July 11, 2012

Top 5 Horror Anthologies & Collections: a guest post by Darkeva

Darkeva is one of my go-to horror and dark fantasy bloggers. You can check out her great contributions to book blogdom at Darkeva's Dark Delights. But before you go gallivanting off to read her work there, I suggest you check out this guest post she wrote, which offers her five favorite horror anthologies and short story collections. Enjoy.

Darkeva’s Dark Picks 
Top 5 Horror Anthologies and Collections 
~By Darkeva~

I didn’t start out as a fan of short fiction, but the horror genre is replete with anthologies and collections, as with its sister genres, science fiction and fantasy. Still, it was only when I became a reviewer that I started to appreciate the form, and have been exposed to a greater variety of works than ever before by reviewing such materials.

Since Edgar Allan Poe, himself one of the great masters of the short story, many a horror scribe has penned short stories, and some excel at this while others find their comfort zone in novels, not to mention there are plenty of horror and dark fantasy writers who are fantastic at both. At the request of one of my favourite horror bloggers, the wonderful and witty Gef Fox, who, incidentally, has penned his own tales, I have put together a list of my top five horror short fiction collections and anthologies from the last few years. There are too many short stories I've enjoyed to point out, and so many great works to consider, but I think these picks have something different to offer, whether they're contemplative and force readers to examine the depths of human nature like “Masters of Horror: Damned if You Don’t” or just plan fun like “Rock N Roll is Dead” from Blood Bound Books. If you’re unfamiliar with the titles listed, I urge you to seek them out and give them a gander.

1. The Devil’s Coattails - Eds. Jason V. Brock and William F. Nolan

A unique anthology: contains original, never before published works by Ramsey Campbell, John Shirley, Jason V Brock, Marc Scott Zicree, Norman Corwin, Gary Braunbeck, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Earl Hamner, Jenny Brundage, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jerry E. Airth, Sunni K Brock, Richard Christian Matheson, Paul J. Salamoff, Paul G. Bens, Jr., William F. Nolan, Dan O'Bannon, Richard Selzer, James Robert Smith, and Wilum Pugmire/Maryanne K. Snyder. Opaque vellum pages, printed with 100% vegetable inks using windpower; printed and bound in the USA. Trade has a nice hardcover binding in cloth boards.

2. The Red Empire by Joe McKinney

The Red Empire is the Army’s secret weapon against insurgents the world over. A gigantic colony of inch long, super-intelligent fire ants, The Red Empire is capable of fighting any enemy, no matter where they’re hiding. But when the military transport tasked with delivering this weapon washes out in a flash flood along the Texas-Mexico border, and the ants are loosed upon the countryside, no one is safe…
Included in this collection are seven additional tales of murder and injustice, things criminal and darkly supernatural. McKinney takes us from the ghostly sorrow of a grieving parent to the depths of a Lovecraftian nightmare, from a sanity-destroying discovery by one of America’s greatest writers to a love lost that won’t let go until a man is driven over the edge. Tales of horror and human depravity you won’t dare miss!

3. Rock N Roll is Dead, Ed. Marc Ciccarone

***We are proud to announce that Rock ‘N’ Roll is Dead received 4 honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 2011. G. Winston Hyatt, Rex McGuire, Belen Lopez, and Natalie L. Sin! It’s unanimous, if you haven’t checked this book out yet, you need to!

Blood Bound Books presents an anthology of horror & music. Get ready to rock with the set list from hell! 24 deep tracks guaranteed to leave your ears ringing. Each story either deals with music directly or was inspired by songs in one form or another. G. Winston Hyatt strikes a deep chord with all metal heads in his story End of the Line, Nathan Crowder examines the price of fame in The Invitation and asks the reader: is it better to burn out or fade away? Find out what happens to a young drummer lucky enough to buy the drum set of his favorite musician in Trap Set, and walk down the nightmarish streets of a concrete jungle know only as The City. This is a Blood Bound Books style concert, so crank it up ‘cause rock will never be the same.***

4. Masters of Horror: Damned if You Don’t Ed. Ian Kupstis

Featuring fiction by F. Paul Wilson, Scott Nicholson, John Shirley, Blaze McRob, Armand Rosamilia, and more. Party people, your nightmares have been fulfilled...
Some of the darkest horrors are those that we choose to inflict on ourselves. In the hands of the MASTERS OF HORROR, the evils of drug use, alcoholism, scarification, obesity and obsession have been amplified into bloodcurdling cautionary tales…19 Terrifying tales and a nonfiction detoxification guide await you within. Sacrifice your vice with the MASTERS OF HORROR. You’re literally DAMNED IF YOU DON’T.

5. Living After Midnight Ed. Craig Clarke

Q: What happens when heavy music inspires dark fiction?

A: Hard and heavy stories.

The concept behind Living After Midnight: Hard and Heavy Stories is simple: 63,000 words' worth of horror and dark fantasy inspired by the authors' favorite hard rock and heavy metal bands. From the music of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest (of course), and others come exciting tales of zombies, ghosts, wizards, serial killers, and more. You don't have to like hard and heavy music to enjoy these stories--just hard-rocking genre tales.


  1. I've now added a few of these to my wish list, so thank you.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed my recommendations, Ryan :-)