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The fourteenth volume in this series is going strong, and with another generous sampling of the past year's best horror fiction, it again earns "merits" from Publishers Weekly. With contributions from such favorites as Ramsey Campbell and Kim Newman, along with the talented likes of Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Graham Joyce, Paul McCauley, Stephen Gallagher, Caitlin R. Kie The fourteenth volume in this series is going strong, and with another generous sampling of the past year's best horror fiction, it again earns "merits" from Publishers Weekly. With contributions from such favorites as Ramsey Campbell and Kim Newman, along with the talented likes of Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Graham Joyce, Paul McCauley, Stephen Gallagher, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jay Russell, Glen Hirshberg and many more, the hairraising tales in this edition hold nightmares for travelers in alien lands, unveil the mystery and menace lurking in our everyday reality, explore the terrors of the supernatural, and honor horror's classic tradition. As always, editor Stephen Jones provides an illuminating and engaging overview of the past year in horror fiction, as well as an affecting necrology and a guide to contacts among publishers, organizations, booksellers, and magazines in the eerier fields of fiction. Contents: Acknowledgements Introduction: Horror in 2001 by Stephen Jones Mark of the Beast by Chico Kidd Crocodile Lady by Christopher Fowler All for Sale by Ramsey Campbell The Two Dicks by Paul J. McAuley (as by Paul McAuley) By Her Hand, She Draws You Down by Douglas Smith O' Death, Where Is Thy Spatula? by Poppy Z. Brite Got to Kill Them All by Dennis Etchison No More A-Roving by Lynda E. Rucker First, Catch Your Demon by Graham Joyce Pump Jack by Donald Burleson Outfangthief by Gala Blau The Lost District by Joel Lane Simeon Dimsby's Workshop by Richard A. Lupoff Our Temporary Supervisor by Thomas Ligotti Whose Ghosts These Are by Charles L. Grant Shite-Hawks by Muriel Gray Off the Map by Michael Chislett Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water by Kelly Link City in Aspic by Conrad Williams Where All Things Perish by Tanith Lee Struwwelpeter by Glen Hirshberg Cleopatra Brimstone by Elizabeth Hand Cats and Architecture by Chico Kidd Necrology: 2001 (essay) by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman Useful Addresses (essay)


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The fourteenth volume in this series is going strong, and with another generous sampling of the past year's best horror fiction, it again earns "merits" from Publishers Weekly. With contributions from such favorites as Ramsey Campbell and Kim Newman, along with the talented likes of Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Graham Joyce, Paul McCauley, Stephen Gallagher, Caitlin R. Kie The fourteenth volume in this series is going strong, and with another generous sampling of the past year's best horror fiction, it again earns "merits" from Publishers Weekly. With contributions from such favorites as Ramsey Campbell and Kim Newman, along with the talented likes of Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Graham Joyce, Paul McCauley, Stephen Gallagher, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jay Russell, Glen Hirshberg and many more, the hairraising tales in this edition hold nightmares for travelers in alien lands, unveil the mystery and menace lurking in our everyday reality, explore the terrors of the supernatural, and honor horror's classic tradition. As always, editor Stephen Jones provides an illuminating and engaging overview of the past year in horror fiction, as well as an affecting necrology and a guide to contacts among publishers, organizations, booksellers, and magazines in the eerier fields of fiction. Contents: Acknowledgements Introduction: Horror in 2001 by Stephen Jones Mark of the Beast by Chico Kidd Crocodile Lady by Christopher Fowler All for Sale by Ramsey Campbell The Two Dicks by Paul J. McAuley (as by Paul McAuley) By Her Hand, She Draws You Down by Douglas Smith O' Death, Where Is Thy Spatula? by Poppy Z. Brite Got to Kill Them All by Dennis Etchison No More A-Roving by Lynda E. Rucker First, Catch Your Demon by Graham Joyce Pump Jack by Donald Burleson Outfangthief by Gala Blau The Lost District by Joel Lane Simeon Dimsby's Workshop by Richard A. Lupoff Our Temporary Supervisor by Thomas Ligotti Whose Ghosts These Are by Charles L. Grant Shite-Hawks by Muriel Gray Off the Map by Michael Chislett Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water by Kelly Link City in Aspic by Conrad Williams Where All Things Perish by Tanith Lee Struwwelpeter by Glen Hirshberg Cleopatra Brimstone by Elizabeth Hand Cats and Architecture by Chico Kidd Necrology: 2001 (essay) by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman Useful Addresses (essay)

30 review for Best New Horror 13

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This is a review of a book I read in at least two stints between December 2002 and August 2003 based on comments I recorded in my diaries for 13 of the 23 stories in this anthology. The ‘Introduction: Horror in 2001’ by the editor, Stephen Jones, and ‘Necrology: 2001’ by the editor and Kim Newman are – like those in the other volumes of this series of horror anthologies – more interesting to browse through rather than read from beginning to end. I particularly find the introduction’s coverage of This is a review of a book I read in at least two stints between December 2002 and August 2003 based on comments I recorded in my diaries for 13 of the 23 stories in this anthology. The ‘Introduction: Horror in 2001’ by the editor, Stephen Jones, and ‘Necrology: 2001’ by the editor and Kim Newman are – like those in the other volumes of this series of horror anthologies – more interesting to browse through rather than read from beginning to end. I particularly find the introduction’s coverage of horror films, television series, computer games and magazines to be interesting – did I see any of those films (yes! The Fellowship of the Ring, Hannibal, Donnie Darko and Brotherhood of the Wolf, among others) or play any of those games (none regrettably)? I’m always interested in how the horror/fantasy/science fiction periodical market is doing because I have an interest in submitting stories to them (even though I have actually submitted very little fiction for publication). Regarding the short stories, the diary comments I made in 2002/3 varied in length but I never went into any detail so spoilers are at a minimum here (and marked as such). There are two stories by Chico Kidd in this anthology – ‘Mark of the Beast’ and ‘Cats and architecture’ – both of which I found to be very atmospheric tales. I didn’t record more about the first story but the second is apparently the first story by Kidd that involves her Portuguese sea-captain, Luís Da Silva, character who re-appears in a number of Kidd’s stories and novels. Da Silva and a twentieth-century descendant of his have to contend with a rat-like demon against whom cats serve as a kind of guardian. I merely recorded that I’d finished reading Ramsey Campbell’s ‘All for sale’. I’m not sure if the lack of further commentary is a reflection on the quality of the story or not as I’ve found Campbell can be a bit hit and miss. I’ve commented on the variable quality of Campbell’s stories in my review of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 16, where I enjoyed his ‘Breaking up’, whereas some others have left me wondering why they were ever published! I liked Poppy Z. Brite’s ‘O Death, where is thy spatula?’, which is a subtle zombie story based in Louisiana. Although I’d like to read more by him (he is now known by the name Billy Martin), I’ve found Brite to be also hit and miss as I didn’t care much for his story, ‘The Devil of Delery Street’, which also appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 16. Dennis Etchison’s ‘Got to kill them all’ is a story more interesting for its references to a TV game show where players had to ‘kill them all’ than for the story itself! Living in Ireland, I was interested to find Lynda Rucker’s suggestive horror story, ‘No more a-roving’, to be set in West Cork. Long-term travellers end up at a strange hostel before being attracted to a mysterious light at sea (view spoiler)[which they would attempt to reach in a rowing boat (hide spoiler)] .... Muriel Gray’s ‘Shite hawks’ was the first story I read in this anthology because I found the title intriguing but otherwise did not record my thoughts on it. Michael Chislett’s ‘Off the map’ is an interesting tale inspired by the folklore of faeries. I liked his writing style and, based on Stephen Jones’ comment that Chislett ‘takes a perverse pleasure in inventing plausible “fakelore” in his stories’, I’d like to read more of them. I merely recorded without further comment that I’d read Kelly Link’s ‘Most of my friends are two-thirds water’. Again, I’m not sure if the lack of comment is a reflection of the quality of the tale. Conrad Williams’s ‘City in aspic’ is an interesting, if a somewhat predictable, story set in Venice, a city which the author had never visited! I’m not sure to what extent, if any, this impacted on the authenticity of the story and its setting. However, it’s interesting to think that his story was written before the advent of Google Maps (in 2005) and Google Street View (in 2007), which can facilitate the writing of stories in exotic locations without the need to travel to them or rely on what other people have written about them. I enjoyed Tanith Lee’s relatively long (37-page) story, ‘Where all things perish’, which is set in the nineteenth century, though it refers to events that occurred a hundred years previously. It bears a Lovecraftian caste with elements of the traditional haunted house motif. Glen Hirshberg’s ‘Struwwelpeter’ deals with a bunch of pubescent kids exploring an apparently abandoned house with its strange garden and a bell whose toll could wake the dead. While I liked the premise, I didn’t think it was a great story. One of the heftier stories in the book, Elizabeth Hand’s ‘Cleopatra Brimstone’ is well-written, with interesting and descriptive text, but I wasn’t convinced by the eponymous character’s unexplained ability (view spoiler)[to turn fully grown men into butterflies, which are then killed with ethyl alcohol so that they could be mounted as displays (hide spoiler)] . Nevertheless, according to Jones’s introduction, the story won the International Horror Guild Award in 2002. Regrettably, I didn’t record my thoughts about the following authors’ stories that appear in this anthology despite enjoying the work of at least some of them in other anthologies: Christopher Fowler, Paul McAuley, Douglas Smith, Graham Joyce, Donald R. Burleson, Gala Blau, Joel Lane, Richard A. Lupoff, Thomas Ligotti and Charles L. Grant. I like the cover design by Pete Rozycki, which features an out-of-focus human skull partly lit by green light looming out of the darkness. It also deviates from the more branded appearance of volumes 5-10, 14-18 and 21-4 with their standardised title fonts. In conclusion, of the stories I recorded my thoughts about, I liked seven of them, two I felt to be so-so, while I said virtually nothing about the other three. I’m certain that I read all, and likely enjoyed most, of the other stories in the anthology too, but my responses to them are now forgotten. Perhaps I’ll get to re-read them and update this review in the process. [Book read between 25 December 2002 and 3 August 2003; initial entry on my Goodreads read shelf, 8 September 2007; review uploaded 30 November 2014.]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucian Poll

    For the first couple hundred pages I thought we were on course for one of the strongest books in the series, but then the good stories began to peter out. This book just about scrapes a 4/5. Best New Horror 13 contains twenty-three stories published during 2001 and runs as follows: Mark of the Beast – Chico Kidd (4/5 – Luis Da Silva is a Portuguese sea-captain cooped up in a sweltering Indian port around the turn of the twentieth century. A deep unease has settled among the townsfolk. Rumour has i For the first couple hundred pages I thought we were on course for one of the strongest books in the series, but then the good stories began to peter out. This book just about scrapes a 4/5. Best New Horror 13 contains twenty-three stories published during 2001 and runs as follows: Mark of the Beast – Chico Kidd (4/5 – Luis Da Silva is a Portuguese sea-captain cooped up in a sweltering Indian port around the turn of the twentieth century. A deep unease has settled among the townsfolk. Rumour has it that a werewolf is in their midst, slaughtering young and old alike. While Da Silva waits for the necessary palms to be greased that will allow him to set sail again, a shipping agent puts him in touch with an American sailor, Harris, who is looking for work. The two men meet and agree terms. While they await permission to leave port, Harris frets inwardly about how long he’ll be at sea. He wonders how he’ll be able to restrain himself come the next full moon, and whether Captain Da Silva has picked up on his lycanthropy. This was a really good ripping yarn spoiled only by an excess of run-on sentences and the kind of overwriting that makes your teeth itch, for instance: “Da Silva had already made up his mind not to beat about the bush by skirting around the topic.” Nnggnnggggnnnn! I suspect this may have been intentional, as if Kidd had adopted a verbose style more becoming of the age, but I wished a strong editor had intervened. This is still very much worth a read, I should stress, thanks to the magnetic Captain Da Silva and his resourceful teenage son, Ze. Another Da Silva story lies in wait at the end of this book.) Crocodile Lady – Christopher Fowler (4/5 – A teacher returns to the profession after an absence of several years. She is immediately thrown in at the deep end, helping to shepherd a class of young children on a school outing to the London Zoological Gardens. She effortlessly slips back into the role. Her experience lets her quickly identify the usual suspects, from the troublemakers of the class to the quiet boy she’ll need to keep an eye on. As the class’s regular teacher stands around craving cigarettes and scowling openly over her charges, Miss efficiently organises the children into crocodile formation ahead of a chaotic commute through the London Underground. When the quiet kid goes missing at one of the stops, Miss immediately takes it upon herself to track him down. This un-Fowler-like story may have resulted from a previous desire of his to depart the horror scene. It’s good stuff either way, giving us a flavour of what goes on in a schoolteacher’s noggin (courtesy of fellow author and former schoolteacher Joanne Harris, according to the introduction). But where this story really succeeds – and what qualifies its inclusion in a horror anthology – is the queasy sense of panic Fowler creates as crowds of passengers bustle onto the train at each stop, threatening to break up the kids. Good stuff!) All For Sale – Ramsey Campbell (4/5 – This deliciously mean Venus Flytrap of a story sees three young men having it large in an unnamed Mediterranean town, hitting the bars within seconds of dropping their bags off at their hotel. Barry wakes the next morning with thoughts of a girl he’d met the night before, and a hum of activity outside the hotel room. Looking out the window he finds a market has sprung up below, large enough to occupy the streets. Leaving his mates to their inevitable hangovers, he sets out to explore the market, hoping somebody can direct him to the girl’s hotel. A misunderstanding with one of the stallholders leads to an argument which attracts the attention of the local police. Barry is sent on his way and soon finds himself getting lost in the seemingly endless market. Everything is for sale, from the mundane to the obscene, the legit, the stolen and everything in between. Everyone in town has a stake in the market, it seems. Even the hotel owner. You may wonder at times where Campbell is going with this story but stick with it because the ending is stone-cold brilliant.) The Two Dicks – Paul McAuley (4/5 – We’re in an alternative 1974 where Bob Dylan has been killed in his prime, where President Nixon is eyeing a third term in office and where Philip K Dick is incandescent with rage after being asked to sign a pirated copy of The Man in the High Castle. The novel should never have been released but was leaked into the grey market. In the eyes of Dick’s agent, Anthony Emmet, the novel was another of his client’s embarrassing forays into science fiction that should never have been written. Dick wants to nail the fiends who had so flagrantly pirated his work, and soon concludes the only way to do this is by obtaining an FBI badge. He takes it upon himself to not only write a letter requesting such of the President of the United States of America, but also to deliver the letter in person to The White House. To Emmet’s astonishment, Dick’s gambit pays off, and a meeting is pencilled in with POTUS. This was a great read from beginning to end. I get the impression McAuley had a lot of fun putting this story together. The scene in which Dick and Nixon meet, both chaperoned by their respective representatives, is a wonderfully observed slice of comedy. Trouble is it’s not a horror story. Not a single word of it.) By Her Hand, She Draws You Down – Douglas Smith (4/5 – Cath and Joe are scraping a living on the coast, moving from one vacation spot to the next. Cath sets up shop with her paper and pencils and draws portraits of passing holidaymakers. Joe meanwhile maintains a constant and thinly veiled dread of her. It’s not that Cath is unskilled in her art that unsettles him. Her portraits are often uncannily lifelike. No, what really creeps Joe is what Cath does with the portraits, when the inhuman hunger possessing her demands to be fed, and what happens to the unfortunate souls she has portrayed. Another good story, this. It’s an interesting slant on the vampire myth which takes a pleasingly dark turn the moment the true dynamic between Cath and Joe is revealed. You might see the ending coming a few pages early, but this is still well worth a look.) O Death, Where Is Thy Spatula? – Poppy Z. Brite (4/5 – Brite pulls on the coroner’s gloves to become his alter ego, Dr Brite: epicure extraordinaire! (Re “his”: Brite identifies as a man, Billy Martin, these days. Back in 2001, he was Poppy Brite. The character of Dr Brite is a woman, and so female pronouns lie ahead…) The good doctor Brite is in awe of restauranteur Devlin Lemon. His dishes send her taste buds into raptures every time, and she is a near-permanent fixture in his restaurant. While examining a recent homicide, Brite realises the gunshot victim before her is Devlin, deceased only hours earlier. Bereft, she refuses to process Devlin’s corpse, instead stuffing him into a mortuary cooler while she considers her next move. While she cannot deny the human tragedy of Devlin’s murder, she feels an equal if not greater tragedy in no longer being able to savour his food, and so a traipse around the voodoo shops of New Orleans beckons. As you may have gathered from the title, this is a story brimming with humour and wit. And food. And body parts. It’s a really good read, and a precursor to a series of dark comedy novels set in the New Orleans restaurant world. Even more books to add to my nascent to-be-read pile, it seems…) Got To Kill Them All – Dennis Etchison (3/5 – Ray Lowndes is a game show host driving home through Los Angeles after making a quick stop at his local hardware store. With a bag full of murder gear in the back seat of his car and a head full of ideas about his adulterous wife, he slowly ticks over the facts of her infidelity, gameshow style, as he makes slow progress home. He berates someone at a crosswalk after they stop and sit in front of his car. The sitter instantly recognises Ray from the TV and soon talks his way into riding shotgun, in more ways than one. This was okay but didn’t really do it for me. The story was written at a time when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was ruling the gameshow airwaves, and, as the title would suggest, a time when Pokémon was all the rage, but these elements feel like they’ve been shoehorned into the story solely to give it some pizazz. I’m not sure it needed it. Worth a read if you fancy a quick burst of Americana.) No More A-Roving – Lynda E. Rucker (3/5 – Paul is a seasoned globetrotter who has lost track of Alyssa, a girl with whom he’d been travelling. Believing Alyssa to have moved on to Ireland, he follows suit, eventually heading to The Seagull Hostel out on the coast. He wakes one night to see a dinghy out among the waves. He fears for the safety of whoever is out there, but reasons there’s little he can do, being holed up in a hostel high upon the cliffs. The next day he sees the boat, empty but intact, secured down by the shore. As his stay goes on, Paul notices some of his fellow backpackers have taken to exploring a nearby cliff, sometimes never returning. He thinks nothing much of it, what with them being travellers and all. All that changes when he realises Mrs Ryan, the owner of The Seagull, is wearing the same scarf that Alyssa had worn. This was okay, with Rucker aiming to produce a Robert Aickman-style story (The Hospice springs to mind) and succeeding to some extent thanks to an eclectic bunch of guests. It’s just a shame I didn’t feel much of anything for Paul. Like Alyssa, I too would have left him behind at the earliest opportunity. I appreciate Rucker was trying to portray a person who had grown jaded of travelling, but it felt to me like the guy had never liked travelling in the first place.) First, Catch Your Demon – Graham Joyce (4/5 – Joyce gets his writerly oats in an erotically charged story – another of his set in Greece – where a grouchy writer wakes one night to find a bunch of scorpions clinging to the wall above him. He splats a couple of the little buggers but is unable to snuff out a third before it scuttles off into the walls. Wide awake now and baking hot, despite the hour, he steps out to the lakeside near his house to find – can you believe it? – a naked woman. Always happens. The woman’s name is Sasha. She was out swimming in the lake along with her two sisters but has since become separated from them. She stays with our man, exhibiting as much of an interest in his arachnoid houseguests as she has of bonking his brains out. All of which is lovely, but this is a horror story and you can’t go splatting helpless scorpions and expect to get your dick sucked every day. Things inexorably go south for our man the moment Sasha “introduces” him to the hallucinogenic effects of scorpion venom. This is a pretty good read once you’ve coughed and ahemed your way through the shagging. It doesn’t rank among Joyce’s best work, but it’s more accessible than some of his other stories. Worth a look, and perhaps a cold shower afterwards.) Pump Jack – Donald R. Burleson (3/5 – Cal Withers is driving to the middle of the New Mexico desert, tasked with clearing out Uncle Bill and Aunt Clara’s house now that they’ve passed on. He passes a number of pump jacks on his approach, their metal heads serenely nodding as they scrape the last drops of oil out of the ground. The sight of the pumps doesn’t exactly fill Cal with much peace. He remembers a scary story Uncle Bill would tell when Cal was little, that of a rogue pump jack that stalked the night, preying on naughty children. When Cal gets lost in the pitch-black darkness of the desert, he bumps against the railings of a stilled pump jack that ought not to be there. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? You’d be right, but then Burleson has form when it comes to sprinkling horror dust over the most mundane things. Back in Best New Horror 8, for example, he damn near tied himself in knots trying to make us believe a game of hopscotch was scary. He doesn’t lay on the atmosphere quite as thick this time, thankfully, and even manages to raise a couple of hairs by the end of this tale. But still, silly.) Outfangthief – Gala Blau (3/5 – Sarah is on the run with her teenage daughter, Laura. She flees a ruthless enforcer, Malcolm Manser, whom she suspects of brutally murdering her husband when he was unable to pay a significant debt. Sarah is keen to place as much distance as possible between Manser and her daughter, knowing the man has a deeply unhealthy interest in the child. In her haste, she pushes her stolen Alfa Romeo too far, crashing it along a country lane. She wakes to find Laura missing and the vestiges of a dreamlike memory that her daughter may have been spirited away to a nearby country house. Meanwhile Manser is hot on their trail, relishing the plans he has for Laura, plans that are far more horrifying than Sarah could ever have feared. Conrad Williams cheekily scores a second story in this book: Blau being a pseudonym of his, and his story City in Aspic appearing a little later. Fun fact: this story was originally published in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women. 2001 must have been one of those rare years in which so many horror stories by women were being published that some of them had to be written by men pretending to be women. Weird how I don’t remember that… Anyway, the story itself was okay, scoring points for not skimping on the claret and for not being at all protective of any of its characters. A big problem, however, lies in Manser. For the first half Williams absolutely nails him, presenting a nasty piece of work who leaves you genuinely fearful for Sarah and Laura’s safety. And then… well, I can only imagine Williams set this to one side for an evening and watched Snatch because for some ungodly reason Manser suddenly morphs into a fist-bitingly awful cross between Brick Top and whatever character Vinnie Jones played. This might have read better back in 2001, when Guy Ritchie was at the top of his game, but, two decades on, this reeks of a Lock Stock knock-off.) The Lost District – Joel Lane (4/5 – Lane brings us more from the bleak streets of Birmingham. It’s 1979: a time of change as the governing Labour Party faces losing power to the Tories. Simon is in his fifth and final year of secondary school and is about to undergo a change of his own. He meets a girl, Nicola, sitting on a park bench. She leaves him with a kiss and an offer to show him around her hometown of Clayheath, a marginal area of Birmingham wholly unfamiliar to Simon. It’s a place where nothing changes, where no-one ever visits and where no-one ever leaves. Simon travels to Clayheath, finding Nicola waiting for him. She pops his cherry, which is nice, and a good way to keep him coming back for more. But with each successive visit to Clayheath Simon finds a little more of the area opening up to him: its abandoned buildings, its people and some truly disturbing sights. This was another good read from Lane that packs a lot into its short runtime. For the most part the imagery within the story plays on subconscious fears of teenage pregnancy after Simon has unprotected sex with Nicola. The other theme of the story, that of change, isn’t handled with quite the same artistry. The shock ending, once you think it through, reveals more about Lane’s politics than it does about his central character, which perhaps wasn’t intentional.) Simeon Dimsby’s Workshop – Richard A. Lupoff (4/5 – Lupoff charts the steady rise of Regis Hardy, a struggling short story writer who eventually finds success and recognition late in life. Regis is quietly committed to his craft, dedicating an hour every morning, lunchtime and evening to writing stories alongside his regular job. He sends stories to various publications and receives rejection slips for his trouble. His wife, Helena, is wholly supportive of Regis’s quest for that first elusive sale. Someday soon, they know he’ll happen across the right combination of words and phrases that will unlock literary greatness. It takes six years for Regis to sell his first story, and he slowly builds his oeuvre from there. When Regis hits retirement age he believes he has enough stories to warrant publication of a collection, something he believes would nicely cap off his literary career. He is contacted by a new firm, Mantigore Press, whose proprietor, Auric Mantigore, is interested in publishing Regis’s collection, and has lined up none other than famed cover artist Simeon Dimsby to create the artwork. Regis is thrilled at the prospect, and in his excitement arranges for Helena and himself to travel across the country to visit upon Mantigore and Dimsby, a hasty act he might live to regret. This is a really good read that acts both as a rallying call to struggling writers to never give up hope, and as a cautionary tale about not jumping into bed with the first publisher that’ll have you. Lupoff was letting off a bit of steam about a number of unprofessional small presses, it seems. Plus ça change in light of the recent furore surrounding ChiZine Publications’ treatment of its authors.) Our Temporary Supervisor – Thomas Ligotti (3/5 – Ligotti continues a mini-theme of corporate horror (following his book, My Work Is Not Yet Done), this time presenting a tale where workers aren’t so much individuals as citizens of the companies they work for. We follow one such worker as he spends mind-numbing hours every day standing at his assembly block slotting bits of metal together, never knowing their actual function. The supervisor occupies an office at the corner of the shop floor, its frosted glass walls preventing a clear view inside. When the supervisor falls ill, the workers are informed of a temporary replacement, but none of the workers ever see him, only shapes and dark shadows moving behind the glass. When a colleague, Blecher, can take no more of the job our man watches him storm into the corner office and confront the supervisor. Soon Blecher is running screaming from the factory, and is found dead shortly afterwards, an apparent suicide. A replacement for Blecher is transferred in from another factory, a man whose furious work ethic forces everyone to up their game. This is a good read but doesn’t give us anything we haven’t seen before. Come to this story for another opportunity to rage at the corporate mindset, but stay for the sumptuous writing.) Whose Ghosts These Are – Charles L. Grant (4/5 – Hugh Cabot is a retired beat cop struggling to fill his days. He visits the Caulberg Luncheonette for a bite to eat and to chat with Lana, a waitress there. Lana and Hugh were once lovers, but that was a long time ago. Lana still feels enough for Hugh to worry whenever he doesn’t show at the diner for a while, especially when the local news is filled with stories of a serial killer on the loose, nicknamed The Ghost. Hugh spends a day visiting the city museum, which is hosting an exhibition entitled The Museum of Horror Presents. He browses a number of glass cases that supposedly house the preserved bodies of murderers. He eventually finds an empty case, simply labelled “The Ghost”. A sick joke from the curators, or could there be something more sinister going on? Grant was known as a master of quiet horror, and this effective little chiller is another quality offering. I’d strongly recommend skipping over Grant’s spoilerific introduction, though.) I’ve reached Goodreads’ 20,000 character limit, but you can read the rest of this review on my site: https://lucianpoll.com/2020/02/23/rev... Shite Hawks – Muriel Gray (4/5) Off the Map – Michael Chislett (3/5) Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water – Kelly Link (4/5) City in Aspic – Conrad Williams (3/5) Where All Things Perish – Tanith Lee (3/5) Struwwelpeter – Glen Hirshberg (3/5) Cleopatra Brimstone – Elizabeth Hand (3/5) Cats and Architecture – Chico Kidd (3/5)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie Sloan

    I think that I have read most of the 'Mammoth...Best New Horror' because I have found them the best out there as far as current and past horror anthologies.This one is no exception.I have never been disappointed by the books because they all have some really fine stories in them and this one is no exception. If you are looking for anthologies that display the best horror stories past and present you really can't go wrong with this series.I am lucky enough to have most of them from the library but I think that I have read most of the 'Mammoth...Best New Horror' because I have found them the best out there as far as current and past horror anthologies.This one is no exception.I have never been disappointed by the books because they all have some really fine stories in them and this one is no exception. If you are looking for anthologies that display the best horror stories past and present you really can't go wrong with this series.I am lucky enough to have most of them from the library but really,if you look on Amazon,they are usually about $4-$6 which is quite a bargain for book 600 pages long stuffed full of quality new horror.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Isidore

    I've opined elsewhere that the 1980s' mass-market boom in supernatural fiction nearly killed the genre off with its bloated bestsellers and King clones, while the subsequent bust gave it a chance to recover artistically. Reading this Stephen Jones roundup, covering the year 2001, in juxtaposition with his survey of 1991 pretty much bears this out. 1991 was a rather feeble year, with only a handful of newcomers giving cause to hope for the future. In the 2001 book we find two classics of modern we I've opined elsewhere that the 1980s' mass-market boom in supernatural fiction nearly killed the genre off with its bloated bestsellers and King clones, while the subsequent bust gave it a chance to recover artistically. Reading this Stephen Jones roundup, covering the year 2001, in juxtaposition with his survey of 1991 pretty much bears this out. 1991 was a rather feeble year, with only a handful of newcomers giving cause to hope for the future. In the 2001 book we find two classics of modern weird fiction, the late Joel Lane's The Lost District and Ligotti's Our Temporary Supervisor. On top of these are fine contributions by Christopher Fowler, Glen Hirshberg, Graham Joyce, and Tanith Lee (whose Victorian ghost pastiche Where All Things Perish is astonishingly effective and memorable, despite a hastily-contrived ending). Ramsey Campbell, Poppy Z. Brite, and Charles L. Grant also make solid contributions which might have stood out in 1991, but here slip to the second tier. Of the other modern literary luminaries included herein, only Kelly Link and Richard Lupoff disappoint. Elizabeth Hand's award-winning Cleopatra Brimstone, although very readable, leaves me more perplexed than thrilled. There are several fine stories by writers whose work I've not previously encountered. Michael Chislett (Off the Map) does a good job of evoking M.R. James, while Lynda Rucker (No More a-Roving) subtly creates a morbid, dream-like mood which lingers in the mind long after one has moved on to other stories. Muriel Gray (Shite Hawks) is garish but quite imaginative. I don't understand editor Jones's enthusiasm for Chico Kidd, who rates two sizable inclusions which strike me as the sort of thing Seabury Quinn might have come up with on a good day. Another peculiarity is his inclusion of two stories which were inspired by the film of Don't Look Now: one would have sufficed, and that one by Conrad Williams. Kim Newman helped out with the book's necrology, which explains why it is unusually interesting, with many colourful tidbits of bizarrerie and biographical arcana.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy Webster-Bo

    I loved the small stories

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is my first crack at a Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. Because anthologies lend themselves so well to picking them up and putting them down and leaving them, I spent about six months puttering through this. Like many anthologies, there’s a wide variety of stories and there’s something in here that should please every horror fan. But few are going to like everything. While the opening and closing essays are interesting documentation of the world of horror at the time, some better compartment This is my first crack at a Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. Because anthologies lend themselves so well to picking them up and putting them down and leaving them, I spent about six months puttering through this. Like many anthologies, there’s a wide variety of stories and there’s something in here that should please every horror fan. But few are going to like everything. While the opening and closing essays are interesting documentation of the world of horror at the time, some better compartmentalization would be useful considering their ponderous size. It’s not terribly easy to pick these sections up and down, and it’s really impractical to try to go back later and find that nugget that interested you. On the plus side, they provide a bunch of extra width on either side of the paper edition so it’s more comfortable to hold this brick while reading the stories. Here are my top five from the collection: OUR TEMPORARY SUPERVISOR by Thomas Ligotti is some great inhuman corporate slave horror. I love the multiple layers finely crafted here. It hits a bit close to home for anyone who sticks with the comfortable and safe job. BY HER HAND, SHE DRAWS YOU DOWN by Douglas Smith is a great monster story that explores loneliness and the need to belong. FIRST, CATCH YOUR DEMON by Graham Joyce is another great monster story, and an interestingly unique take on the succubus. THE LOST DISTRICT by Joel Lane explores the decaying places in the world that act like a pitcher plant and trap and kill those who fall within them. SHITE HAWKS by Muriel Grey is populated with a collection of compellingly wretched individuals trying to survive in a grimy place that needs to feed. I was pleasantly reminded of my favorite X-Files episode where the homeowners association enforced their covenants by summoning an elemental force to consume the offending lawn flamingos and such. I guess the unique monster stories are the ones that really pushed my buttons in this collection. I can only think of one story that I actively disliked. It goes to show that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, because I can’t quite figure out why the execrable Cleopatra Brimstone won so many awards. I found it to be a novella length rape fantasy. It’s an intensely weird rape fantasy with some great character details, but still at its core a rape fantasy. The message I got from it is that girls just need to be raped enough to burst out of their cocoon and become a butterfly. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong, and it's just the bodice ripper-horror mashup that has been missing from the genre. Maybe someone can explain to me what I missed from this and turn me around.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    Except for the two stories by Chico Kidd (They had been my introduction to her work, but thereafter I had to search for more and came across the top-notch Summoning Knells and Other Inventions) and one extraordinary erotic fever dream by Graham Joyce, the rest are trash, being a goulash of gore, sex, mysticism and attempted humour. It is evident from this fare that Stephen Jones has been losing his touch for quite some time now, and the throne rightfully belongs to Ellen Datlow.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Spinwallah

    im about half way through. its full of urban decay. we are the monsters. update: well im stuffed, just did a bit of checking and "cleopatra brimstone" won an international horror guild award. fucking amazing, had to be bj's involved cause the story is a ok'ish but the ending is pantaloons of the highest order. i am having an arm wrestle with meself as to whether to read the last story (cats and architecture, chico kidd) because i have had a gutfull of this hugely disappointing collection. im about half way through. its full of urban decay. we are the monsters. update: well im stuffed, just did a bit of checking and "cleopatra brimstone" won an international horror guild award. fucking amazing, had to be bj's involved cause the story is a ok'ish but the ending is pantaloons of the highest order. i am having an arm wrestle with meself as to whether to read the last story (cats and architecture, chico kidd) because i have had a gutfull of this hugely disappointing collection.

  9. 5 out of 5

    eastwood (do you feel lucky punk,well do ya)

    reviewed this book before, so took another look at it, still was not impressed with it 16 per cent before i got the first story, to be fair some of the tales are quite good, but a lot left me scratching my head. not for me i am afraid this one

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly-anne.♥.

    I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's still worth the read i'd say. Most of the stories are pretty good. My favourite stories were "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down", which I just found out was made into a movie so I think i'll check that out, and "Cats and Architecture". I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's still worth the read i'd say. Most of the stories are pretty good. My favourite stories were "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down", which I just found out was made into a movie so I think i'll check that out, and "Cats and Architecture".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    This is one of the best of the series, and it has the benefit of collecting almost all my high-end horror favorites together with solid stories. Tanith Lee, Thomas Ligotti and Poppy Z. Brite are all in fine form, but Glen Hirshberg's "Struwwelpeter" is a stand-out as well. This is one of the best of the series, and it has the benefit of collecting almost all my high-end horror favorites together with solid stories. Tanith Lee, Thomas Ligotti and Poppy Z. Brite are all in fine form, but Glen Hirshberg's "Struwwelpeter" is a stand-out as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carla Remy

    Did I really read this? No. There were five or so stories that held my attention and were pretty interesting. Many that didn't so I didn't finish them. I'm impatient, it's me. And horror stories are often kind of vague and lame. Did I really read this? No. There were five or so stories that held my attention and were pretty interesting. Many that didn't so I didn't finish them. I'm impatient, it's me. And horror stories are often kind of vague and lame.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy Yarrington

    very good collection of short stories. all authors are very well written. some stories are more ironic than true horror but still very entertaining.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Moore

    I had high hopes, some of the stories were really good, but the rest were all sort of same-y.

  15. 5 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    Very freaky.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Horror,Anthology

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wakahiru

  18. 4 out of 5

    bluetyson

    The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror by Stephen Jones (2002)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Reedy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  21. 5 out of 5

    S.P.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dbell

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sammich

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Martin Åberg

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Bowman

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  28. 5 out of 5

    Randall

  29. 5 out of 5

    Xlibris

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Bizarre

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