Book: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Three
Authors: various (edited by Ellen Datlow)
Published: 2011 (Nightshade)
This crash course of horror showcases everything from neo-Gothic formal creepies, to children who don’t even know how bad they are because they aren’t old enough to understand and their parents are too scared to tell them, to what I call grunge horror because it’s all about burnt-out people finding the true evil in life that jolts them out of their nihilism too late to save themselves or what they finally figure out they care about.
My favorites were in the second category, which included a story about a kid who makes friends with the girl across the yard when they start talking to each other through their open windows, and it turns out he can draw stuff and make it come true, and when her parents say she has to move he sneaks her over to his house, draws her resting inside him, and it comes true, but then they wait too long to try to draw her out of him and as he grows up his ability goes away, so she’s still in there.
Or the little girl who tears apart fairies for play. I wasn’t sure what that story was trying to get to, exactly, but it did succeed in being creepier than the stories that spent way too many adjectives on monsters.
My other two favorites were one where an informal but completely self-conscious film club tracks down the second reel of an unfinished cult horror film and end up finding out how real all the footage was, and the last story, which takes a sort of Cabin in the Woods meta-dissection approach to the Small Town with Werewolf story.
Good overall introduction to the genre, but I think getting more targeted will be a lot more immersive. This one’s going back to Virginia, too, because it rode back in my suitcase along with Clive, so you all look for some returned (and new!) property to head your way this upcoming week.