Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful
Shannon Stewart

The tabloid world of urban legends and junk science, with roots going back to the penny dreadfuls of the nineteenth century, provides the background for Shannon Stewart’s poetic conjuring of real-life bogeyman, pig farmer, and serial killer Robert Pickton. It is Pickton’s victims, however, the ghosts of Vancouver’s missing women and Jane Does, who are rescued from anonymity to be placed among the stars. An effective concept book that blends high and low, threading together themes of myth and metamorphosis with hysterical headlines and horoscopes, Penny Dreadful is a work in the Modernist mode that does the “news” of the day in different voices.