January 27, 2012

Rabid Reads: "Borderlands 3" edited by Thomas F. Monteleone

Borderlands 3
edited by Thomas F. Monteleone
White Wolf Fiction (1993)
272 pages
ISBN 1565041097

With cover art by none other than Dave McKean, I had the feeling this would be a real treat to read. You can't judge a book by its cover though, which is fine since the table of contents is just as enticing--if not more so.

Borderlands 3 is an anthology of horrific tales (published during the early 90s) that strives to avoid the common tropes of the genre, though its editor, Thomas Monteleone, admits in the preamble to a few of the stories that the quality of writing was too good to resist with certain stories that held familiar pieces.

As I mentioned, the contributing authors are impressive, with familiar names like Bentley Little, Ed Gorman, and Whitley Streiber, as well as names I'm not familiar with, but will now be sure to watch out for in other anthologies, such as Kathe Koja, Andrew Vachss, and J.L. Comeau.

Like any anthology, it's a mixed bag when it comes to personal preference, and not all stories resonated as well as others.

A few of the standouts, however, including Bentley Little's "The Man in the Passenger Seat", about an unsettling stranger who hitches a ride with a dour individual and gives him the ride of his life. There was also Ed Gorman's "The Ugly File", which dealt with a photographer collecting pictures of an unsettling nature for a wealthy couple. As well, I really enjoyed Poppy Z. Brite's "The Sixth Sentinel" and its supernatural romance--one-sided romance though it may be.

There's 21 stories in all, encapsulating the best of what horror had to offer in the nineties. I often hear readers, and even writers, bemoan the glut of bad horror that was floating around in that decade. If it was really a time when horror literature was in decline, you wouldn't know it by reading this anthology. I've got another Borderlands book sitting on my to-be-read pile, published in the early 2000s if I recall correctly, so it will be interesting to see the contrast between this book and that one when I finally get around to reading--not to mention any other Borderlands books I can get my hands on.


1 comment:

  1. I really liked this series in its day, and had the first three volumes (White Wolf reprinted the first two w/ Dave McKean cover art). Unfortunately my copies have been lost over the years! Great effort by all in trying to shake up the genre, even if many didn't quite succeed.