Monday, September 12, 2011
Charles Rutledge's Book of Horror Vol III
It's that time of year again. October approaches and I always try to get the table of contents up early for my annual imaginary horror anthology, so that anyone interested can track down any of these stories before Halloween. As always, the contents were pulled from a wide variety of sources. Several of them came from my recently acquired collection of DAW's Year's Best Horror Stories volumes. Others, like the ones by Howard and Lovecraft, are readily available in current books. The newest story is probably the one by Joe R. Lansdale, pulled from the 2011 anthology Supernatural Noir. The oldest is Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's The Hall Bedroom, which is available at the inestimable Literary Gothic website (Of which I shall have more to say later.) and I'll provide a link at the bottom of this post. It's a very strange little story, written in the early 1900s and I was impressed with the idea behind it. Not so much scary as unsettling.
Unfortunately the new volumes of Karl Edward Wagner's horror fiction won't be available until next year, but you can still track down the very creepy .220 Swift in the collection In a Lonely Place, and it was recently reprinted in the anthology The Mammoth Book of Monsters. I will note that I enjoyed using some of the stories that Wagner had picked for the DAW anthologies, making some of my own Best Horror choices from Wagner's past selections.
Anyway, here's this year's unlucky 13 scary stories.
Manly Wade Wellman/ Chastel
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman/ The Hall Bedroom
Karl Edward Wagner/ .220 Swift
H.P. Lovecraft/ The Dreams in the Witch House
Robert E. Howard/ Children of the Night
R. Chetwynd Hayes/ Acquiring a Family
Joe R. Lansdale/ Dead Sister
Hugh B. Cave/ From the Lower Deep
Clark Ashton Smith/ The Witchcraft of Ulua
Harlan Ellison/She's a Young Thing and Cannot Leave Her Mother
Joseph Payne Brennan/ The House on Stillcroft Street
Frank Belknap Long/ The Hounds of Tindalos
Stephen King/The Night Flier
This year's Stephen King selection, The Night Flier, is still one of the scariest short stories I've ever read. It's one of those that makes you stop and go whoa. When King is on, he's hard to beat. The Hugh B. Cave story also has a very shuddersome moment or two. Those are probably the just plain scariest of the lot. Anyway, I hope those of you interested in some Halloween reading can make use of this list. I wish you uneasy nights and shadow haunted days.
Here's the link to The Hall Bedroom. Explore the Literary Gothic site while you're there. I have found this to be a treasure trove of stories, information, and links to further reading dealing with the literature of the macabre. Can't recommend this site highly enough.