Tuesday, July 9, 2013
First the Horror
The first of the still-running Best New Horror anthologies is mostly excellent and manages to look at a broad slice of horror sub-genres. Cherry Wilder's Holocaust-tinged "The House on Cemetery Street" is literally and figuratively haunting, as is Thomas Tessier's Central American nightmare "Blanca." "The Last Day of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux" by Robert Westall does a terrific job of homaging the style and content of M.R. James in a more modern context, while the Thomas Ligotti piece included here is an emblematic bit of WTF? embodying Ligotti's unnerving fictional universe.
Ian Watson's piece is a black-comic horror-satire dealing with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie issued after the publication of The Satanic Verses. Ramsey Campbell's story also satirizes religious fundamentalism, in this case against the backdrop of a world-wide zombie apocalypse, while Kim Newman's tale visits death and destruction on people who colourize movies (sort of). Only the Karl Edward Wagner tale is a bummer from a formerly great talent on his tragic way down, an unscary, unfunny homage to TV's The Avengers that features yet another alcoholic, self-loathing, sexually charismatic Wagner protagonist. Recommended.