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A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1990. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1990 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The First Time by K. W. Jeter * A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * The Dead Love You by Jonathan Carroll * Jane Doe #112 by Harlan Ellison * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Dr A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1990. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1990 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The First Time by K. W. Jeter * A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * The Dead Love You by Jonathan Carroll * Jane Doe #112 by Harlan Ellison * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Drew Cats by Michael Marshall Smith * The Co-op by Melanie Tem * Negatives by Nicholas Royle * The Last Feast of Harlequin by Thomas Ligotti * 1/72nd Scale by Ian R. MacLeod * Cedar Lane by Karl Edward Wagner * At a Window Facing West by Kim Antieau * Inside the Walled City by Garry Kilworth * On the Wing by Jean-Daniel Brèque (translated by Nicholas Royle) * Firebird by J. L. Comeau * Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills by David J. Schow * His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite * The Original Dr. Shade by Kim Newman * Madge by D. F. Lewis * Alive in Venice by Cherry Wilder * Divertimento by Gregory Frost * Pelts by F. Paul Wilson * Those of Rhenea by David Sutton * Lord of the Land by Gene Wolfe * Aquarium by Steve Rasnic Tem * Mister Ice Cold by Gahan Wilson * On the Town Route by Elizabeth Hand * Necrology: 1990 by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman


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A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1990. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1990 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The First Time by K. W. Jeter * A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * The Dead Love You by Jonathan Carroll * Jane Doe #112 by Harlan Ellison * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Dr A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories published in 1990. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1990 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * The First Time by K. W. Jeter * A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * The Dead Love You by Jonathan Carroll * Jane Doe #112 by Harlan Ellison * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Drew Cats by Michael Marshall Smith * The Co-op by Melanie Tem * Negatives by Nicholas Royle * The Last Feast of Harlequin by Thomas Ligotti * 1/72nd Scale by Ian R. MacLeod * Cedar Lane by Karl Edward Wagner * At a Window Facing West by Kim Antieau * Inside the Walled City by Garry Kilworth * On the Wing by Jean-Daniel Brèque (translated by Nicholas Royle) * Firebird by J. L. Comeau * Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills by David J. Schow * His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite * The Original Dr. Shade by Kim Newman * Madge by D. F. Lewis * Alive in Venice by Cherry Wilder * Divertimento by Gregory Frost * Pelts by F. Paul Wilson * Those of Rhenea by David Sutton * Lord of the Land by Gene Wolfe * Aquarium by Steve Rasnic Tem * Mister Ice Cold by Gahan Wilson * On the Town Route by Elizabeth Hand * Necrology: 1990 by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

30 review for Best New Horror 2

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lucian Poll

    (Note: regrettably, due to to the number of stories contained in this book, my full review somewhat exceeds the maximum length Goodreads allows. As a result you’ll find mini-reviews of the less appealing stories missing. You can read the full review on my site: https://lucianpoll.com/2019/02/24/rev... ) Best New Horror 2 was published back in 1991 and showcased twenty-eight tales of horror, the supernatural and the weird, all published during the previous year. As with the first volume, this edit (Note: regrettably, due to to the number of stories contained in this book, my full review somewhat exceeds the maximum length Goodreads allows. As a result you’ll find mini-reviews of the less appealing stories missing. You can read the full review on my site: https://lucianpoll.com/2019/02/24/rev... ) Best New Horror 2 was published back in 1991 and showcased twenty-eight tales of horror, the supernatural and the weird, all published during the previous year. As with the first volume, this edition was edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell. Interestingly, the original release of this book was stripped of its intended opening story after the publishers got cold feet, fearing that the inclusion of a splatterpunk story would risk the book being pulled from store shelves. The offending story, Roberta Lannes’ Apostate in Denim, was reinstated in PS Publishing’s recent anniversary edition of Best New Horror 2, and is covered below. Sadly, on the evidence presented in this volume, 1990 was a dry year for quality horror shorts. It’s telling that a number of the stories were pulled from the pages of science fiction publications with only the merest nod to horror. Overall, then, Best New Horror 2 is a straightforward 3/5. Despite the dip in quality from book one, there are still a few stories that are well worth your time. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to find inside. Apostate In Denim – Roberta Lannes (3/5 – A young man called Barry Boag peers through the gaps of Mr Hardesty’s shack, transfixed in a state of sexual excitement as he watches the man cruelly and methodically torture a small boy. When Barry’s voyeurism is eventually discovered by Hardesty, he finds the man quite untroubled by it all. In fact, Hardesty invites Barry around for a more intimate look. This was okay, but it felt as if Lannes was being too eager to shock the reader at times, as if this was the only way to hold their attention. Yes, this is splatterpunk, but, consonant with a number of other works in this subgenre, the shock tactics undermine the story. If I’m honest I found Lannes’ assertion in her introduction (that she did not set out to write a splatterpunk story) got under my skin more than the story itself. Apostate… was published at a time when splatterpunk was all the rage, so don’t give me that.) The First Time – K. W. Jeter (4/5 – An adolescent boy is invited along on a trip to a Mexican border town with his father, his Uncle Tommy and a few of their friends. It’s a trip the men have taken several times already, often making a weekend of it, and the boy nervously agrees to go along. When they arrive in town, they all crowd into a bar to drink beers and goof off. The boy notices the men disappearing one at a time to a curtained area away from the main bar, returning a short time later reeking of sweat and acting a little differently. When there’s suddenly no room for the boy to sit with his father and his friends, the lad queasily realises he’s up next. This didn’t work for me the first time around as I felt the premise was too far-fetched – I couldn’t accept how the men could keep shtum around the boy regarding the WHAAAAAAA…?!!? that goes on beyond the curtain. Contrary to my initial impressions, however, The First Time did actually improve the second time around.) A Short Guide To The City – Peter Straub (2/5 – See my site for a review.) Stephen – Elizabeth Massie (4/5 – Anne is an emotionally and physically scarred woman who volunteers at a rehabilitation centre to help severely disabled patients study and train for life in the outside world. One of her charges, Michael, is a charismatic guy who has no legs, no left arm and whose right arm is missing below the elbow. Michael’s silent roommate, Stephen, has an even tougher time of it. This was one of the better stories in the book and bagged a Stoker Award back in the day along with a World Fantasy Award nomination. I’m not going to go too much into this one as it would rob the story of some of its impact, suffice to say that, me being the sick puppy I am, I couldn’t quite get that scene from Reanimator out of my head while reading this. Also, I couldn’t help but cast Noel Fielding in my head as the titular Stephen, which I fully admit is a bit weird.) The Dead Love You – Jonathan Carroll (2/5 – See my site for a review.) Jane Doe #112 – Harlan Ellison (3/5 – Ben Laborde is a man on the run, not from the police but from a small group of translucent people, each of whom were cut off in their prime before they had a chance to live their lives. Tired of being hunted for so long, Ben stops and confronts his pursuers, at which point he learns an unusual truth about himself. When he was on form, Ellison could be a blinding supernova of creativity. This story doesn’t reach those giddy heights, thanks in part to a jarring plot convenience, but there is still more invention on display here than half the other stories in this book put together. Pity it’s not a horror story, really.) Shock Radio – Ray Garton (4/5 – The Arthur Colton Jr. Show is a late-night talk radio sensation thanks to its obnoxious and unabashedly right-wing, pro-male, pro-life (and pseudonymous) host. Fronting the show is a man called Andy Craig. He doesn’t share his alter-ego’s views, and is frequently astonished at how his audience and innumerable critics can take Colton seriously. Can’t they see it’s all just an act? Apparently not. The frequent exchanges between Colton and his more rational callers make this an engrossing read, and depressingly demonstrate how little things have changed in the near-thirty years since this was originally published. Though Shock Radio isn’t perfect – Andy isn’t a terribly convincing character, and you’ll likely see the ending coming – I suspect this will be one of the stories in the book that will stick in your mind for a while to come.) The Man Who Drew Cats – Michael Marshall Smith (5/5 – An old man recounts a long, hot summer some years ago when a tall and intense stranger came to the small town of Kingstown. By day Tom would sit out on the town square creating incredibly realistic paintings of animals, keeping the neighbourhood kids rapt as he worked. Come the evening, he would sit and drink with the old boys of town and sometimes open up a little about the tragedies of his past. One day Tom notices one of the children, Billy, is noticeably sadder than the others, and before long he is introduced to the boy’s mother, Mary, and, by extension, her abusive drunk of a husband, Sam. When Tom can no longer stand to witness the effects of Sam’s bloody and bruising violence upon Mary and Billy, the tall and intense stranger acts in the only way he knows how: he paints Sam a picture. This powerful and wonderfully-spun debut from MMS nailed a British Fantasy Award back in the day and is by far and away the best story in Best New Horror 2. Absolutely unmissable. In fact, you should stop reading this and read that instead.) The Co-op – Melanie Tem (4/5 – In this strange and disturbing slice of life we watch as a young mother, Julie, plays hostess to an assortment of other mothers from around the neighbourhood. As potato salad is messily consumed and as their kids all argue among themselves down in the basement, the group discuss the ups and downs of parenthood. Oh, wait. Did I say “ups”? Sunshine and lollipops this most certainly is not, and the finale will linger long after the reading.) Negatives – Nicolas Royle (3/5 – Brian Linden is driving at night, maintaining a steady seventy on the motorway, bored out of his gourd. He is on the way to meet his other half, Melanie, at a cottage for the weekend. When Brian looks to the passenger seat, he sees Melanie fast asleep beside him. Confused? In order to find out more we wind back a couple of weeks to when Brian’s odd visions began, back when he was made to use an old office computer with a green screen. Though this is a tad dated, a smattering of cool imagery and some neat ideas help make this a better story than Archway (Royle’s entry in book one). The story is guilty of being over-engineered, however, evidenced by a weak ending that doesn’t really work.) The Last Feast of Harlequin – Thomas Ligotti (4/5 – In this World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novelette Ligotti turns his hand to a spot of Lovecraft. An academic (and keen clown fanatic) arrives in the remote American town of Mirocaw, eager to learn more about the “Fool’s Feast” that takes place there during the winter solstice. Mirocaw is a strange town set in a bowl whose odd topography makes it seem like the houses overlap one another. The citizens too seem to overlap: alongside people going about their daily lives our man sees several strange and scruffy others vacantly shuffling about the place largely unseen, one of whom bears a noticeable likeness for an old professor of his. Whenever an author dips their toes in Lovecraft they nearly always come a cropper (and I include Lovecraft himself in that). Ligotti wobbles a bit here and there but ultimately turns in a story that manages to retain much of the good stuff found in Lovecraft’s work while at the same time jettisoning an awful lot of the rubbish. In all, a good ‘un, this.) 1/72nd Scale – Ian R. MacLeod (3/5 – See my site for a review.) Cedar Lane – Karl Edward Wagner (3/5 – See my site for a review.) At A Window Facing West – Kim Antieau (3/5 – See my site for a review.) Inside the Walled City – Garry Kilworth (4/5 – A journalist in Hong Kong follows hifalutin cop John Speakman, his guide and two junior police officers into a vast makeshift building called the Walled City. The slum had once teemed with tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s poor, but now it lies empty, awaiting demolition. Speakman’s job is to chase out any stragglers. Once inside, our man grows convinced that Speakman has evil in mind for him, but that’s nothing compared to what the building has in store for them all. This is another one sharing a couple of genes with a story from the first book, this time Laurence Staig’s Closed Circuit, which was set in an inescapable shopping mall. I liked this a lot, even if the characters largely played second fiddle to the real star of the piece, the Walled City itself. Kilworth has a whale of a time describing its fetid and labyrinthine – and lethal – innards. Good gory fun.) On The Wing – Jean-Daniel Breque (3/5 – Robin is a twelve year old boy who takes a solitary swim at an abandoned quarry. He reflects on two close friends of his, and slowly comes to realise they may not be friends at all. They never seem to come to the quarry any more, and back when they did they would play all kinds of mean tricks on him. When Robin learns that his friends may have taken to visiting the quarry after dark, he sneaks out for a midnight dip, where things take a sinister turn. This was okay, but I found some of the passages clunky (possibly lost in translation). The story also felt rather mechanical, with several scenes existing mostly to set up the next scene rather than to tell a bit more of the story, a bit like a train laying down its own tracks. That said, the ending, however disconnected it felt from the rest of the story, is wonderfully creepy.) Firebird – J. L. Comeau (4/5 – By day Julianna is part of a tight-knit police team jokingly named “The Nut Squad” on account of the dangerous whack-jobs they so often have to take down. In the evenings she maintains a rigorous ballet regime to help keep her mind and body sharp. By night she is haunted in her sleep by the horrifying events of her first assignment. When, one evening, at the end of their shift, the squad are sent to join other teams at an incident in progress, they are all immediately set on edge. They arrive at a tenement block where a number of officers struggle to hold back a thoroughly freaked-out crowd. When Julianna looks up to one of the upper windows she sees the lunatic from her first assignment – a man she had gunned down and killed. This full-blooded story rattles along at a fair old pace, almost like a Kathryn Bigelow movie from back in the day, and it’s a belter. In the space of 10,000 words you have damn near everything you would get from a novel ten times the length, and Comeau doesn’t pull any punches. Definitely worth a read.) Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills – David J. Schow (4/5 – Jonathan Brill is a wealthy psychiatrist to the stars, taking in a stormy evening from the safety of his study. He is visited upon by a panicked old friend, Haskell Hammer, who begs for shelter not just from the storm outside but the men in white vans too – never a good sign. Haskell soon spins a strange and possibly deluded story of how he got to be in this position; a story of what it really takes to make it in Hollywood. In my original review of this story I said I liked it a lot up until the cheap-ass ending. Weirdly on a second reading the ending felt a little better – if still rather unearned – but I found it was the middle that sagged. It’s still worth a read, either way, scraping a 4/5.) His Mouth Will Taste Of Wormwood – Poppy Z. Brite (4/5 – Howard and Louis are two young men living in modern-day gothic splendour who devote every living moment seeking something – anything – that can truly satisfy them. From hard drink to strange drugs, from degrading beautiful women to bedding androgynous young men and eventually each other – nothing fills the void. In their pursuit of ever-newer and evermore-debauched experiences they take to robbing graves and raiding mausoleums, acts that eventually draw them closer to what they crave the most. But at what cost? This story has become a modern horror classic since its first publication, and who am I to argue? Brite’s elegant writing and pitch-black humour elevates this above most stories in the book.) The Original Dr Shade – Kim Newman (4/5 – Greg Daniels is an illustrator hired to help resurrect the old Dr Shade character for the launch of the Argus, a new hard-right British newspaper. He is introduced to Harry Lipman, an elderly man who last wrote the character back in the 1950s. The men soon hit it off, developing a Dr Shade more suited for the modern era while at the same time honouring the derring-do stories of yesteryear. But Greg and Harry fail to recognise the changing mood of the country. A new fascism is fast taking hold, catalysed by the upcoming launch of the Argus and the seeming resurgence of the original Dr Shade – a brutal and significantly more controversial iteration of the character. Within the first page of this story I knew this was going to be a winner. I loved the British comics scene back in my younger years. If it had panels and speech bubbles, I was all over it. This is a mighty fine and uncompromising read, and definitely one you should seek out.) Madge – D. F. Lewis (2/5 – See my site for a review.) Alive in Venice – Cherry Wilder (3/5 – Following a family misfortune a young teenage girl, Susan, accompanies her brother and sister-in-law on their honeymoon in Venice. She knows enough to give the newlyweds some space, and thus spends a lot of her time in a writing room of the house. A large tapestry hangs in the room, behind which Susan finds a large door. A key hangs on a hook nearby. When a strange series of items are left in the room beneath a decorative ventilator, Susan grows convinced there may be someone behind the door beckoning her through. Wilder’s The House On Cemetery Street was probably the best story in the first book, but here she stumbles. This story was okay, but it felt more like a series of things happening than anything you could get emotionally involved in.) Divertimento – Gregory Frost (3/5 – Teenagers Peter and Susanne are brother and sister, with Peter the eldest by a couple of years. Not that you’d believe it, for Susanne looks to be in her eighties while Peter is rocking a mid-forties look. A timebomb had once detonated in the family home, killing their parents in the blast, ageing them to dust in an instant, while also greatly ageing the two siblings. The bomb left behind a unique temporal rift allowing the children to look back through time to witness a previous occupant of the house: one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This story was okay with some really cool ideas, but let’s be honest – it’s another science fiction story that has been crowbarred into a horror anthology on the thinnest of premises.) Pelts – F. Paul Wilson (4/5 – A poacher and his son strike it lucky when they find their traps have snared several large raccoons, each possessing the thickest and most luxurious coats they have ever seen. The poachers brutally kill the poor animals still clinging to life before bagging them all up and taking their prizes home. After a hard slog skinning and preparing the pelts, Pa leaves his son to clean up. The lad catches movement in the corner of his eye. Did one of the pelts move just then? In this Stoker-nominated story, F. shows everyone here how horror is done. This is a bloody good read and was made into an episode of Masters of Horror some years later.) Those of Rhenea – David Sutton (3/5 – See my site for a review.) Lord of the Land – Gene Wolfe (2/5 – See my site for a review.) Aquarium – Steve Rasnic Tem (3/5 – Michael is hired by Victor Montgomery to catalogue the chattels of his hotel. As he works through the many artworks and items of furniture, Michael is reminded of the childhood he spent in an orphanage. His mind starts to deteriorate and hints of darker memories begin to surface when Michael finds certain items of furniture with strange and unsettling adornments. This was okay, but I’ve read better from SRT. Here it felt as if he was trying too hard to keep things weird, from a rather unnecessary attempt to wrongfoot the reader about Michael’s age, to how Victor looks more like a baby in a suit the more he talks, to, most obviously, SRT’s frequent attempts to relate things to an aquarium.) Mister Ice Cold – Gahan Wilson (4/5 – Mister Ice Cold is doing the rounds, the chimes of his ice cream truck sending children into a frenzy with the promise of iced confections to come. While Mister Ice Cold is busy serving the ranks of children queueing outside, a young boy sneaks into his van and makes the mistake of looking in the one compartment Mister Ice Cold never seems to open. Gahan Wilson is a creative polymath; he is perhaps better known as a cartoonist, with a long career contributing to publications such as The New Yorker, but he is also a very good short story writer. Though you could accuse this short short of being a little predictable, you cannot question Wilson’s masterful delivery. Mister Ice Cold has only one line in the story, and it is brilliantly chilling. If you’ll pardon the pun.) On The Town Route – Elizabeth Hand (4/5 – Continuing the ice cream theme, this story sees Julie slumming it in her digs, having given up on her studies and seemingly the whole concept of going outside. Her boyfriend, Cass, drags her out to ride along with him in his knackered old ice cream van. Along the route, she watches the urban landscape give way to nature and the houses become more ramshackle. She meets all of Cass’s regulars, including a headstrong young girl called Little Eva, and Maidie and Sam, her somewhat unusual parents. When tragedy strikes on the way back home, Maidie unexpectedly intervenes. I liked this story a lot, even if Julie has little other role than to be our eyes and ears. There’s a slacker vibe to the story that I loved, and Hand creates a wonderful sense of a hazy countryside summer. A really good read, though I would argue Mister Ice Cold would have been a better closer to the book.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Best New Horror Volume 2 (1990): 2015 Revised PS Publishing Edition: edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell, containing the following stories: Apostate in Denim* by Roberta Lannes: Removed from the original edition by the publisher due to concerns over its violence. It's well-written and very unpleasant. The First Time by K. W. Jeter: Brutal road trip/coming of age story becomes graphic and surreal towards its end. A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub: Straub's most Borgesian work, comple Best New Horror Volume 2 (1990): 2015 Revised PS Publishing Edition: edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell, containing the following stories: Apostate in Denim* by Roberta Lannes: Removed from the original edition by the publisher due to concerns over its violence. It's well-written and very unpleasant. The First Time by K. W. Jeter: Brutal road trip/coming of age story becomes graphic and surreal towards its end. A Short Guide to the City by Peter Straub: Straub's most Borgesian work, complete with a shout-out to a famous Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story. Stephen by Elizabeth Massie: Award-winning and right on the cusp of unintentional hilarity, especially if you remember In Living Color's Head Detective.. The Dead Love You by Jonathan Carroll: Bonkers, surreal, disturbing, weird. Jane Doe #112 by Harlan Ellison: Another Ellison story that starts off as horror and ends as a shrill condemnation of anyone who doesn't lead what Ellison considers an exciting, meaningful life -- which is to say, anyone who isn't either famous or well-regarded in a creative field. Thanks for the lecture, Mr. E! Shock Radio by Ray Garton: Enjoyable revenge piece involving, well, a shock-radio jock. The Man Who Drew Cats by Michael Marshall Smith: Moody, very Bradburyesque piece was one of the soon-to-be-prolific Mr. Smith's first published stories. The Co-Op by Melanie Tem: Augh! Very disturbing, feminist take on body horror. Negatives by Nicholas Royle: Brilliant short piece in which the horror arises from distorted perception. The Last Feast of Harlequin by Thomas Ligotti: Probably still the estimable Mr. Ligotti's most anthologized story, a creepy, oddball reimagining of concepts from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Festival." 1/72nd Scale by Ian R. MacLeod: Mournful tale of a boy, his dead brother, and his grieving family builds both sorrow and horror with careful, slow precision, and then moves in an unpredictable and cathartic direction in the last few pages. Quite brilliant, I think. Cedar Lane by Karl Edward Wagner: Minor, late-career Wagner with a nifty twist and a story that overall riffs on a famous Bradbury story from the 1950's. At a Window Facing West by Kim Antieau: Interesting but weirdly unfinished. Inside the Walled City by Garry Kilworth: Disturbing, claustrophobic horror in Hong Kong. On the Wing by Jean-Daniel Breque: Pretty minor. Firebird by J. L. Comeau: Witchcraft and embattled cops in decaying Detroit. Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills by David J. Schow: Much more Hollywood humour than horror. His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite: A career-defining early work from Brite riffs on Lovecraft's tale "The Hound" in disturbing, erotic, and decadent ways. The Original Dr Shade by Kim Newman: Brilliant, horrifying, metafictional riff on British pulp heroes, racism, and Thatcherism. Madge by D. F. Lewis: Pretty minor. Alive in Venice by Cherry Wilder: Nice 19th-century period piece. Divertimento by Gregory Frost: Science fiction horror. Pelts by F. Paul Wilson: Don't catch, kill, and skin raccoons from a haunted forest. Just don't. Those of Rhenea by David Sutton: Interesting but not entirely successful piece set on a haunted Greek island. Lord of the Land by Gene Wolfe: Great, mysterious nod to Lovecraft from the great and giant Mr. Wolfe. Aquarium by Steve Rasnic Tem: Weird near-horror from the finely tuned, poetic Mr. Tem. Mister Ice Cold by Gahan Wilson: Oh no, another unstoppable serial killer. Yuck. On the Town Route by Elizabeth Hand: Weird, atmospheric jaunt through extremely rural America. Overall: Many of these stories have become repeatedly republished classics, and others merit rediscovery. There are very, very few misses. Fine editorial work from the team of Jones and Campbell. This new edition updates the biographies for the writers, so there is new material if one already owns the original edition. As well, a story meant to appear has been added back in (See above for details).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    A lackluster collection of stories. There were no real "stinkers" here but not much to write home about. The stand outs were: "Jane Doe #112," Harlan Ellison: I'm not an Ellison fan but this was a decent comment on the waste of lives not lived. "The Man Who Drew Cats," Michael Marshall Smith: I've read stories with similar themes but this was well done and kept my interest (as I write, I remember an episode of the old Japanese series Ultraman that dealt with the same idea). "At A Window Facing West A lackluster collection of stories. There were no real "stinkers" here but not much to write home about. The stand outs were: "Jane Doe #112," Harlan Ellison: I'm not an Ellison fan but this was a decent comment on the waste of lives not lived. "The Man Who Drew Cats," Michael Marshall Smith: I've read stories with similar themes but this was well done and kept my interest (as I write, I remember an episode of the old Japanese series Ultraman that dealt with the same idea). "At A Window Facing West," Kim Antieau: A surreal look at how a woman faces her fears. "Lord of the Land," Gene Wolfe: Wolfe is always an interesting writer even if his experiments fail. Here we have a tale about an anthropologist and an alien parasite (for another movie reference, think The Hidden). As this was anthologized in 1991, nostalgia buffs might be amused at references to green computer screens and floppy disks and the complete absence of cell phones & social media.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    The second of the huge “mammoth” anthologies of collected original horror fiction by Stephen Jones. As with the first, I was disappointed when I took a look at the contents and realised that I'd already encountered most of these stories in his even bigger anthology THE GIANT BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR; that left me with a mere eight new-to-me stories to read which are outlined here. The rest of my comments on the other stories I've not mentioned here can be found in my review for THE GIANT BOOK OF The second of the huge “mammoth” anthologies of collected original horror fiction by Stephen Jones. As with the first, I was disappointed when I took a look at the contents and realised that I'd already encountered most of these stories in his even bigger anthology THE GIANT BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR; that left me with a mere eight new-to-me stories to read which are outlined here. The rest of my comments on the other stories I've not mentioned here can be found in my review for THE GIANT BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR instead. K.W. Jeter's THE FIRST TIME sees an adolescent protagonist joining friends and family members for a car trip to a raucous brothel. The style is light and similar to Stephen King, but the climax is mere gore for gore's sake and something I found repellent. STEPHEN is by Elizabeth Massie and involves a psychiatrist doing the rounds at a home for the severely disabled only to begin an unorthodox relationship with a very unorthodox patient. It's a grim slice of body horror that reminded me of the films of David Cronenberg, although nicely written with it. SHOCK RADIO is a crude story by Ray Garton that nonetheless captures well the fractious state of America and in particular plays attention to politics and social situations. The twist ending is handled in an unsurprisingly unpleasant way, but the way the story still feels applicable to our modern times – perhaps more so than ever – is telling. THE CO-OP is by Melanie Tem and reveals the deep-rooted hatred and resentment lurking within a seemingly ordinary support group for young mothers. Hardly horror, although it is different. AT A WINDOW FACING WEST is by Kim Antieau and looks at a holiday in Mexico gone awry. It has a nicely circular nature to it which means the reader is in for a treat of a climax, and the quality of the writing is superior. D.F. Lewis's MADGE only lasts for a few pages and is the lyrical story of a wife lamenting her deceased partner – only to take a newcomer to her bed. It's underwritten and has a real sense of beauty to it, along with an icy climax. DIVERTIMENTO, by Gregory Frost, is a very weird and spiritual kind of piece that didn't really do it for me. I found the style too abstract and obtuse and I didn't really have an idea of what the author was trying to say. Steve Rasnic Tem's AQUARIUM is, like his wife's earlier effort, not really horror at all, but an interesting look at biography and the impact made on buildings and items by those who inhabit or possess them and vice versa.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Cole

    Mammoth is right! This anthology features horror and dark fantasy stories from 28 superb authors in a 400+ page book. I found it at an independent bookstore with a reduced price tag because it was not new (1990), but this is a treasure for horror fiction fans. Harlan Ellison, Thomas Ligotti, David J. Schow, Peter Straub, Poppy Z. Brite, are you kidding me? If you can find it, it's well worth getting it, even with the single line space, rather eye-tiring page layout used to fit all this greatness Mammoth is right! This anthology features horror and dark fantasy stories from 28 superb authors in a 400+ page book. I found it at an independent bookstore with a reduced price tag because it was not new (1990), but this is a treasure for horror fiction fans. Harlan Ellison, Thomas Ligotti, David J. Schow, Peter Straub, Poppy Z. Brite, are you kidding me? If you can find it, it's well worth getting it, even with the single line space, rather eye-tiring page layout used to fit all this greatness in a book you would still be able to pick up. I saved it for special occasions (September and October Halloween Reading) so it would last me longer. Everyone needs a special treat.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Faisal

    Best stories * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Drew Cats by Michael Marshall Smith * The Co-op by Melanie Tem * Negatives by Nicholas Royle * The Last Feast of Harlequin by Thomas Ligotti * 1/72nd Scale by Ian R. MacLeod * Cedar Lane by Karl Edward Wagner * Inside the Walled City by Garry Kilworth * Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills by David J. Schow * His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite * The Original Dr. Shade by Kim Newman * Pelts by F. Paul Wi Best stories * Stephen by Elizabeth Massie * Shock Radio by Ray Garton * The Man Who Drew Cats by Michael Marshall Smith * The Co-op by Melanie Tem * Negatives by Nicholas Royle * The Last Feast of Harlequin by Thomas Ligotti * 1/72nd Scale by Ian R. MacLeod * Cedar Lane by Karl Edward Wagner * Inside the Walled City by Garry Kilworth * Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills by David J. Schow * His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite * The Original Dr. Shade by Kim Newman * Pelts by F. Paul Wilson

  7. 5 out of 5

    Noah Rozov

    I've read Ray Garton's Shock Radio, story of 1990s. I've read Ray Garton's Shock Radio, story of 1990s.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marni

    Some great stories here, but the ones I still remember are 'On the Wing' and 'The First Time', that story that is so hard to do, an original vampire tale. If you love modern horror, i.e. the self-published stuff that currently seems to get four and five stars on Amazon, or torture/disgust/gore schlock, you probably won't like this anthology's stories, well-crafted gems that require imagination and intelligence on the part of the reader. Some great stories here, but the ones I still remember are 'On the Wing' and 'The First Time', that story that is so hard to do, an original vampire tale. If you love modern horror, i.e. the self-published stuff that currently seems to get four and five stars on Amazon, or torture/disgust/gore schlock, you probably won't like this anthology's stories, well-crafted gems that require imagination and intelligence on the part of the reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    I've read almost all of these anthologies of horror and dark fantasy, often on beach vacations or cruises, and each one has at least one story that stands out as a real classic. In this case, "The Original Doctor Shade," "The Last Feast of Harlequin" and "Mister Ice Cold" are the ones I remember best, though "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood" reminds me of reading in a dark corner of a local tapas bar, waiting for a date with a girl who never showed up, the weekend of Saint Patrick's Day. I've read almost all of these anthologies of horror and dark fantasy, often on beach vacations or cruises, and each one has at least one story that stands out as a real classic. In this case, "The Original Doctor Shade," "The Last Feast of Harlequin" and "Mister Ice Cold" are the ones I remember best, though "His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood" reminds me of reading in a dark corner of a local tapas bar, waiting for a date with a girl who never showed up, the weekend of Saint Patrick's Day.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jien

    This book gets a solid four stars, the stories weren't outstanding but they were good. I had a big hiatus in reading this when my school got busy, but looking back through it I remember liking the stories I read in August. This book gets a solid four stars, the stories weren't outstanding but they were good. I had a big hiatus in reading this when my school got busy, but looking back through it I remember liking the stories I read in August.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Annual, lackluster, collection edited by Stephen Jones.

  12. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

    Best New Horror 2 (Mammoth Book of Best New Horror) by Stephen Jones (1991)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Horror,Anthology

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pere Ibanez

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jo Abraham

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elena

  19. 5 out of 5

    stephanie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  21. 4 out of 5

    Trista Perez

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda NEVER MANDY

  23. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caty

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lucky

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave mcloughlin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fletcher

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Reyome

  29. 5 out of 5

    MJ VARA

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue

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