Published November 8th by Running Press first published More Details Original Title. British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews.
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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 19, mark monday rated it liked it Recommended to mark by: Shawn. Shelves: horror-modern. I wouldn't call it horror but I'm not sure what else it would be. Rucker is a writer to watch. I can honestly say I did not know what was happening or where the story was going - or ended up at - in this tale of a father, a car accident, an unhealthy obsession, and women who may or may not have something unpleasant in store for them.
I really need to read more by the author. I immediately ordered a novel by the author after finishing this one. I won't say anything else about it because I plan on reading the collection that this novella later appeared in: The Man from the Diogenes Club. Kiernan's "Houses" and Lake's "American Dead" come very close, but Ryman's story is, for me, the most glittering and memorable jewel in this collection.
I loved its humor and its kindness in a horror collection! I love how it moved me to tears. View all 15 comments. May 08, Shawn rated it liked it Shelves: r-anth-h-sthown. I must say, I've become a bit burnt out on modern horror writing at the moment, which is tough because it's But reading an endless slew of submissions, and at least partially reading this volume with an eye towards possible purchases, I'm definitely Best to recharge the batteries with the old and the different.
Best New Horror 6 by Stephen Jones
Reading this particular volume, I actually found myself feeling dismay at the "The Year In.. But jeez, the vomiting tide of horror "product" that gets churned out every year never ceases to One can only assume the good stuff can get sieved by a sharp editor, but then skilled editors are disappearing as their talents go under-appreciated in a world of e-books and publish-on-demand and everyone being an expert in everything. But on to the stories themselves, which is why we all came, right? This was a pretty solid volume, all told, although the usual bugaboos of excessive length and underwhelming endings continue to be apparent in the genre of modern horror short fiction.
There was only one clunker, "The Luxury of Harm" by Christopher Fowler , and even that was okay - two old friends one an author attend a low rent horror convention and discuss murderers and victims. It seemed like more of an excuse for Fowler to vent about the "types" that haunt conventions. Not bad but not memorable. The author's introduction, a conceit I generally like in anthologies, can occasionally undercut a story somewhat and such was the case here. A seedy, alienated police detective investigates cold cases of people gone missing on the subway and their connection to the abandoned "ghost stations" of the London Underground and myriad subterranean urban legends.
There's some evocatively creepy stuff here I love the conceit of an "inverted skyscraper" but the omniscient 3rd person voice becomes a bit too expositional in the end, synopsizing what should have been presented as action actually, heavy, story-ending exposition is another recurrent negative trait in general throughout this collection. Then a mob of people, faces also wrapped, arrive Not bad, achieves a Ramsey Campbell or even Robert Aickman -ish vibe at times. Rucker also effectively sketches a creepy scenario - a couple returning to the woman's inherited property out in the countryside that an odd, old aunt left to her.
The aunt was estranged and strange and her house proves to be filled with interesting items that slowly impinge their personality on the inheritor. Peter Atkins ' "Between The Cold Moon and the Earth" proves that familiar endings need not be anti-climactic if the presentation is interesting. Here, a girl relates her American travel adventures to a friend, but her Scheherazade-like narrative gets more and more outre as the story unfolds. I'm not sure if it works, really, but it has a nice dark fantasy feel to it.
In "Sob In Silence" by Gene Wolfe a horror author entertains a friend and his family at a home where terrible things once happened to children in the past. But terrible things still happen to children, as we all know. It's essentially a well-written version of the classic "revenge from beyond the grave" trope, with some nicely shocking moments. The main character swims through his memories of the past, sketching a potential serial-killer in the making for the reader. It's interesting without ever actually getting scary, more like ominous, which is fine, I guess. Vietnam during the war with America is the setting for "The Ones We Leave Behind" by Mark Chadbourn , in which a secret black-ops mission into North Vietnam is trying to find out why enemy troops seemed to vanish, and uncovers an ancient, world-threatening horror in a buried temple accessible by the notorious Vietcong tunnel system.
The characters, times and setting are expertly sketched, and there's a good sense of tension as the tunnels are entered. David Schow 's "Obsequy", about the moving of a small-town graveyard and the resultant rise of the dead with unfinished plans for the living, seems an awkward merging of a particular character study with a much larger plot, leading to an abrupt and emotionally unresolved ending that makes me feel like this was more of a novel or novella concept abandoned than a short story.
Richard Christian Matheson 's "Making Cabinets" is a flash piece about the emotional blowback of being a close friend of someone who proves to be a serial killer. Good but slight. Next up are the solid "good" stories. The book opens with "Summer", Al Sarrantonio 's admitted homage to Ray Bradbury in which he imagines one of those endless, adolescent summers of youth Nicely fable-esque.
Not frightening, really, but a solid weird tale. The cutely effective and short "Dr. Prida's Dream-Plagued Patient" features the nightmares of a familiar monster as efficiently told by Michael Bishop , who should receive accolades for knowing just how long a story idea like this deserved to be spun out. Joel Lane , whose work I like, examines the grief-ridden, necrophilic roots of love songs and popular music in "Mine", in which a music star visits a brothel as part of his pre-tour ritual.
I enjoyed "Thrown" by Don Tumasonis but imagine others might be a bit, well, thrown by the surrealistic excursion across Crete of a hiking couple waylaid by a disastrous flood and the husband's growing certainty that something just isn't right. There's some wonderful scenic descriptions here and strong surreal imagery and tone that, again, had something of the Aickmanesque about it perhaps it's the isolation?
Best New Horror
Kiernan 's Lovecraftian a term that gets thrown about a bit too much, and too simply, so I tend to use it sparingly tale - a reporter's memoir of a brief relationship with a brilliant but unbalanced woman, fixated on the secrets under the sea, who later became a doomsday cult leader. This is a great example of a character study that is also a successful, plotted narrative. Very sold writing. This is the definitive horror collection Genius every year. ARKs anbefalinger. Det finnes ingen vurderinger av dette produktet. Vis forrige. Rating details.
More filters. Sort order. Jul 08, Shawn rated it liked it Shelves: r-anth-h-sthown. Another one down - the "Year In" and "Necrology" this time are the usual as I've said I actually find myself enjoying them more with each edition, and actually reading them - YMMV with the "soapbox" this time reserved for musing on how few anthology series have ever lasted 20 years.
Jones has earned a right to crow Without having much to say about that, then, let me use this space instead to gripe about something else. Story introductions - I'm sorry, man, but someone has to say it - an edit Another one down - the "Year In" and "Necrology" this time are the usual as I've said I actually find myself enjoying them more with each edition, and actually reading them - YMMV with the "soapbox" this time reserved for musing on how few anthology series have ever lasted 20 years.
Story introductions - I'm sorry, man, but someone has to say it - an editor should not be slapping up whatever story introduction the author sends back without some thought to how much it blows the actual story it's introducing. I don't care that all of these stories are reprints, presumably the majority of them are still new to me, so why allow an author to steal most of his own thunder with a poorly worded introduction when a slight bit if rewriting might still get the point across and keep the mystery intact!?!
Here, Peter Crowther tells you the central conceptual hook of "Frontpage McGuffin" while Gary McMahon does the same with "Through The Cracks", and Simon Strantzas lets you in on his unfortunately superior inspiration for "It Runs Beneath The Surface" while even Neil Gaiman proceeds his excellent "Feminine Endings" with a strangely disingenuous statement "Readers have assumed the person writing the letter is a male and they have assumed the person writing the letter is a female.
I have been unable to shed any light on the matter" - puh-leeze! So you didn't know it when you were composing the two subtle jokes in the text that only work if the anonymous author is a male? Do you have a bridge to sell me? There are a few other examples throughout and all I can say is - a little more effort, please But what about the stories? This, I will admit, is one of the editions where I actually feel that the accusation that Jones' tastes are a bit dated might have more bite to them.
Or perhaps not "dated", exactly, but he has his tastes most of which I like and in this batch he seems to indulge some of the more long-winded and weaker examples of same. There's still good stuff here, no doubt, and only 4 stories I felt were below par, but there was a larger amount of "good but flawed" examples than usual, and only 2 or 3 absolute standouts. Eh, you pays your money So, below par? Michael Bishop 's "The Pile", about a condominium's refuse tip and the unlikely cursed piece of bric-a-brac found therein replete with echoes of King's excellent "The Monkey" didn't really work at all for me due to the humorous tone.
Someone else on Goodreads points out that Tem's introductions runs longer than the actual "story" - honestly, his story title and author byline runs almost as long as the purported story! I was actually happy to finally finish it. I also may have to start to admit that I don't seem to have much affinity for the work of Simon Strantzas - who, especially here, strikes me as "Ramsey Campbell-lite", reiterating familiar concepts without adding much or saying it in a distinctive voice. A social worker's cynical and depressed worldview of his city environment begins to be reinforced by strange happenings around him in his fairly by-the-numbers piece of urban horror "It Runs Beneath The Surface," featuring that old standby "scary homeless people.
I'm usually not one to complain about familiar horror tropes being given a good airing in fact, a later story in this book does exactly that and I found it quite enjoyable , but the Strantzas piece and stories like "These Things We Have Always Known" by Lynda E. Rucker and Gary McMahon 's "Through The Cracks" seem to suffer from a case of over-thinking on the part of the authors, reading to me as a bit dessicated, lacking some shot of emotional "juice" and instead just willing to play out a concept with little conviction.
Both of these latter stories are better than "Runs" imho - and we've moved into the category of "good but flawed" pieces in the collection - "Cracks" has a woman revisiting an old flame only to discover his insane fixations have become obsessions with the completely expected "but was it all true? There's some emotionally honest character work but I could have done without the casual mention of quasi-magical artistic powers fairly non-plot relevant unless I'm missing something and I would have preferred, beyond the pretty phrasing, a bit more proof or expansion of a late line "We have nurtured it with our guarded, secret souls, we have made it potent with our lies.
It was entertaining but also somewhat clumsily written in spots. I've liked other stories by Reggie Oliver but found "A Donkey At The Mysteries", with its academic traveling through the sun-baked isles of Greece and perhaps its accidental evocation of Daphne du Maurier 's "Not After Midnight" and it's Jamesian "antiquarian" - or in this case "classicist" - eye for horror to be - despite some sharp, lucid writing and scene setting ruined Greek temples, underground chambers - ultimately too ambiguous and underwhelming in its final "moment of horror" the flashback structure probably didn't help either - but extra points for the casket roped with thorny brambles!
A British Intelligence agent travels to the titular country to investigate the death of a spy cooling his heels there, a man who send some enigmatic coded messages, but instead finds a populace, native and expatriate, who seem to fear the fairly common sandstorms. The writing here is good but the tale ends up being a dull and slightly stiff piece of Graham Greene -style travelogue with some unimpressive supernatural gilding at the climax.
Run of the mill. Ian R. MacLeod 's "The Camping Wainwrights" is another story unfortunately undermined a bit by its too-forthcoming introduction. It's an interesting story of a British family who tolerate their father's mad yearly camping mania and crazy, destructive tendencies until one year when the trip goes disastrously wrong. What seemed to be an entertaining story with, perhaps at its core, a somewhat too-glib attitude towards mental illness, redeemed itself somewhat with a nice ambiguous ending. Still, not a "solid connect with the bat", if you get me.
So, good points first, the story is exceedingly well-written, sketching real characters with real voices in a finely drawn period setting or two settings, actually. The conception?
Well, while I appreciate the inclusion of some classic "Forteana" like the supposed geologic enigma of the "toad in the hole" as a starting point, and while it may be too reductive to say that what the author does here is essentially rewrite the opening segments of H. Lovecraft 's At the Mountains of Madness , re-setting them in a Yukon gold-rush camp and then the mountains of West Virginia This is basically a monster story with one of Lovecraft's barrel-shaped, crinoid "Elder Things" as the monster and, honestly, I find that just a bit too familiar of its model to be wholly supportive of it, as well-written as it is only the ending flattens a bit as well.
Now on to the solidly "good" stories, starting with some old hands! Stephen King finally makes it into the BNH series with "The New York Times At Special Bargain Rates" the title is just obliquely related to the story, unless I'm missing some implied hideous truth about corporate phone-advertising and the afterlife which is an effective, if perhaps the slightest bit slight, tale of a woman who gets an important phone call two weeks after her husband dies in a plane crash.
Melancholy and human. Meanwhile, "The Long Way" by Ramsey Campbell is told in first person by a boy perhaps the slightest bit too articulate for his age, but then what do I know? It's Campbell doing his familiar but effective commingling of urban fright and psychological landscape - family dynamics of over-controlling parents who play the boy off each other, adolescent fears of aging and disability linked to the paralysis of fear - physical, mental and emotional, etc.
Tim Lebbon 's "Falling Off The World" is such an entertaining read that I'll forgive it the fact that it didn't become the uber-cool re-invention of a forgotten monster type that I had predicted it would be. Those who like old style, historically-set "supernatural tales" "ghost story" might be a bit too reductive, and this is very Ambrose Bierce -Americana psychological horror, as opposed to a classic British ghost story model will enjoy "The Overseer" which Albert E.
Cowdrey unfurls here at novella length for your delectation. As I said, very Bierce at times, playing with our perceptions as to the actual reality of the figure or its origins as a guilt-inspired phantasm as we follow the history of the narrator through flashbacks, tracing a life filled with violence, thievery, war, injury, racial strife, drug addiction and murder.
A nice slice of Southern Gothic with some fine writing and beautiful passages, it doesn't surprise but it solidly entertains. Those who do not cotton to the form need not apply One might presume that stories of talking dogs are inherently comical but this well received on Goodreads tale proves that presumption a falsity. When a rural couple's hunting dog begins to talk as in a lot of speaking animal stories, it's first word is a refusal and then slowly begins to take on more human aspects, the couple and their entire world literally begins to come apart.
A disturbing and literally apocalyptic tale that keeps opening up the range of scale on its horror element, this was a pleasure to read. I also enjoyed three stories which hewed pretty closely to familiar tropes and so may seem too "old hat" for those that demand endless invention in their fiction but you too shall tire of that at some point, trust me Mark Samuels writes in a decidedly European dark-fantastique mode in "'Destination Nihil' by Edmund Bertrand" - a macabre tone poem about an amnesiac awaking on a dark, seemingly aimless train whose contents and passenger become more disturbing the more he investigates.
A nicely symbolic sketch of futility and despair. Tanith Lee 's "Under Fog" is that old familiar standby - ironic just desserts for unscrupulous men, but I still enjoyed her solid little dark fantasy tale of a small coastal village who survive by deliberately wrecking passing ships, and their inevitable comeuppance even if the form of that comeuppance is the slightest bit underwhelming.
While the also-familiar "The Old Traditions Are Best" seems to have seriously bent someone's nose out of joint here on Goodreads a bit of projection? As I said, familiar, but I don't usually judge that a fault if there's either invention or just good old enjoyable writing on hand, and here there's the latter - nice place description as well - and I liked the brief coda that implies an extra cruel twist. I don't usually consider Neil Gaiman a horror writer - he hews closer to dark fantasy most of the time - but he really hits it out of the park here with my favorite story in the collection, "Feminine Endings".
I was initially wary of tweeness as the introduction told me the piece was written for a collection of "love letters as stories" but this a supremely creepy tale once you get the gist of what's going on - an obsessional confessional from a unique point of view that becomes a thoroughly plausible stalking scenario.
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Extremely well done! And so, that's it for now. Next on the BNH horizon would be this year's installment, and then I'll try to retroactively knock a few more off the list - while working in all my other reading. View 2 comments. Jan 13, F.
Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24
Like last time the below list is not comprehensive, just my personal favourites this book around: Feminine Endings by Neil Gaiman Hilariously creepy little story where one of those human statue performers fixates on a woman. I particularly liked the do-gooder but deeply unsympathetic parents. The Pile by Michael Bishop Interesting story that boils down to a cursed toy gorilla, but it does give chills.
The Camping Wainwrights by Ian R. MacLeod Brilliant tale about a dysfunctional family having a holiday the wrong side of hell.
Related The Best New Horror 6: No. 6 (Mammoth Book of Best New Horror)
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