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The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers edited by William F. Nolan and Jason V. Brock (Cycatrix Press/Dark Discoveries Publications) is a non-theme horror anthology with nineteen stories, skits, teleplays, screenplays, and one essay. The best pieces are the collaboration by Richard Matheson and R. C. Matheson, plus stories by Steve Rasnic Tem, Kurt Newton, Nancy Kilpatrick, Gary A. Braunbeck, Joe R. Lansdale, and a terrific story by Cody Goodfellow, reprinted herein. With a foreword by S. T. Joshi.

The Bitten Word edited by Ian Whates (Newcon Press) commits two sins from the get-go: no contributor bios and it includes a story by the editor. The only excuse for an editor including her own story is if the publisher demands it because said editor/author is a prominent writer whose name will sell the book. That out of the way, this collection of seventeen new vampire stories by mostly UK writers is entertaining, with the best stories by Sam Stone, Gary McMahon, Storm Constantine, Donna Scott, and Chaz Brenchley.

The Sixth Black Book of Horror is one of two volumes of this non-theme anthology series published in 2010, and both are of mixed quality, with the best of the fifteen stories in volume six by R. B. Russell, Reggie Oliver (reprinted herein), and Stephen Bacon. The Seventh Black Book of Horror contains seventeen stories this time out, with a few truly awful and some very fine ones. The strongest were by Oliver again, Joel Lane, Tony Richards, and Rog Pile. Both volumes are edited by Charles Black for his Mortbury Press. Neither book has contributor bios.

The End of the Line edited by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris) is a terrific anthology of all original (but one) stories about the Underground, Metro, or subway, as it’s called in various countries. Most of the nineteen new stories relate to the London underground and the variety and quality is admirable. One of the best of the year, with Mark Morris’s contribution reprinted herein.

The New Dead edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press) is chock full of contributors from outside the usual genre box, and most of these nineteen new zombie stories are good ones. The most interesting were by Aimee Bender, Stephen R. Bissette, Mike Carey, Max Brooks, Joe Hill, Rick Hautala, Tim Lebbon, David Liss, Derek Nikitas, David Wellington, and Tad Williams.

Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology edited by Michelle McCrary and Joe McKinney (23 House) is not quite as successful as The New Dead. Most of the stories are retreads but there are a few notable for their originality and/or voice by Bev Vincent, Lee Thomas, Joe McKinney, and Mark Onspaugh. Each editor has a story in the anthology.

The Living Dead 2 edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade Books) follows up the editor’s popular 2008 all-reprint anthology, The Living Dead, with a second volume of forty-four stories, this time more than half published for the first time. The strongest of the originals are by Adam-Troy Castro, Genevieve Valentine, Mira Grant, Simon R. Green, Jamie Lackey, Carrie Ryan, Sarah Langan, David Wellington, a collaboration by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, and Karina Sumner-Smith, the last reprinted herein.

Dead History: A Zombie Anthology edited by Anthony Giangregorio (Living Dead Press) presents thirteen historical zombie stories. Unfortunately most add nothing new to the subgenre.

The Book of the Living Dead edited by John Richard Stephens (Berkley) collects more than four hundred pages of classic gothic stories of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries including over-anthologized stories such as “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” and more obscure works by writers such as Jack London, William Butler Yeats, and Amy Lowell.

Best New Zombie Tales, volume one edited by James Roy Daley (Books of the Dead) is the first of a three-volume set of zombie tales featuring all reprints (but one) by Ray Garton, Jonathan Maberry, Kealan Patrick Burke, and others. The one original, by Kim Paffenroth, is a good one.

The Best of All Flesh edited by James Lowder (Elder Signs Press) reprints twenty-two stories culled from the three previous volumes of zombie stories in the series. The book includes stories by Tom Piccirilli, Scott Edelman, Jesse Bullington, Kris Dikeman, and others.

Hungry for Your Love edited by Lori Perkins (St. Martin’s) features twenty-one zombie romance stories. Although the publicity sheet says the stories are all new, at least one was originally published over ten years ago. The anthology was previously published electronically in 2009 by Ravenous Romance.

The Dead that Walk edited by Stephen Jones (Ulysses Press) mixes twenty-four reprints and original zombie stories. The strongest of the originals are by Robert Shearman, Gary McMahon, Lisa Morton, Scott Edelman, and Christopher Fowler.

Rigor Amortis edited by Jaym Gates and Erika Holt (Absolute Xpress) features thirty-four mostly very brief stories of zombie erotica.

EVolVe: Vampire Stories of the New Undead edited by Nancy Kilpatrick (Edge) features twenty-four stories and one poem, all original and all intended to bring the vampire into the twenty-first century. The strongest stories are by Claude Bolduc, Gemma Files, Tanya Huff, Claude Lalumière, Rhea Rose, Michael Skeet, and Bev Vincent, and the poem by Sandra Kasturi is a good one.

Cthulhu’s Dark Cults: Ten Tales of Dark & Secretive Orders edited by David Conyers (Chaosium) is an impressive anthology of original stories about the various cults that H. P. Lovecraft dreamed up. Most of the stories are true to their source yet bring something new to the material. Notable stories by John Sunseri, David Conyers, Cody Goodfellow, and David Witteveen.

Louisiana Vampires compiled by Lawrence Schimel and Martin H. Greenberg (Fall River) is a thirteen-story anthology with three originals.

Madness of the Mind edited by Chris Bartholomew (Static Movement) contains thirty-three original stories.

Blood Lite II : Overbite edited by Kevin J. Anderson (Gallery) is the second volume in this humorous horror anthology series produced under the aegis of the Horror Writers Association. Of the thirty-one stories only a handful are dark—alas the humor generally dissipates the horror. But there are some interesting stories by Sharyn McCrumb, Jeff Ryan, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Steve Rasnic Tem, whose story is very funny.

Crimes by Moonlight edited by Charlaine Harris (Berkley Prime Crime) consists of twenty new paranormal crime stories published under the aegis of the Mystery Writers of America. Several of the darker stories will be of interest to horror readers. The most interesting were by Brendan Dubois, S. W. Hubbard, Jeffrey Somers, Jack Fredrickson, Steve Brewer, and Parnell Hall.

Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry edited by Wendy Brewer (Darkhart Press) is an erotic horror anthology with twenty-seven new stories, the strongest by Marcy Italiano, John Everson, April Grey, Weston Ochse, Jason Palmer, J.L. Comeau, and Ron Clinton.

Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror edited by S. T. Joshi (PS) is an excellent all-original anthology that intends to expand the notion of what comprises a Lovecraftian story, much as my own Lovecraft Unbound did in 2009. Joshi has put together an admirable collection of such with consistently impressive stories, particularly those by Michael Marshall Smith, Laird Barron, and Norman Partridge, the last reprinted herein.

Cthulhu’s Reign edited by Darrell Schweitzer (DAW) focuses on the aftermath of the Old Ones’ reclamation of Earth for themselves. The fifteen varied stories show just how ugly that could get, with strong stories by John R. Fultz, Laird Barron, John Langan, Gregory Frost, Mike Allen, and Fred Chappell.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I left out one of my horror anthologies from my 2009 summary: Lovecraft Unbound (Dark Horse Books), which was (as mentioned earlier) intended to showcase a variety of stories that, while Lovecraftian in theme and feel, eschewed the tentacles, ichor, and Cthulhuian names of the mythos. Four of the stories were reprints, the other sixteen stories were original. One story, a collaboration by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud, was reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Two.

Night Terrors edited by Mark Ciccarone (Blood Bound Books) is made up of stories chosen by a contest. The best are by Lawrence Conquest and Desmond Warzel.

Australis Imaginarium edited by Tehani Wessely (Fablecroft Publishing) is the debut offering by a new independent press dedicated to the future of speculative fiction in Australia. The twelve stories were originally published between 1990 and 2009 and includes stories by established writers such as Lucy Sussex, Sean Williams, Deborah Biancotti, and Margo Lanagan, plus newer writers such as Ian McHugh and Angela Slatter.

Horror Library Volume 4 edited by R. J. Cavender and Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press) is a nicely varied all-original non-theme anthology of twenty-nine stories. The strongest stories are by Catherine MacLeod, Colleen Anderson, Matthew Lee Bain, Lee Thomas, Ennis Drake, M. Alan Ford, Nate Kenyon, Hank Schwaeble, and Bentley Little.

Two new original anthologies of werewolf stories came out around the same time: Running With the Pack edited by Ekaterina Sedia (Prime) features twenty-two entertaining werewolf stories, the strongest of the thirteen originals by C. E. Murphy, Samantha Henderson, Maria V. Snyder, Marie Brennan, and Genevieve Valentine.

Full Moon City edited by Darrell Schweitzer and Martin H. Greenberg (Gallery Books) also takes on the werewolf, with fifteen original tales, the darkest and best by Gregory Frost, Holly Phillips, Peter S. Beagle, and Tanith Lee. Curse of the Full Moon edited by James Lowder (Ulysses Press) is a mostly reprint werewolf anthology using stories from such varied writers as Jonathan Carroll, Harlan Ellison, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, and Ursula K. Le Guin, and with one original by Darrell Schweitzer.

Scary Kisses edited by Liz Grzyb (Ticonderoga Publications) was, alas, not very scary, but instead consisted of fourteen paranormal romances by Australian writers.

Twice the Terror: The Horror Zine (Volume 2) edited by Jeani Rector (BearManor Media) is compiled from material originally published on the zine’s website.

Brighton Shock! edited by Stephen Jones (PS) is a formidable anthology of fiction (reprints and originals), nonfiction, and art created for the World Horror Convention held in Brighton, England, in 2010. It’s hardcover, with over 400 pages of treasures. The stories by Christopher Fowler and Tanith Lee are reprinted herein.

Where the Heart Is edited by Gary Fry (Gray Friar Press) features nineteen horror stories taking place around Great Britain from London, Glasgow, and Birmingham, to the less well-known areas of Sunderland, Dewsbury, and Wigan. It’s a meaty anthology with strong contributions by Mark Patrick Lynch, John Travis, Stephen Bacon, Simon Bestwick, Paul Finch, Joel Lane, D. F. Lewis, Mike O’Driscoll, Gary McMahon, Carole Johnstone, and Simon Kurt Unsworth.

Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Greatest Fears edited by Angela Challis and Dr. Marty Young (Brimstone Press) is an ambitious, almost seven-hundredpage, thirty-eight-story historical overview of Australian horror from 1836 to the present day. The three sections are made up of Classics; Modern Masters; and the New Era, the last section using both reprints and originals. The most powerful originals are by Gary Kemble, Kyla Ward, Stephen M. Irwin, Kirstyn McDermott, Richard Harland, Susan Wardle, and a collaboration by David Witteveen and David Conyers. The Harland story is reprinted herein. But there’s one perplexing omission: Margo Lanagan, one of the most lauded horror writers produced by Australia in a decade.

Gothic Toronto: Writing the City Macabre edited by Helen Walsh (Diaspora Dialogues and Luminato, 2009) is a small anthology of six ghost stories centered around Toronto, Ontario. The volume was published in honor of the two hundredth anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth and came out during the Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity. Margaret Atwood wrote the foreword. The strongest tales are by Nalo Hopkinson and Michelle Wan.

When the Night Comes Down edited by Bill Breedlove (DarkArts Books) has sixteen stories by four writers: Joseph D’Lacey, Bev Vincent, Robert Weinberg, and Nate Kenyon. Each contributor is represented by four reprints and originals.

Haunted Legends edited by myself and Nick Mamatas (Tor) has twenty new reimaginings of some of the best-known urban legends and ghost stories from around the world. Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Folding Man” is included herein.

Close Encounters of the Urban Kind edited by Jennifer Brozek (Apex Publications), another original anthology using urban legends as its starting point, has twenty new stories. The best is by Nathan Crowder.

Dark Faith edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications) is loosely based around the theme of “faith”—not necessarily religious. It’s a mixed bag with the strongest horror stories by Nick Mamatas, Ekaterina Sedia, Kelly Barnhill, Gary A. Braunbeck, Matt Cardin, and Catherynne M. Valente, whose story is reprinted herein.

Back from the Dead: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories selected by Johnny Mains (Noose & Gibbet Publishing) features twenty-one stories of which sixteen are new and five reprints by writers whose work appeared in the famous series. The new stories range in quality from subtle creepiness to screamingly obvious pulp. In this the anthology perfectly emulates the series to which it pays homage. There’s also a foreword by Shaun Hutson, an historical overview of the series by David A. Sutton, and a biographical essay about its long-time editor Herbert Van Thal. The strongest stories are by John Burke, Nicholas Royle, Conrad Hill, Roger Clarke, Jonathan Cruise, J. P. Dixon, Christopher Fowler, Myc Harrison, and Tony Richards.

Dark Pages: Tales of Dark Speculative Fiction edited by Brenton Tomlinson (Blade Red Press) focuses on dystopian and other dark speculative fiction and contains some very good stories by Naomi Bell, Lucien E. G. Spelman, Joel L. Murr, Aaron Polson, Derek Rutherford, and Robert Neilson.

Festive Fear (no editor credited) (Tasmaniac Publications) is a dark fiction anthology with fifteen stories based around Christmastime. The best are by Lee Thompson and Tom Piccirilli, who contributes a wonderfully controlled crime novella.

Visitants: Stories of Fallen Angels and Heavenly Hosts edited by Stephen Jones (Ulysses Press) is a terrific mix of reprinted and original stories, most of them dark. The strongest of the originals are by Richard Christian Matheson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Jay Lake, Robert Shearman, Ramsey Campbell, Conrad Williams, and Christopher Fowler. The Matheson is reprinted herein.

The Yith Cycle edited and introduced by Robert M. Price (Chaosium) is an all-reprint anthology of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and others about the planet Yith and of travel through time and space.

The Tindalos Cycle edited by Robert M. Price (Hippocampus Press) reprints Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos” plus other stories inspired by that aspect of Lovecraft’s mythos. Two original poems by Ann K. Schwader and Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. are included.

Pill Hill Press published at least ten all or mostly original anthologies in 2010 and the quality was decidedly mixed. I suggest that in the future the publishers concentrate on bringing out fewer anthologies of higher quality.

Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Encounters with the Beast Within edited and with commentary by John Skipp (Black Dog and Leventhal) is a big mixed reprint/original anthology with thirty-five stories and appendices with historical and popular culture overviews of werewolves and shapeshifters. The best of the original stories are by Violet Glaze, Steve Rasnic Tem, Adam-Troy Castro, Bentley Little, Erik Shapiro, and Melanie Tem.

She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror edited by Tim Lieder (Dybbuk Press) is, thematically speaking, like carrying coals to Newcastle considering how much darkness pervades the Old Testament. But these nine reprints and originals of retold bible stories makes the old stories darker.

Specters in Coast Dust edited by Michael Knost (Woodland Press) presents fourteen original stories about ghost coal mines or miners. Unfortunately, the theme seems too narrow to inspire the variety such an anthology needs. The most interesting stories are by Steve Rasnic Tem and Tom Piccirilli.

Legends of the Mountain State 4 edited by Michael Knost (Woodland Press) has thirteen new stories based on West Virginia legends. The best are by Steve Rasnic Tem and Alethea Kontis.

Four Rode Out by Tim Curran, Brian Keene, Tim Lebbon, and Steve Vernon (Cemetery Dance Publications) has four original weird and horrific westerns. With great cover art by Mark Chadbourne.

The Blackness Within: Stories of the Pagan God Moccus edited by Gill Ainsworth (Apex Publications) has thirteen original stories about the Celtic God of fertility.

Through the Eyes of the Undead edited by Robert Essig (Library of the Living Dead) presents thirty-one stories (mostly short-shorts) from the zombie point of view.

Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories edited by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury/Walker) has twenty-two vampire stories from pre-Victorian times up to the early twentieth century.

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 edited by Stephen Jones (Robinson) had nineteen stories with only one overlapping with my own Best Horror Volume Two. Jones includes an introduction and a necrology, plus a listing of “useful addresses” for horror readers. Jones’s The Best of the Best New Horror (Running Press) collects stories from each year that Jones has been editing his Best New Horror series. Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy, Volume 3 edited by Kevin Brockmeier (Underland Press) is apparently the last volume of this series. The book has twenty stories originally published during 2009. Paula Guran’s inaugural volume of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2010 was published by Prime, and is a 500+ page anthology with thirty-nine stories and novellas, four overlapping with my Best Horror of the Year.


I edited several all-reprint anthologies in 2010 that were dominated by or included horror, including the over 200,000 word volume Tails of Wonder and Imagination: Cat Stories (Night Shade Books) featuring horror stories by Stephen King, Kelly Link, Nancy Etchemendy, Graham Joyce, Neil Gaiman, Michael Marshall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, and many others; The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Two (Night Shade Books), including an Honorable Mention list and Summary of the Year in Horror; Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror (Tachyon) showcasing twenty-five stories published between 1984—Clive Barker, to 2005—Joe Hill; and Digital Domains: A Decade of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Prime), a representation of the types of fiction I published in OMNI Online, Event Horizon, and SCIFICTION, with horror stories by Karen Joy Fowler, Nathan Ballingrud, and Richard Bowes.


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