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October Dreams Paperback – Sep 3 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (TRD); Reprint edition (Sept. 3 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451458958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451458957
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 921 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #614,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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A winner of the International Horror Guild Award, October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween is undoubtedly the grandest horror anthology ever compiled on the genre's signature holiday, and unlikely to be supplanted in that position. Weighing in at almost 650 pages, this intelligently selected compendium contains work from nearly every contemporary bestselling author, cult favorite, and hot up-and-comer in horror. The volume mixes a generous amount of well-written new fiction with classic reprints, several "Favorite Halloween Memories," an informative "Short History of Halloween" by Paula Guran, a well-chosen "Overview of Halloween Films" by Gary A. Braunbeck, and an equally useful "Reader's Guide to Halloween Fiction" by Stefan Dziemianowicz. Many of the authors contribute both a story and a Favorite Memory, and Ray Bradbury, to whom the volume is rightfully dedicated, contributes these and a poem.

No review can do justice to an anthology whose table of contents crowds three pages. But perhaps a taste of three stories will suggest the breadth and depth of the whole. Ray Bradbury's subtle "Heavy Set" considers what it might be like to be the mother of a muscular, disturbed, and exceptionally attached son. In the West Coast gothic "A Redress for Andromeda," Caitlin R. Kiernan presents a beautifully written consideration of the costs of a hidden secret. Artist Gahan Wilson proves himself also talented at fiction with "Yesterday's Witch," in which trick-or-treaters find the neighborhood witch isn't any such thing ... or is she?

October Dreams is highly recommended to all fans of horror and dark fantasy. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author

Richard Chizmar is the World Fantasy Award-winning editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and numerous anthologies. He is also the author of more than forty published short stories, as well as the recent hardcover collection Midnight Promises.

Robert Morrish is a writer whose work has appeared in Cemetery Dance magazine.

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First Sentence
The pumpkins were creepy, but the man who carved them was far stranger than his creations. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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By CreepyT on July 8 2004
Format: Paperback
As Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, I simply had to pick up this collection of classic novellas, never-before-published stories, and essays. Sprinkled throughout these creepy tales and intriguing essays are short descriptions of favorite Halloween memories from some of the authors whose tales are included herein, written specifically for this anthology. This collection as a whole does not disappoint. As with any anthology, some stories are much better than others, and different people will be drawn to different stories than others will. Luckily the good far outweigh the bad and everyone can easily find something palatable in this weighty assemblage.

Some of my favorites include:
"The Black Pumpkin" by Dean Koontz is the story of a sinister pumpkin and it's maker who promises that "you get what you give" with respect to the money paid for his work. This is the first story in the book, and is most certainly a great way to kick off the collection.
"Mask Game" by John Shirley is, at 35 pages, one of the longer stories in the book. Cousin Neva comes over one night to play a new game involving some homemade masks. When everyone places the masks on their faces, they get a whole new perspective on those around them.
"Boo" by Richard Laymon is a story of several trick-or-treaters who get more than they bargained for when the come across an old unlit house on the block and invite the resident to join them in their candy-obtaining festivities.
"Buckets" by F Paul Wilson is probably my favorite story in this particular anthology. Dr. Edward Cantrell is haunted on Halloween night by some of his choices in the past involving his abortion clinic.
"Eyes" by Charles L.
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By JEFF F. HAINES on March 9 2004
Format: Paperback
Just a few thoughts, not a full-fledged review:
I just came to the anti-abortion story in the book. It struck me as odd. I wanted to see the horror in it, but it seemed to me to be more like an author's crusade against abortion clinics. I guess I'm one of those readers who needs to feel justified in the victim's deaths--a la Crypt Keeper. (I don't know why. Horror is filled with good people dying. Isn't that what makes it horror?) This story, "Buckets," however, jolted me out of the Halloween experience.
I began October Dreams excited. The first couple of stories really worked on me. Then I saw that it was more than a collection of fiction. The short stories traded spaces off and on throughout the book with authors' memories of their favorite Halloweens. There are also a few essays on Halloween fiction, movies, and whatnot.
I thought, "This is a cool book."
And I guess it still is. But, in practice, I find myself skipping the favorite Halloween memories, the essays, the recommendations for books and film, and, of course, the "whatnot." I go straight for the fiction, and if I start getting bored with a story, which has happened several times--several, several times--I skip to the next one. I've only read half of this book, and at this rate I'll be finished in a couple of days, a skim-read of hundreds of pages. It's a thick tome.
Maybe the rest of you will like the filler. It does flesh out the book, almost giving the short stories a sense of glue. I think October Dreams is OK. It's unusual, a nice attempt at giving you something more for your dollar.
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Format: Paperback
Anthologies are usually, simply by their nature, uneven. When you depend on many different brains to come up with quality stories, you're bound to get some duds. It is this expectation that makes October Dreams so surprisingly well-executed. In fact, there are so many good pieces in here, that it's easier to pick out the minuscule number of bad ones (Hugh B. Cave and Dominick Cancilla, you know who you are).
October Dreams is subtitled "A Celebration of Halloween" and it takes this task seriously. Interlaced with classic Halloween stories--and new ones written especially for this collection--are "My Favorite Halloween Memory" reminiscences from the authors, as well as a reading list, a film list, and a history of Halloween that focuses more on the modern cultural aspects (as opposed to the pagan aspects).
October Dreams has to be the most consistent collection of stories I have ever read. Usually, I've found a few disappointments by the time I've read five stories, but I didn't find anything to criticize until about the middle of the book. Editors Richard Chizmar (editor of the horror magazine Cemetery Dance) and Robert Morrish have really done their work here. Of course, with a selection of authors like Dean Koontz, Poppy Z. Brite, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, and F. Paul Wilson, how could they go too far wrong?
A few stories stand out from the pack, and these were the ones I chose to read out loud on Halloween night. First was "The Circle" by Lewis Shiner which is a Twilight Zone-style tale of a group of people who gather to read stories on Halloween who get a surprise when one of their members decides to absent himself but sends in a story to read anyway.
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