Asleep, wherein a teenager named Corey is haunted and hunted by a mysterious, monstrous bird.

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is a brilliant compilation of stories that blend humor, spooks, and descriptive accounts in each individual, stand-alone story. My personal favorite was Paris with the Lights Turned Low. The protagonist Laura is a dominant woman in a business that appears to be dominated almost exclusively by men...men who don't take kindly to her means, methods, and the fact they aren't speaking to “THE man”, Michael. An attempt to flush her out drags us (literally) through the streets of Paris. She's tough and callous, but she's also wildly intelligent and – most importantly – she's a survivor. I enjoy Hanson's style of writing and the levity he is able to bring to otherwise heavy plots. I loved Spider Season and would absolutely give it an entire bucket of stars if I could.

Romuald Dzemo

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is a riveting collection of short stories that are a real delight to fans of horror. There is one central theme that runs through the collection, one that explores the monster in the human. Each character seems to carry a curse with them and each of them has a perversity of nature that combines with the propensity to allow the animal instinct to take control, sending readers on a horrific ride with the characters. Whether it is the story of the man who can’t sleep at night, the jealous teenager, or the businesswoman on a dangerous trip, Billy Hanson creates characters that are a reflection of the monstrous in humanity. “Paris with the Lights Turned Low” and “The Clearing,” are my favorites in these gripping, frightening tales.

The author comes across as a master in the art of the short story, allowing characters to develop within a short space and keeping the plots tight and engrossing. The prose is gorgeous and I loved how the author allows the dark side of the characters to come out, evoking both a sense of horror and suspense in readers. An example is in the opening story and there are many in each one of the stories. In "Light Sleeper," the author captures the disturbing restlessness in the protagonist, Trevor, and plunges readers into the turbulence of his psyche: "Wait, he thought with sudden alertness, am I awake? It was 3:33 in the morning. He didn't remember waking up. He lay in bed, staring at the alarm clock, wide-eyed and breathing heavily." First, the author draws the reader’s attention to a strange happening and creates a strong sense of urgency, making readers feel as if something wrong is about to happen —and then 'something wrong' happens. Spider Season is a dark, yet curiously exciting world of stories that are skillfully crafted and infused with humor and a lot of entertaining plot points.

Rabia Tanveer

Spider Season by Billy Hanson is perfectly spooky and practically terrifying. A collection of seven short stories and three screenplays, these amazing pieces had my mind reeling and literally made me jumpy. A quick read and perfect for avid fans of serious horror, this collection of stories and screenplays had me looking over my shoulder. The characters are believable, their stories almost uncomfortably real, and the flow great. One can easily get lost in the lives of these characters and have their heart racing within a couple of pages.

While the characters appear to be normal, there are little quirks that make them disturbing. The short stories are absolutely perfect little slices of life, whereas the screenplays are excerpts. From a rock band to a man who is suffering from insomnia, these stories feel absolutely real. I enjoyed Music in the Gun Room and Paris with the Lights Turned Low - these were the ones that I liked the most. Light Sleeper was spooking me a little too much towards the end while The Clearing was a scarier version of American Psycho, but much, much darker.

I loved the fact that the author explored different sides of human behavior and how one decision can change the course of our lives. You can be a loving husband, a dedicated worker, a man who is trying to make some money or you can be a little girl who just wants to make friends and be loved. However, our every little action has a consequence and, sometimes, these change who we are and what we become. There is a rage in all of us and there is a dark side to all of us; it is up to us to decide if we want to let it out and wreak havoc or not.