Darkness, both literal and psychological, holds its own unique fascination. Despite our fears, or perhaps because of them, readers have always been drawn to tales of death, terror, madness, and the supernatural, and no more so than today when a wildly imaginative new generation of dark dreamers is carrying on in the tradition of Poe and Lovecraft and King, crafting exquisitely disturbing literary nightmares that gaze without flinching into the abyss—and linger in the mind long after.
Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow knows the darkest corners of fiction and poetry better than most. Once again, she has braved the haunted landscape of modern horror to seek out the most chilling new works by both legendary masters of the genre and fresh young talents. Here are twisted hungers and obsessions, human and otherwise, along with an unsettling variety of spine-tingling fears and fantasies. The cutting edge of horror has never cut deeper than in this comprehensive showcase of the very best the field has to offer. Enter at your own risk.
After 22 years of pulling the horror content for the now-discontinued Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound) goes solo with this stellar start to a new "best of" annual. As in the past, her picks confirm that "horror" is a storytelling approach with endlessly inventive possibilities. In E. Michael Lewis's "Cargo," a haunting Twilight Zone type tale, an airplane picks up something otherworldly as part of its latest transport. Euan Harvey's creepy "Harry and the Monkey" turns an urban legend into reality. R.B. Russell's "Loup-garou" is a highly original shape-shifter story with a subtle psychological twist, and Daniel LeMoal's "Beach Head" a bracing conte cruel with a Lord of the Flies cast. In addition to the richly varied stories, Datlow provides her usual comprehensive coverage of the year in horror in an introduction that's indispensable reading for horror aficionados.