New Terrors

New Terrors II, edited by Ramsey Campbell (1980; 1984), containing:

Sun City by Lisa Tuttle; Time to Laugh by Joan Aiken; Bridal Suite by Graham Masterton; The Miraculous Cairn by Christopher Priest; The Rubber Room by Robert Bloch; Drama In Five Acts by Giles Gordon; The Initiation by Jack Sullivan; Lucille Would Have Known by John Frederick Burke; The Funny Face Murders by R. A. Lafferty; Femme Fatale by Marianne Leconte; Can You Still See Me? by Margaret Dickson; One Way Out by Felice Picano; The Ice Monkey by M. John Harrison; Symbiote by Andrew J. Offutt and Across the Water to Skye by Charles L. Grant.

Second half of Campbell’s British New Terrors anthology of original horror stories divided for American paperback publication. The stories range from the solid and familiarly M.R. Jamesian “Lucille Would Have Known” (though James never wrote a ghost story about bus tours) to the brooding, Kafkaesque “The Miraculous Cairn” and the post-modern prose-poem “Drama in Five Acts.” Range is indeed what we have here, without sacrificing terror, horror or the occasional gross-out seen most prominently in “Bridal Suite.” “Symbiote” and the grotesque “Femme Fatale.”

Several of the stories are almost perfectly representative of their authors, especially M. John Harrison’s “The Ice Monkey” — suggestive but ultimately nebulous terror set in a relentlessly broken urban wasteland counterpointed with the dangerous Sublime of nature –and R.A. Lafferty’s weird-ass, Chestertonian “The Funny Face Murders.” Old masters like Aiken, Bloch and Lafferty rub shoulders here with both the up-and-coming (Masterson, Tuttle, Harrison and Priest) and the relatively obscure to the horror genre (Dickson, Picano and Gordon). In all, a wide-ranging and often deeply disturbing anthology. Or at least half of one. Highly recommended.

2 thoughts on “New Terrors

  1. You might want to try to track down the one-volume British hardcover, which seems to be the only version that has all the stories in it — these two omit a handful of selections for what I'd assume are page-count reasons.

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