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Karl Edward Wagner Presents The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series XI, part 2

Come, Follow

A faux Victorian MR James knockoff. This was in rag order.

A Smell Of Cherries

This tale of vampire ghosts (?) is deliberately ridiclious.

Best Lines:

“Hot loads.”

“Went at each other with chairs, nails, teeth. We found one guy dismembowled with a protractor.”

A Posthumous Bequest

This does not spark unease.

Best Line:

“Might betoken.”


I think I've read this before. A man thinks conspiratorial thoughts and faces a gnawing source of worry that blows his life apart. This has zero value.

Best Line:

“You're standing there screaming some very strange things at your old friend.”

The Executor

MR James would have found this dated.

Mrs. Halfbooger's Basement

Breaking into a house goes badly in grimly inevitable fashion.

Rouse Him Not

By Manly Wade Wellman – I think 'Tales From The Darkside' adapted this. A mysterious circle is looked into. Something is found. This was good.

Best Line:

Magic doings-”

Spare The Child

Fostering a child goes badly in this vaguely racist story.

The New Rays

This was not masterfully cultivated horror.


This is an unendurable tale of a hood.

The Depths

By Ramsey Campbell. A writer goes nuts or something. This causes negative feeling.

Pumpkin Head

By Al Sarrantonio. This is nothing to do with the horror franchise. I think I've read this before. This was silly.

Maynard's House by Herman Raucher

In this 1981 novel, a Vietnam vet (but of course) inherits an evil house (well that's original) in the 1970s. The plot barely coheres, a sex crime is laughed off and every single decision is the wrong decision in this mendacious nonsence which is worse than useless.

Best Lines:

“I never read anything.”

“Well, ya should.”

The Many Arms Of Death

I know nothing about this character or comic. Kate Kane has her own secret ID as Batwoman. She has her own Pennyworth and a batcycle. Where does she get all her cool toys? A mysterious island played a part in Kate's backstory. I've no idea what is going on.

Everyone knows her secret ID. Kate's been reported on. What did she do? What the reign of the bat? In the future, Bruce is dead, Jason lost an eye and Gotham went fascist under Tim Drake. This was okay. Where is Dick Grayson?

Best Lines:

“You're running again. Making a mess for the rest of us to clean up, to pay for. Can't you change?!”

“If Bruce could see what the symbol meant now...”

“That this is where his vision for the future led him.”

“Tim Drake will pay for what he's done to this city.”


Scary Books

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