DAW The Year’s Best Horror Series XI (1982), edited by Karl Edward Wagner

DAW The Year’s Best Horror Series XI (1982), edited by Karl Edward Wagner (1983):


Introduction: One from the Vault by Karl Edward Wagner
The Grab by Richard Laymon
The Show Goes On by Ramsey Campbell
The House at Evening by Frances Garfield
I Hae Dream’d a Dreary Dream by John Alfred Taylor
Deathtracks by Dennis Etchison
Come, Follow! by Sheila Hodgson
The Smell of Cherries by Jeffrey Goddin
A Posthumous Bequest by David Campton
Slippage by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
The Executor by David G. Rowlands
Mrs. Halfbooger’s Basement by Lawrence C. Connolly
Rouse Him Not by Manly Wade Wellman
Spare the Child by Thomas F. Monteleone
The New Rays by M. John Harrison
Cruising by Donald Tyson
The Depths by Ramsey Campbell
Pumpkin Head by Al Sarrantonio

1982 gives us a nice selection of horror stories ranging from M.R. James homages (“The Executor” and “Come, Follow!”, the latter based on James’s brief notes for stories he never got around to writing) to creepy contemporary horror (“Spare the Child”, which makes overseas-foster-children sponsoring almost as scary as gormless middle-class Americans). Ramsey Campbell shows up twice, in both cases at least a bit meta for stories of a haunted cinema and a really haunted horror writer, respectively.

We also get short and punchy stories from Manly Wade Wellman and Mrs. Manly Wade Wellman (Frances Garfield), another mindfuck from M. John Harrison about, um, a bizarre new cancer treatment? Sarrantonio’s “Pumpkin Head” is a Bradburyesque Hallowe’en story unconnected to the Lance Henriksen movie of the same name; Michael Kube-McDowell’s “Slippage” manages to suggest classic Twilight Zone in its story of a man gradually being erased from history; and John Alfred Taylor gives us my nomination as the scariest supernatural hiking story ever written. Yes, it’s a small sub-genre, but this one is a dandy. All in all, highly recommended.

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