Monday, November 30, 2015
Book Review - A Book of Horrors compiled by Stephen Jones
The synopsis :-
Many of us grew up on The Pan Book of Horror Stories and its later incarnations, Dark Voices and Dark Terrors (The Gollancz Book of Horror), which won the World Fantasy Award, the Horror Critics' Guild Award and the British Fantasy Award, but for a decade or more there has been no non-themed anthology of original horror fiction published in the mainstream. Now that horror has returned to the bookshelves, it is time for a regular anthology of brand-new fiction by the best and brightest in the field, both the Big Names and the most talented newcomers. A Book of Horrors is the foremost in the field: a collection of the very best chiller fiction, from some of the world's greatest writers.
As you would already know, this is an anthology of horror stories from various horror and fantasy writers such as Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell and Brian Hodge, just to name a few. The compilation of the writers were amazing, however the stories some were good and some not worth mentioning. So here are some of the stories that I personally enjoyed!
Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Caitlin R. Kiernan, is an author whom I actually like and have read before. This tale was a wonderful read and definitely kept you wanting to read more.
The Coffin-Maker's Daughter by Angela Slatter
This story blew my mind, I really enjoyed it.
Roots and All by Brian Hodge
Hodge brings us a fairly good story about country folktales and the balance of right and wrong, death and life. I liked it well enough and found Hodge's wording to be beautiful. He's a good short story writer. .
The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Lindqvist, the true master horror. This story does not disappoint. It comes equipped, surely, with many of the standards of the horror genre: death in the family, unknowingly moving into the house of a murderer, child-like wraiths, ghostly music. And yet it is executed beautifully and in such a way that you can't stop reading it. One of the most memorable stories in the anthology.
Getting It Wrong by Ramsey Campbell
I can admire the way the story comes full circle, and how because the protagonist is so unlikeable you can imagine how in the end he will earn just suffering. Even still, the story lacks the essential spark of possibility that horror stories need in order to hold its audience in doubt.
Alice Through the Plastic Sheet by Robert Shearman
This story was just bizarre. I think the story could be a commentary on the absurdity of capitalist societies...but I really can't be sure. The ending added to the element of strangeness the whole story emanates.
A Child's Problem by Reggie Oliver
In wonderful contrast to "The Man in the Ditch", "A Child's Problem" is amazing. The writing puts in mind the era of the setting. And you can't help but love the clever, sassy protagonist. In fact the robustness of all the characters' personalities is astounding considering that this is only a short story. Oliver is a master of their craft and I would highly recommend this anthology just for this story.
Sad, Dark Thing by Michael Marshall Smith
Another well spun tale, "Sad, Dark Thing" is short and bittersweet. Very poignant, very elegant, a grand horror story.
Near Zennor by Elizabeth Hand
I really liked the premise of the story. The set-up was wonderful and the possibilities for the story looked quite promising. I was very disappointed in the ending and I left with the feeling that there were several loose strings left to dangle. The writing was decent and the mood quite effective for a ghost story.
Last Words by Richard Christian Matheson
Pretty decent, "Last Words" is more of a philosophical manifesto written my a serial killer with daddy issues than a horror story. It was still pretty good, and I feel that it was a nice way to end the anthology.
Well, I truly hope you enjoy reading this book. There's a couple of stories I didn't mention in this review, please skip those!
Overall three stars!