The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror edited by Paula Guran, part 4
Wish You Were Here
An incoherent tale of national consciousness, plainly scared people and a ghost. Or something. This is not rich in imaginative imagery and is not good. It is also unchallenging.
Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left
A tree apocalypse. This is not a pitiless apocalypse, more a wistful restorative dream. This was okay.
“The landlord came with an axe.”
“She couldn’t think amidst their screams at night, however distant.”
“Nothing to cure.”
The Line Between The Devil’s Teeth (Murder Ballad No. 10)
By Caitlin R. Kiernan. A tale of a vampire and a spectacular outburst of contempt. Or Something. This was vehemently terrible.
“Made the world safe for tourists and surfing and clam shacks.”
This was creepy.
Red Dirt Witch
A witch vs. an elf. Good.
“Ill-wishing opened doors for ill winds to blow through.”
My Body Herself
This tale of a dead woman who has no protection and nothing to look forward to has no capacity to surprise.
The Sound Of Salt And Sea
By Kat Howard. This is a tale of ghosts, ghost horses, improper motives, disquiet and the frenzied and unbounded dead. This was grip-lit.
“Called their attention to him.”
“I won’t be dead.”
A Dying Of The Light
By Rachel Caine. There are goings on in an old folk’s home. This is an exquisitely constructed tale of terror and the unlikely capacity for heroism and momentous tasks.
“I’d done worse. Ever clear out portable toilets.”
“What walked inside her.”
“Cults, evil books, monsters lurking just beyond our senses.”
“Watched me a long, slow, cold, regard.”
“A people gone into shadows, who had never been people at all,”
Postcards From Natalie
This tale of the sister of a runaway has little dramatic propulsion and the twists aren’t as revelatory as the author wants them to be. This was very rote.
As Cymbals Clash
This is creakiness, which is increasingly bizarre.
The Games We Play
This is deeply unpleasant, annoying and irritating. It is not intellectually rigorous or coherent. It leaves you with disengagement. What is this convoluted and baffling tale of dingy existence about? No idea.
Bright Crown Of Joy
This story about the unnamed Cthulhu’s rising and the aftermath makes no coherent sense and is inexcusably tedious. Also I’ve read it before.
Mommy’s Little Man
By Brian Hodge. An okay tale of grim things, manipulation, deceit, dark lies, abuse and morally damaging goings on.
A Fist Of Permutations In Lightning And Wildflowers
A dull debate on the core foundation of how people behave by and between each other. Or something.
A tale of low-lying melancholy and tragic dignity. Or something. This was dull and no approval or pleasure is forthcoming.
Meet Me At The Frost Fair
A tale of the chillingly lovelorn or something. This leaves you disappointed and frustrated.
October Film Haunt: Under The House
A tale of a found footage film that has no tact or subtlety as fans follow the evidential trail to find out the truth about the film. This leaves one disinclined to care.
Dust And Shadow by Lyndsay Faye
This 2009 novel sees Sherlock Holmes v Jack The Ripper and it is bad.