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I’ve always had a fondness for limericks. There: I’ve said it. I know they don’t get much respect, at least among people who are into poetry in a serious way, but I have always thought that limericks are a joy to read. Heck, I even had fun writing a few myself a long, long time ago. I’m also a big fan of horror stories and films, so this nice little collection of horror-themed limericks really appealed to me.

So what do you get in this collection, and what exactly is an abecedary anyway? It’s a collection of over 150 limericks, arranged alphabetically (hence the wonderful subtitle), along with a nice set of literary and film references (with complete citations) for each monster inspiring a limerick, and reproductions of some nice public domain art.

We begin with a short introduction – also in the form of limericks – that sets out to answer the question: why limericks? Here’s how it begins:

The LIMERICK’s a short bit of verse,
Elegant, witty, and terse;
At times it’s risqué
(But that’s a cliché),
At its best, it is slightly perverse.

From there we move on to the limericks themselves. Each is a tribute to some classic monster or genre trope with which most of us would be familiar. Here is one of my favorites (perhaps in part because I just saw the film on the big screen a couple months ago):

The BATES MOTEL isn’t spiffy—
Its bedrooms are stale and iffy;
Though it rents by the hour,
Each room does have a shower
That will get you full-dead in a jiffy.

Come on, if that doesn’t appeal to you, I don’t know what would! Collings shows himself to be a master wordsmith of the English language here. These are some really clever little pieces that I found thoroughly enjoyable. Given all the references to classic monsters of myth, film, and literature, I was surprised that Cthulhu didn’t get a limerick of his own. The Necronomicon plus several other critters from the Cthulhu Mythos – Dagon, Nyarlathotep, and Yog-Sothoth – did make appearances, but the ol’ Big Squid himself didn’t get his own limerick. I can sense troubling psychic vibrations beginning to emanate from 47°9′S 126°43′W….

In any case, this collection was lots of fun. I recommend this collection of light-hearted, horror-themed limericks to all fans of classic horror films and fiction who have a good sense of humor and like to have a little fun with a favorite genre.

Buy the book on Amazon

Review copyright 2012 J. Andrew Byers