A really good year for short fiction, thank you very much. I had the opportunity to read numerous collections and anthologies, even appear in a couple of them (shameless plug: Fading Light; Stupefying Stories; Arcane 2). There are quite a few other books in this category I could highlight as recommendations, but I'm keeping these year-end lists brief with only five. And to think, there are many more that were released through the year that I haven't had a chance to read yet. I'll save those for next year's list, perhaps.
Anyway, here are five great books of short fiction that I'll recommend to readers without hesitation:
Blood and Other Stories edited by Ellen Datlow - An anthology about vampires and other parasitic relationships, this is yet another example that a book with Ellen Datlow's name on it is a must-have.
Still Life by Nicholas Kaufmann - One of the smaller collections I read this year, but an impactful one all the same. The nine stories in this book exemplify Nick's ability to pull a reader in, go "Clockwork Orange" on their imagination, and make them beg for more.
House of Fear edited by Jonathan Oliver - I'm a sucker for a haunted house story, so it's no wonder I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology, which featured stories from authors who I count among my favorites, like Joe Lansdale, and others who are well on their way, like Weston Ochse.
Every House Is Haunted by Ian Rogers - Ian's collection of stories run from riveting monster fare to understated gothic, with many featuring a haunting Canadian backdrop. If you think we Canucks can't write horror, then you're not reading the right books. Start with this one.
Demons edited by John Skipp - This anthology acts as a bit of a timeline on horror and dark fantasy that features some truly disturbing (and a couple humorous) demonic tales. New authors, established authors, and even legendary authors make appearances in this one.