Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2013 – review by Mario Guslandi


Edited by Paula Guran
Prime Books

A review by Mario Guslandi

Editor Paula Guran has delivered her latest anthology devoted to the best short horror and fantasy fiction published in 2012.

Needless to say, that type of anthology is always based on the editor’s personal taste and the choice of the stories to be included is not always shared by reviewers and critics. Here an example can be represented by “No Ghosts in London” a tale appeared in the stunning debut collection by Helen Marshall “Hair Side, Flesh Side”. While I wholeheartedly agree with the decision to include a story from that outstanding book, I would have selected many other stories rather than that particular one.

But these are the rules of the game and I’m happy to say that I gladly subscribe to most of Guran’s selections for the anthology.

Peter Bell’s “Glamour of Madness”, a kind of sequel to MR James’ “A Vignette” is a very dark, accomplished mix between a crime story and a horror tale, while “Go Home Again” by Simon Strantzas is an extremely effective description of how the mold infesting an old house triggers painful memories and discloses dark secrets from the past.

Other excellent stories that I was glad to find again in Guran’s anthology are “Escena de un Asesinato” by Robert Hood, where a Zapatist ghost takes his revenge by means of a photograph and the creepy “Bedtime Stories for Yasmin” by Robert Shearman depicting the frightening power of fairy tales, able to leave indelible marks on the children’s souls.

In addition, I discovered some great stories that I had missed during the last year, such as Joe R Lansdale’s “The Tall Grass”, a terrifying piece about what happens in the tall grass surrounding a night train stuck in the middle of nowhere, Ellen Klages’ nasty “The Education of A Witch” and Maria Dahvana’s beautiful “Game” revolving around the endless battle between a tiger hunter and a man-eater, mirroring life’s cruelty and hardness.

If you want to know about the rest of the book you’d better hurry and secure a copy. I’m sure you’ll be grateful for my advice.

- review by Mario Guslandi


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This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Short story and tagged , by Alan Baxter. Bookmark the permalink.

About Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter is a British-Australian author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He is the author of the dark urban fantasy trilogy, Bound, Obsidian and Abduction (The Alex Caine Series) published by HarperVoyager Australia, and the dark urban fantasy duology, RealmShift and MageSign (The Balance 1 and 2) from Gryphonwood Press. He co-authored the short horror novel, Dark Rite, with David Wood. Alan also writes short fiction with more than 50 stories published in a variety of journals and anthologies in Australia, the US, the UK and France. His short fiction has appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction (forthcoming), Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Postscripts, and Midnight Echo, among many others, and more than twenty anthologies, including the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (2010 and 2012). Alan also writes narrative arcs and dialogue for videogames and wrote the popular writer’s resource, Write The Fight Right, a short ebook about writing convincing fight scenes. He has twice been a finalist in the Ditmar Awards.

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