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The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 23
edited by Stephen Jones
Robinson, 589 pages

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones is the winner of multiple World Fantasy Awards, the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Awards, British Fantasy Awards and a Hugo Award nominee. A full-time columnist, television producer/director and genre movie publicist and consultant, Stephen Jones is also one of Britain's most acclaimed anthologists of horror and dark fantasy. He has edited and written more than 100 books, including: Shadows Over Innsmouth; Exorcisms and Ecstasies, a Karl Edward Wagner collection; and Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror. He is co-editor of a number of series including Best New Horror, Dark Terrors and Dark Voices. He lives in London, England.

Stephen Jones Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 22
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Dracula
SF Site Review: Visitants
SF Site Review: Zombie Apocalypse!
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 20
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 19
SF Site Review: H.P. Lovecraft In Britain
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #18
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Monsters
SF Site Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #17
SF Site Review: Shadows Over Innsmouth
SF Site Review: Dark Terrors 5
SF Site Review: White of the Moon
SF Site Review: Dark of the Night

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 23 The 23rd volume in the successful Best New Horror series once again provides horror enthusiasts with an exhaustive overview of where the genre stands and what new directions it is taking by reporting what books, magazines and movies have been offered in 2011.

As is customary, the bulk of the volume is the twenty-six stories that editor Stephen Jones deems to be the best that have appeared in print. I think that the reader should pay particular attention to the copyright page, which clearly indicates which were the more accomplished anthologies and collections of the year.

I completely agree with Jones' choice when pinpointing anthologies such as A Book of Horrors, Delicate Toxins, House of Fear, Blood and Other Cravings, Gutshot: Weird West Stories as the source of excellent stories, while I often disagree about his selection of the anthologies highlights. Never mind. If a reader decides to buy one of the above books that will be a fair enough benefit obtained from reading Best New Horror.

Mind you, I'm not saying that the present volume does not include remarkable material. On the contrary, there's no shortage of excellent tales, such as "Lantern Jack" by Christopher Fowler, probing London's hidden secrets through the customers of an old pub, "Miri" by Steve Rasnic Tem, the disturbing portrait of a lonely psychic vampire, "White Roses, Bloody Silk" by Thana Niveau, an astonishing piece with a sado-masochistic taste or "An Indelible Stain upon the Sky" by Simon Strantzas, a melancholy, nostalgic story emphasizing the contrast between a bright past and a gloomy present.

Other superb stories are Joel Lane's "Midnight Flight," a piece about loneliness, ageing and the endless quest for the meaning of human existence, Paul Kane's "Rag and Bone," a very dark tale of vengeance and violence rooted in a long gone past, Daniel Mills' "The Photographer's Tale," a solid, traditional ghost story where a camera provides fleeting images of the darkness surrounding everyday reality and Joe Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" yet another of the terrific tale featuring the Reverend Jebidiah Mercier, a man more at ease with the gun than with the Bible.

Simply outstanding are "Quieta Non Movere" by Reggie Oliver, a delightful tale in the tradition of M.R. James, "Sad, Dark Thing" by Michael Marshall Smith, a perceptive piece wonderfully probing life's deep secrets and "Smithers and the Ghosts of the Thar" by Robert Silverberg, an extraordinary modern ghost story with an exotic flavor, set in an elusive valley near a remote Indian desert.

Finally, the gem of the book is Evangeline Walton's "They That Have Wings" a masterpiece depicting how three men seeking safety from war in the mountains meet two weird and hungry women. Posthumously published only in 2011, the story, rejected by Weird Tales because it was "too gory," is actually a piece of terrible beauty and great finesse.

Copyright © 2013 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.

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