Something has fallen away. We have lost a part of ourselves, our history, what we once were. That something, when we encounter it again, look it straight in the eyes, disgusts us, makes us retch. This is the horror of the abject.
Following the success of Comma’s award-winning New Uncanny anthology, The New Abject invites leading authors to respond to two parallel theories of the abject – Julia Kristeva’s theory of the psychoanalytic, intimate abject, and Georges Bataille’s societal equivalent – with visceral stories of modern unease. As we become ever-more isolated by social media bubbles, or the demands for social distancing, our moral gag-reflex is increasingly sensitised, and our ability to tolerate difference, or ‘the other’, atrophies. Like all good horror writing, these stories remind us that exposure to what unsettles us, even in small doses, is always better than pretending it doesn’t exist. After all, we can never be wholly free of that which belongs to us.