Stefan Dziemianowicz and Amy Goldschlager Review The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1-9821-1056-7, $30.00, 576pp, hc) September 2019.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Stephen King’s new novel, The Institute, is a blueprint for his career as a novelist, but in it King re­prises themes that he has explored regularly over the past 45 years, notably: children endowed with wild paranormal talents (think Carrie, The Shin­ing, and even End of Watch, ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews Growing Things by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things, Paul Tremblay (Morrow 978-0-06-267913-0, $25.99, 352pp, hc) July 2019.

Growing Things is Paul Tremblay’s latest short fiction collection, after Compositions for the Young and Old and In the Meantime, some of whose contents it shares. It’s also his first book after a trio of novels – A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappear­ance at Devil’s Rock, and The Cabin at the End of the World ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books, 978-0-06-257194-6, 528pp, $28.99, hc) October 2018.

The old joke has it that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is… 12 (i.e., the age at which most fans begin reading it). After reading Alec Nevala-Lee›s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews Dracul by Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker

Dracul, Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker (Putnam 978-0-7352-1934-2, $27.00, 512pp, hc) October 2018.

In his “Authors’ Note” appended to Dracul, a “prequel” to Dracula that he co-wrote with J.D. Barker, Dacre Stoker relates peculiarities about the publication of his great-grand-uncle Bram’s landmark vampire novel, some of which will surely be news to many readers, as they were to this reviewer. The manuscript of Dracula as we know the ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales by John Locke

The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales, John Locke (Off-Trail Publications 978-1-935031-25-3, $35.00, 314pp, hc) June 2018.

We’re creeping up on the 100th anniversary of Weird Tales, the first issue of which was dated March 1923 but was available at newsstands the month before. It’s an event deserving of some fanfare. Although it struggled financially for the entirety of its almost 32-year existence – we’re talking the ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger, Alma Katsu (Putnam 978-0-06-7352-1251-0, $27.00, 38pp, hc) March 2018.

The tragic fate of the Donner Party is one of the true American horror stories of the 19th century. The collective of 87 family members and individuals set out from Missouri in May 1846 as part of a larger California-bound wagon train caravan. They epitomized the American pioneer spirit and the nation’s snowballing sense of manifest destiny. Soon ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1-5011-8098-9, $30.00, 576pp, hc) May 2018.

Stephen King’s last three published novels – excluding his collaborations with Richard Chizmar and his son Owen King – comprise a triptych informally known as the Bill Hodges trilogy, named for the retired police detective who is their main character. As a unit – and they are a unit, forged by Hodges’s recurring pas-de-deux through them with supernaturally ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Strange Weather, Joe Hill (Morrow 978-0-06-266313-9, $27.99, 448pp, hc) September 2017.

Strange Weather is Joe Hill’s second book of short fiction after his debut collection, 20th Century Ghosts. Or, to be more accurate, it’s his first col­lection of long short fiction. The book is subtitled “Four Short Novels” which will surely put those readers who measure Hill’s resume against that of his father, Stephen King, in mind of ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books 978-1-5947-4981-7, $16.95, 256pp, tp) September 2017.

Looking over the colorful cover repro in Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix’s compulsively readable history of mass-market horror paperbacks in the ’70s and ’80s, is a bit like rummaging in your clothes closet and running across that pair of paisley bell-bottoms you wore to death in ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Haunted Nights by Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton, eds.

Haunted Nights, Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton, eds. (Blumhouse/Anchor 978-1-101-97383-7, $16.95, 368pp, tp) October 2017.

In the horror field it’s pretty much a given that every writer has at least one good Halloween story up his or her sleeve. Haunted Nights, edited by Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton under the auspices of the Horror Writers Association, is an anthology of 16 previously unpublished stories on the Halloween theme ...Read More

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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 novella, 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 ...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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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