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Hauntings
edited by Ellen Datlow
Tachyon, 432 pages

Ellen Datlow
Ellen Datlow was the fiction editor of OMNI from 1981 until it folded in 1998. She later worked as the fiction editor of SCIFI.COM. Her well-deserved reputation as an editor for both The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series and for the Fairy Tale Anthologies series has garnered her numerous awards.

Ellen Datlow Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four
SF Site Review: The Beastly Bride
SF Site Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2009
SF Site Review: Troll's-Eye View
SF Site Review: Poe
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-First Annual Collection
SF Site Review: The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: Twentieth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: The Green Man
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 14th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, 13th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Black Heart, Ivory Bones
SF Site Review: Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, 12th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Silver Birch, Blood Moon
SF Site Review: Black Swan, White Raven
SF Site Review: Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, 11th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: 10th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Fairy Tale Anthologies

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

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Hauntings I must confess I'm not wild about reprint anthologies, especially when they feature horror stories appeared during the last 20-30 years, previously published in books already sitting on my shelves. On the other hand, I admit that unearthing good stories from the recent past can offer a good opportunity to the readers who, because of their age or for other reasons, have missed those stories. And who better than expert and skilled editor Ellen Datlow to select the tales to be included?

Hauntings is a collection of twenty-four ghost stories (intended in a very broad sense) both by well-known and by less famous writers, providing a wide choice of styles, atmospheres and subjects. While all of them have their merits and are apt to entertain and disquiet the horror fans, I'll stick to the group of tales which, in spite of the fact that I had already read them all, maintain throughout the years their flavor and their strength (Quality never fades with the passing of time…)

Dale Bailey's "Hunger: A Confession" is a sinister story of haunting told in an oblique but terrifying fashion, and Jonathan Carroll's "Mr Fiddlehead" is a delightful fantasy tale featuring an imaginary, resourceful creature.

In the very disturbing "Nothing Will Hurt You" by David Morrell the father of a serial killer's victim spends his life to seek revenge and make the criminal harmless while in "The Fooly" by Terry Dowling, an offbeat ghost story with a terrific, unexpected twist in the tail, we learn the real meaning of being a spectre. Caitlin R Kiernan's "The Ammonite Violin" is a superb tale of horror, solitude and madness where a serial killer turns the remains of one of his victims into a musical instrument.

A couple of terrific storytellers such as Michael Marshall Smith and F. Paul Wilson could not be absent from an anthology like Hauntings. The former provides the insightful "Everybody Goes," where people disappeared from our life sometimes return for a fleeting moment, and the latter contributes "Anna," an ingenuous piece of supernatural horror revolving around the wood taken from a maple tree.

Among many excellent stories, two do stand out for me. "Cargo" by E. Michael Lewis, a brilliant, cruel tale where an unusual cargo troubles a US Air Force flight out of Guyana, and "The Pennine Tower Restaurant" by Simon Kurt Unsworth, a splendid, deeply unsettling piece assembling a number of weird and scary events taking place in a British restaurant by a motorway.

The rest of the stories, of course, are not to be missed either.

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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