Richard Davis (ed.) - The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series II (DAW 1974)
Foreword - Christopher Lee
Brian Lumley - David's Worm Gary Brandner - The Price of a Demon Basil Copper - The Knocker at the Portico Robert Bloch - The Animal Fair Ramsey Campbell - Napier Court T. K. Brown III - Haunts of the Very Rich Kit Pedler - The Long-Term Residents Eddy C. Bertin - Like Two White Spiders Ramsey Campbell - The Old Horns Brian Lumley - Haggopian T. E. D. Klein - The Events at Poroth Farm
EXORCISTS TAKE WARNING!
The power of possession, writes Christopher Lee in his introduction to this book of the year's best weird tales, is the primary concern of horror stories. How and when this possession occurs is the question readers should ask themselves.
"We all have our dark sides. In this age of marvels, where moonwalks have now become commonplace, much of the human psyche is still unexplained, and iceberg-like, most of its potentialities still remain below the surface. This is perhaps the only area where the Unknown can still retain its dark and sinister power, and thus its attraction."
Here are eleven up-to-date spine-tinglers by the modern masters of SF grue, including: BRIAN LUMLEY - KIT PEDLER - EDDY BERTIN - ROBERT BLOCH - J. RAMSEY CAMPBELL - T.E.D. KLEIN and other inheritors of the mantles of Poe and Lovecraft.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Post by cauldronbrewer on Mar 9, 2012 12:30:07 GMT
The Klein story here is one of my all-time favorites. "The Events at Poroth Farm" works as both a meta-horror story (it's about an academic who's reading classic horror works in preparation for teaching a class) and as a throwback to Machen/Blackwood-style horror (he impulsively pretends to engage in mystical rites and unwittingly releases an evil force). It also includes one of my favorite lines in any horror story (read no further if you haven't already read the story): "Sometimes we forget to blink."
I liked both of the Campbell stories, though I found "The Old Horns" rather baffling (still, some neat touches, such as the child describing how she saw "a big red balloon with a face on it" and being ignored by everyone). The psychosexual subtext of "Napier Court" was easier to follow.
Lumley has a little fun with the planarian's one claim to fame.
As I was reading Bertin's story about a man whose hands have minds of their own (in a surprisingly literal sense, as it turns out), I kept wondering what might happen if the narrator ran across Bianca from Theodore Sturgeon's "Bianca's Hands."