Dark Terrors: The Gollancz Book of Horror

Dark Terrors: The Gollancz Book of Horror - Christopher Fowler, Mark Morris, Peter Straub, Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Jones, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Karl Edward Wagner, David Sutton, Nicholas Royle, Steve Rasnic Tem, Mandy Slater, Richard Christian Matheson, Lisa Morton, Roberta Lannes, Terry Lamsley, I am very impressed with this anthology. The writing is strong and the stories are very good, with the exception of only two. The strongest stories are More Tomorrow (Michael Marshall Smith), The Puppets (Ramsey Campbell), The Hungry Moon (Graham Masterton), Uzzi (Brian Lumley) and Fee (Peter Straub), while other notables are All My Friends Are Here (Charles Wagner), The Lagoon (Nicholas Royle), At the Crossroads, Burying the Dog (Jeff VanderMeer) & The Travelling Salesman's Christmas Special (C. Bruce Hunter).

I was largely impressed with the combination of strong characterization, effective writing & a good plot. I am often disillusioned with horror. It opts largely for violence & relies on stereotypical characters that are lost amid plot. Due to this I read the genre sporadically, & avoid many novels that might actually be good: I've wasted enough of my life on trash. Bad writing is also a factor with many horror writers, & it is primarily due to this that the genre has a bad reputation among many, from non-horror writers to members of the general public. Writers like Ramsey Campbell & Peter Straub, as with most of the stories in this collection, are great examples of effective, intelligent horror. The only two stories in the collection I did not care for (they are not terrible, just not very good) are Food for Thought (Mandy Slater) & Splatter of Black (Charles Gramlich), both simply forgettable. This volume would make a good introduction to horror for those only mildly interested in the genre, or anyone seeking good horror writing.

(For synopses of stories & other info, please visit the IBList at http://www.iblist.com/book67981.htm)