Once again Ellen Datlow has culled through the past year’s mass of horror shorts and novellas to put together a collection of some of the best highlights for genre fans.
Datlow not only has great taste, but with these “best of” anthologies she’s essentially offering readers a snapshot of the year’s releases. The chosen tales are narrowed down from multi-author anthologies, single author collections, magazines, online publications, and any other place that might have featured horror shorts for the previous year. What’s more, Datlow also takes the time to list additional readings of note including shorts that didn’t quite make the cut (because there are such a plethora to have to choose from), genre novels, award winners, etc from the calendar year.
This year’s twenty-two tale selection runs the gamut of horror with tales inspired by Lovecraft (Brian Evenson’s “Past Reno” and Livia Llewellyn’s “Allochton” were both originally part of the Letters to Lovecraft anthology edited by Jesse Bullington), a sin eater (Genevieve Valentine’s “A Dweller in Amenty”), vengeance from beyond the grave (Laird Barron’s “The Worms Crawl In”), and of course a couple of tales of the apocalypse as well, just to mention a few.
Some of my own favorites this time around include Garth Nix’s “Shay Corsham Worsted” and Keris McDonald’s “The Coat Off His Back,” both of which center around some quite historic criminals, the abovementioned “Past Reno,” and Angela Slatter’s revenge tale “Winter Children.”
Here’s the full table of contents:
The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
Winter Children by Angela Slatter
A Dweller in Amenty by Genevieve Valentine
Outside Heavenly by Rio Youers
Shay Corsham Worsted by Garth Nix
Allochton by Livia Llewllyn
Chapter Six by Stephen Graham Jones
This is Not for You by Gemma Files
Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8) by Caitlin R. Kiernan
The Culvert by Dale Bailey
Past Reno by Brian Evenson
The Coat off His Back by Keris McDonald
The Worms Crawl In by Laird Barron
The Dog’s Home by Alison Littlewood
Tread Upon the Brittle Shell by Rhoads Brazos
Persistence of Vision by Orrin Grey
It Flows From the Mouth by Robert Shearman
Wingless Beasts by Lucy Taylor
Departures by Carole Johnstone
Ymir by John Langan
Plink by Kurt Dinan
Nigredo by Cody Goodfellow
9/15 Becky LeJeune
THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR 7, ed. by Ellen Datlow. Night Shade Books (August 18, 2015). ISBN 978-1597808293. 368p.