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The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series V

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Already an established tradition, this is still the only anthology of its kind in America. The Year's Best Horror Stories has come to be the highly regarded annual selection of the masterpieces of terror and weird fiction published during the past year. Specially chosen and edited by a long-time authority, the editor of Witchcraft & Sorcery magazine, Gerald W. Page, this y Already an established tradition, this is still the only anthology of its kind in America. The Year's Best Horror Stories has come to be the highly regarded annual selection of the masterpieces of terror and weird fiction published during the past year. Specially chosen and edited by a long-time authority, the editor of Witchcraft & Sorcery magazine, Gerald W. Page, this year's edition is scarier than ever. Here you will find Fritz Leiber's award-winning story of the year. Here you will find a chiller-diller by Harlan Ellison. Here is Robert Bloch at his Psycho-spookiest. Here is a grim fantasy by Tanith Lee. Here are equally unforgettable tales by Manly Wade Wellman, H. Warner Munn, Joseph Payne Brennan, and many more. Here's horror! Contents: Sing a Last Song of Valdese by Karl Edward Wagner. Where the Woodbine Twineth by Manly Wade Wellman. Huzdra by Tanith Lee. Long Hollow Swamp by Joseph Payne Brennan. The Service by Jerry Sohl. Harold's Blues by Glen Singer. The Well by H. Warner Munn. A Most Unusual Murder by Robert Bloch. Shatterday by Harlan Ellison. Children of the Forest by David Drake. The Day it Rained Lizards by Arthur Byron Cover. Followers of the Dark Star by Robert Edmond Alter. When All the Children Call My Name by Charles L. Grant. Belson Express by Fritz Leiber.


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Already an established tradition, this is still the only anthology of its kind in America. The Year's Best Horror Stories has come to be the highly regarded annual selection of the masterpieces of terror and weird fiction published during the past year. Specially chosen and edited by a long-time authority, the editor of Witchcraft & Sorcery magazine, Gerald W. Page, this y Already an established tradition, this is still the only anthology of its kind in America. The Year's Best Horror Stories has come to be the highly regarded annual selection of the masterpieces of terror and weird fiction published during the past year. Specially chosen and edited by a long-time authority, the editor of Witchcraft & Sorcery magazine, Gerald W. Page, this year's edition is scarier than ever. Here you will find Fritz Leiber's award-winning story of the year. Here you will find a chiller-diller by Harlan Ellison. Here is Robert Bloch at his Psycho-spookiest. Here is a grim fantasy by Tanith Lee. Here are equally unforgettable tales by Manly Wade Wellman, H. Warner Munn, Joseph Payne Brennan, and many more. Here's horror! Contents: Sing a Last Song of Valdese by Karl Edward Wagner. Where the Woodbine Twineth by Manly Wade Wellman. Huzdra by Tanith Lee. Long Hollow Swamp by Joseph Payne Brennan. The Service by Jerry Sohl. Harold's Blues by Glen Singer. The Well by H. Warner Munn. A Most Unusual Murder by Robert Bloch. Shatterday by Harlan Ellison. Children of the Forest by David Drake. The Day it Rained Lizards by Arthur Byron Cover. Followers of the Dark Star by Robert Edmond Alter. When All the Children Call My Name by Charles L. Grant. Belson Express by Fritz Leiber.

43 review for The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series V

  1. 5 out of 5

    Randolph

    Definitely biased by the fact that I had read most of the better stories in the past. Otherwise ho hum. There is one story, The Day it Rained Lizards, that has so much potential for weirdness and psychological insight, but is so poorly written, that it’s all but ruined.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Woof. I thought (hoped?) the Page volumes would be better than the ones that Davis edited, but that is not the case. 1. The Service (Jerry Sohl) - A man makes use of assisted suicide, but first regales the technician with tales of his life as a photographer. Told entirely in dialogue. Kind of a warm little vignette, not sure what it’s doing in a horror collection. 2. Long Hollow Swamp (Joseph Payne Brennan) - In the depths of New England, two friends explore a swamp of ill repute - surely the rep Woof. I thought (hoped?) the Page volumes would be better than the ones that Davis edited, but that is not the case. 1. The Service (Jerry Sohl) - A man makes use of assisted suicide, but first regales the technician with tales of his life as a photographer. Told entirely in dialogue. Kind of a warm little vignette, not sure what it’s doing in a horror collection. 2. Long Hollow Swamp (Joseph Payne Brennan) - In the depths of New England, two friends explore a swamp of ill repute - surely the reputation is unfounded? No, it's full of giant killer slugs! Generic to the point of absurdity. 3. Sing A Last Song of Valdese (Karl Edward Wagner) - A murder ballad transposed to a fantasy inn. Clumsy in general; with a twist that’s somehow both over-telegraphed and totally nonsensical. KEW’s recurring character Kane is there for no particular reason. 4. Harold’s Blues (Glen Singer) - Robert Johnson’s deal at the crossroads reimagined as a Mythos tale. Can’t say it really nails the vernacular, but at least it’s trying something interesting. 5. The Well (H. Warner Munn) - The seemingly-endless story of a Rajah imprisoned underground by his twin brother. Ever wanted to see how many pages an author could devote to making miniature saws out of rat jaws? Here you go. 6. A Most Unusual Murder (Robert Bloch) - An exceptionally well-crafted opening (maybe my bar is just low for these) gives way to an utterly silly story about time travel and Jack the Ripper. Turns out that I have a misprint that has the first half of Tanith Lee’s Huzdra printed twice (I can't claim that I was dying to read the second half anyway), omits all of Harlan Ellison’s Shatterday (whew), and then the second half of David Drake’s Children of the Forest. Oops. 7. The Day It Rained Lizards (Arthur Byron Cover) - A teenage miscreant and his witch girlfriend get in trouble when lizards invade their Va. town. Truly unpleasant characters ruin a germ of a good idea. 8. Followers of the Dark Star (Robert Edmond Alter) - An evil spirit leads treasure hunters to a lost city in Algeria. Unremarkable adventure pulp. 9. When All the Children Call My Name (Charles L. Grant) - A retired cop becomes a security guard at a playground where teenagers keep dying. It doesn’t seem to phase the smaller kids. Bradburian, but Grant is more to my taste than Ray. Very much the best selection so far. 10. Belsen Express (Fritz Leiber) - An asshole eager to ignore the fact that the Nazis ever existed runs afoul of their brand of modernism. Also very good. "Do you suppose there are some things a man simply can't escape, no matter how quietly he lives or how carefully he plans?" 11. Where the Woodbine Twineth (Manly Wade Wellman) - The Hatfields and McCoys meet Romeo and Juliet in the NC mountains, plus zombies. Wellman has never done much for me and this was particularly banal - if his backwoods prose doesn’t charm you there isn’t much else to it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    And here we are with another Gerald Page edited YEARS BEST HORROR, this time volume 5, which roughly covers the year 1975 (I say roughly because, unlike the series under Karl Edward Wagner's later stewardship, in which the criteria was that the story be published in the preceding year, Page's criteria is much more vague - the H. Warner Munn, Tanith Lee, Charles L. Grant and Arthur Byron Cover stories here are all previously unpublished, for example). Smack dab in the middle of the 70's, and stil And here we are with another Gerald Page edited YEARS BEST HORROR, this time volume 5, which roughly covers the year 1975 (I say roughly because, unlike the series under Karl Edward Wagner's later stewardship, in which the criteria was that the story be published in the preceding year, Page's criteria is much more vague - the H. Warner Munn, Tanith Lee, Charles L. Grant and Arthur Byron Cover stories here are all previously unpublished, for example). Smack dab in the middle of the 70's, and still dwelling in the tranquil pools of backwater genre before Stephen King makes his enormous splash (the ripples spreading for good and ill), this promises another interesting collection. Does it hold up? There's really only one stand-out tale, much like volume 4, in this case it's Harlan Ellison's SHATTERDAY which starts with a man calling his own home by mistake and getting...himself. It moves on into an interesting thought-experiment in Jungian archetypes at war, as snappily written as the best Richard Matheson (I believe it was adapted for the 80's NEW TWILIGHT ZONE run). Jerry Sohl's THE SERVICE is perhaps a bit predictable nowadays, but still a sadly tender tale of lost loves and a peculiar service offered the survivor. THE WELL by H. Warner Munn is pure pulp (and really more of an adventure story than horror) but still very enjoyable, following the travails of an Indian potentate tossed down a well by his twin brother, and how he schemes to take revenge with limited resources and perseverance. SING A LAST SONG OF VALDESE by Karl Edward Wagner (one of the few writers who can make me enjoy heroic fantasy) is an oddity featuring his recurrent barbarian character Kane, this time in a very oblique appearance (the story seems to end as it's starting). Interesting, if confusing. HAROLD'S BLUES by Glen Singer is a Lovecraftian re-take on the myth of Robert Johnson in which a famous blues player named Harold Robinson sells his soul to Shub-Niggurath, Black Goat with a Thousand Young, down by the swamp. It's okay, if underwritten. Tanith Lee's HUZDRA is a fantasy curse story, engaging if slight, and David Drake's CHILDREN OF THE FOREST starts well, as a cruelly valid take on the beginning of Hansel & Gretel (hunger drives a 17th century woodcutter to abandon his daughter in the woods), continues in an unexpected direction (abandoned girl is rescued by a strange, Pacuni-like clan of Black Forest-dwelling ape-people) and ends, eh, okay. Manly Wade Wellman is another writer (see Charles Grant, below) whose avowed shtick (in this case, Appalachian backwoods/folklore horror) is sometimes more interesting in potentia than in result. Still, WHERE THE WOODBINE TWINETH is pretty good, weaving a story of hillbilly blood feuds and witchcraft to fine effect. Arthur Byron Cover offers another weird tale of growing up a rebellious teenager in 1970's Virginia in THE DAY IT RAINED LIZARDS. The story itself is muddled but evocative and oddly trippy, as a disgruntled poet/juvenile delinquent spends a summer getting angry, getting laid, getting expelled and wrangling with his complete bitch of a girlfriend (if you have any complaints about that characterization, read the story before you complain to me) and fights off a giant lizard that tears up main street. I'm interested in reading Cover's non-sci-fi novel, Autumn Angels, when I can track it down. Joseph Payne Brennan (LONG HOLLOW SWAMP) and Robert Bloch (A MOST UNUSUAL MURDER) turn in unimpressive tales (Brennan's starts well, but the threat, when revealed, is kind of laughable and Bloch seems content to merely mine his self-created Jack The Ripper oeuvre to silly result). FOLLOWERS OF THE DARK STAR by Robert Edmond Alter is a pulpy "lost city" tale, okay but nothing special. Fritz Leiber appears with one of his most famous stories, BELSEN EXPRESS, an interesting, if slightly perfunctory, examination of the continuing echoes of the Nazi death camps. Charles L. Grant's contribution, WHEN THE CHILDREN CALL MY NAME, is typical for the writer - I've always loved the *idea* of Grant's personal definition of his brand of horror (quiet horror) but have rarely been impressed with the execution, and this story is no different. A retired policeman is posted on a residential playground where some teenagers have turned up dead, and begins to wonder why the normal power relationships between kids and teenagers seem strangely inverted. The ending is, as usual for Grant, anticlimactic. In all, this is a fairly weak entry in the YEARS BEST run. Gerald Page obviously likes dark fantasy and weighs it along with horror, although perhaps there wasn't much straight, supernatural horror available. Who knows? On to volume 6!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    A very solid collection of horror stories of various styles and types. There are highs and lows, as in all such collections, but even the misses (for me anyway) were still near things and mostly worth a read. Several of the stories were outstanding or excellent, and some were just plain memorable. Some of the better ones were: "The Service" by Jerry Sohl. A brief story about a dying photographer's last hours as he recalls his lost love, under the watchful eyes of a mysterious service technician. A very solid collection of horror stories of various styles and types. There are highs and lows, as in all such collections, but even the misses (for me anyway) were still near things and mostly worth a read. Several of the stories were outstanding or excellent, and some were just plain memorable. Some of the better ones were: "The Service" by Jerry Sohl. A brief story about a dying photographer's last hours as he recalls his lost love, under the watchful eyes of a mysterious service technician. Mostly interesting stylistically since it's told entirely in dialog. "Harold's Blues" by Glen Singer. The story of a blues guitarist's disappearance, told through interviews with an aging acquaintance. Some clever neo-Mythos writing updates an old-school deal-with-the-devil tale. "The Well" by H. Warner Munn. An Indian Rajah is imprisoned by his twin brother in a deep well and must use patience, endurance, and exteme resourcefulness to escape. The fun here is to see how cleverly the Rajah makes use of the meager resources at his disposal. "Shatterday" by Harlan Ellison. A unique twist to the "doppelganger" story. The main character, a selfish jerk, must contend with his double to see who will take control of his life. A classic. "Belsen Express" by Fritz Leiber. Long after WWII is over, the hero finds incidents in his life mirroring his worst fears, about being rounded up by the Gestapo.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Cooper

    Seriously scary, especially Tanith Lee's unforgettable short, "Huzdra" Seriously scary, especially Tanith Lee's unforgettable short, "Huzdra"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Juan Carlos

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liam Nickerson

  8. 5 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  10. 4 out of 5

    Waffles

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Sinclair

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anneka Ever

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cody Goodfellow

  15. 5 out of 5

    Faisal

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mavis 69 420 666

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gainel C

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  20. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Collins

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kazmierczak

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angel Guerra

  25. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark Yanes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dave Gochenaur

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mikentasha

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  31. 4 out of 5

    { U n s o l v e d M y s t e r y }

  32. 4 out of 5

    Gary Fauteux

  33. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  34. 4 out of 5

    Freddy

  35. 4 out of 5

    Yinzadi

  36. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Rousey

  37. 4 out of 5

    Axolotl

  38. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Venâncio

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ana

  40. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  41. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  42. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

  43. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Stephens

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