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Remember Why You Fear Me: The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman

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A woman rejects her husband’s heart—and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife’s face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he’s roommate to the ghost of Hitler’s pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted A woman rejects her husband’s heart—and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife’s face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he’s roommate to the ghost of Hitler’s pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted house right at the centre of the Garden of Eden. Deliciously frightening, darkly satirical, and always unexpected, Robert Shearman has won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Edge Hill Reader’s Prize. Remember Why You Fear Me gathers together his best dark fiction, the most celebrated stories from his acclaimed books, and ten new tales that have never been collected before. This ebook contains four bonus novelettes drawn from throughout Shearman’s impressive career: “Tiny Deaths,” “Jolly Roger,” “The Big Boy’s Big Book of Tricks,” and the previously unpublished “The Girl from Ipanema.”


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A woman rejects her husband’s heart—and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife’s face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he’s roommate to the ghost of Hitler’s pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted A woman rejects her husband’s heart—and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife’s face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he’s roommate to the ghost of Hitler’s pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted house right at the centre of the Garden of Eden. Deliciously frightening, darkly satirical, and always unexpected, Robert Shearman has won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Edge Hill Reader’s Prize. Remember Why You Fear Me gathers together his best dark fiction, the most celebrated stories from his acclaimed books, and ten new tales that have never been collected before. This ebook contains four bonus novelettes drawn from throughout Shearman’s impressive career: “Tiny Deaths,” “Jolly Roger,” “The Big Boy’s Big Book of Tricks,” and the previously unpublished “The Girl from Ipanema.”

30 review for Remember Why You Fear Me: The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

    Good grief, reading this was almost physical as much as emotional. There is a something to Shearman’s style that just makes these weird stories click and feel right, or rather, feel the right kind of absolutely bloody godsdamn wrong. They are listed as horror, but it is not the horror of things going bump in the night, not the horror of things going boo! in your face, and most certainly not the horror of things going splat! over the floor (though there is plenty of all of that). Shearman’s horro Good grief, reading this was almost physical as much as emotional. There is a something to Shearman’s style that just makes these weird stories click and feel right, or rather, feel the right kind of absolutely bloody godsdamn wrong. They are listed as horror, but it is not the horror of things going bump in the night, not the horror of things going boo! in your face, and most certainly not the horror of things going splat! over the floor (though there is plenty of all of that). Shearman’s horror is the horror of mind-numbing day-to-day existence, of distance and alienation, of raging depression. The fact that he references vacations in Tenerife as I was reading this on vacation in Tenerife, the fact that he speaks of people trying to get back to their loved ones as I was stuck hundreds of miles away from home probably just added vodka to the gasoline. Normally I detest ageism, or really any kind of -ism in general, but with Shearman, I suspect one needs to pack a few years under the belt and have a family of one’s own before feeling the full painful shred this collection of fine-cut gems can inflict on their reader.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    I discovered this author after reading one of his stories in an anthology. I read his story many times because I couldn't get a handle on it at all. I made Brian read it as well. There was just something "wrong" about it that was incredibly creepy. So I found his anthologies and wanted to read them. Unfortunately, our library system carries none of his works. Undaunted, I asked my mom to get the one that her library system carried, and she did. I read this fairly quickly, over the span of a coupl I discovered this author after reading one of his stories in an anthology. I read his story many times because I couldn't get a handle on it at all. I made Brian read it as well. There was just something "wrong" about it that was incredibly creepy. So I found his anthologies and wanted to read them. Unfortunately, our library system carries none of his works. Undaunted, I asked my mom to get the one that her library system carried, and she did. I read this fairly quickly, over the span of a couple of days. Not all the stories are winners, but the ones that are are excellent. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Neil Gaiman's short stories...there's a lot of similarity in the feel of them. I would also recommend this to anyone who just plain enjoys a WTF kind of story because you won't be disappointed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clayton

    These are stories about regular people with regular lives, just like you and me. They have daily problems with love and marriage and religion and sex. But they have the unfortunate fate of living in a universe just slightly off from ours. Each and every story left me with an empty feeling of What The Hell Did I Just Read, which was jarring and uncomfortable at first. But as I ventured on through the book, I began to realize that his style is that of nightmares, and it's the same exact feeling I These are stories about regular people with regular lives, just like you and me. They have daily problems with love and marriage and religion and sex. But they have the unfortunate fate of living in a universe just slightly off from ours. Each and every story left me with an empty feeling of What The Hell Did I Just Read, which was jarring and uncomfortable at first. But as I ventured on through the book, I began to realize that his style is that of nightmares, and it's the same exact feeling I get after surviving one of those. Expect no morals or comfort from these tales. Some of the most lasting images I've ever read. I hope that if you read this book, you will opt for the ebook version, because the bonus stories at the end are some of the brightest stars in this collection of darkness.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

    The better part of the stories are about divorce or people cheating on their spouses, the remaining are about broken or failing relationships of various other types, with one or two exceptions. I enjoyed the ideas behind a number of the stories in the collection but rarely appreciated the execution. I could count on one hand the ones I'd actually recommend to someone (and I don't know that I'd even need all the fingers). There are 21 tales included in the volume. For a book I found in the Horror s The better part of the stories are about divorce or people cheating on their spouses, the remaining are about broken or failing relationships of various other types, with one or two exceptions. I enjoyed the ideas behind a number of the stories in the collection but rarely appreciated the execution. I could count on one hand the ones I'd actually recommend to someone (and I don't know that I'd even need all the fingers). There are 21 tales included in the volume. For a book I found in the Horror section I think two maybe three of the stories actually creeped me out a little. All in all, I'd say don't bother picking it up.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    I would consider Rob Shearman's work to be comparable to that of Neil Gaiman's - however, I actually enjoy Shearman's stories, while I can barely get through Gaiman's. When I read Shearman, I have a hard time stopping, and usually end up reading half a dozen stories and forget to do things like make dinner. His stories are unique, original, and just twisted enough without becoming totally "out there" (not sure how to else to describe it ...). The only thing I don't like is the frequent sexual re I would consider Rob Shearman's work to be comparable to that of Neil Gaiman's - however, I actually enjoy Shearman's stories, while I can barely get through Gaiman's. When I read Shearman, I have a hard time stopping, and usually end up reading half a dozen stories and forget to do things like make dinner. His stories are unique, original, and just twisted enough without becoming totally "out there" (not sure how to else to describe it ...). The only thing I don't like is the frequent sexual references, but that's my own personal preference. Overall, that didn't sully my enjoyment of this collection. The best thing about Shearman's writing is that all of his characters exist. What I mean is that they have so much depth that I feel as if he's writing about someone he knows well. Even in the shortest of stories, I become invested in each character. There is also something about his style which I enjoy, but can't quite explain. Aside from the fact that I like his writing, Rob Shearman is a lovely man. I've met him at the Doctor Who convention Chicago TARDIS and chatted with him on Twitter, and he is incredibly open and friendly. So, if you enjoy his work, drop him a line to let him know. And check out justsosospecial.com to read more of his hundred stories project.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    It took me over a month to read this collection of short stories. Not because they weren't good or because I didn't enjoy them, but BECAUSE they are so good and I DID enjoy them. I couldn't absorb more than two or three stories at a time because they did their job a little too well. Some of them scared me, but most left this sense of disquiet, of the edges of the world not quite fitting together anymore and you don't want to look into the cracks in between. It's psychological horror done very we It took me over a month to read this collection of short stories. Not because they weren't good or because I didn't enjoy them, but BECAUSE they are so good and I DID enjoy them. I couldn't absorb more than two or three stories at a time because they did their job a little too well. Some of them scared me, but most left this sense of disquiet, of the edges of the world not quite fitting together anymore and you don't want to look into the cracks in between. It's psychological horror done very well, drawing on old fears but presenting them in a new way. In fact, many of these stories have powerful element of magical realism to them. Bizarre things happen that are simply part of the characters' worlds and then even THAT gets turned on its head! It's difficult to get the uncanny to feel normal and than have something even more uncanny happen to disturb this new status quo. So if you like short stories, horror, and/or dark fiction, especially if you want to write in any of those areas, I definitely recommend reading "Remember Why You Fear Me."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    The way another reviewer describe this was perfect- Shearman's stories are like nightmares. They're beautifully written, surreal, eerie. Many times the meaning is vague- not so vague that you don't understand it, but vague enough to make it difficult to put into words. Overall, though, this book left me feeling uneasy and with an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach, which is what I absolutely love to find in a book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Occasionally people try to be clever by making "nightmare" versions of Alice in Wonderland, which inevitably are far less interesting than the original Alice in Wonderland and significantly less dreamlike. This is the most nightmarish collection of stories I've read. It's not that it's dark, although it is, but rather because it's almost normal. The stories here are about normal people suffering from ordinary anxieties about age, sex, death, and other normal things. The worlds they inhabit are n Occasionally people try to be clever by making "nightmare" versions of Alice in Wonderland, which inevitably are far less interesting than the original Alice in Wonderland and significantly less dreamlike. This is the most nightmarish collection of stories I've read. It's not that it's dark, although it is, but rather because it's almost normal. The stories here are about normal people suffering from ordinary anxieties about age, sex, death, and other normal things. The worlds they inhabit are not normal though, there's strange dark disturbing things lurking around the corners, and most disturbingly these dark elements are perfectly ordinary to the characters. The stories start to bleed together into some kind of unpleasant mass, but some still stand out. My favourite was the final story written as an epilogue to a now diseased Rob Shearman's ghost story collection. I find these stories are very well written smart horror stories, but I kind of hate them. Overall they are unpleasant stories about unpleasant things happening to unpleasant people. It took me five months to finish them because they upset me and disturbed me and I often found the idea of reading another very unappealing. These are stories of the absurd, with little in the way of significant meaning. I think personally that that's kind of the point. They are stories of embracing the absurd darkness of life. I really found them very unpleasant, but I'm supposed to find them unpleasant. The advantage that Shearman's audio dramas had was that they were all about Doctor Who and so they had to have one or two likable characters in them. There's no such restriction here and so there are pretty much no likable characters in any of the stories. I think it's probably a fairly good collection, and I think that I would like it more if I reread it. I won't though; I found the whole experience very unpleasant and have little desire to experience it again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    He went into the spare room. She’d been through the cupboards, there was debris all over the bed. From an empty shoebox she’d found his heart. She was holding it in one palm—he’d forgotten how, in death, it had grown so small and wizened. “Put that back,” he said. “That isn’t yours anymore.” “Look,” she said softly. “Look.” And she began to stroke it. She blew on it gently. “It’s not yours,” he said, uselessly. And as he watched, the rock cracked. Pink tissue broke through the stone and bone. “Look, He went into the spare room. She’d been through the cupboards, there was debris all over the bed. From an empty shoebox she’d found his heart. She was holding it in one palm—he’d forgotten how, in death, it had grown so small and wizened. “Put that back,” he said. “That isn’t yours anymore.” “Look,” she said softly. “Look.” And she began to stroke it. She blew on it gently. “It’s not yours,” he said, uselessly. And as he watched, the rock cracked. Pink tissue broke through the stone and bone. “Look,” she said again. It was struggling, and then it managed a beat, and once it had managed one, it seemed all too happy to beat again. “Look,” she said, and kissed it. The last of the rock crumbled away at her touch. “I love you,” she said. “Look. I love you. Look how much.” And she offered his heart out to him, as good to new. Dazedly he reached for it. She smiled, nodded. He took hold of it. Looked at it, as it swelled with new life. And then he dug his fingernails in, dug them in deep, dug ’til it bled. “No,” she said. And began squeezing hard, so that one of the ventricles bulged then burst. “No, stop!” And ripped it apart, tearing at it, pulling off gobbets of it, showering them on to the spare room carpet. “I told you,” he said. “It isn’t yours. You gave it back.” *** Remember Why You Fear Me: The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman collects twenty of the World Fantasy Award-winning author’s most accomplished short stories, fourteen of which have seen previous publication between 2006 and 2012. Shearman has had to date a rather illustrious writing career; he’s won several playwriting awards, has been associated with England’s Royal National Theatre, and worked on the BBC series The Chain Gang and Doctor Who. His short fiction is no less respected, having taken home the British Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and as previously mentioned, the World Fantasy Award. The stories collected in this publication, many of which have been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award, run the range between magical realism, surrealism, flat-out horror, and the not-so-plain, not-so-ordinary, dark and dreary crevasses of the imagination. Death, children, family, abandonment, and legacy are the core unifying elements among the stories collected in Remember Why You Fear Me. In “Mortal Coil,” when everyone in the world learns the hows, whys, and whens of their inevitable deaths, a young man without a funeral of his own to look forward to becomes a reluctant executioner; the mother of “So Proud” is giving birth to furniture and appliances she neither wants nor has use for; the divorced father at the centre of “Cold Snap” grows apart from his son when his ex-wife and the new man in her life divide his attention, and a contract with Santa Claus written long ago has tragic, antler-ific consequences; “One More Bloody Miracle After Another” focuses on a two-year-old girl’s immaculate conception and her mother’s furious, controlling nature; and “The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World” depicts the harsh reality that approaches all too suddenly when one abandons faith for fact, when children decide to extricate themselves from their parents’ influence in order to craft legacies of their own. Shearman’s voice has tremendous range, inhabiting each tale in unique, often unexpected ways. Most notable in this regard is the second story in the collection, “George Clooney’s Moustache,” which is told from the perspective of a young girl, her age never specified, who falls in love with the man who has abducted her. As Stockholm syndrome takes effect, the captive becomes the captor, spurned by the man’s apparent lack of affection. The story itself is childish in tone, and because her age is deliberately obscured, it’s not clear how much time passes over the course of the story. The block paragraphs and run-on sentences are indicative of a mind that has never fully matured. The loss of innocence is palpable and unsettling. Not every story in the collection is especially horrifying. Point of fact, some are downright comical… until they’re not. For example, “Damned if You Don’t,” which imagines a Hell so overpopulated that the dead are sent back to the world above as shades of their former selves and Hitler’s dog, Woofie, befriends his Hell-sent roommate, Martin. And why was Woofie sent to Hell? For being Hitler’s dog and nothing else… certainly not the tacit approval of death and genocide he offers Martin near the story’s end. Because as Woofie said to Hitler one fateful day, “If you’re going to Hell for one Jew, then why not for a hundred? For a hundred thousand. For six million. If you’re going to be damned anyway, at least be damned for something impressive.” Ridiculous. Absurd. And chilling. The strongest titles in the collection are “Good Grief,” “Pang” (the strongest of the lot, in my ever so humble opinion, and the one quoted at the top of this review), “Favourite,” “Featherweight,” and “Clown Envy.” The latter is also the most terrifying in the collection… because fuck clowns, that’s why. Most impressive is how with such limited space for each story Shearman managed, on several occasions, to really get under my skin. It was never with the more horrifying case studies (but seriously, fuck you, clowns), rather I was undone by the most obvious knife wounds of humanity—small cuts that unexpectedly grazed the surface of some of the more poignant tales: by Alex’s attempts to blame the death of his drunk-driving wife on the woman she accidentally killed in a head-on collision in “Good Grief;” or the quiet, sad serenity of one man witnessing the premature death of the family he never got to develop in “Featherweight.” “Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon” is the most esoteric in the collection, yet still strangely uplifting. However, as much cannot be said for “Elementary Problems of Photography (Number Three): An Analysis, and Proferred Solution” and “Jason Zerrillo is an Annoying Prick,” the only weak entries in the entire collection. There are still several stories in this collection I’ve not touched upon, and each and every one of them is worth your time. This is the first of Shearman’s writing I’ve been exposed to, and it will not be the last. Remember Why You Fear Me: The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman is a strong collection of genre fiction—one of the strongest I’ve come across in some time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara Ann

    Just incredible.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    There is a lot of discussion (mainly in the foreword and afterword of the book) about whether these are horror stories. I would say absolutely, just not in a gory "genre" way literary and psychological in nature. Anyway, I thought these stories were great and super memorable. Many start out with normal domestic settings, but then a rabbit with bat wings or cherubs with sharp teeth appear. I really liked the story about Santa and the couple who literally give each other their hearts. Reall There is a lot of discussion (mainly in the foreword and afterword of the book) about whether these are horror stories. I would say absolutely, just not in a gory "genre" way literary and psychological in nature. Anyway, I thought these stories were great and super memorable. Many start out with normal domestic settings, but then a rabbit with bat wings or cherubs with sharp teeth appear. I really liked the story about Santa and the couple who literally give each other their hearts. Really I don't think there's a bad one in the bunch...so bizarre and yet focused on really normal human emotions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samaire Wynne

    Creepy! :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth

    The one word I would use to describe this book is 'weird'. I think I picked it up hoping for some spooky stories to read on dark nights and that is not at all what I got here. I admit, I was a little disappointed, and put it aside for a while. I picked it up again because the stories I had read stayed with me. No matter how strange they are, the stories here are compelling, and even when the characters described within are wholly unlikable, I find myself caring very much about what happens to th The one word I would use to describe this book is 'weird'. I think I picked it up hoping for some spooky stories to read on dark nights and that is not at all what I got here. I admit, I was a little disappointed, and put it aside for a while. I picked it up again because the stories I had read stayed with me. No matter how strange they are, the stories here are compelling, and even when the characters described within are wholly unlikable, I find myself caring very much about what happens to them. The weirdness here is bizarrely mundane, so when a character, for example, gives birth to a sofa, I accept it and read on, worrying about how the poor woman will deal with her new sofa-child. More than that, many of these stories have a real heart to them and, in spite of the insanity, I find myself touched, sentimental fool that I am, and how strange to call a book like this 'sentimental'. Anyway, I guess what I am saying here is that I enjoyed these stories a lot, even though they were not, could not possibly be, what I was expecting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sheldon

    Robert Sherman has a knack for storytelling that is both humorous and grave. Most seem to follow a certain theme when read exclusively and in linear fashion, which is a recurrent matter of death and/or transformation of sorts. Some personal highlights: Damned if You Don’t - About a man who goes to hell and shares a room with Hitler's dog. George Clooney’s Moustache - A very clever take on the relationship between an abductor and his captive. Jason Zerillo is an Annoying Prick - The real series of eve Robert Sherman has a knack for storytelling that is both humorous and grave. Most seem to follow a certain theme when read exclusively and in linear fashion, which is a recurrent matter of death and/or transformation of sorts. Some personal highlights: Damned if You Don’t - About a man who goes to hell and shares a room with Hitler's dog. George Clooney’s Moustache - A very clever take on the relationship between an abductor and his captive. Jason Zerillo is an Annoying Prick - The real series of events about Jesus and his gang that you won't find in the Bible. Roadkill - Loved this story between a mismatched couple. The writing voice made this very engaging. Jolly Roger - Cruise ship shenanigans. Tiny Deaths - Another entertaining story featuring the Bible's main man, Jesus.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emilie Fonti

    A collection of "horror" stories....aka a bunch of stories of divorcees in a slightly odd world. Mostly dull, only one small portion was scary. Relies heavily on digust than terror. Also has incest and slut shaming a pregnant toddler. I should have DNF.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Casie Blevins

    Best book of dark fiction I've ever read. Shearman is talented, and the only thing I would change about him would be that he would be compelled to write faster. This book was superb.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    The stories went to a lot of interesting places. I recommend this author to people who like weird kind of fucked up shit! He does dark stories very well

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Gray

    Superbly dark. A skilful and accomplished short story collection. Custard cream is wonderful – skilful and frightening.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Oliver

    Shearman’s brand of weird fiction is uniquely his. Dark as a cellar but shot through with the light of humanity and sparks of humour. Heartfelt and heartbreaking. A remarkable collection.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jamie O'Rourke

    This is one of Shearman’s two ‘best of’ collections and is probably the one I prefer as the horror genre has always been my forte. I have already reviewed Shearman’s three main collections and so will only review the stories that are not included in any of them here, so, I’ll get to it. -Clown Envy 3* A fun little tale about the relationship parents have with their children, not really horrific, but still worth a read (well, they all are). -Elementary Problems with Photography (Number 3): An Analys This is one of Shearman’s two ‘best of’ collections and is probably the one I prefer as the horror genre has always been my forte. I have already reviewed Shearman’s three main collections and so will only review the stories that are not included in any of them here, so, I’ll get to it. -Clown Envy 3* A fun little tale about the relationship parents have with their children, not really horrific, but still worth a read (well, they all are). -Elementary Problems with Photography (Number 3): An Analysis 3.5* A great little horror story, but not one of the collection’s best. -Good Grief 4.5* Oh, dear God, this is a classic. This horrifically dreamlike story drags you into it’s world and is genuinely thrilling. The best of the previously uncollected stories in the book. -Custard Creams 4.5* Another great story, this one is both creepy and bizarre, feeling like it could fit in either of his best of sets. It’s really fantastic. -Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon 4* This is one of the really immersive stories in the collection and it is best left unspoiled. Take your time and make sure your comfortable when your reading it for it to have maximum effect. -One Bloody Miracle After Another 2* My least favourite story in the collection, inconsequential and unnecessary, but not really bad, just not up to the standards of your usual Shearman story. -Jason Zerillo is an Annoying Prick 4* A really funny and bizarre one here, I loved it. -Alice Through the Plastic Sheet 4.5* As with Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon, this is one that is really effective if you immerse yourself in it. This one is very disturbing at times. -The Bathtub 4* One of the more straightforward horror stories in here and I love it. It has a really creepy atmosphere. -The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World 4* A strange and interesting ending to the collection, I really enjoy this one. -Merely a Horror Writer 3.5* Don’t skip the afterword, wink wink. The best of the recollected stories are ‘Damned if You Don’t’, ‘Cold Snap’ and, the most disturbing story Shearman has ever written, ‘Granny’s Grinning’. Overall this collection is worth buying even if you already own all of the other collections, as half of the stories are new (and, as you can see, great) and the old ones feel completely different in the new set.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    Like most short fiction collections, this book is a mixed bag. The best stories (e.g, "George Clooney's Mustache") are quite good, but the book is dragged down by a number of competently-written but uninspired stories. Making matters worse, most of these are concentrated in the second half of the book. The ebook edition includes a few stories not found in the print version, but all of these could have been cut without being particularly missed. Another slight disappointment was that the stories Like most short fiction collections, this book is a mixed bag. The best stories (e.g, "George Clooney's Mustache") are quite good, but the book is dragged down by a number of competently-written but uninspired stories. Making matters worse, most of these are concentrated in the second half of the book. The ebook edition includes a few stories not found in the print version, but all of these could have been cut without being particularly missed. Another slight disappointment was that the stories were mostly dark fantasy with a level of creepiness on par with Neil Gaiman, rather than the truly unsettling early Barkeresque horror suggested by the book's ridiculously badass title and cover artwork. Overall I enjoyed the book, and will keep an eye out for Shearman's work in the future, but it didn't live up to the cover.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Constance

    4.5 - with some of the stories a definite 5. Robert Shearman writes such stuff as dreams are made on. These gorgeously-written dream landscapes are dark and dirty and filled with wtf moments. They make you chuckle, shudder, admire the pitch-perfect turn-of-phrase, and best of all - think. And that's all in the space of a sentence. Shearman really has something to say here. And the writing is SPOT. ON. After reading most of these short stories, I noticed that Shearman wrote an episode for series 4.5 - with some of the stories a definite 5. Robert Shearman writes such stuff as dreams are made on. These gorgeously-written dream landscapes are dark and dirty and filled with wtf moments. They make you chuckle, shudder, admire the pitch-perfect turn-of-phrase, and best of all - think. And that's all in the space of a sentence. Shearman really has something to say here. And the writing is SPOT. ON. After reading most of these short stories, I noticed that Shearman wrote an episode for series one (the Eccleston series) of Doctor Who. The same mix of humor, terror and social commentary that marked Shearman's Who outing in the stellar episode, Dalek, is evident in these well-crafted gems. Read and admire. I dare you.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lianne

    Remember Why You Fear Me is a collection of short stories ranging from psychological suspense to poignant reflections on life and love (with an eerie twist) to downright horror-themed scenarios. Shearman’s stories are reminiscent (to me, at least) of Neil Gaiman’s and Catherynne Valente’s storytelling in his ability to take simple scenarios and everyday items and completely turn them on their heads, making the stories wholly unique. I enjoyed learning along the way what was unique about the sett Remember Why You Fear Me is a collection of short stories ranging from psychological suspense to poignant reflections on life and love (with an eerie twist) to downright horror-themed scenarios. Shearman’s stories are reminiscent (to me, at least) of Neil Gaiman’s and Catherynne Valente’s storytelling in his ability to take simple scenarios and everyday items and completely turn them on their heads, making the stories wholly unique. I enjoyed learning along the way what was unique about the setting of each particular story and themes that were prevalent in each of them. You could read the rest of my review of the book over at my blog: http://www.rulethewaves.net/blog/?p=6511

  24. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    What a bizarre collection of wtf moments! I can't say I didn't enjoy the ride, because I very much did, but most stories ended with me staring off into space wondering what the heck I just read. Damned If You Don't is probably the one that made the most sense (strangely enough, a story about a man who winds up in hell with Hitler's dog as a roommate). I also enjoyed Mortal Coil (although the ending was a bit anticlimatic) and Pangs. If you like surreal stories that you can't quite figure out, bu What a bizarre collection of wtf moments! I can't say I didn't enjoy the ride, because I very much did, but most stories ended with me staring off into space wondering what the heck I just read. Damned If You Don't is probably the one that made the most sense (strangely enough, a story about a man who winds up in hell with Hitler's dog as a roommate). I also enjoyed Mortal Coil (although the ending was a bit anticlimatic) and Pangs. If you like surreal stories that you can't quite figure out, but that stay with you for a long time afterwards, this is the collection for you!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    An Amazing Collection. Ratings below Mortal Coil (8/10) George Clooney's Moustache (7/10) Damned if You Don't (7/10) So Proud (5/10) Roadkill (6/10) Clown Envy (8/10) Elementary Problems of Photography (7/10) Good Grief (8/10) Custard Cream (4/10) Cold Snap (10/10) Pang (6/10) Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon (9/10) Favourite (8/10) One More Bloody Miracle After Another (3/10) Featherweight (6/10) Jason Zerillo is an annoying Prick (6/10) Granny's Grinning (6/10) Alice Through the Plastic Sheet (5/10) The Bathtub (9/1 An Amazing Collection. Ratings below Mortal Coil (8/10) George Clooney's Moustache (7/10) Damned if You Don't (7/10) So Proud (5/10) Roadkill (6/10) Clown Envy (8/10) Elementary Problems of Photography (7/10) Good Grief (8/10) Custard Cream (4/10) Cold Snap (10/10) Pang (6/10) Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon (9/10) Favourite (8/10) One More Bloody Miracle After Another (3/10) Featherweight (6/10) Jason Zerillo is an annoying Prick (6/10) Granny's Grinning (6/10) Alice Through the Plastic Sheet (5/10) The Bathtub (9/10) In the Dark Space (10/10)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Neon Magazine

    In the introduction of Remember Why You Fear Me (the recent book of collected short fiction by Robert Shearman), we learn that the author is reluctant to describe himself as a horror writer, and instead prefers to think of his work as “weird or humorous”. Certainly these are apt descriptions for the twenty stories found between the covers of this book, but they’re also quite certainly horrifying tales, not for the faint of heart. Full review at http://www.neonmagazine.co.uk/?p=2267. In the introduction of Remember Why You Fear Me (the recent book of collected short fiction by Robert Shearman), we learn that the author is reluctant to describe himself as a horror writer, and instead prefers to think of his work as “weird or humorous”. Certainly these are apt descriptions for the twenty stories found between the covers of this book, but they’re also quite certainly horrifying tales, not for the faint of heart. Full review at http://www.neonmagazine.co.uk/?p=2267.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Kaufmann

    An astounding collection of funny, absurd, surreal, dark stories. While most of the stories focus on the disintegration of a couple or family, Shearman's unique imagination takes you places you've never been before. I can see why he's won so many awards, and why this collection in particular is getting so much attention. These stories are gems. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Creepy twisted short stories. I'm not a huge short story fan so this holding my attention all the way through is amazing. There was a common theme that ran through a few of the stories but otherwise loved it. It is a collection of past works so it's forgivable. I would definitely recommend this to more than a few people.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luke Harrington

    I genuinely liked about half the stories, and the other half bored me. What was strong was strong enough to suck me in; I just really wanted to be consistently enthralled, and it never really happened. Still, the creativity and the deft prose were both inspiring. I fee like I learned quite a bit from this as a writer.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Very dark and often funny as hell. Sort of Robert Aickman (all the failed relationships and lonely men) meets Steven Millhauser (all the strange twists). I was especially fond of "Jason Zerrillo is an Annoying Prick" (only six pages long, but perfectly funny, surreal and creepy) and "Damned if You Don't" (man meets dog). Best contemporary short-story collection I read in years.

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