On the Darkside

Lost on the Darkside, edited by John Pelan (2005):

Stories:

** At the Circus of the Dead by Tony Richards
** This Body of Death by Maria Alexander
** The Blood of Ink by Joseph A. Ezzo
** Unblinking by Ramsey Campbell
** The Dirty People by David B. Silva
** Glyphotech by Mark Samuels
** Spider Dreams by Michael Reaves
** Behind the Masque by Jeffrey Thomas
** Last Stop by John Pelan
** A Bottle of Egyptian Night by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
** Roadside Memorials by Joseph Nassise
** Comforts of Home by Michael Laimo
** The Call of Farther Shores by David Niall Wilson
** Our World, How Fragile by Paul Melniczek
** The Crawl by Gerard Houarner

A so-so original horror anthology from the mid-oughts. Ramsey Campbell delivers, as he usually does, with a tale of madness in academia. The Richards story has a nice, dark Bradbury feel to it (not least because it deals with a travelling carnival). “Glyphotech” deservedly made at least one year’s best anthology — it’s a peculiarly modern horror story about business-oriented self-help seminars. Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s story isn’t horror at all, but rather a melacholy but ultimately triumphant story that begins where many horror and fantasy stories do begin — in a mysterious curio shop. The other stories are mostly solid but unspectacular, and at least two uses of fairly hoary old tropes (the vengeful ‘inanimate’ object and the recursive dream) really needed a few more passes to make them sing. Lightly recommended.

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