March 27th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Best Horror Short Story Collections
I don't read much horror, ocassionally dipping into the genre for novels that are considered classics. Anyway, after reading some really great horro short stories, I was wondering if anyone could reccomend me some great collections of horror stories. I'm looking for ones that will really get you to think or that have fiendishly clever twists at the end. And, of course, ones that are really damn scary.
March 27th, 2004, 04:28 PM
Cranky old broad
If you don't mind paying a bit more for a book, I'd recommend Feesters in the Lake by Bob Leman.
Leman wrote for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the 60's and 70's, and this book collects all of his short stories. It's a wonderful mix of SF, fantasy, and horror. I have one whole bookcase (4 wide shelves) full of nothing but horror short story collections, and Feesters is my favorite.
Mary Elizabeth Counselman's collection Half in Shadow (Arkham House) is nice too. The stories are almost old-fashioned, but very readable, and there are nice twists.
Oh! You'd like Fredric Brown, I'll bet. He's in lots of anthologies, and there are a couple of collections too. I have From These Ashes, and it's astounding.
Do you have the "must have" collections? Dark Descent, Dark Forces, The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural are three really good ones. My Favorite Horror Story is a nice collection.
For single author collections, in addition to Bob Leman, you can't go wrong with Shirley Jackson, for a start. After that there are just too many to mention, and it kinda depends on whether you like atmosphere (Ramsey Campbell), surreal stuff (Dennis Etchison), gore (the Skipp and Spector zombie books), dark and bleak (John Shirley).
And if you like science fiction too, get some of Theodore Sturgeon's short story collections. Some of those are very twisty.
March 28th, 2004, 04:19 AM
Well, I'm slowly exploring the horror genre myself right now, so I must say thanks for those recommendations, AuntiePam! They seem like a very good starting point. I agree with you on Theodore Sturgeon - its interesting btw, how a number of SF writers including Fred Pohl, Fritz Leiber and Barry Malzberg have also written rather good horror fare from time to time.
March 28th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Cranky old broad
Oh yeah. I'm familiar with Leiber's horror stuff, but not Malzberg or Pohl. What would recommend from them that has some horror?
March 28th, 2004, 10:55 PM
Well, Barry Malzberg wrote a couple of horror novels in collaboration with one Bill Pronzini - I have one of these, Night Screams, but is is still on my to-read list. I have come across short stories of his in a few horror anthologies - I cannot recall names right now, sorry, but they are all darkly witty and brilliantly written, as is the case with his SF too. It's odd how hard it is to find Malzberg's books by the way.
As for Pohl, I now see that it is only one story I have read by him that falls into horror - a collaboration with Isaac Asimov called Legal Rites. It's possible there are others.
March 29th, 2004, 11:48 AM
Cranky old broad
Thanks, knivesout. I had forgotten about Malzberg's short stories -- he's in many of the Datlow/Winding anthologies. I'll keep a lookout for the Pohl/Asimov book -- that one has to be interesting.
March 29th, 2004, 10:46 PM
Sorry, I should have mentioned the Pohl/Asimov tale is a short story. It first appeared in Weird Tales, I think and I have it in an anthology called The Edge Of Never (Ed: Robert Hoskins).
March 30th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Cranky old broad
I just checked my short story database and it turns out that I have that story in a Weird Tales hardcover from 1988. Cool!! Now I just have to find it.
March 31st, 2004, 07:23 PM
The best collection of short stories ever put together is "Great Tales of Terror & The Supernatural" edited by Herbert A. Wise and Phyllis Fraser. Check out the reviews over at Amazon and I think our very own Hobbit will give it a big thumbs up.
May 9th, 2004, 02:11 PM
Traveler of Worlds
One of the best collections about haunted house stories is: The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories edited by Peter Haining.
It has all the great authors. M R James, Hugh Walpole, Fay Weldon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ruth Rendell and others. I try to reread it every October around Halloween time.
May 10th, 2004, 07:53 PM
Two collections I highly recommend are:
The Books of Blood - Clive Barker: These are what horror is all about. The stories touch on many subgenres and are spooky and chilling.
Dark Destiny: This is considered more of Dark Fantasy (only because it's based off of characters from the White Wolf RPG's) but has some great stories. Included is the 1994 Bram Stoker award winning short "The Scent of Vinegar" by Robert Bloch.
September 21st, 2005, 01:18 PM
Some favorite collections:
Poppy Z. Brite, -Wormwood- (a.k.a. –Swamp Foetus-)
H.P. Lovecraft, -At the Mountains of Madness and Other Stories-
Kathe Koja, -Extremities-
Vernon Lee, -Hauntings-
Arthur Machen, -Tales of Horror and the Supernatural-
Glen Hirshberg, -The Two Sams-
Fritz Leiber, -Night’s Black Agents- (-The Black Gondolier_ & the other two collections from Midnight House are more complete, but also out of print and quite expensive collectors items)
Walter de la Mare, -Best Stories of …-
Karl Edward Wagner, -In a Lonely Place-
Michael Blumlein, -The Brains of Rats-
Jonathan Carroll, -The Panic Hand-
Robert Bloch, -The Early Fears-
Ray Bradbury, -The October Country-
Robert Heinlein, -The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag-
Lafcadio Hearn, -Kwaidan-
Fred Chappell, -More Shapes than One-
Brian MacNaughton, -The Throne of Bones-
Octavia Butler, -Bloodchild and Other Stories- (arguably horror)
I want to second some of the anthologies listed:
-The Dark Descent- ed. David Hartwell
-Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural- ed. Wise and Frasier
-Dark Forces- & -Frights- ed. Kirby McCauley
_The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories_, eds. Michael Cox, R.A.
_The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories_, ed. by Alan Ryan
_The Year's Best Fantasy_, ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling
_Foundation of Fear_, ed. David Hartwell
_Black Water_ 7 Black Water: 2_, ed. Alberto Manguel
_The Ghouls_, ed. Peter Haining
_Strange Dreams_, ed. by Stephen Donaldson
A couple I've see reissued recently are quite enjoyable: -Vamps- & _House Shudders_ ed. Martin Greenburg, Charles Waugh (I'm pretty sure this was reissued by Barnes & Noble using a slightly different title)
Lastly, if you're at all interested in ghost stories, check out any collection edited by Richard Dalby. He is quite good.
October 13th, 2005, 01:44 PM
And as you might have seen from my comments in the Reading Horror October 2005 thread, The Dark Descent by David Hartwell is one of the best (at least the most wideranging) collections I've come across. Recommended.
October 13th, 2005, 02:41 PM
A few more collections
It's been one of those days, one thing after another at work, so now it's quieted down and I thought, hey! I'll toss out a few more collection titles. I don't think anything here was first published post-1990 (maybe the Ligotti; not sure).
_The Shapes of Midnight_ by Joseph Payne Brennen
_Ghost and Horror Stories of Ambrose Bierce_
_Dark Gods_ by T.E.D. Klein
_Songs of a Dead Dreamer_ by Thomas Ligotti
_The Howling Man_ by Charles Beaumont
_Zothique_ by Clark Ashton Smith
_The King in Yellow and Other Stories_ by Robert W. Chambers (various editions, different mixes of stories)
_For the Blood is the Life and Other Stories_ by F. Marion Crawford
_Nightshade and Damnations_ by Gerald Kersh
_Tales of Terror and the Unknown_ by Algernon Blackwood
Honestly, there are a couple here I haven't finished, but I'm at least half-way through those, and what I've read so far was worth the price of the book by themselves.
October 20th, 2005, 02:15 PM
Check out Joe Hill's new collection 20th CENTURY GHOSTS from PS Publishing. This guy's exploded onto the scene, and his writing is crisp, powetic and deeply involving.
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