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Best New Horror 3 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #3)

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A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories of 1991. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1991 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * True Love by K. W. Jeter * The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell * Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja * Ma Qui by Alan Brennert * The Miracle Mile by Robert R. McCammon * Taking Down the Tree by Steve Rasnic Tem * Where Flies A A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories of 1991. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1991 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * True Love by K. W. Jeter * The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell * Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja * Ma Qui by Alan Brennert * The Miracle Mile by Robert R. McCammon * Taking Down the Tree by Steve Rasnic Tem * Where Flies Are Born by Douglas Clegg * Love, Death and the Maiden [“Mädelein”] by Roger Johnson * Chui Chai by S. P. Somtow * The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu by Kim Newman * Colder Than Hell by Edward Bryant * Raymond by Nancy A. Collins * One Life, in an Hourglass by Charles L. Grant * The Braille Encyclopedia by Grant Morrison * The Bacchae by Elizabeth Hand * Busted in Buttown by David J. Schow * Subway Story by Russell Flinn * The Medusa by Thomas Ligotti * Power Cut by Joel Lane * Moving Out by Nicholas Royle * Guignoir by Norman Partridge * Blood Sky by William F. Nolan * Ready by David Starkey * The Slug by Karl Edward Wagner * The Dark Land by Michael Marshall Smith * When They Gave Us Memory by Dennis Etchison * Taking Care of Michael by J. L. Comeau * The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank by Thomas Tessier * Zits by Nina Kiriki Hoffman * Necrology: 1991 by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman


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A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories of 1991. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1991 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * True Love by K. W. Jeter * The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell * Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja * Ma Qui by Alan Brennert * The Miracle Mile by Robert R. McCammon * Taking Down the Tree by Steve Rasnic Tem * Where Flies A A collection of the best horror and dark fantasy stories of 1991. Contents: * Introduction: Horror in 1991 by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell * True Love by K. W. Jeter * The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell * Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja * Ma Qui by Alan Brennert * The Miracle Mile by Robert R. McCammon * Taking Down the Tree by Steve Rasnic Tem * Where Flies Are Born by Douglas Clegg * Love, Death and the Maiden [“Mädelein”] by Roger Johnson * Chui Chai by S. P. Somtow * The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu by Kim Newman * Colder Than Hell by Edward Bryant * Raymond by Nancy A. Collins * One Life, in an Hourglass by Charles L. Grant * The Braille Encyclopedia by Grant Morrison * The Bacchae by Elizabeth Hand * Busted in Buttown by David J. Schow * Subway Story by Russell Flinn * The Medusa by Thomas Ligotti * Power Cut by Joel Lane * Moving Out by Nicholas Royle * Guignoir by Norman Partridge * Blood Sky by William F. Nolan * Ready by David Starkey * The Slug by Karl Edward Wagner * The Dark Land by Michael Marshall Smith * When They Gave Us Memory by Dennis Etchison * Taking Care of Michael by J. L. Comeau * The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank by Thomas Tessier * Zits by Nina Kiriki Hoffman * Necrology: 1991 by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

30 review for Best New Horror 3 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #3)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ignacio Senao f

    Magnifica recopilación, con grandes autores que por desgracia aquí en España no se traducen o muy escasamente. Destacar los relatos de: Karl Edward Wagner y Graham Masterton. GENIOS.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucian Poll

    After the relative disappointment of Best New Horror 2 compared to the first volume, it’s pleasing to see a significant improvement here in Best New Horror 3. Out go the sci-fi pretenders and bloodless time-wasters of book 2 to be replaced by some notably darker material – this was the year American Psycho hit the bookshelves, after all. Best New Horror 3 collects the best horror shorts published during 1991, and goes a little something like this: True Love – K. W. Jeter (4/5 – A damaged young wo After the relative disappointment of Best New Horror 2 compared to the first volume, it’s pleasing to see a significant improvement here in Best New Horror 3. Out go the sci-fi pretenders and bloodless time-wasters of book 2 to be replaced by some notably darker material – this was the year American Psycho hit the bookshelves, after all. Best New Horror 3 collects the best horror shorts published during 1991, and goes a little something like this: True Love – K. W. Jeter (4/5 – A damaged young woman lures a young boy to her home to meet her father. This is a pitch-black horror story that is unafraid to visit some truly dark places. Much better than “The First Time”, Jeter’s entry in the previous book, and perfectly sets the darker tone of this volume.) The Same In Any Language – Ramsey Campbell (3/5 – A boy endures a holiday with his boorish father… and his father’s newfound squeeze. Things go pear-shaped when the three of them visit a remote island, a former leper colony. This is okay, with interesting and believable relationships developing between the characters, but things go awry the moment the horror is brought in. The whole set-up is somewhat over-engineered. And, yes, this is another of those “dumped on a remote Greek island” stories, the third in as many books.) Impermanent Mercies – Kathe Koja (4/5 – A photographer takes a picture of a boy and his dog moments before the hound is tragically killed beneath the wheels of a train. The photographer is later horrified to find that the boy has kept the dog’s head in a box. And that the head can talk. This starts off weird and then gets weirder and darker with each passing paragraph. This reminded me so much of the deeply strange and disturbing sketches in Chris Morris’s Blue Jam radio series from the late 1990s – several years after this was published. I loved that and I really liked this.) Ma Qui – Alan Brennert (4/5 – An American soldier roams the Vietnamese jungle, recalling the moments before and immediately after his death. He seeks his body so that he can move on, but the VC appear to have stolen it. Nearby he finds the ghost of a fellow soldier suspended over a river, and learns of his terrible new role in the afterlife. A really good and absorbing read.) The Miracle Mile – Robert R. McCammon (4/5 – A bleak post-apocalyptic tale which sees a family struggling to reach the beach they once visited every year. But what do you do when the road runs out and you are met with the vast emptiness of the ocean? This was fairly standard end-of-the-world fare up until a moment that genuinely had me saying “Whoa!”) Taking Down The Tree – Steve Rasnic Tem (4/5 – A short and effective shocker from SRT. Christmas has come and gone and it’s time to take down the tree, the decorations and a whole lot more besides. Another one that had me raising my eyebrows. Good stuff!) Where Flies Are Born – Douglas Clegg (3/5 – A mother and her young son take refuge in a farmhouse when their train breaks down in severe weather. But there is something about their hosts that sets her on edge… and then she meets the kids. This is okay, with some solid creepy imagery, but is let down by an ending that feels a little shoehorned in.) Love, Death and the Maiden – Roger Johnson (3/5 – A man corresponds with a friend as she travels pre-WWII Eastern Europe seeking Elisabeth Bathory’s iron maiden. This was a solid 4/5 right up to the denouement, which was silly and unfortunately reminded me of the Fembots from the Austin Powers movies.) Chui Chai – S. P. Somtow (4/5 – An oversexed yuppie meets a doctor in a Thai bar and is captivated by a beautiful performer there, only realising too late that he has been set up. Helpless to resist, he spends the night with the performer. Years later, diseased, alone and still utterly obsessed, he attempts to seek the performer out once more. This is quite the mirror opposite of the previous story, in that it was a solid 3/5 until the ending, which was wonderfully bonkers.) The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu – Kim Newman (1/5 – Newman’s encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema is given another airing in this short piece of pseudofiction, which sees Orson Welles rocking up to a dilapidated Xanadu, Charles Foster Kane’s mansion. Nothing much happens in this non-story, and it’s place in a horror anthology is dubious to say the least.) Colder Than Hell – Edward Bryant (4/5 – Logan and his wife, Opal, make the best of a bad situation as their home is consumed by a huge and bitterly cold winter storm. Logan grows more suspicious of his wife with each passing day. How can she remain so calm when all hell is breaking loose outside? Another good ‘un, this.) Raymond – Nancy A. Collins (4/5 – Darryl is intrigued by a new starter at his school: a nervous and scrawny little boy called Raymond. The boy’s bandaged head and hands mark him out for special attention by the school bully, who soon finds to his cost that Raymond isn’t afraid to bite back. It’s a werewolf story (so much is revealed in the editors’ introduction) but it’s one that is ahead of the pack, so to speak.) One Life, In An Hourglass – Charles L. Grant (4/5 – Another bit of fan fiction as Grant takes us to the world of Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. A middle-aged woman named Cora returns to Green Town, sometime venue of Cooger & Dark’s travelling carnival. Teenage memories of Mr Dark flood Cora’s mind: the plans she had of leaving Green Town with him… and how she was thwarted by her mother. But Cora can feel the carnival returning, she is sure of it. The storm clouds are gathering once more. I’m not usually a fan of stories that come with prerequisites but this was pretty good, helped by a wonderfully chill ending. It also forced me to read Bradbury’s novel beforehand, which had been on my to-be-read pile for years.) The Braille Encyclopedia – Grant Morrison (4/5 – Morrison goes all Clive Barker as a young blind woman is recruited into a world of sadism and exquisite pain, of abused angels and human books scarred with forbidden knowledge. Dark stuff indeed. I bet this is exactly what Louis Braille had in mind back in the 1800’s when he was concocting his alphabet, the grubby bugger.) The Bacchae – Elizabeth Hand (5/5 – Euripides’s tragedy gets a modern facelift as a man grows increasingly alarmed at the growing ill-temper and violence being meted out on men by women, his beloved notwithstanding. This is an excellent and unflinching story, and one of the best in the book. A bit like Raccoona Sheldon (aka James Tiptree Jnr)’s “The Screwfly Solution”, but with the genders reversed.) Busted In Buttown – David S. Schow (4/5 – A short shocker as a no-nonsense burglar escapes the attentions of the LAPD, only to find the tables turned on him in an unforeseen and gruesome way. Another winner.) Subway Story – Russell Flinn (3/5 – A grumpy old fusspot called Whittle harbours a serious grudge against a younger work colleague. When he’s not doing that, Whittle spends a lot of time dreading his walks through a local subway, then walking dread-filled through the subway, and then reminiscing just how dreadful that subway was. If you thought that was just a bunch of sentences thrown together, then you’ve got the right idea. This story pinballs all over the place, barely ever settling from one paragraph to the next. The one saving grace of this story, weirdly, is the quality of the writing. There are some wonderful descriptive passages and turns of phrase to be found here.) The Medusa – Thomas Ligotti (4/5 – Lucian Dregler is a man obsessed with all things Medusa: her mythology, her influence on culture throughout the ages, even the question of her very existence. Dregler is called to a club where he is given a fresh Medusan lead to follow by a friend, not realising it’s a hoax. Or is it? This really ought to be a straight 3/5, but once again I’m won over by Ligotti’s writing. I swear he could pen a four-page paragraph about someone preparing a snifter of absinthe and it would probably be the best thing I’d read that day.) Power Cut – Joel Lane (4/5 – A politician called Lake escapes the loneliness of his constituency flat and hits the town for a bit of rough. Lake hooks up with a moody fella called Gary and they head back to Gary’s place. It’s a squalid, bare-bones studio flat littered with newspaper cuttings. The cuttings cover the walls too, and Lake makes the horrible mistake of reading them. Joel Lane’s stories were often good, but would require a re-read or two to fully appreciate what was going on, for me at least. This earlyish effort is comparatively straightforward, however, like a pleasingly short Robert Aickman story. Good stuff.) Moving Out – Nicholas Royle (3/5 – Nick is an arsehole who likes to play pranks on his other half. So much so, it seems, that she eventually moves away – seventy miles away. She refuses Nick’s help, refuses to acknowledge his offer, even his very existence. Now why would she do a thing like that? This is okay – better than Royle’s previous entries in the Best New Horror series – but two things hold it back: 1) I’d guessed what was going on by the end of page one, and 2) Nick really is a proper arsehole.) Guignoir – Norman Partridge (4/5 – Frank and Larry are twin brothers working a grim carnival attraction called the Death Car, the very vehicle a local murderer once used to drive his victims to their slaughter. The car is owned by their father, a man with all the business prowess of a broken table lamp. Things take a markedly bloody turn when the father is conned out of a suitcase of money, their life savings. This is a good story that packs a whole lot of goings-on, but I wonder if it would have worked even better in a longer form.) Blood Sky – William F. Nolan (4/5 – Ed hits it off with a woman called Lorry. It seems they were made for each other. They hit the road together and life is peachy. But Ed has a dark side. Ed is the Big Sky Strangler, and his past crimes are beginning to catch up with him. I liked this a lot, helped no end by Nolan’s easy style and the superb characters he creates.) Ready – David Starkey (4/5 – Mike is deeply disturbed by the sounds coming from the flat next door. It sounds like his neighbour is beating a dog, and at length. This goes on night after night until Mike finally snaps and confronts his neighbour, whereupon Mike is invited to have a go himself. A deliciously dark story this, though probably not one for animal lovers.) The Slug – Karl Edward Wagner (5/5 – Martine is forced to set aside her sculpting for a moment to hear a sorry story from a fellow creative (and keen alcoholic), Keenan Bauduret. It seems that Keenan made the mistake of letting a fellow writer, Casper Crowley, into his life only to find the man won’t let go. Keenan’s creativity stalls, deadlines slip, alcohol mounts, work dries up, and so Keenan must take drastic action to wrench his life back. This is an excellent read, helped immeasurably by Wagner’s afterword, to quote: “The imaginative is the choice prey of the banal, and uncounted works of excellence have died stillborn thanks to junk phone calls and visits from bored associates.” I’m putting that on my fucking gravestone.) The Dark Land – Michael Marshall Smith (3/5 – A young man suffers a waking nightmare in which two men are super keen to break in through the back door of the house. The front door offers salvation of sorts. Now, if only he could reach it. A funny one to score, this. Smith perfectly captures that uneasy, shifting, segueing experience of dreaming, and this story is undoubtedly well-written, but The Dark Land feels overlong for what it is and the ending is a bit of a cop-out. Still, it did win a British Fantasy Award, so what do I know?) When They Gave Us Memory – Dennis Etchison (4/5 – An actor attempts to reconnect with his parents at their coastal home, only to find the house up for sale. When he finally tracks them down, he’s alarmed to find he’s not quite the son they think he is. I liked this story a lot, despite twigging what was going on a little ahead of schedule.) Taking Care Of Michael – J. L. Comeau (4/5 – An effective flash fiction shocker as a woman takes care of her disabled brother… badly.) The Dreams Of Dr Ladybank – Thomas Tessier (4/5 – Dr Ian Ladybank finds he can exercise psychic control over two people: one a low-ranking biker and wannabe pimp, calling himself Snake, who is the husband of one of Ladybank’s patients; the other a transvestite hooker called Tony, assigned to Ladybank following Tony’s arrest. Ladybank wastes no time in using his newfound power to make both men’s lives a living hell. Matters take a twisted turn when Snake meets up with a hooker called Toni, and tries to coerce her into working for him. This is comfortably the longest story in the book, as long as the three next longest stories combined. Is it worth it? Yes indeed. It’s certainly not afraid to go there, let’s put it that way. But this novella is not without its flaws. Snake is a cookie-cutter badass with some truly cringeworthy dialogue. Maybe this was intentional. The biggest problem, however, lies in Tony. He sure doesn’t talk, act, dress, whore, drive, drink or keep a home like you’d think a sixteen-year-old would. I’ve no idea why Tessier felt the need to make Tony so young, other than an attempt to increase the shock value. Trust me, the story doesn’t need it! Still a good read, all the same.) Zits – Nina Kiriki Hoffman (2/5 – Another flash fiction shocker as a sexually-abused teenage girl contemplates what to do with the big zit growing inside of her. This didn’t work for me. It seemed to be trying way too hard to be nasty, as if the subject matter wasn’t nasty enough. In their introduction to this story the editors lament the amount of child abuse stories in horror, so it seems bizarre for them to end the book on one.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Best New Horror Volume 3 (1991): 2015 Revised PS Publishing Edition: edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell, containing the following stories: True Love by K. W. Jeter: Really disturbing character study. The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell: A visit to the Greek islands turns out badly for a boy and worse for his annoying father. Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja: Totally weird and strangely disturbing. Ma Qui by Alan Brennert: Marvelous piece of posthumous narration set during the Viet Best New Horror Volume 3 (1991): 2015 Revised PS Publishing Edition: edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell, containing the following stories: True Love by K. W. Jeter: Really disturbing character study. The Same in Any Language by Ramsey Campbell: A visit to the Greek islands turns out badly for a boy and worse for his annoying father. Impermanent Mercies by Kathe Koja: Totally weird and strangely disturbing. Ma Qui by Alan Brennert: Marvelous piece of posthumous narration set during the Viet Nam War. The Miracle Mile by Robert R. McCammon: Pretty slight entry from a zombie anthology. Taking Down the Tree by Steve Rasnic Tem: A weird, poetic piece from the prolific and valuable Mr. Tem. Where Flies Are Born by Douglas Clegg: OK bit of body-horror. Love, Death and the Maiden by Roger Johnson: Moody horror-quest sort of fizzles out in murkiness. Chui Chai by S. P. Somtow: Another unimpressive piece of horror from someone who was a really impressive science-fiction writer in the 1970's and early 1980's. The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu by Kim Newman: Fun metafictional oddity for Citizen Kane fans. Colder Than Hell by Edward Bryant: Chilly psychological horror story recalls Sinclair Ross' classic "The Painted Door." Raymond by Nancy A. Collins: Collins creates a sad werewolf. One Life, in an Hourglass by Charles L. Grant: Riff on Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes is low-key but mostly satisfying. The Braille Encyclopedia by Grant Morrison: Creepy horror piece suggests that mostly-comic-book-writing Morrison is riffing hard on Clive Barker. The Bacchae by Elizabeth Hand: Brilliant piece of feminist, mythological horror set in a rapidly disintegrating near-future. Busted in Buttown by David J. Schow: Interesting, but it really feels like Schow is riffing on Dennis Etchison here. Subway Story by Russell Flinn: Flinn abandoned writing soon after this was published, which is a shame -- he was like a somewhat more surreal but quite horrifying version of Ramsey Campbell in terms of his subject matter and descriptive focus. The Medusa by Thomas Ligotti: One of Ligotti's relatively early, much-anthologized, weird pieces. Power Cut by Joel Lane: Sharp, satiric horror about homophobia. Moving Out by Nicholas Royle: Excellent, unusual, disturbing ghost story. Guignoir by Norman Partridge: Fun, pulpy piece of American ultraviolence, complete with carnival. Blood Sky by William F. Nolan: Unusual, affecting character study of a serial killer. Ready by David Starkey: Interesting. The Slug by Karl Edward Wagner: Writer's block horror from the late, great writer and anthologist who faced these demons and others at the time of publication. The Dark Land by Michael Marshall Smith: Excellent early bit of horrifying, somewhat surreal journey into... something. When They Gave Us Memory by Dennis Etchison: A typical Etchison oddity, which is to say unusual in subject matter, elusive in meaning, keenly observed in physical detail. Taking Care of Michael by J. L. Comeau: Sort of yuck. The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank by Thomas Tessier: Tessier works some very modern, gender-bending, boundary-pushing changes on the basic set-up for such horror classics as Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Parasite." Zits by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Bleak, disturbing vignette. Overall: Many of these stories have become repeatedly republished classics, and others merit rediscovery. There are very, very few misses. Fine editorial work from the team of Jones and Campbell. This new edition updates the biographies for the writers, so there is new material if one already owns the original edition..

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abraham Martinez

    Hay un antes de Clive Barker y un después de Clive Barker. Buena parte de esta antología está dedicada al subgénero que en el terror se conoce como "alegoría moral", historias donde a la gente mala le pasan clsas malas, y buena parte de esos cuentos estan entre regular y mas o menos buenos. Sin embargo se destacan algunos ya hacia el final, y sobre todo se percibe en algunos autores esa mezcla de gore y animalidad humana que Barker terminaría de catalizar en los 80s. Recomendable para los fans de Hay un antes de Clive Barker y un después de Clive Barker. Buena parte de esta antología está dedicada al subgénero que en el terror se conoce como "alegoría moral", historias donde a la gente mala le pasan clsas malas, y buena parte de esos cuentos estan entre regular y mas o menos buenos. Sin embargo se destacan algunos ya hacia el final, y sobre todo se percibe en algunos autores esa mezcla de gore y animalidad humana que Barker terminaría de catalizar en los 80s. Recomendable para los fans de "Mil maneras de morir" pero no es imprescindible para lectores con gustos mas modernos.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie Sloan

    Not a bad book but really nothing special.I have read SO MANY anthologies that i tend to be picky. This book had a lot of the stories that i really don't like namely stories about cruelty and serial killers. If it had had more stories of the supernatural I think that i would have liked it more. There are much better anthologies out these so you may not want to waste your time with this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    I haven’t read much of the “new” horror from 1992, but I wouldn’t doubt that “Best New Horror 3” really is the best the year offered. Editors Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell have collected a wide range of short horror stories (and one novella) from relatively-unknown authors that explore varied ideas: the ghosts of soldiers sprung from war-time, the Medusa mythology, the deceit of politicians, gender issues, and relationships. Some of the stories are meditative psychological chillers, while ot I haven’t read much of the “new” horror from 1992, but I wouldn’t doubt that “Best New Horror 3” really is the best the year offered. Editors Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell have collected a wide range of short horror stories (and one novella) from relatively-unknown authors that explore varied ideas: the ghosts of soldiers sprung from war-time, the Medusa mythology, the deceit of politicians, gender issues, and relationships. Some of the stories are meditative psychological chillers, while others cross the line into the literary equivalent of the “torture-porn” film-genre. What the stories all share is originality and interesting ideas, something which propels them above the glut of mainstream horror fiction, which typically deal with the familiar subjects of vampires, ghosts and deranged serial killers. All three make appearances here, but the approaches are refreshingly unique. The problem with anthologies – in any medium or genre – is that you’re bound to dislike about half of the pieces. Best New Horror 3 scores a better ratio of good-to-bad than most: out of the 29 stories, I only disliked seven, with an additional five being mediocre. That leaves eleven great horror stories, with four more that I would consider among my personal favourites. The twelve or so mediocre-to-bad stories are not travesties by any means. Few are generic and most of them are commendable in their intentions, although they all have their own individual failures. My absolute least favourite is Kim Newman’s “The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu”. This is the only story I’m afraid was completely over-my-head – the editor’s introduction bills it as a non-fiction ode to Citizen Kane, a film which I’ve never seen, as well as a homage to countless other horror films. I couldn’t discern anything frightening nor even a coherent storyline – it reads like a jumbled amalgamation of various notable horror classics with a completely ridiculous ending tacked on. The introduction also notes that it was voted one of the least popular stories in a magazine’s reader poll; I’m not sure if I understand the story or if there is anything to understand, but certainly there’s nothing chilling, disturbing or vaguely frightening about what unfolds. On the other hand, Elizabeth Hand’s “The Bacchae” languishes on the other side of the spectrum. The editors’ introduction sets it up to be a disturbing piece, including quotes from an outraged reader declaring it “anti-male hatred” and “repulsive”. Rather, I found the story completely tired, the male-versus-female theme completely over-the-top and explored with no nuance. The inevitable “repulsive” conclusion that follows from such a theme can be predicted with little thought (me? I called it by the end of the editors’ introduction). None of the other pieces are as bad as the aforementioned two. Thomas Ligotti’s “The Medusa” suffers from being too “literary”, that is that a man embarking on a lifelong search for the “Medusa” is a completely ridiculous idea, the type that doesn’t ring true with any semblance of reality and can only ever exist in fiction. The entire story is drenched in a pseudo-philosophy and self-seriousness that seems to be reaching for profundity, but is without any real intellect behind it. K.W Jeter’s “True Love” is a decent vampire tale, but doesn’t venture anywhere we haven’t already seen explored in countless years of vampire stories. Douglass Clegg’s “Where Flies are Born” is interesting, but too absurd to be scary and reads like an old “Tales from the Crypt” episode. Karl Edward Wagner’s “The Slug” is another story I’ll chalk up as too “literary”; the whole thing is nothing more than a thinly-veiled analogy for “writers block” and the distractions that impede an artist’s creative flow, and like most stories that attempt to be nothing more than allusions, the plot quickly becomes absurd and irrational. There are a few other poor ones scattered throughout, but I’ll stop here at the risk of further overshadowing the mostly exceptional work collected in this volume. The most disturbing piece by far is Grant Morrison’s “The Braille Encyclopaedia”, an entirely repulsive and debased piece of perversity that shadows Clive Barker’s “The Hellbound Heart” in its psychosexual nature and exploration of the links between pain and pleasure. It’s repulsive on a purely physical level, the acts committed within absolutely abhorrent, but remains a well-crafted story and an astounding work of imagination if not too derivative of Barker. That is more than I can say of David Starkey’s “Ready”, which is equally disturbing, but not much more than a cruel act transcribed onto paper. Still, it’s effective at what it sets out to do and if you find yourself rarely frightened or disturbed by horror fiction, this is a story that’s difficult to read. S. P Somtow’s “Chui Chai”, although a bit clumsily written, is another piece that manages to find an imaginative way to creep out the reader, this time through a necrophiliac – and oddly enough, consensual – love-affair. However, it’s the meditative slow-burners and psychological thrillers that make up the anthology’s best, generating scares without resorting to the gross-outs and extreme acts of violence that constitute others. Robert R. McCammon’s “The Miracle Mile”, despite being about a vampire apocalypse, is a chilling character study and a brilliant examination of how loss and change can affect a person. The social, cultural and economic effects of a speculative apocalypse are fairly easy to represent (as done in the book “World War Z”) – much more difficult is to capture the psychological implications of an event of such unfathomable magnitude, and I’d put “The Miracle Mile” up there with “I Am Legend” in this regard. Michael Marshall Smith’s “The Dark Land” is the best representation of dreams and nightmares I’ve ever read. The surreal nature of dreams is something I have not seen captured in any medium of art accurately; often representations are either too grounded in reality or too detached from reality, whereas dreams exist in a strange limbo between the two. Marshall Smith’s “The Dark Land” captures this surreal balance between logic and anti-logic. It’s an astounding work of brilliance, a piece of prose with a coherent and imaginatively frightening story that at the same time reads exactly like an episode from ones sleep. There are two other brilliant pieces: Alan Brennert’s “Ma Qui” and Thomas Tessier’s novella “The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank”. The former is a Vietnam War ghost story. Ghost stories are almost as old as Vietnam War critiques (I kid), but the intriguing look at the Vietnamese culture and their own ghost lore creates a refreshing and poignant comment on an overdone subject. The latter is a bizarre novella about a psychiatrist’s meddling in two troubled patient’s brains. Often the most chilling prospects are those that extend from within yourself – as frightening as ghosts and murderers and other external threats may be, control over one’s self remains our greatest solace and “The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank” exploits the fear of losing control of yourself brilliantly. It’s one of the more twisted pieces – plenty of blood and dismemberment – but the true horror extends from the psychological, not the perversion of flesh, but the perversion of mind. Like any other anthology, there will be plenty out of the 29 stories you won’t enjoy. What this anthology does offer are unique explorations of different themes and ideas, besides a few derivative pieces, unlike much of what you’d read in best-sellers. Some brilliant, some with their faults, but all refreshingly original – which is almost an anomaly in popular fiction. I would take one of the poor pieces from this volume over the latest acclaimed best-selling horror novel any day. “Best New Horror 3” is highly recommended

  7. 4 out of 5

    Juan Nieto Cano

    En general, contando todos relatos, esta bien y es entretenido. La mayoría de ellos son amenos y se leen muy rápidamente. También tengo que decir que a mi la recopilación de relatos de cortos me encanta, y si encima son de misterio y terror pues mucho mejor. Lo curioso es que el relatos más deseado, el de Stephen King, ha sido el que menos me ha gustado, no le he visto mucha gracia, pero los demás sí están muy bien.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    *1.5*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isidore

    Sometime in the late 1980s I stopped reading weird fiction. The twin hammer blows of Stephen King and Clive Barker had, it seemed to me at the time, pretty much destroyed the subtlety and sophistication which the genre had acquired in its peak years. For one who esteemed Blackwood, Machen, M.R. James, and Lovecraft, the return of Penny Dreadfuls and sadism-for-sadism's sake was so discouraging that I gave up on the whole business. To celebrate the silver anniversary of the first Stephen Jones "Be Sometime in the late 1980s I stopped reading weird fiction. The twin hammer blows of Stephen King and Clive Barker had, it seemed to me at the time, pretty much destroyed the subtlety and sophistication which the genre had acquired in its peak years. For one who esteemed Blackwood, Machen, M.R. James, and Lovecraft, the return of Penny Dreadfuls and sadism-for-sadism's sake was so discouraging that I gave up on the whole business. To celebrate the silver anniversary of the first Stephen Jones "Best New Horror" anthology (still the genre's most useful annual review, despite Datlow and Guran), I've decide to look at some of the issues I missed. The present collection covers fiction published in 1991, so, apart from a few which were reprinted after my return to the fold, all of these stories are new to me. Not too surprisingly, it's a mixed bag. 1991 was still pretty close to the genre's nadir, and there are some stories where the author is primarily interested in arousing the reader's disgust (Grant Morrison and Douglas Clegg are the worst). Thomas Tessier's novella, The Dreams of Dr. Ladybank, although vivid and well-written, is also finally a mere exercise in nastiness. William F. Nolan contributes a good crime story, which can only be considered weird fiction if the subject of serial killers automatically guarantees inclusion in the genre (to my mind, it does not). Most of the rest of the stories are neither particularly offensive nor particularly interesting. Would I have found cause for encouragement had I read this book in 1992? Well, there's Ramsey Campbell, manfully upholding standards of a better day, although The Same in Any Language isn't close to his best work. There's Ligotti's The Medusa, also not his best, but positively radiant in the present mediocre surroundings. There is an outstanding "traditional" ghost story by Alan Brennert, an author I don't know, who clearly deserves further investigation. Best of all are the contributions by three newcomers: Kathe Koja, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Michael Marshall Smith. Their tales suggest the new paths the genre would take as it emerged from the mire. All three of them deploy outlandish and extremely inventive ideas, which have nothing to do with genre traditions or popular taste, and narrative lines which are skewed, non-linear, and sometimes opaque. Yet the darkness and morbidity of their vision ensures that there's no confusing their work with surrealist or absurdist fiction. In Impermanent Mercies, Koja takes the hoariest of gag notions, the talking dog, and makes something memorably horrific out of it. Tem's Taking Down the Tree joins Campbell's The Chimney as one of the modern masterpieces of Christmas horror. But Marshall's The Dark Land is even better, and stranger. I can't pretend I really understand what is going on in this story: a blond man and a man in a suit, the latter perhaps from the narrator's future, keep invading the narrator's house. He resorts to increasingly extravagant means of keeping them out. In the process, space inside the house becomes weirdly transformed, so that the ordinary laws of physics and perspective do not apply. His furniture is displaced by decrepit relics from previous generations, his rooms are overrun by spiders and a sort of generalized rot and decay. The story finishes with the narrator's imminent defeat, and a sort of acceptance of the situation. It may not sound like much told in this bald manner, but Smith's tale makes most of the competition look amateurish. So I guess there were signs of spring in the winter of 1991, after all.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jien

    Like any anthology, some stories are better than others. Overall this is a satisfying read, and it's worth the time getting through it for the few gems: "Ma Qui" by Alan Brennert is probably my favorite of the stories in this book that I have read. "The Braille Encyclopedia" by Grant Morrison was twisted, but it reminded me of Hellraiser which is probably my favorite horror movie. I will say though that there are quite a few stories in this collection that are uninteresting: going nowhere and not Like any anthology, some stories are better than others. Overall this is a satisfying read, and it's worth the time getting through it for the few gems: "Ma Qui" by Alan Brennert is probably my favorite of the stories in this book that I have read. "The Braille Encyclopedia" by Grant Morrison was twisted, but it reminded me of Hellraiser which is probably my favorite horror movie. I will say though that there are quite a few stories in this collection that are uninteresting: going nowhere and not even explaining how they got there. Still, four stars seems suitable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    A collection of forgettable hardcore dark horror stories, with the exception of 'Ma Qui' by Alan Brennert. If you only read one story from this book (and that's probably a wise choice) make it that one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    These anthologies are some of my favorite reading material for long car rides, beach vacations or cruises. This one has three of my favorite, most haunting and disturbing stories: "Where Flies are Born," "Taking Down the Tree" and Grant Morrison's "The Braille Encyclopedia." Strongly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marianneboss

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Rosemary

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Pantano

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  21. 4 out of 5

    Malloryk0422

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Bourff

  25. 5 out of 5

    Serai Xavier

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abe Escher

  27. 4 out of 5

    Florencia Schiavi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thrown With Great Force

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

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