Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream, Samanta Schweblin (Riverhead 978-0-399-18459-8, $25.00, 192pp, hc) Janu­ary 2017.

The title of Samanta Schweblin’s first novel, Distan­cia de rescate, translates as “the rescue distance,” the term a character uses to describe the amount of ground she would have to cover in order to reach her young daughter and whisk her away from danger. The title of the English-language edition of the book, however, is Fever Dream, which speaks ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Best New Horror #27

Best New Horror #27, Stephen Jones, ed. (Drug­store Indian Press, 978-1-78636-066-3, £12.99, 546pp, tp) January 2017

Steve Jones’s Best New Horror #27 features a grisly cover image reproduced from Chamber of Chills, a short-lived comic from the early 1950s that was a casualty of Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent and his notorious crusade against violent comic books. It’s a reminder of the days when horror was packaged pretty ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Powers of Darkness

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula, Bram Stoker & Valdimar Ásmundsson (Overlook Press 978-1-4683-1336-9, $29.95, 320pp, hc) December 2016.

Question: When is Bram Stoker’s Dracula not Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

Answer: When it’s Makt Myrkranna, a book whose title translates from the Icelan­dic as Powers of Darkness and which, in the early twentieth century, was published as the Icelandic-language edition of Stoker’s vampire classic. This new ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Year’s Best Weird Fiction

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Kathe Koja & Mi­chael Kelly, eds. (Undertow Publications 978-0-9938951-1-1, $18.99, 328pp, tp) October 2015. [Order from Undertow Publications .]

In her introduction to Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume Two, Kathe Koja, co-editor for this year’s edition, refers to the weird as that ‘‘sense of the strange’’ which derives from the understanding that there is more to our world than what our other five senses ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Ellen Datlow’s Nightmare Carnival

Nightmare Carnival, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse Books 978-1-61655-427-9, $19.99, 384pp, tp) October 2014.

For her anthology Nightmare Carnival, Ellen Datlow has assembled 15 new stories that explore the horrific possibilities inherent in carnivals and their entertainments. The dark carnival theme has been a staple of weird fiction since the early part of the twentieth century, and over the decades numerous writers have written stories drawn from its ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Mike Allen

Unseaming, Mike Allen (Antimatter Press 978-0-9889124-1-0, $15.95, 224pp, tp) October 2014.

In ‘‘Monster’’, the final story in Mike Allen’s collection Unseaming, a self-described monster describes the reality of the world he inhabits in terms of ‘‘the possibilities of curves that are infinite in length, even though they occupy a finite space,’’ and ‘‘a universe that can contain infinitely many things within its borders, and yet outside be no ...Read More

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Stefan Dzeimianowicz reviews Stephen Jones’ Best New Horror 25

Stephen Jones’s Mammoth Book of Best New Horror series celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, a landmark by any standard in genre publishing. There’s no overlap between the contents of Jones’s and Datlow’s anthologies, as has frequently been the case over the years, and the Best New Horror series has served the important function of reminding readers both that there are more outstanding horror stories written each year than can ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Joe R. Lansdale

Like the pulpsmiths of yore, Joe R. Lansdale writes in a wide variety of genres. Unlike the pulpsmiths of yore, there is nothing at all generic about his writing. He’s the perfect example of the writer whose work is sui generis. Whether you read a story of his in a crime fiction magazine, a horror anthology, or a collection of western tales, you don’t think of it in terms of ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Nathan Ballingrud

In ‘‘Wild Acre’’, the second story in Nathan Ballingrud’s extraordinary debut collection, North American Lake Monsters (and a se­lection in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Five), a contractor and two friends who hope to catch the persons who have been vandalizing their construction site are ambushed during their night-time vigil by what appears to be a werewolf. His two friends are brutally slaughtered, and the ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Tales of Jack the Ripper

If Jack the Ripper had never existed, horror writers almost certainly would have had to invent him, since few other perpetrators of real-life horrors so perfectly incarnate the aesthetics of horror fiction. His seemingly preternatural skill at eluding capture and identification makes him the ultimate faceless boogeyman: a monster who murdered randomly, under the cover of night, driven by motives that are still a mystery 125 years after the five ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Brian Evenson

The most unusual story in Windeye, Brian Evenson’s outstanding new collection of short fiction, is devoid of the reality slips and nods to the supernormal that distinguish the other 24 stories in the book. In fact, it doesn’t even read like fiction. In ‘‘Bon Scott: The Choir Years’’, Evenson, addressing the reader as himself, relates how in 1997, while living in Utah and researching an article that he was ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews The Weird

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Weird is a monumental book in more ways than one. To begin with, there’s the sheer size of it: at 1,152 pages that feature 110 stories (quite a few of them novellas and short novels) amounting to three-quarters of a million words, it is probably the largest single volume of fantastic fiction ever assembled. Then, there’s the book’s – actually, the editors’ – ambition: to ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Karl Edward Wagner

Karl Edward Wagner was among the most talented writers of the generation that helped to put horror on the popular fiction map in the 1970s and ’80s. For this comprehensive two-volume retrospective of his short horror fiction, editor Stephen Jones gathers the full contents of Wagner’s collections In a Lonely Place (1983) and Why Not You and I? (1987), plus most of the contents of Exorcisms and Ecstasies, a ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Henry Kuttner

Reviewer discretion compels me to reveal up front that I co-edited a collection of Henry Kuttner’s best short macabre fiction recently published by Centipede Press. Having gotten that out of the way, let me note that Terror in the House is a magnificent book, one that measures up to the high standards Haffner Press established through its previous compilations of fiction by Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, and Leigh Brackett.Most people ...Read More

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