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Haunted Legends [Paperback]

Ellen Datlow , Nick Mamatas
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 14 2010
Winner of the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology!
 
Darkly thrilling, these twenty new ghost stories have all the chills and power of traditional ghost stories, but each tale is a unique retelling of an urban legend from the world over.

Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow and award-nominated author and editor Nick Mamatas recruited Jeffrey Ford, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlin Kiernan, Catherynne M. Valente, Kit Reed, Ekaterina Sedia, and thirteen other fine writers to create stories unlike any they've written before. Tales to make readers shiver with fear, jump at noises in the night, keep the lights on.

These twenty nightmares, brought together by two renowned editors of the dark fantastic, are delightful visions sure to send shivers down the spines of horror readers.

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Review

Praise for Ellen Datlow's The Dark: New Ghost Stories, Winner of the International Horror Guild Award for Best Anthology of 2003:

"Sure to provide a yardstick by which future ghost fiction will be measured." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"What better way to spend a cold winter night than curled in front of the fireplace with a good ghost story or sixteen?" --The Dallas Morning News

About the Author

ELLEN DATLOW has won eight World Fantasy Awards, two Bram Stoker Awards, the International Horror Guild Award, two Hugo Awards, and two Locus Awards for her work as an editor. In a career spanning more than twenty-five years, she has been the fiction editor of OMNI and SCIFI.COM. Datlow has edited many successful anthologies, including The Dark, The Coyote Road, and Inferno. She has also co-edited the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series, The Faery Reel, A Wolf at the Door, and Swan Sister. She lives in Manhattan.

NICK MAMATAS, co-editor of the groundbreaking fiction magazine Clarkesworld, lives in Northern California.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Average March 5 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this edition by Ellen Datlow to be average at best and certainly not one of her finest efforts. She is one of the best editors around so I was a little disappointed in this book..
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Stories from Around the World Jan. 7 2012
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Haunted Legends," edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas, is a collection of original stories based on ghost stories and legends from various parts of the world, such as China, Thailand, Mexico, England, Texas and India, written by a diverse group of writers including Richard Bowes, Kaaron Warren, Kit Reed, Steven Pirie, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Gary A. Braunbeck, Stephen Dedman, Pat Catigan, Ramsey Campbell and Joe R. Lansdale, among others. As with all such short story collections, I liked some stories more than others and my favourites would probably not be the favourite of other readers. Briefly, those I most enjoyed include Kit Reed's "Akbar," "As Red As Red" by Kiernan (set in Providence, Rhode Island, I especially liked that she mentioned streets and houses that I've seen myself), Carolyn Turgeon's "La Llorona" (based on the well-known folk tale), "For Those in Peril on the Sea" by Stephen Dedman (you'll never look at reality shows in the same way again), "Chucky Comes to Liverpool" by Ramsey Campbell (a very funny, if very sick, take on those evil-doll Chucky movies), and Lansdale's "The Folding Man," which is just plain spooky. But there's plenty of other stories here, for all kinds of tastes; that is, not all the stories are scary and some are even quite gentle. Probably my very favourite was Lily Hoang's "The Foxes," set in Vietnam, in which the spirits of murdered women become foxes who travel from village to village, bringing destruction wherever they go, a very poignant and frightening tale. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Creepy Quality Stories Oct. 26 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I very, very much enjoyed Haunted Legends. I'm a sucker always for great short stories, ghost stories and creepy stories and found a lot of entertainment in this selection - highest marks to the marvelous Caitlin Kiernan (for the wonderfully eerie "Red As Red"), Ekaterina Sedia's Stalin-era horror ("Tin Cans"), Cat Valente's gorgeous Japanese myth ("Fifteen Panels Depicting the Sadness of the Baku and the Jotai"), Jeffrey Ford (for "Down Atison Road" which makes me want to explore the Pine Barrens right now) and Laird Barron (for the wonderfully ominous "The Redfield Girls"). And Richard Bowes "Knickerbocker Holiday" too - and since these are my favorites, you will find your own too.

Datlow has given us numerous terrific anthologies before - Haunted Legend will be up with Lovecraft Unbound on my shelf of diverse winners containing a few stories I will re-read again (and again) when I want a good creep.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and creepy! Jan. 15 2011
By J. Arena - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a sucker for all those books telling the stories of hauntings and spooky legends at various places I've visited. So, I was pleased to discover this truly wonderful anthology, Haunted Legends. The writing in these stories is oh-so-much better than can be expected in stories of this nature, and, with little exception I was thoroughly mesmerized by every tale.

Good book!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Collection of Stories... Jan. 31 2011
By Daniel Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm a huge fan of oral folklore and urban legends. I teach a short section on Florida's Cracker culture and some of the local oral folklore a couple of times every year here at FSCJ, and my students really seem to enjoy investigating the local legends. I've taken student groups to St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach for guided ghost tours. Northeast Florida is rich with haunted history, and it's been a neat learning experience to watch them unravelling some of that stuff through research and composition.

So it was with great anticipation that I got my copy of Haunted Legends, an anthology edited by Nick Mamatas and Ellen Datlow. The goal here was pretty simple: enlist some of the finest speculative authors in the field to interpret a "true" urban legend. It's this nebulous kernel of belief--that quasi-historical notion that fuels urban legends--that gives so many of these stories their charm. I found the afterwords, attached directly to the tales themselves, very illuminating and a nice touch in explication.

I read every story in the anthology and found them all enjoyable, though a few really did stand out as excellent. In no particular order, here were my favorites:

"The Folding Man" ~ Joe Lansdale. Pure horror fiction here. Lansdale plunges us ass-deep (there's a catalytic mooning in the first paragraphs that gets things going) into a tale of murderous "nuns" and their eponymous folding charge. A gory, chilling pulse pounder, this could only come from the imagination of Joe Lansdale.

"Down Atsion Road" ~ Jeff Ford's story is one of the best at really capturing the narrative aesthetic of an effective urban legend. Told in the first person, this story focuses on a community's visible eccentric--a local artist called Crackpop by the kids. Crackpop lives deep in the Pine Barrens, protected from New Jersey demons by a shallow moat and a well-kept secret. It's a legend within a legend, and the partially revealed story of Ginny Sanger provides the chills in the story's third act. I scoured the phone book, paid for an Internet trace, stopped and talked to old people when I'd see them out in their yards along Atsion Road. Nobody had ever heard of Ginny Sanger...Really interesting story.

"Oaks Park" ~ M.K. Hobson's story is one of the most emotionally riveting tales I've read in some time. This story is about personal grief and the dissolution of family. It's about renewal and cyclical sorrow. There is a watershed moment late in this story--a narrative set in Oaks Park, where I once attended a company picnic--that is really well written and very cathartic for the reader. Highly recommended.

"The Redfield Girls" ~ Laird Barron's take on The Lady of the Lake is keen. Like much of his fiction, there is a kinetic tension that just builds toward payoff. His fiction has a serious hum to it, and this one, a very sad piece, is entirely satisfying. The writing gets under the skin: The storm shook the house and lightning sizzled, lighting the bay windows so fiercely she shielded her eyes. Sleep was impossible and she remained curled in her chair, waiting for dawn. Around two o'clock in the morning, someone knocked on the door. Three loud raps. She almost had a heart attack from the spike of fear that shot through her heart.

There are many fine, emotionally resonant stories here. I think that's an important point to make in this discussion. Oral folklore is often dismissed as fluff, as inconsequential yarns designed merely to illicit a startled yelp around the campfire or at the sleepover. But these tales' cultural significance--as cautionary narratives and moralistic teaching tools--can't be overstated. They communicate important lessons on what it means to be human. Carolyn Turgeon's haunting "La Llorona" delves into the parental response to the loss of a child. It's a particularly hopeful interpretation of a chilling legend. John Mantooth's superb "Shoebox Train Wreck" is a journey of investigation, an examination of how guilt can scar us in perpetuity, remaking the core of personal identity until death becomes a welcome transition.

Overall, the anthology succeeds in its charge to reinvigorate a collection of world legends, making them bright and shiny for the next generation to investigate, disseminate, and enjoy...
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly haunting locales Oct. 31 2010
By Anthony R. Cardno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have never been disappointed with any anthology edited, or co-edited, by Ellen Datlow, and HAUNTED LEGENDS continues that trend. While there are a few stories in this collection that didn't really work for me, the majority of them did.

The theme is exactly what the title implies: those local, "home-grown" tales of hauntings and other oddness that you often find retold in poorly-edited "local legends" tomes sold in airports kiosks and tourist-trap gift shops. Datlow and Mamatas' edict to the participants in this anthology was to rescue those local legends from poorly-written retellings and to give them new life -- to make them universal while not sacrificing their local flavor. And most of the authors succeed.

There are 20 stories in the collection. My favorites are "As Red as Red" by Caitlyn R. Kiernan, "Shoebox Train Wreck" by John Mantooth, "Tin Cans" by Ekaterina Sedia, "Return to Mariabronn" by Gary A. Braunbeck, "The Redfield Girls" by Laird Barron, "Between Heaven and Hull" by Pat Cadigan, and "Chucky Comes to Liverpool" by Ramsey Campbell. With the exception of the Kiernan and Campbell stories, they all have to do with transportation-related ghosts -- something I didn't realize until I listed them all together like this. There are a couple of stories that disappointed me, notably "The Folding Man" by Joe R. Lansdale and "Down Atsion Road" by Jeffrey Ford, but not every collection can be perfect.

Even though Halloween is over as of a few minutes ago here on the east coast, I recommend seeking this collection out if you like "local legends" and "home-grown ghosts." It's worth the effort.

More detailed story-by-story analysis can be found here and here.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly What I Expected... Nov. 14 2012
By Yolanda S. Bean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This past Halloween, I participated in a lot of chatter about that scariest of spooky story collections - actually, it's a trilogy - compiled by Alvin Schwartz and terrifyingly illustrated by Stephen Gammel: More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Collected From Folklore and Retold (Scary Stories). Recently, the publishers re-released it, but with tamer illustrations - a complete travesty to the horror genre and disservice to children everywhere. All this talk of frightening stories put me in the mood for a new collection, and the fact that some of my favorite authors have contributed to this collection made this seem like a perfect fit. Admittedly, Schwartz's collection set the bar high, but I felt sure that this talented bunch of authors could meet those expectations...

And some of the stories definitely are strong - my favorites were the stories by Catherynne M. Valente, Caitlin Kiernan, M. K. Hobson and Laird Barron. But there were some others that really fell flat to me, too. The collection finished stronger than in started and really the collection took a rather loose definition of legend as the cohesive theme of the book. Stories that stretch that convention (like "The Foxes") just didn't quite measure up against those that did. I had hoped for some nightmare-inducing stories, but none of these fit that bill. There were some creepy moments, and eery atmospheres set up, but ultimately nothing that frightening.

So while the book had its ups and downs, on the whole, this was a pretty solid collection of short stories. Some definitely appealed more than others, but it was entertaining and certainly engrossing.
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