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The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eight

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A town is held hostage by an unholy bargain made by some of the inhabitants; a party game on Halloween brings back memories better left forgotten; one misstep changes the balance of survival during the apocalypse; a group of seemingly typical travelers are stranded in an airport; a widower’s holiday in a seaside town becomes a nightmare . . . The Best Horror of the Year sho A town is held hostage by an unholy bargain made by some of the inhabitants; a party game on Halloween brings back memories better left forgotten; one misstep changes the balance of survival during the apocalypse; a group of seemingly typical travelers are stranded in an airport; a widower’s holiday in a seaside town becomes a nightmare . . . The Best Horror of the Year showcases the previous year’s best offerings in short fiction horror. This edition includes award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman, Kelley Armstrong, Stephen Graham Jones, Carmen Maria Machado, and more. For more than three decades, award-winning editor and anthologist Ellen Datlow has had her finger on the pulse of the latest and most terrifying in horror writing. Night Shade Books is proud to present the eighth volume in this annual series, a new collection of stories to keep you up at night. Table of Contents: Summation 2015 - Ellen Datlow We Are All Monsters Here - Kelley Armstrong Universal Horror - Stephen Graham Jones Slaughtered Lamb - Tom Johnstone In a Cavern, In a Canyon - Laird Barron Between the Pilings - Steve Rasnic Tem Snow - Dale Bailey Indian Giver - Ray Cluley My Boy Builds Coffins - Gary McMahon The Woman in the Hill - Tamsyn Muir Underground Economy - John Langan The Rooms Are High - Reggie Oliver All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck - Kate Jonez Lord of the Sand - Stephen Bacon Wilderness - Letitia Trent Fabulous Beasts - Priya Sharma Descent - Carmen Maria Machado Hippocampus - Adam Nevill Black Dog - Neil Gaiman The 21st Century Shadow - Stephanie M. Wytovich This Stagnant Breath of Change - Brian Hodge Honorable Mentions


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A town is held hostage by an unholy bargain made by some of the inhabitants; a party game on Halloween brings back memories better left forgotten; one misstep changes the balance of survival during the apocalypse; a group of seemingly typical travelers are stranded in an airport; a widower’s holiday in a seaside town becomes a nightmare . . . The Best Horror of the Year sho A town is held hostage by an unholy bargain made by some of the inhabitants; a party game on Halloween brings back memories better left forgotten; one misstep changes the balance of survival during the apocalypse; a group of seemingly typical travelers are stranded in an airport; a widower’s holiday in a seaside town becomes a nightmare . . . The Best Horror of the Year showcases the previous year’s best offerings in short fiction horror. This edition includes award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman, Kelley Armstrong, Stephen Graham Jones, Carmen Maria Machado, and more. For more than three decades, award-winning editor and anthologist Ellen Datlow has had her finger on the pulse of the latest and most terrifying in horror writing. Night Shade Books is proud to present the eighth volume in this annual series, a new collection of stories to keep you up at night. Table of Contents: Summation 2015 - Ellen Datlow We Are All Monsters Here - Kelley Armstrong Universal Horror - Stephen Graham Jones Slaughtered Lamb - Tom Johnstone In a Cavern, In a Canyon - Laird Barron Between the Pilings - Steve Rasnic Tem Snow - Dale Bailey Indian Giver - Ray Cluley My Boy Builds Coffins - Gary McMahon The Woman in the Hill - Tamsyn Muir Underground Economy - John Langan The Rooms Are High - Reggie Oliver All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck - Kate Jonez Lord of the Sand - Stephen Bacon Wilderness - Letitia Trent Fabulous Beasts - Priya Sharma Descent - Carmen Maria Machado Hippocampus - Adam Nevill Black Dog - Neil Gaiman The 21st Century Shadow - Stephanie M. Wytovich This Stagnant Breath of Change - Brian Hodge Honorable Mentions

30 review for The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eight

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    FIRST TIER Another installment in the annual Datlow roundup, this one fairly solid although lacking a particular standout. Beyond that, it's down to tastes. SECOND TIER As above, a solid installment but lacking a particular "knocks it out the park" example. Given the wide range of tastes among horror fiction fans, and given Datlow's own predilections and tastes (from my POV, a bit less willing to entertain the standard "ghost/horror" story and authors, a bit more willing to give time for the experi FIRST TIER Another installment in the annual Datlow roundup, this one fairly solid although lacking a particular standout. Beyond that, it's down to tastes. SECOND TIER As above, a solid installment but lacking a particular "knocks it out the park" example. Given the wide range of tastes among horror fiction fans, and given Datlow's own predilections and tastes (from my POV, a bit less willing to entertain the standard "ghost/horror" story and authors, a bit more willing to give time for the experimental and the poetic), you should be able to find something you'll like. As usual, the "Year In" Forward (which seemed a bit compact and terse this time around) is both a useful resource and a tiring record of how much horror "product" is produced for such a small audience. THIRD TIER And now, the reviews, weakest to strongest: There are a number of "okay" stories here. "We Are All Monsters Here" by Kelley Armstrong, which didn't really grab me, tracks the sudden outbreak and emergence of "vampires" (essentially, homicidal mania) into the culture, and how one girl deals with this apocalypse. Eh. Stephanie M. Wytovich's "The 21st Century Shadows" is a poetic musing on the ocean and witches. Finally, Shadow, Neil Gaiman's character from American Gods, returns in an extended story ("Black Dog") in which he becomes entangled with an English couple (and a situation involving an unquiet ghost, a murder, a Roman ruin and a Black Shuck). Not my kind of thing but if you enjoy genial dark fantasy adventure, it seems perfectly serviceable. Meanwhile, Stephen Bacon turns in a short little revenge conte cruel in "Lord Of The Sand." On the "good but slightly flawed" tip: Stephen Graham Jones's "Universal Horror" has a group of old friends play a Halloween drinking game revolving around costumes but, as the night wears on, dark secrets of the past are revealed. This was pretty good,although the writing had a strange, choppy quality at times. "Slaughtered Lamb" by Tom Johnstone has a man explain his conversion to vegetarianism after a youthful experience carting a giant leg of lamb around Ireland for a Fringe play critical of the "Troubles", and what happened when he stumbled into the "wrong" bar while touting the play. Despite the minor spectral aspect, could easily have been placed in an Akashic Books Dublin Noir: The Celtic Tiger vs. The Ugly American anthology. Steve Rasnic Tem's "Between The Pilings" is a Lovecraftian shout-out in which a man returns to the scene of a notable childhood seaside holiday. Not bad. Stripped of its Lovecraftian drag, it could be seen as a straight-ahead piece of dark-lit about grieving and trauma. "Underground Economy" by John Langan has a stripper recount the tale of a singular co-worker and a terrible night involving a party of hulking men in search of lap dances. Odd. One of those stories where I feel that, despite a background in anthropology and folklore, I must be missing the reference. Reggie Oliver's "The Rooms Are High" is very Robert Aickman. Following the death of his wife, an aging man returns to the English seaside town where he went to school, staying at a bed and breakfast with an odd reputation and having strange run-ins with locals, including an unsavory and unrepentant school teacher of his youth. Lots of ambiguity and psychological distress in this engaging story, but I didn't feel driven to "read into" it very much, and not pursuing the task of unraveling it left it feeling incomplete. YMMV. In "All The Day You'll Have Good Luck" by Kate Jonez, a teenage girl - member of a transient family of grifters - prowls the state fair looking for marks and has a run in with the disgraced son of the local sheriff, who has secrets of his own. A well-done piece of dark fantasy, but not really "horror" in any way beside vague implication. Finally, there was a clutch of good stories: Laird Barron's "In A Cavern, In A Canyon" has a tough Alaskan woman relate her origins in near-poverty and the circumstances around her father's disappearance when she was a girl, following a terrifying encounter with a strange figure pleading for help. Believable characters in a well-done story. "Snow" by Dale Bailey has a group of adults camping high in the Rocky Mountains during an apocalyptic disease outbreak, and what awaits them when they venture down into a town for medical help. Nice, stripped-down, terse little monster story, well-told. Ray Cluley's "Indian Giver" is a hard tale of the Old West, as a group of men visit terrible acts on an innocent Native American family...and pay for it. "My Boy Builds Coffins" has parents discover their son's peculiar habit which they trace to a disturbing conclusion. Gary McMahon has sketched a creepy and effective spooker here. Tamsyn Muir's "The Woman In The Hill", in which a woman disappears and then reappears with a disturbing story during the time of Australia's settlement, I liked enough that we bought it and ran it on PSEUDOPOD (here). "Wilderness" by Letitia Trent features a anxious woman stuck at an airport by an increasing series of delays and then problems. This interesting mood piece/character study of an introvert in an ambiguous genre situation may not be for everybody but struck me as very Shirley Jackson. Priya Sharma's "Fabulous Beasts" is a solid piece of Gothic dark fantasy as ophidian family secrets are revealed when a storied Uncle is finally released from jail, while "Descent" by Carmen Maria Machado has a teacher relate to a book club the story of one of her students who survived a school shooting with a new angle on how to perceive Death - punchy! "This Stagnant Breath of Change" by Brian Hodge focuses on a small town where the elders made a deal with malignant entities many decades okay so that the town would never actually change with the times and has since remained in a recursive stasis - and what happens when the last town father passes away and the deal is ended. A nice Lovecraftian tale of a mini-apocalypse. Finally Adam Nevill's "Hippocampus" (which another reviewer on this page seemingly couldn't grasp, or finish for that matter) is an interesting experiment: a slow, methodical literary "tracking shot" through a lifeless ship on the storm-tossed sea. This tableaux or snapshot eventually reveals its pulpy, horrific secrets of what happened to the crew, to some degree how and why, and where things will go next. Neat. And that's it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    Ellen Datlow's collections are always good, and volume 8 of Best Horror of the Year was an Audible freebie. Usually I don't like listening to anthologies as audiobooks, but these were all of sufficient length and weight to be good listening even while driving or distracted with other tasks. The lineup is all the big names you usually see in contemporary horror: Kelley Armstrong, Laird Barron, Tamsyn Muir, Neil Gaiman, along with a few I did not recognize. Some of the ones that were memorable: "We A Ellen Datlow's collections are always good, and volume 8 of Best Horror of the Year was an Audible freebie. Usually I don't like listening to anthologies as audiobooks, but these were all of sufficient length and weight to be good listening even while driving or distracted with other tasks. The lineup is all the big names you usually see in contemporary horror: Kelley Armstrong, Laird Barron, Tamsyn Muir, Neil Gaiman, along with a few I did not recognize. Some of the ones that were memorable: "We Are All Monsters Here" by Kelley Armstrong is a vampire apocalypse rape-revenge story. "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" by Laird Barron is a typical Barron story, a hard-raised gal used to violence and bad family drama encountering Things out in the wilds. "Indian Giver" by Ray Cluley is a Western horror tale adding a supernatural element to the horrors of Indian removal. "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Gary McMahon is the obligatory Creepy Kid story. "The Rooms are High" by Reggie Oliver, about a man revisiting, unfondly, his public school days. "Lords of the Sand" by Stephen Bacon is about Iraqi war vets reuiniting, and some nasty revenge on a bully. "Hippocampus" by Adam Nevill is a sort of nautical ghost story, in which the story is told simply by describing the scene. Neil Gaiman's story, "Black Dog," starred Shadow, the protagonist of American Gods, and while you don't really need to have read that book to follow this story, there are a few references.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Will

    This anthology felt a bit different to me. While most of the stories were well written, I felt that a lot of them just ended abruptly. For some of them that worked well, but for others, it didn't quite work for me. All in all though, it was a good collection. This anthology felt a bit different to me. While most of the stories were well written, I felt that a lot of them just ended abruptly. For some of them that worked well, but for others, it didn't quite work for me. All in all though, it was a good collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    GD

    This was the third Ellen Datlow-edited book I've read (she's legendary), and the first I've read of her best horror of the year stuff. I've always been a big fan of the Stephen Jones Mammoth Books, but, I have to say, I kind of think, at least these days, Ellen Datlow has a better eye for what's good, or at least for what I like. The stories in this book contain some of my favorite writers and a lot of poeple I'd never heard of, and the stories ranged from pretty good to badass. I didn't understa This was the third Ellen Datlow-edited book I've read (she's legendary), and the first I've read of her best horror of the year stuff. I've always been a big fan of the Stephen Jones Mammoth Books, but, I have to say, I kind of think, at least these days, Ellen Datlow has a better eye for what's good, or at least for what I like. The stories in this book contain some of my favorite writers and a lot of poeple I'd never heard of, and the stories ranged from pretty good to badass. I didn't understand "The 21st Century Shadow" at all so I'm just going to ignore that one. "We Are All Monsters Here" I don't really like vampires or post apocalyptic settings, but this was both, and it was ok. Cool ending. And the vampires don't act like vampires in the day, only at night hen their conscious mind is sleeping. "Universal Horror" This is the second Stephen Graham Jones story I've read and I really liked it, almost as much as the first one, which has a name that escapes me... Anyway, cool return from the past for vengeance ghost story that came together very nicely at the end. "Slaughtered Lamb" Good story, you need to know at least a little about Irish/British post WWII history, barely supernatural but has cool imagery. "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" Laird Barron's first two collections were two of my all-time favorite, but I think the devil started to leave him after that. He's still a great, great writer, and this is a really fucking freaky story about the "Help Me Monster" that lives in the scary northern forests, but he seems more focused today on writing more literary stuff and really focusing on the inner lives of the characters. I know this sounds like it's a good thing, but not for me when I'm looking for really badass gruesome scary horror. "Between the Pilings" I'm kind of torn with Steve Rasnic Tem, I really like some of his stuff and really dislike some of it, but he's a very prolific guy and it would be hard for that much material to all please one person. This is a really cool story, creepy, not particularly Lovecraftian though it takes place in Innsmouth. Cool atmosphere, lonely, scary. "Snow" I read Dale Bailey's Subterranean Season and thought it was a great comedy novel with murder and a giant football-loving spider, so this dark horror story was a little bit of a surprise. Again a post apocalyptic setting, and again not enough to bother me. "Indian Giver" Super cool old west horror story. Writer's name is Ray Cluley, I'll be picking up some other stuff by him. "My Boy Builds Coffins" Cool title, right? A weird, shortish story about, shockingly, a kid who builds coffins, little ones, with "mommy" and "daddy" written on them, and there's an ominous background mental illness that's not quite explained but hinted at, "He's better now, though." The ending was a little confusing, I think a goblin type thing replaced the kid and shape-shifted into him or something? Ending not well done. "The Woman in the Hill" A little vague, but still a pretty cool story about New Zealand in the early 1900s and this weird fucking cave that opens up in hills and steals people. "The Underground Economy" Shockingly this was one of the less well done stories, shockingly because it's John Langan, and he is usually the best guy in any anthology he appears in. Normally he's the undisputed master of prose in horror fiction, I put him up there with guys like Patrick McGrath, absolutely in control. This story though, about some strippers and a set of weird customers, and the weird unsatisfying ending, I don't know... It originally appeared in Aikman's Heirs, a tribute to Robert Aikman, and I guess it's a lot like one of his stories, slow building and fizzling out in the end because of an insistence on being vague, hahaha. Did I just say that? "The Rooms Are High" Reggie Oliver, like John Langan, another of my very favorite modern writers, and like John Langan, kind of falling on his ass in this particular book. Reggie Oliver, like John Langan, is also a prose master, but more in the sense that MR James is, a more classical (I won't say dated) style. Again, weird story that I really don't get, a vague ending, blah blah. I still don't get the title. Except maybe the ceilings go really high in the air in the middle of the night when the unknown strange things happen? Reggie Oliver, don't do this again. "All the Day You'll Have Good Luck" Don't really know what was going on here, a family that, what, for some reason doesn't grow? The narrator is a shadow? Maybe? Kind of neat story about a family of con-women in a little Oklahoma town, but I couldn't tell you what the fuck is going on. "Lord of the Sand" A short, mean, story about a bullied soldier from the first Iraqi wars getting back at his mean commanding officer at a 25 year reunion. Very cool, satisfying story with gruesome ending. Loved it. "Wilderness" This was a GREAT story, I just wish it had gone on a few more pages so I could know exactly what was going on outside the airport that everyone is locked inside of. Normally I get bored with genre fiction that delves too deeply into the characters' emotions or makes statements about society, etc., but this was done extremely well. Of course never finding out exactly what was happening outside the airport is probably the best way to have written this, because no one in the airport knows what the fuck is going on either, but it was done so well I just REALLY WANT TO KNOW. "Fabulous Beasts" I don't like the title of this, it's too fantastical for me, but it was a really neat, weird story. I think this writer, whom I'd never heard of, got some credit for this story, and she deserves it. Good unexpected ending to boot. Good job! "Descent" Don't know why it's named this, but a KILLER story about death showing up and then the people who can see it dying later, but with the twist that this takes place in the foreground of a school shooting, very modern and relevant. Told mostly in a monologue from a teacher at another school where some of the surviving students were transferred to from the shot-up school. But the narrator, who is at the party, is the focus of the BADASS ending. One of the best in this book. Let's look for Carmen Maria Machado in the future. I think she's just getting her start. "Hippocampus" First off, I know what the hippocampus is in the brain, but I couldn't see why this story was called this. I looked it up on Google to see if there was a special function of it that might go along with this story, and saw the etymology of the word, Greek for "horse" and Greek for "sea monster." I have no fucking clue why scientists would name a part of the brain after horses and sea monsters. But anyway... THIS STORY FUCKING RULED!!! After several paragraphs I realized there wasn't going to be any dialogue, the whole story is told almost like a movie camera rolling through an abandoned ship, and we're told what the camera sees, and the entire story is told like this. Totally fucking badass achievement, I loved this story, one of the very best in this collection and that I've read all year. No idea who Adam Nevill is but will remedy that post haste. "Black Dog" Neil Gaiman usually doesn't do wrong, and he doesn't here. A surprising in depth plot for a short story, but he's kind of a master. Cool story about an American coming into a small English village and going through some ancient evil and not-so-ancient evil. Having lied in America for years he's pretty good at noting the things an American would note about England, though his character does at one point say "a bit" instead of "a little" or "a little bit," heh heh. "The 21st Century Shadow" ???? I don't know what this is. "This Stagnant Breath of Change" Stupid title, AWESOME story!!!! This alone will make me buy the Shadows Over Main Street anthology that I've been looking at for like a fucking year. A small town is literally trapped in the 60s by Shub Niggurath and is fated to be destroyed when the last of the old men who summoned this shit die, and the last one is in critical condition dying in the hospital when the story opens. We see a little bit of a couple of townies, how their lives kind of suck, and how their immanent death is very easily and justifiably blamed on the old fuckers who cursed the place. Very, very satisfying ending to a really unusual story. Loved it, going to find out more about this writer (Brian Hodge).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Briggs

    Where's Nathan Ballingrud? His regular Table of Contents companions, Laird Barron and John Langan, made it, but beyond a nod on the acknowledgments page and an Honorable Mention, there's no Nathan. Surely he wrote something in 2015 that was worthy of inclusion here. Surely this rather truncated volume could have added a few pages to accommodate an extra story (Night Shade Books' science fiction annual got about 600 pages, no fair!). Leading the authors who did get editor Ellen Datlow's TOC tap is Where's Nathan Ballingrud? His regular Table of Contents companions, Laird Barron and John Langan, made it, but beyond a nod on the acknowledgments page and an Honorable Mention, there's no Nathan. Surely he wrote something in 2015 that was worthy of inclusion here. Surely this rather truncated volume could have added a few pages to accommodate an extra story (Night Shade Books' science fiction annual got about 600 pages, no fair!). Leading the authors who did get editor Ellen Datlow's TOC tap is Kelley Armstrong. Oy, the vampires are back. In "We Are All Monsters Here," Armstrong portrays the vampire as plague victim. DNA is sampled, and those who test positive are tattooed with a black star and locked away in "dormant monster" dorms. The black star symbolizes obviousness. I'd feel like a hack for stealing that "Simpsons" gag, but one of the story's characters actually says, "Kill them all and let God sort them out," so it's not the kind of yarn that warrants a more original quip. This is not the stuff of "I Am Legend." Laird Barron fares better with the unstakable, unslakable undead. "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" is a hardscrabble family drama shaded by blood-n-gut suckers that illustrate the axiom that no good deed goes unpunished. Charity is grand, but guard your gizzards. Barron doesn't exactly stake new ground or revamp the genre (sorry, that was uncalled for, I know), but his evocations of his native Alaska, where swaths of stark and sprawling wilderness provide a perfect setting for spooky stories, give the tale a touch of the unique. Innsmouth must have a helluva visitor's bureau to keep drawing unwitting tourists the way it does. The traveler in Steve Rasnic Tem's "Between the Pilings" is back for his second visit! Like the vampire, H.P. Lovecraft and his slimy submariners have been sorely overused in less than original ways and in less than imaginative imitations, but veteran short story writer Tem adds his longtime mastery of dark family dynamics and slow-creep atmosphere to a dank, sodden trip to a beach where even the individual grains of sand are malevolent. And I'd be willing to bet it's the only Mythos story that features miniature golf. From Tem's sand to Dale Bailey's "Snow," in which a tiny band of survivors of a hemorrhagic "red death" pandemic must descend from their mountain sanctuary in Colorado in search of emergency first aid. In the suburbs of Boulder, they take shelter from the freezing weather in an abandoned home, their view of "the death throes of the world" dwindling as darkness and the cold -- and maybe something more savage and sinister -- encroach. I've criticized Bailey before for his stories' timidness, and as usual, he doesn't push much beyond the basic, but in the words of the author himself, "Snow" taps into the primal: "Like cavemen, drawing circles of fire against the night." I don't know what strippers have to do with Robert Aickman, but John Langan's "The Underground Economy" was part of an Aickman tribute anthology, and it's about strange and bloody goings-on at the nudie bar. There are only a couple of bits in the story that I'd identify as Aickmanesque, but in a way, that's a good thing. In last year's "Best Horror," Langan had a Laird Barron tribute in which the Barron influence was so overbearing, it choked out Langan's own voice. Langan corrects himself in "The Underground Economy" by allowing a hint of Aickman to complement his writing, not submerge it under slavish devotion to the master of the strange story. It's a lesson legions of lesser Lovecraft imitators could learn. Reggie Oliver's "The Rooms Are High" reads more like an overt Aickman tribute. A lawyer named Savernake, "wifeless and semi-retired," seeks respite from his recent grief, a retreat where he can be "obscure, anonymous, part of the landscape." A seaside bed-and-breakfast called Happydene seems perfect (at least he didn't choose Innsmouth). Rather than the small-town nostalgia he came for, Savernake immediately feels an indefinable disquiet. Quietly disquieting is a trademark of the traditional English ghost story, which is Oliver's comfortable corner of the graveyard. It's a subgenre that can be subtle to the point of non-existence, but the malice of Happydene is much more substantial than a rattling window casement and moaning wind. Either the airports in Letitia Trent's neck of the "Wilderness" are criminally negligent or she hasn't flown in the past 15 years. Ladies who leave their carry-ons unattended as they wander off in search of sanitary products are liable to come back to find the bomb squad detonating their dainties. And I have yet to encounter the TSA employee lazy enough to allow travelers to stroll around the parking lot while awaiting their flight. This is a glaring hole in the middle of the story that's big enough for a 747 to taxi through. Also, the only author who's earned the right to dispense with quotation marks is Cormac McCarthy. Adam Nevill's "Hippocampus" is more scene-setter than story, simply describing the aftermath of an awakening horror at sea. It's like a prologue or snippet from a longer work. But I'd like to read that novel, should it ever actually exist. Neil Gaiman's "Black Dog" is probably a strong enough draw by itself for readers craving more company with Shadow, the hero of Gaiman's peripatetic epic "American Gods." Shadow's travels take him to a British pub where he encounters a peculiar breed of dog called a lurcher, a peculiar brew of beer that shares a name with the story and a miserable, mummified cat. The weather outside is frightful (Gaiman writes twice that the rain redoubles; that's quadruple the soaking!), so a friendly older couple invite Shadow to shelter with them for the night, and they give him a crash course in their village's lore and legendry, including the tale of Black Shuck, "a sort of a fairy dog" that foreshadows the death of the people it trails. You know how it goes in these stories: You bring up a supernatural menace in conversation, next thing, it comes prowling "in the darkness beyond the fire circle." (Maybe it was Black Shuck who strayed into Dale Bailey's story.) In his short acquaintance, Shadow's grown attached to the couple. He has an in with a particularly prominent feline, so he might be in a unique position to help his new friends. And really, I'd better muzzle myself after that so as not to give away any more of this intriguing, multilayered dark fantasy. Gaiman is almost always a treat, and like the novel it spun off from, "Black Dog" refuses to heel, persisting in unpredictability and breaking the leash of reader expectations. Talk about that which can eternal lie: Long after his premature death, H.P. Lovecraft is everywhere and never more popular. In her Summation of 2015, Datlow devotes two-and-a-half pages to the mini-industry that continues to mine the Mythos. As frustrating as that might be for some fantasy factions, Lovecraft love has its place. But I believe the intent of Lovecraft opening his malign universe to other authors was for them to build on the original concepts, not mindlessly parrot them. Brian Hodge gets it. The always overachieving, aggravatingly underappreciated Hodge is on something of a roll in reinventing Lovecraft. He follows his superb "The Same Deep Waters As You" from Volume Six with "This Stagnant Breath of Change." At the end of Donald Beasley's life, a team of desperate doctors works to wring the last few moments from a decrepit and dying old man, a man pleading for death when he's conscious. "They lived in fear of him thinking to bite through his tongue in an effort to drown in his own blood." The town of Tanner Falls depends on Beasley's prolonged existence, though he's also the subject of residents' enmity. Even the medical personnel fantasize on bedside watches of mutilating and torturing the town's final founding father. There's a price to pay for small-town placidity, and the debt Tanner Falls has racked up is an Old One. Many of Lovecraft's Mythos minions rely on pulp-era nostalgia to keep themselves rooted in a backward-looking subgenre, so it's wickedly subversive of Hodge to put Lovecraftian fixtures to work in illustrating the nasty side of nostalgia. There's a sanctimonious little speech in the penultimate scene that could have left Hodge vulnerable to accusations of moralizing were it not for the sickening finale that shows the scariest stuff lurks not among the Outer Gods but uneasily suppressed in inner space (though the amorphous Goat with fertility issues is frightening as well). I've been hearing good things about another Lovecraftian story Hodge has recently had published. Maybe we'll see it here next year. There's an overall not-badness about Volume Eight. Considering genre standards that aren't always as high as they should be, not bad is actually pretty good. But I don't read these roundups every year in the hopes of finding stories that are merely decent. I'm looking for what the book cover promises: the Best, something exceptional. And "Best Horror" has been denying me, coasting for the past couple of years. The most recent two volumes have been largely solid, but solid should not be the endpoint. Solid should be the foundation for something special. There's very little in Volume Eight that I'm likely to remember by the time Volume Nine rolls around, very little that will give me flashback frisson the way "--30--" from Volume Three still does, the way "Blackwood's Baby" from Volume Four still does. I'd like to see Volume Nine up its game, take some risks and get off to a good running start, racing toward a truly memorable 10th-anniversary blowout. A first step in that direction might be fewer vampires, limited Lovecraft. And more Nathan.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I first read this anthology in paperback almost five years ago, but I could only remember two stories in particular, so when my Audible Plus subscription included it among their freebies, I decided to give it another listen . . . and I'm glad I did. Anthologies are my gateway to discovering new authors, and this book first introduced me to Dale Bailey, whose story "Snow" is a tragic post-apocalyptic tale. A group of friends in an SUV are trying to escape both a deadly pandemic in Boulder, Colorad I first read this anthology in paperback almost five years ago, but I could only remember two stories in particular, so when my Audible Plus subscription included it among their freebies, I decided to give it another listen . . . and I'm glad I did. Anthologies are my gateway to discovering new authors, and this book first introduced me to Dale Bailey, whose story "Snow" is a tragic post-apocalyptic tale. A group of friends in an SUV are trying to escape both a deadly pandemic in Boulder, Colorado, and mysterious Yeti-like monsters in the snow that surround their temporary shelter. This story is most memorable for the sacrifices these friends must confront to protect each other, and one man's decision to abandon his injured wife reminded me of the very first scene in "28 Weeks Later," where both stories forced husbands to deal with hopeless, suicidal choices. Kelly Armstrong's "We Are All Monsters Here" is another post-apocalyptic story about vampires, and this tale of revenge introduces us to a terrifying eight-year-old girl. I've always loved stories about evil monsters in the forest hiding beneath bizarre camouflage, and Laird Barron's story "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" reveals how good Samaritan's best intentions can fall prey to eerie, frightening lures. This anthology includes other memorable stories, but the three I just mentioned were my favorites.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    I like some horror, not the gross stuff, but more the unsettling stuff. And sometimes horror is easier to take in smaller doses, like short stories. This was a pretty decent collection. There are stories by Kelley Armstrong, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, John Langan, and others. None really stick out in my mind though. I'd read a couple of them before. Short stories are a good format for horror, IMHO. I like some horror, not the gross stuff, but more the unsettling stuff. And sometimes horror is easier to take in smaller doses, like short stories. This was a pretty decent collection. There are stories by Kelley Armstrong, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, John Langan, and others. None really stick out in my mind though. I'd read a couple of them before. Short stories are a good format for horror, IMHO.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jorge Villarruel

    Only a few stories are bad. Two or three. Only the one by Adam Neville is unreadable: Literally, I couldn't make it after the first page. I tried it three times and I failed to understand a single paragraph three times. All other stories are good or very good, and a few are amazing. Only a few stories are bad. Two or three. Only the one by Adam Neville is unreadable: Literally, I couldn't make it after the first page. I tried it three times and I failed to understand a single paragraph three times. All other stories are good or very good, and a few are amazing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie H

    One of the more solid collections I've come across. There were only 2 stories I didn't care for. The rest were either excellent or middling. It is a collection that has reawakened my love of short stories. They're so satisfying without being mentally exhausting, even the ones that hit hardest. One of the more solid collections I've come across. There were only 2 stories I didn't care for. The rest were either excellent or middling. It is a collection that has reawakened my love of short stories. They're so satisfying without being mentally exhausting, even the ones that hit hardest.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alan Baxter

    Always the cream of modern horror, this volume is no exception.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    As per usual, with any anthology, you have stories that are great, good, okay and meh. I enjoy reading the Best Horror of the Year series, especially around Halloween because they tend to be fast reads and you get a lot of variety of stories. I think Ellen Datlow does a really good job at picking a variety of stories that are out there. Here is my take on each individual story: We Are All Monsters Here (Kelley Armstrong) - An interesting take on a vampire epidemic. I liked how the character was p As per usual, with any anthology, you have stories that are great, good, okay and meh. I enjoy reading the Best Horror of the Year series, especially around Halloween because they tend to be fast reads and you get a lot of variety of stories. I think Ellen Datlow does a really good job at picking a variety of stories that are out there. Here is my take on each individual story: We Are All Monsters Here (Kelley Armstrong) - An interesting take on a vampire epidemic. I liked how the character was presented and the story elements. She definitely painted a beautiful picture of the world she tried to portray. 3/4 Universal Horror (Stephen Graham Jones) - This is one of those stories that would make a good Halloween short film. It starts out fairly benign and then takes a dark turn. Definitely enjoyable. 3.5/4 Slaughtered Lamb (Tom Johnstone) - Very cool story. Not sure if it had anything supernatural to it or not, it's left fairly ambiguous, and probably up to your interpretation, but it definitely stays with you. I felt the genuine terror the narrator did, especially at the end. 4/4 In a Cavern, In a Canyon (Laird Barron) - I didn't really know Laird Barron's work until I began reading anthologies. He's quickly become an author who's stories I can't wait to get to. This one did not disappoint. Atmosphere is definitely a word I would use to describe his style. Very creepy tale. 3/4 Between the Pilings (Steve Rasnic Tem) - Stylistically this story was on point. It was more on the weird side and you can tell the Lovecraftian influence. It just didn't do much for me, which is a shame because again, Tem painted a lovely image with words. 2/4 Snow (Dale Bailey) - This was an emotional tale and one that makes you question what you would do in their situation. Another world ending epidemic tale but a really good one. 3/4 Indian Giver (Ray Cluley) - A disturbing western. An ending that will stick with you. 4/4 My Boy Builds Coffins (Gary McMahon) - I found this story interesting but the ending disappointing. Another wonderful tale, but I feel like the author wanted to inject some supernatural aspect to the story and it just didn't end right for me. 2/4 The Woman in the Hill (Tamsyn Muir) - Another well painted story that fell just a bit short. Takes place in the Victorian era which is a time period I enjoy. Overall though, the story was just okay. 2/4 The Underground Economy (John Langan) - Again, a very interesting concept, but I wasn't sure what the ending was about. A couple college girls get into stripping to make ends meet, a few weird client show and one girl disappears. Thought it would be something different but left you hanging and trying to understand what it was all about. 2/4 The Rooms Are High (Reggie Oliver) - Another weird story. Not quite sure what was going on. Descriptions and characterizations were on point, narrative was a bit out there for me. 2/4 All the Day You'll Have Good Luck (Kate Jonez) - Started out really good, but another story where I felt the author was trying to make it supernatural where maybe she didn't need to. 2/4 Lord of the Sand (Stephen Bacon) - Revenge story pure and simple. Short, to the point and didn't mince words. Nothing supernatural, just a guy getting some revenge years later. 4/4 Wilderness (Letitia Trent) - Here we have an example of weird done really well. It's weird in the sense you're not sure what's going on, but from the perspective of the narrator you're not supposed to. Very well told story. 4/4 Fabulous Beasts (Priya Sharma) - Another author that I find myself looking forward to her stories. This was well told, but a bit too weird for me. I found it a little too long. She might have been able to tighten up the story by shortening it a bit, but it was decent. 2/4 Descent (Carmen Maria Machado) - This was really good. It got the point across very succinctly. The story was chilling and took a turn I didn't see coming. 4/4 Hippocampus (Adam Nevill) - This was fantastic. It is completely descriptive. It's a slow burn, but a fast read. The best way I can describe this is think of a strip going from white to black with all shades of grey in between. It's the best analogy I could think of. Starts out clean and innocuous and slowly gets messy until that's all that's left. 4/4 Black Dog (Neil Gaiman) - I enjoyed this story. The inclusion of Shadow Moon means this is a tie-in to his American Gods book (I've only seen a couple episodes of the show on Starz). My only complaint with this is tying it into American Gods. I think he could have easily made the main character a random Joe and it would've been just as effective. 4/4 The 21st Century Shadow (Stephanie M. Wytovich) - I haven't the foggiest idea what was going on. 1/4 The Stagnant Breath of Change (Brian Hodge) -A really cool story about a small town stuck in a rut caused by some old dudes who were afraid of change who will bring about the towns doom when the last guy dies. Has almost a "Lottery" feel to it, only you're rooting for the townspeople instead of against them. 4/4 Looking forward to opening the next edition!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Clark Thomas

    Excellent book that contains the best of the best horror stories for the year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lord Humungus

    There were some outstanding stories in here, and I wanted to give this collection top marks, but of course the book is balanced out by some lesser content. Nonetheless this is another solid collection from Datlow. My favorite tales were "Fabulous Beasts", "We Are All Monsters Here", "Indian Giver", and "This Stagnant Breath Of Change", with "Fabulous Beasts" by Priya Sharma being a hands-down instant favorite. Recommended. There were some outstanding stories in here, and I wanted to give this collection top marks, but of course the book is balanced out by some lesser content. Nonetheless this is another solid collection from Datlow. My favorite tales were "Fabulous Beasts", "We Are All Monsters Here", "Indian Giver", and "This Stagnant Breath Of Change", with "Fabulous Beasts" by Priya Sharma being a hands-down instant favorite. Recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I love my short story horror anthologies and this one is definitely worth a shot. Most of the stories are great, the real problems are the endings. Some of the endings are phenomenal, but most of the endings are just okay or downright blah. Not the best collection I've ever read, but certainly not the worst! I love my short story horror anthologies and this one is definitely worth a shot. Most of the stories are great, the real problems are the endings. Some of the endings are phenomenal, but most of the endings are just okay or downright blah. Not the best collection I've ever read, but certainly not the worst!

  15. 4 out of 5

    FamilyPenguin

    Some very enjoyable stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mena Caj so

    Some of these stories are incredible. I specially enjoy Priya Sharma, every one of her works has been superb.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brad Hodges

    Once again Ellen Datlow has presented us a ghoulishly fun compendium of horror stories with her eighth volume of The Best Horror of the Year. One of the most valuable parts is her introduction (based on her Facebook page postings, it's not her favorite thing to do) which gives me ideas for reading throughout the year. Then it's on to the stories, which vary from the simply creepy, like Tom Johnstone's "Slaughtered Lamb," which only suggests carnage, to Ray Cluley's "Indian Giver," which describe Once again Ellen Datlow has presented us a ghoulishly fun compendium of horror stories with her eighth volume of The Best Horror of the Year. One of the most valuable parts is her introduction (based on her Facebook page postings, it's not her favorite thing to do) which gives me ideas for reading throughout the year. Then it's on to the stories, which vary from the simply creepy, like Tom Johnstone's "Slaughtered Lamb," which only suggests carnage, to Ray Cluley's "Indian Giver," which describes it in detail. Horror has a pretty broad definition. Not all of these stories have anything to do with the supernatural. A very disturbing story called "Lord of the Sand" is about what a man can do with an animal called the camel spider (it's a real animal, and pretty awful looking, but after checking on Wikipedia its largely harmless to humans), and our old friend the plague. Two of the best stories here may be about plague, but we're not really sure. "Snow," by Dale Bailey, has some folks in the Rocky Mountains hearing about an apocalypse of some kind and hoping to ride it out in the mountains, until one of them breaks a leg. In "Wilderness," by Letitia Trent, something weird is going on while passengers are delayed in the airport in New Haven. I mean, beyond what normally goes on in New Haven. But the supernatural is fairly represented. "Fabulous Beasts," by Priya Sharma, has something to do with snake-people (if that's the correct term--homo serpentis?) and "We Are All Monsters Here," by Kelley Armstrong, is a vampire tale. When you're not sure if it's supernatural or not makes things really interesting, like Stephen Graham Jones' "Universal Horror," which involves some friends playing a drinking game on Halloween when a certain child dressed as a mummy keeps showing up. Or "My Boy Builds Coffins," by Gary McMahon, which is exactly as the title describes it. These kind of stories, that don't spell everything out, can be frustrating for someone anal, but work well at suggesting the horror rather than ruining it with a half-assed conclusion. The best two stories of the collection both spell everything out, to satisfy my more mundane instincts. "Black Dog," by Neil Gaiman, features his character from American Gods, Shadow Moon, walking across the English countryside (didn't we learn that no good can come of this from An American Werewolf in London?). This story, which will involve the Egyptian god Bast, is sort about whether you're a cat or a dog person, and kissing and feeling up a ghost. But Brian Hodge's "The Stagnant Breath of Change" is a real dilly. It's about a town that has made a deal with something called The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young so that nothing changes. Of course, this has repercussions unforeseen by the town fathers who struck the deal. It's a real chiller, and is a perfect way to end the book. There were a few stories that didn't grab me. "Hippocampus" by Adam Nevill left me perplexed--I guess it's the aftermath of something terrible happening on a ship, and I have no idea what was going on in Stephanie M. Wytovich's "The 21st Century Shadow." But I'd give a thumbs up to at least 15 of the 20 stories, a pretty good batting average. I highly recommend all of the books in this series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kaiju Reviews

    This volume of Datlow's series struck me as taking fewer risks. There is only one story that I just didn't like - My Boy Builds Coffins - and a handful that I thought were okay. But at the same time, there were no stories that I thought were amazing. In previous editions, there has always been at least one story that left me feeling like, "well, that was probably the best one of the year, thanks Ellen." There are four stories here that stood out from the pack for me: Snow by Dale Bailey, The Roo This volume of Datlow's series struck me as taking fewer risks. There is only one story that I just didn't like - My Boy Builds Coffins - and a handful that I thought were okay. But at the same time, there were no stories that I thought were amazing. In previous editions, there has always been at least one story that left me feeling like, "well, that was probably the best one of the year, thanks Ellen." There are four stories here that stood out from the pack for me: Snow by Dale Bailey, The Rooms are High by Reggie Oliver, In a Cavern, In a Canyon by Laird Barron, and probably the best of the book: Black Dog by Neil Gaiman. (It almost certainly is incorrect to have two colons in a single sentence, but there you have it.) I've read a lot of Laird Barron lately, and In a Cavern hit me probably when I should have been taking a break from him. He is a fantastic writer and if memory serves, has had a story in every volume of this series, but there is a uniquely defining style and arguably type of story he uses that can wear thin if read back to back. Similarly with Neil Gaiman. This story is in the American God's world and is quite good, but I'd rather have visited someplace else. Still, Black Dog is easily the best story in this volume and shouldn't be missed. The rest of the stories are all good, they just aren't spectacular. If I take my ratings of each individual story, it comes out higher than other volumes have in the past, but it just doesn't feel like a 'best of' collection. I feel like horror as a genre has so much flexibility, it can be steeped in genre trappings like werewolves, vampires, or drenched in blood, or it can be subtle and psychological. Finding the absolute best each year may require putting in some stories that are really challenging, and not to everyone's tastes. Some of my favorite Laird Barron tales I've had to read a few times before I can figure out what is going on, but I know that I feel unsettled each time. Nothing in this collection really pushed the genre forward for me. But I'll definitely continue with the series, it's always worth reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    If you've read any of my reviews (thanks!!) where an anthology is the subject, you'll know that this type of book is one of my favorites. I love the variety of not just the offered stories, but also authors; many times I will discover the work of someone previously unread or unknown, and that usually is an added bonus. The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eight is no exception. The book opens with a "best of the year" introduction from its editor, Ellen Datlow, my favorite editor of anthologies. I If you've read any of my reviews (thanks!!) where an anthology is the subject, you'll know that this type of book is one of my favorites. I love the variety of not just the offered stories, but also authors; many times I will discover the work of someone previously unread or unknown, and that usually is an added bonus. The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eight is no exception. The book opens with a "best of the year" introduction from its editor, Ellen Datlow, my favorite editor of anthologies. I have a love/hate relationship with these intros, especially when they are written by someone whose opinion I hold in such high regard. I love these because I am informed of all the brilliant books/movies/events/etc. that I may have missed out on in the year. I hate these for the exact same reason; everything I don't have immediately goes on the wish list and it ends up costing me money. It's bitter sweet. In the case of The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eight, "Summation 2015" contains about 33 pages of things I need to buy if I haven't already (at least I think it's 33, it starts at page viii and ends at page xli). Honestly, many people will be tempted to skip this, but don't. It's a wonderful breakdown of the past year, and everything that Datlow recommends that I too have read, I'm in full agreement with. The lady really knows her stuff. You can read Steve's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David

    This will be quite simple - mostly, it is not extremely interesting. Good ones My boy builds coffins - nice sketch, weak point This stagnant breath of change - interesting plot, nice execution Indian giver - great setting, chilling point Descent - classic ghost story with great twist, not going to change lifes, but...yeah, cool Second tier Black dog - yup, Gaiman knows how to write. And loves his characters, which brings the story to really unneeded happy end Hippocampus - well, okay, nice experiment Nig This will be quite simple - mostly, it is not extremely interesting. Good ones My boy builds coffins - nice sketch, weak point This stagnant breath of change - interesting plot, nice execution Indian giver - great setting, chilling point Descent - classic ghost story with great twist, not going to change lifes, but...yeah, cool Second tier Black dog - yup, Gaiman knows how to write. And loves his characters, which brings the story to really unneeded happy end Hippocampus - well, okay, nice experiment Night Economy - original setting, disappointing story Snow - solid post apocalypse I felt honestly a bit wasting time on the others. What is somehow precious is the Datlow´s intro to what happened in the genre.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tanja

    Unfortunately a lot of these stories required one of the audiobook narrators to do various British dialects. They had apparently designated one of them to do it every time and he made some weird choices. So imagine you’re driving along listening to a story read by an American narrator, suddenly the parent in the story speaks and the narrator switches to the most pikey accent in the world. For the rest of the story this apparently pikey family are subjected to horror, but so is the listener. It w Unfortunately a lot of these stories required one of the audiobook narrators to do various British dialects. They had apparently designated one of them to do it every time and he made some weird choices. So imagine you’re driving along listening to a story read by an American narrator, suddenly the parent in the story speaks and the narrator switches to the most pikey accent in the world. For the rest of the story this apparently pikey family are subjected to horror, but so is the listener. It was so jarring. Often American narrators get away with it, but not this one. It completely overpowered the story and ruined the rest of the collection for me as I lived in terror of him trying a Glaswegian dialect or something from Somerset.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    Really loved "Hippocampus," by Adam Nevill. Fantastic story. Like Robbe-Grillet recapping the opening of a forgotten 1930s Val Lewton version of an Alien-vs-Predator movie. Just great. Also greatly enjoyed Laird Barron's "In a Cavern In a Canyon" and Letitia Trent's "Wilderness." Plus of course the Steve Tem and the John Langan. And the Kate Jonez! A lot of good stories. Coulda done without the vampire plague one, maybe. Really loved "Hippocampus," by Adam Nevill. Fantastic story. Like Robbe-Grillet recapping the opening of a forgotten 1930s Val Lewton version of an Alien-vs-Predator movie. Just great. Also greatly enjoyed Laird Barron's "In a Cavern In a Canyon" and Letitia Trent's "Wilderness." Plus of course the Steve Tem and the John Langan. And the Kate Jonez! A lot of good stories. Coulda done without the vampire plague one, maybe.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adam Vine

    These stories were a bit too hit-or-miss for me. Some I really enjoyed; others, not so much. I don't want to shit on other authors here, since that is not why I use Goodreads. I didn't heavily dislike any of the stories in this collection, it's just that none of it particularly blew me away. A few too many of the stories in the collection went for angles I don't personally find envelope-pushing or terrifying. My favorite of the stories I finished was "Snow." I also dig the cover art. These stories were a bit too hit-or-miss for me. Some I really enjoyed; others, not so much. I don't want to shit on other authors here, since that is not why I use Goodreads. I didn't heavily dislike any of the stories in this collection, it's just that none of it particularly blew me away. A few too many of the stories in the collection went for angles I don't personally find envelope-pushing or terrifying. My favorite of the stories I finished was "Snow." I also dig the cover art.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Ogurek

    As is typical with horror anthologies, this collection contains some gems and some duds. Best stories include "Universal Horror" by Stephen Graham Jones, "This Stagnant Breath of Change" by Brian Hodge, and "Black Dog" by Neil Gaiman. As is typical with horror anthologies, this collection contains some gems and some duds. Best stories include "Universal Horror" by Stephen Graham Jones, "This Stagnant Breath of Change" by Brian Hodge, and "Black Dog" by Neil Gaiman.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wes

    There were a few really great stories in this collection. "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" by Laird Barron was a dark and wonderful tale. "Descent" by Carmen Maria Machado is an interesting story about seeing the face of death and being marked by that action. There were a few really great stories in this collection. "In a Cavern, In a Canyon" by Laird Barron was a dark and wonderful tale. "Descent" by Carmen Maria Machado is an interesting story about seeing the face of death and being marked by that action.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Some of the stories were pretty good, specifically the stories by Laird Barron (this one surprised me since I really didn't like one of his books I read), Dale Bailey, and Priya Sharma. Others were rather meh. By the end of the book I was pretty tired of it, though. Some of the stories were pretty good, specifically the stories by Laird Barron (this one surprised me since I really didn't like one of his books I read), Dale Bailey, and Priya Sharma. Others were rather meh. By the end of the book I was pretty tired of it, though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam Gutschenritter

    Like all volumes some of these stories are better than others. I liked Lord of the Sand, Descent, Black Dog and This Stagnant Breath of Change (of these the last is the best). I am glad I picked this up for the continuation of the American Gods universe, I miss Shadow from time to time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    "Universal Horror" by Steven Grahams Jones "In a Cavern, in a Canyon" by Laird Bairn "Indian Giver" by Ray Cloolie "The Underground Economy" by John Langden "Fabulous Beasts" by Priya Sharba "Hippocampus" by Adam Neville "Universal Horror" by Steven Grahams Jones "In a Cavern, in a Canyon" by Laird Bairn "Indian Giver" by Ray Cloolie "The Underground Economy" by John Langden "Fabulous Beasts" by Priya Sharba "Hippocampus" by Adam Neville

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Full disclosure: I did not understand many of the stories in this collection. They probably went over my head. However, I absolutely agree, Ellen Datlow is the queen of anthologies. Long to reign over us, et cetera.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Loretta D. Bright

    I enjoyed many of the stories in this anthology. This format is great because one can always find something they like. Favorites were Neil Gaiman’s Black Dog and Fabulous Beasts by Letitia Trent. I will pick up some more of these anthology’s to read.

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