Starving Review: Terror Beyond Measure: A Norton Pumblesmythe Short Story by Ian Clements


Terror Beyond Measure: A Norton Pumblesmythe Short Story by Ian Clements (Amazon, Goodreads)

Some literary foods are full meals, heaping quantities to be ingested and enjoyed at a table over a course of time.  Others, however, are tender morsels, snacks meant to be gulped down quickly in this fast ‘on-the-go’ world we live in.  Terror Beyond Measure is one of those snacks.  Does its small size mean it lacks flavor or is it a taste-filled delight in a minute package?

Before I answer that, let us remember the Starving Review creed:

  1. I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre.
  2. I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.

The old saying, ‘It’s not the size of the tool but how you use it.’, is most fitting for this wonderful little romp.  Terror comes in like a bolt from the blue with excellent prose and doesn’t stop.  What we are given is a microcosm of a larger piece: an interesting hook, character build-up, rising action, a fantastic climax, then a proper denouement.  What is truly remarkable is that none of these bite-sized story elements is poorly executed.  Everything comes off without a hitch.

The main character is cooked up with a sure hand and plenty of dashes of flavor, aided by an intimate first-person perspective, but the primary minor character isn’t left out either.  Just this one adventure is enough that I hope to read more of Norton’s tales in the future … that’s how much this short story’s depiction of its protagonist impacted me.

The plot itself takes a careful blend of British wit, a classic time period, and some liberal dashes of Lovecraftian horror, gives it all a good stir, then gets it nice and hot in a short period of time.  I would argue that the writer actually turns the short subject into an advantage here, as this one adventure would suffer from exaggerated and drawn-out pacing if it wasn’t tackled as a short subject.  Very well done.

The framing device set up by the Prologue also works well here, providing some added world-building as well as giving the reader some fun interesting facts about some real-world events.  Brilliant.

Just like the piece itself, I think it’s best to leave this review as a bite-sized morsel as well.  There is little else to be said without dragging on for too long or giving away potential spoilers.  Let’s just sum it up as this: Terror Beyond Measure is worth every penny of its cost and delivers wit, humor, action, and supernatural thrills in a snack-sized delight of a tale!  I highly recommend this to any horror fan and, well, just about anyone who loves fantasy or adventure tales.

FINAL VERDICT: ***** (Wit, humor, action, and the supernatural in a snack-sized delight!)


  1. Reblogged this on shiftylaserpistol and commented:
    J.B Garner recently reviewed Terror Beyond Measure, and fortunately liked it a lot! Big boost for me; as getting your self-published work noticed can sometimes feel like yelling into a hurricane. Thank you for taking the time, Mr Garner.

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