Words Made of Flesh, by R.A. Busby

1 Jul 2024

The Book

Words Made of Flesh
Pages: 137
Age Group: Adult
Published on 11 Jul 2024
Publisher: Cemetery Gates Media
Available on:


New Bedford, 1899

Harrison Quire has a problem. Haunted by memories of his lover, he's only lingered on the periphery of a life. When he visits the Whisperers' Club to hear a few horror stories, he never expects he'll become one.

Late one winter night, Harrison hears old George Burgess tell his tale of an unusual book. The book, Burgess explains, is made of flesh. It is alive. And so hungry. Harrison is soon enthralled by the story, but will he be consumed by it?

Words Made of Flesh is the latest novella from Shirley Jackson Award-winning author R. A. Busby.  

My Review

Words Made of Flesh is a queer horror novella written by R.A. Busby, and published by Cemetery Gates Media. A vivid, slow-burn horror which slowly engulfs the narrative, exploring grief and trauma while gifting us an intriguing premise that is heightened by how it is related, in an excellent example of metanarrative.

We initially follow Harrison Quire, a tormented soul that assists to the meetings at the Whisperer's Club, hoping the stories that are told allow him to forget about his past; that night, the attention is put into George Burgess, talking about a particular book, made of flesh and that attaches itself to its owner's life. Burgess recounts the story of his life and us, the readers, get it through Quire's eyes, a Quire that slowly gets trapped by the story, which starts moving things inside him.

Busby masterfully intertwines both stories, keeping the metanarrative layer, but slowly bringing both to the same spotlight, with a dash of cosmic horror that is subtle at the start, unleashing it progressively. Burgess' tale progressively deepens into the Quire's life, blending itself with the horrors our main character has experienced; the impact of one into the other leads towards the surprising ending.

In comparison with other horror novellas, we could say this one is paced as a slow-burn, scattering some hints alongside the way that in, retrospective, could be read as a preparation towards the ending. With its length in mind, Busby manages to pack an impressive amount of worldbuilding, and even takes the opportunity to explore a taboo theme in the Victorian Times such as queerness.

Words Made of Flesh is an excellent queer horror novella, perfect for those looking for a unique kind of cosmic horror, masterfully written; part of the enjoyment is the experience, and let me tell you, it won't dissapoint you! 

The Author/s

R.A. Busby

R.A. Busby

Winner of the 2020 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction for her story "Not the Man I Married" (Black Petals, Issue #93), R.A. Busby has published a number of stories, including "Bits" (Demain Publishing), "Holes" (Kandisha Press), "Cactusland" (34 Orchard) and others. Check out Creepy Podcast for "A Short Happy Life" and Pseudopod Episode 809, "A Pearl Red as Sin." When she's not writing, R.A. Busby is probably out in the wilderness somewhere.