If you were to take the idea behind the incident in Color Out Of Space, add in loads of twists and turns, and really crank up the terror, you’ve got Inside Out by Lor Gislason! This is a book that all horror fans need to have on their radar!
Content Warnings: For this read, one of the biggest warnings is for body horror. Others include viral infections, child death/parent death, vomit, transphobia, and scientific experimentation. A full list can be found at the back of the book.
Let’s dive in to the goopy horror!
My Thoughts on Inside Out by Lor Gislason –
The Event. The Plague. The Infection. The Merge Infection. The Joining. This situation that has quickly spread goes by many names, and no one seems to know exactly what is going on. All they know is that people are turning inside out or merging together.
Adding to the already intense plot is the fact that we get to see characters of all ages dealing with the situation. Some were so relatable for me, while others made my blood boil. As the segments go on, we see the world falling deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Below are my notes on each segment.
Segment 1 – The Incident
This section begins as an incident report and then moves into an interview of a man that was the sole survivor of an odd situation at a dig site. This interview sets the book off in a wildly unsettling manner. The last paragraph especially… Yikes!
Segment 2 – The Family
Waking up to your child saying there’s a man outside and he smells funny? NO THANK YOU. Instantly terrifying, this one only got worse and worse right through to the, “We’re going to run.” This short was released as a standalone, and my goodness, re-reading this one just gets creepier and creepier each time! Check out my separate review of this segment here.
Segment 3 – The Institute
Set initially as a news article, we jump to a scene in The Institute that was being called out in the article. But when this woman leaves her boss’s office and goes to visit her wife in the lab, she’s intoxicated by the smell of what the wife was working on… Yikes the turn this one took!
Segment 4 – The Exploding Man
Deborah is such a Karen… I couldn’t help but laugh at her email as well as the response that was given.
Segment 5 – The Child
When her parents fall victim to the terror that is overtaking the world, Alice is left alone in the house. At first she doesn’t mind much, but then she has another idea… This poor girl!
Segment 6 – The Landlord
This man seems to be going about his day like normal, until he makes his first stop… This is a character that I wasn’t sure if I felt bad for if he had broken from the Event, or if he was just a nasty human being. I’m leaning toward the latter.
Segment 7 – The Virgin
In this forum entry, Issac tells a terrifying tale about his friend Jared and what happened to him. The scariest part though comes at the very end!
Segment 8 – The Zit
After nasty jabs broke through her emotional armor, Cassie goes to the bathroom to cry in peace. When she looks in the mirror, she realizes her pimple is much worse. And it’s moving… This segment has some major Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark vibes, but much darker!
While out and about on a check for the Outers, the mission goes sideways and ends in a very painful transition that will make readers skin crawl. My goodness… the description of the transition here…
Segment 10 – The Tattooist
A man and his girlfriend enjoy decorating the body in different ways; he enjoys tattooing and she enjoys makeup. But when a package arrives for the woman to give a review, that changes things for them. My gosh, this one made me squeamish!
Segment 11 – Daily Briefing, April 25th
Oofh, this one hit home hard when I first read it during the early COVID pandemic, and it hit just as hard almost two years in. This short briefing is chilling.
Segment 12 – The Pile
Writing down her observations and thoughts in a journal for science, this researcher is able to give readers more insight into what’s going on here. What she witnesses while out hunting for new specimens is a scene that won’t be leaving my brain any time soon…
Segment 13 – The Priest
Oh of course there’s a priest who supports these creatures… I should have seen this situation coming, but it was unsettling nevertheless!
Segment 14 – The Scientist
Set up as transcripts from a lab, we get a glimpse at the intensity of their studies. This doctor is far too excited by his tests than I was comfortable seeing. Phew!
Segment 15 – The Non-Believer
After moving out of an abusive home, this character finally seems to be doing well. But when her mother dies of cancer, and she receives a gift from her father, her life takes another path. Boy, this one will make readers want to scream through the pages of the book!
Final segment – Reintegration
When a doctor goes live on a tv show to discuss the reintegration process and what that looks like for the world, her demonstration doesn’t go as planned. The description of the gore here is absolutely brutal!
The afterword is a wonderful note from the author. I love when publishers add things like this. I especially loved this quote from the section: “When I was around 13, I was obsessed with becoming a writer. It was my first real dream, something that actually existed (in contrast to my earlier dream of becoming a Pokémon Trainer).
My Favorite Passages from Inside Out –
He turned on the porch light and instantly regretted it. Standing together were masses of pink and brown meat, swaying like wheat in a breeze.
Everyday, it got less human-looking and goopier. It reminded Alice of some of the videos they watched in school about sea creatures.
I cautiously walk around the edge of the pool. Ted doesn’t move so much as wiggle like a deflated jellyfish. Picking up the leaf skimmer, I poke the floating mass with the net end of the pole. It sunk into his flesh like butter. When I pulled back, it stretched like a freshly roasted marshmallow, firmly holding the pole in its grip.
There’s nothing quite as sharp as a teenage girl’s insults.
Outers was where we called them now, but back in the day, when it first started, they were the Inside-Outers. You ever seen one of those cartoons where someone gets turned inside out? Looks kinda like that. All wet flesh and organ meat moving around. The name stuck, but as things do, it got shorter. Faster to say when shit goes down, I suppose.
There was an unspoken consensus to continue on with life as though nothing was the matter, but it was working as well as ignoring a dog mauling your leg.
She was barely more than a whisper.
The machine has pushed innards out of her chest like toothpaste.
My Final Thoughts on Inside Out –
I cannot wait to have a copy of this one for my shelves! This is definitely one of those stories that you can come back to time and time again to dive right back into the horror. When the book launched officially, I was so excited to jump right back in to the ebook version. Once the paperback arrives, I’ll be reading again for sure!
Celebrating the launch of Lor’s first novella, Inside Out, I was so excited to host this interview! Click below to learn about Lor’s interests, how the idea for their first book came to them, and much more!