As always, Stephen Jones does an excellent job of collecting the year's best horror--1995 in this case. At nearly 600 large-format pages, with 25 stories, one novella, and an overview of the horror field (including magazines, movies, television, etc.), this volume delivers great value for the money. Especially welcome is Jones' coverage of British and Australian horror writers. The stories average in the three to three-plus range on this reviewer's five-star rating scale (where five is rarely awarded), with no duds in the bunch. Included are tales by Lisa Tuttle, Ramsey Campbell, Steve Rasnic Tem, Thomas Ligotti, Norman Partridge, Neil Gaiman, Graham Masterton, and Brian Stableford.
From Kirkus Reviews
The best single horror collection of the year features 26 pieces of short fiction by top writers, as well as a superb review of the year's output in horror writing in the English-speaking world by editor Jones. There's also a necrology by Jones and Neil Gaiman (The Sandman: Book of Dreams with Edward E. Kramer, p. 918) noting the horror writers, actors, and others involved in the genre who died during the past year. The hugely burgeoning modern horror genre, as this collection demonstrates, consists of diverse elements drawn from traditional horror fiction and folklore, science fiction, fantasy, and splatterpunk, among other genres, and melded into a highly original fictional continent as massive as the Arctic ice cap. Horror, as Mammoth reminds us, has its own galaxy of stars, stretching far beyond Stephen King, authors who can write like angels, win awards, but who rarely climb onto bestseller lists. Fans will slather over many British titles discussed here that have not been published in the States. Outstanding novels, such as Kim Newman's The Bloody Red Baron (1995), better written and more fun than most mainstream novels, do not get excerpted, nor are there any bloody chunks torn from King's 1995 Rose Madder. Selections are made, however, from various 1995 omnibuses of short horror fiction, the object being to offer a quality throughout to equal the best Tokyo beef. What's particularly outstanding in this all-outstanding package? Ian R. MacLeod's leadoff story, ``Tirkiluk,'' tells of a lone WW II meteorologist at an Arctic weather station who takes in an outcast Inuit female, after which one or the other of them becomes more than human. Editor Gaiman's story-poem ``Queen of Knives'' (which first appeared in the Tombs anthology, 1995) is dark and powerful. Others in fine form here include Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, and Lisa Tuttle. If you think all horror is hackwork, try this. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.