Best New Horror 2010

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22 (2010), edited by Stephen Jones (2011), containing the following stories:

*What Will Come After by Scott Edelman
Substitutions by Michael Marshall Smith
A Revelation of Cormorants by Mark Valentine
*Out Back by Garry Kilworth
*Fort Clay, Louisiana: A Tragical History by Albert E. Cowdrey
Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls by Brian Hodge
*Fallen Boys by Mark Morris
The Lemon in the Pool by Simon Kurt Unsworth
The Pier by Thana Niveau
*Featherweight by Robert Shearman
Black Country by Joel Lane
*Lavender and Lychgates by Angela Slatter
*Christmas with the Dead by Joe R. Lansdale
*Losenef Express by Mark Samuels
Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside by Christopher Fowler
*We All Fall Down by Kirstyn McDermott
*Lesser Demons by Norman Partridge
*Telling by Steve Rasnic Tem
*As Red as Red by Caitlin R. Kiernan
*With the Angels by Ramsey Campbell
Autumn Chill by Richard L. Tierney
City of the Dog by John Langan
*When the Zombies Win by Karina Sumner-Smith

Series editor Stephen Jones gives us 23 stories this year, along with the lengthy annual ‘Year in Horror’ and encyclopedic ‘Necrology’ (the latter consisting of obituaries of writers, actors and others with some affiliation to horror, written by British horror expert Kim Newman).

I’ve starred the stories I think are really exceptional. The writing level is, as always for this series, high. Stories range from nouveau-Cthulhu by way of hardboiled Jim Thompson (Norman Partidge’s “Lesser Demons”) to the surreal (“Featherweight”), from zombies (three stories) through Lovecraftian ghouls (“City of the Dog”) to unwanted, menacing fruits and vegetables (“The Lemon in the Pool”). Ramsey Campbell supplies a story about old family grievances and wounds that may or may not involve the supernatural. Caitlin Kiernan and Albert E. Cowdrey give us fine examples of closely observed historical horror — or maybe historical-research horror would be a better moniker, as the protagonists dig deeply, too deeply, into the undead past.

Angela Slatter delivers a story that reminds me favourably of some of Tanith Lee’s best work. Scott Edelman and Karina Sumner-Smith both deliver elegaic farewells to, well, zombies; Joe Lansdale gives us zombies and Christmas; Mark Samuels delivers a disturbing tale focused upon a character based on deceased horror writing and editing great Karl Edward Wagner. All in all, another good year. Highly recommended.

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