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A collection of 24 of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1992. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1992 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The Suicide Artist by Scott Edelman * Dancing on a Blade of Dreams by Roberta Lannes * The Departed by Clive Barker * How to Get Ahead in New York by Poppy Z. Brite * They Take by John Brunner * Replacements by Lisa A collection of 24 of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1992. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1992 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The Suicide Artist by Scott Edelman * Dancing on a Blade of Dreams by Roberta Lannes * The Departed by Clive Barker * How to Get Ahead in New York by Poppy Z. Brite * They Take by John Brunner * Replacements by Lisa Tuttle * Under the Pylon by Graham Joyce * The Glamour by Thomas Ligotti * Under the Ice by John Gordon * And Some Are Missing by Joel Lane * The Little Green Ones by Les Daniels * Mirror Man by Steve Rasnic Tem * Mothmusic by Sarah Ash * Did They Get You to Trade? by Karl Edward Wagner * Night Shift Sister by Nicholas Royle * The Dead by Simon Ings & M. John Harrison * Norman Wisdom and the Angel of Death by Christopher Fowler * Red Reign by Kim Newman * Aviatrix by Peter Atkins * Snodgrass by Ian R. MacLeod * The Day of the Sharks by Kate Wilhelm * Bright Lights, Big Zombie by Douglas E. Winter * The Ghost Village by Peter Straub * Necrology by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman


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A collection of 24 of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1992. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1992 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The Suicide Artist by Scott Edelman * Dancing on a Blade of Dreams by Roberta Lannes * The Departed by Clive Barker * How to Get Ahead in New York by Poppy Z. Brite * They Take by John Brunner * Replacements by Lisa A collection of 24 of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1992. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1992 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The Suicide Artist by Scott Edelman * Dancing on a Blade of Dreams by Roberta Lannes * The Departed by Clive Barker * How to Get Ahead in New York by Poppy Z. Brite * They Take by John Brunner * Replacements by Lisa Tuttle * Under the Pylon by Graham Joyce * The Glamour by Thomas Ligotti * Under the Ice by John Gordon * And Some Are Missing by Joel Lane * The Little Green Ones by Les Daniels * Mirror Man by Steve Rasnic Tem * Mothmusic by Sarah Ash * Did They Get You to Trade? by Karl Edward Wagner * Night Shift Sister by Nicholas Royle * The Dead by Simon Ings & M. John Harrison * Norman Wisdom and the Angel of Death by Christopher Fowler * Red Reign by Kim Newman * Aviatrix by Peter Atkins * Snodgrass by Ian R. MacLeod * The Day of the Sharks by Kate Wilhelm * Bright Lights, Big Zombie by Douglas E. Winter * The Ghost Village by Peter Straub * Necrology by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

53 review for Best New Horror 4

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leah Polcar

    I was already reviewing this in my head when I was halfway through. Verdict: meh. But then came the story (novella actually) Red Reign by Kim Newman. Superb. I would get this anthology just for that story unless you already have read Anno Dracula, which was inspired by this novella. I haven't read that, or even heard of it before finishing the story, so Red Reign came as a great surprise. Peter Straub also has an excellent offering. If the collection only had these two stories, it would get a 5 I was already reviewing this in my head when I was halfway through. Verdict: meh. But then came the story (novella actually) Red Reign by Kim Newman. Superb. I would get this anthology just for that story unless you already have read Anno Dracula, which was inspired by this novella. I haven't read that, or even heard of it before finishing the story, so Red Reign came as a great surprise. Peter Straub also has an excellent offering. If the collection only had these two stories, it would get a 5 (even though that would be a pretty crappy anthology). As it is, these stories save it from getting an otherwise well deserved 2. (One fun bit though is that the anthology is from 1993. Reading such earnest descriptions about cassettes and videotapes and general late 80s/early 90s stuff is a hoot and a half. There is even a story in the style of Bright Lights, Big City. It wasn't good, but what a walk down memory lane.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucian Poll

    Best New Horror 4 presents twenty-four horror stories that were published during 1992. Hmm... better make that twenty-fourish horror stories. Not for the first time the editors have stuffed a few pretenders into their best-of collection, especially in the latter half. Here they just about get away with it thanks to the general quality of the non-horror stories they’ve snuck into this volume. So overall, while this is certainly better than book 2, it lags behind book 3 and book 1. Anyway, enough b Best New Horror 4 presents twenty-four horror stories that were published during 1992. Hmm... better make that twenty-fourish horror stories. Not for the first time the editors have stuffed a few pretenders into their best-of collection, especially in the latter half. Here they just about get away with it thanks to the general quality of the non-horror stories they’ve snuck into this volume. So overall, while this is certainly better than book 2, it lags behind book 3 and book 1. Anyway, enough blathering. On with the show: The Suicide Artist – Scott Edelman (3/5 – A man reluctantly tells the reader of his shitty childhood, of the abuse he and his sister separately endured. The more he reveals, the greater the bitterness and hostility he feels towards the reader. How dare the reader want to know more! Though I’d class this as one of the better second-person stories I’ve read, it still didn’t have its desired effect on me. Rather than quivering in fear, I actually spent the latter half of the story thinking, “Wow, you really were one unexpectedly strong and fiendishly devious six-year old boy, weren’t you?”) Dancing On A Blade Of Dreams – Roberta Lannes (3/5 – The evil that men do carries over into this sexually-charged story, which sees a juror being terrorised in her dreams by the defendant. This was okay, with some effective and gruesome imagery, but I found the story stumbled towards an ending that felt a little tacked-on. The ending also doesn’t work the more you think about it.) The Departed – Clive Barker (5/5 – A short and sweet story which sees a ghost seeking to connect with her young son one last time. This packs a surprising amount into a simple story and the ending left me wanting to know more about the characters. Job done, I’d say.) How To Get Ahead In New York – Poppy Z. Brite (4/5 – Brite continues the stories of Steve and Ghost from “Lost Souls”, pitching them into a grasping and typically chaotic New York one morning as they struggle to find the club they’ve been booked to play that evening. This is a wonderfully written story told with a knowing wink as our leads are given several generous helpings of the weirdness New York has to offer. Also, you don’t need to have read “Lost Souls” to enjoy this. (I hadn’t.)) They Take – John Brunner (4/5 – Ann and her husband Carlo are summoned to Bolsevieto, a small rural Italian village, to inspect the house and land left to Ann by her late aunt. They are both initially keen to leave the village and sell the place. They should have listened to their instincts. There’s a great sense of place in this story, helped in no small part by Brunner’s command of all things Italian. You will probably find the bones of this story in numerous others you read, but, all things considered, this is a good substitute for the “dumped on a remote Greek island” story we were all expecting to find somewhere in this book.) Replacements – Lisa Tuttle (4/5 – Stuart is horrified by the sight of a wingless-bat-like creature shuffling pathetically amid the pavement trash. He instinctively stamps it to death, repulsed, but soon finds another crawling along the kerbside. It seems there are more of them out there. Tensions mount when his wife Jenny brings one of the creatures home as a pet. This story did a decent job of making my skin crawl, but was somewhat offset by Stuart being a complete and utter wet blanket. I mean, are you seriously suggesting he would tell precisely nobody about his predicament?) Under The Pylon – Graham Joyce (4/5 – A bunch of kids play beneath a neighbourhood pylon, contrary to all the warning signs, regardless of the clumps of discarded bricks and the five-foot high nettles sprouting there. Big School is fast approaching for all of them, bringing with it the end of childhood innocence and marking the onset of puberty, and it seems the pylon is sensitive to the changes playing out below. There’s something about Joyce’s style that never fails to draw me into his stories, a raw honesty perhaps. I loved “The Year of the Ladybird” (a.k.a. “The Man in the Electric Blue Suit” in the US), and I really liked this.) The Glamour – Thomas Ligotti (3/5 – A man is drawn into a dilapidated movie theatre one night in an unfamiliar part of town. Tonight’s attraction: “The Glamour”, and the show is about to begin. This story has appeared in a few “Best of…” anthologies over the years, but was sadly a bit of a misfire for me. The lush writing is present, certainly, but in places it felt like Ligotti was trying too hard, repeating himself a few too many times or laying on the visceral atmosphere of the theatre a little too thick. Could just be me, though.) Under The Ice – John Gordon (4/5 – Rupert convinces his schoolfriend David to come skating on the frozen fens by his parent’s farm. David is suspicious. It seems Rupert’s parents weren’t expecting company, and Rupert seems rather keen to get his friend out onto the ice. It’s as if Rupert wants to show David something. Like “They Take”, earlier in this book, “Under The Ice” will have a familiar ring to it for seasoned horror fans, but is no less of a good read because of it.) And Some Are Missing – Joel Lane (4/5 – David is adjusting to life alone following a split from his boyfriend. A chance intervention outside his new digs introduces David to the shadowy antipeople, and they are not exactly friendly. I mentioned in my review of Best New Horror 3, which featured Lane’s story “Power Cut”, how I often have to read his stories a couple of times before I get a whiff of what’s going on. This is one of those stories, and even now I’d imagine my reading of it will differ from yours. Still worth a read, though.) The Little Green Ones – Les Daniels (3/5 – An American writer takes time out from a convention to explore a nearby London cemetery, where he is creeped out by a pair of lifelike statues: one a little girl, the other a little boy. Both are completely covered with an unusually green lichen, a colour that begins to haunt him. In the editors’ introduction to this story they explain how it was inspired by the author’s attendance at a then recent World Fantasy Convention held in London. I rather wished they’d kept shtum because, armed with that nugget of knowledge, this soon became less a horror story and more a six-page gripe about his time there.) Mirror Man – Steve Rasnic Tem (3/5 – Jeff is a man staring old age in the face. To help fend off the white hairs he decides it would be a fine idea to take a long car journey with his young daughter to Providence, where he can show her off to all his old chums. Yes, we’re in Lovecraft country, folks. I guess you can file this one under “Whoops Transdimensionalism”. It’s okay, but not SRT’s best.) Mothmusic – Sarah Ash (4/5 – Astar Taziel is a physician who witnesses the devastating effects of boskh – a substance yielded from the dust of a moonmoth’s wings. Boskh has wonderful medicinal qualities when taken in moderation, but beyond that addiction lies. To Taziel’s growing horror, it soon becomes clear that boskh has a payload much more serious than mere dependency. This is a fantasy yarn, fair traveller, so steel yonself for A Story Of A Hundred And One Spurious Names. Stick with this one, though, because there is a satisfying seam of horror running throughout.) Did They Get You To Trade? – Karl Edward Wagner (4/5 – Another winner from Wagner sees Ryan Chase, a portrait artist, seek inspiration over a few pints one fine sunny afternoon. A homeless man approaches Ryan, seeking a few coins for a meal, and it soon dawns on Ryan that this man was once a punk hero of his. But what had happened to Nemo Skagg for him to wind up in this state? More an urban fantasy than a horror tale, this, but very good all the same.) Night Shift Sister – Nicholas Royle (4/5 – Carl is a record shop owner with a huge record collection, an even bigger crush on Siouxsie Sioux and a photocopied map of somewhere he cannot place. The latter intrigues him. There are no street names to speak of and none of the landmarks are labelled, so where could the map have come from? Wait, there’s a Siouxsie Sioux lookalike over there. Perhaps she will know something. Yeah, the jumps of logic in this story take some getting over, but to be fair this is the best Royle story I’ve read in Best New Horror so far, and it bagged a British Fantasy Award at the time. It was also weirdly fun counting all the spiral motifs Royle had stuffed into the story.) The Dead – Simon Ings & M. John Harrison (2/5 – Nope.) Norman Wisdom And The Angel Of Death – Christopher Fowler (4/5 – Stanley is a desperately boring man charged with brightening up the days of hospital patients who have no family or friends to visit them. And how better to entertain the sick than a meticulous run-through of every Norman Wisdom movie, line by line, scene by scene? Just don’t switch off, whatever you do… Fowler expertly crafts an engaging and hyperreal villain here in a story that is only one contrivance short of perfection.) Red Reign – Kim Newman (5/5 – This is the novella that inspired Newman’s Anno Dracula books, and it’s a corker. I had avoided the Anno Dracula series till now because “vampires, meh…” but I might have to rethink all that. This is Victorian London, but not as we know it. Dracula is Prince Regent, vampirism is spreading unchecked across the land, and a certain Dr Seward is secretly taking it upon himself to despatch vampish ladies of the night. The murders are sending ripples across the warms (humans) and new-borns (vampires) alike; something must be done. Centuries-old vampire Genevieve Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of The Diogenes Club must work together to root out the so-called Jack The Ripper. This story is worth the entrance fee on its own.) Aviatrix – Peter Atkins (3/5 – A nervous flyer sinks a valium pre-flight and finds himself slipping between the real world and a vivid dream world. This is okay, with some great little touches here and there, but let’s be honest – the moment you saw “a nervous flyer” in the previous sentence you probably guessed how the story turns out.) Snodgrass – Ian R. McCleod (4/5 – A smart what-if story that follows John Lennon as he bums around Birmingham thirty years after he quit The Beatles. The mop-tops are back in town and Macca is keen to see John again. I liked this a lot more than “1/72nd Scale”, McCleod’s previous story in Best New Horror 2, but this has somehow found its way into a horror anthology on the thinnest of premises.) The Day Of The Sharks – Kate Wilhelm (3/5 – Gary and Veronica are heading on holiday to Grand Bahama, stopping over at Bill and Shar’s luxury gaff on the way. Veronica is a woman on the edge of madness, while Gary is a man who is keen to bump uglies with Shar again. Events take a gruesome turn the morning after the night before. This was okay, but a lack of likeable characters made it hard for me to give two shits what anybody did.) Anima – M. John Harrison (3/5 – A writer makes the acquaintance of a curious fella called Choe Ashton, who then drifts in and out of his life. Choe is an enigma: giddy and elated one moment, surly and abusive the next, disappearing for weeks and months only to reappear as if nothing had happened, and our man cannot help but answer his call every time. The anima is the soul, the essence of who we are. Harrison deftly personifies through Choe the changeable and restless bugger that sits behind the wheel in all of us, but quite what qualified this as a horror story is beyond me.) Bright Lights, Big Zombie – Douglas E. Winter (3/5 – Another story told in the second-person (the title ought to have been a clue), and another one that doesn’t quite work for me. It’s an interesting set-up, though. Zombies are a thing, New York is struggling to cope with its returning dead and society has banned all video nasties as part of its response. Blurry umpteenth-generation VHS copies of gore-flicks such as “Guinea Pig” become valuable contraband, and an opportunity presents itself to exploit this demand by producing real-life zombie movies.) The Ghost Village – Peter Straub (5/5 – This superb novella expands on Straub’s novel “Koko” and is an early and condensed version of “The Throat”, the concluding part of his Blue Rose trilogy. We’re back in the heat of the jungle. Death is only a VC sniper’s bullet away. Tim Underhill and Mike Poole explore a chamber dug beneath a hut in an abandoned village. Something bad happened here, something bad enough to keep the VC away. Text lines the walls and ceiling of the chamber, old rust-coloured blood stains much of the floor and ominous-looking manacles hang limp. A chance meeting in an illegal bar reveals the horrific truth of the place. Like “Koko” before it, “The Ghost Village” bagged a World Fantasy Award, and is a terrific closer to this book.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sistermagpie

    Unfortunately, while I didn't dislike this book nothing really stood out for me in it. It started out with a couple of stories that iirc had a lot of rape in them that I didn't really enjoy reading about, and then nothing else really made a big big impression. I'm not a big fan of the zombie apocalypse scenario so that story didn't really do it for me--especially since the hero is in the middle of one but also wants to watch movies about it. Let's just say I don't relate! Unfortunately, while I didn't dislike this book nothing really stood out for me in it. It started out with a couple of stories that iirc had a lot of rape in them that I didn't really enjoy reading about, and then nothing else really made a big big impression. I'm not a big fan of the zombie apocalypse scenario so that story didn't really do it for me--especially since the hero is in the middle of one but also wants to watch movies about it. Let's just say I don't relate!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Short horror story collection I read more for Stephen Jones' introductions, current trends in horror, and new writers. Meet old friends and introduced to new ones. Look forward to annual publication and have to pick right up. Short horror story collection I read more for Stephen Jones' introductions, current trends in horror, and new writers. Meet old friends and introduced to new ones. Look forward to annual publication and have to pick right up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    This is not the strongest year for my favorite horror anthology, as few of the stories have strong memorable qualities. The one that does, however, is "Mothmusic," which is haunting and ethereal. This is not the strongest year for my favorite horror anthology, as few of the stories have strong memorable qualities. The one that does, however, is "Mothmusic," which is haunting and ethereal.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Metagion

    Not bad, but some stories seemed dated, while others seemed boring. Not bad if you have nothing else to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  8. 5 out of 5

    Evan Wade

  9. 4 out of 5

    Callie S.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia Ford

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andre

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Rosemary

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  14. 5 out of 5

    Randall

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elena

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Typical anthology with some very good stories while others were just okay or incomprehensible.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randy Wiggins

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lissa Hearn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Lotfy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten E.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  23. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darren Mitton

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie Sloan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hans

  27. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jo Abraham

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pinky AndThe Brain

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  32. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

  33. 4 out of 5

    Pandapeepers

  34. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie Sloan

  36. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  37. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Lyons

  38. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Morgan

  39. 4 out of 5

    Bellemidaws

  40. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  41. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  42. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Partidge

  43. 4 out of 5

    Jien

  44. 5 out of 5

    Antonia Baxter

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  46. 5 out of 5

    April

  47. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

  48. 4 out of 5

    Francie Shoemaker

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jenpenni

  50. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  51. 5 out of 5

    Milan

  52. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  53. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

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