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GregorXane

Gregor Xane

I prefer science fiction, fantasy, and horror without the spaceships, dragons, and zombies.

TWO: The 2nd Annual Stupefying Stories Horror Special

TWO: The 2nd Annual Stupefying Stories Horror Special - Bruce Bethke,  Evan Dicken,  José  Iriarte,  Rose Blackthorn,  Rebecca Roland,  Stone Showers,  Yukimi Ogawa,  Holly A. Cave,  Keith Rosson,  Shona Snowden,  Anton Sim,  L. Joseph Shosty,  Simon Kewin,  Gregor Xane,  Leah Thomas,  Sean Eads,  Nicole Cushing Yes, I do have a story in this anthology. So take this review for whatever you think it's worth. And, incidentally, I don't personally know the editor or any of the contributors. I've not interacted with any of the other authors electronically or otherwise. My reading of their works, and this work as a whole, I would say, is relatively unbiased. I don't know. Maybe not. Either way, it's not going to stop me from typing out my overall impressions and pointing out which stories were, to me, the stand-outs.

This is a varied collection of horror stories. There is a fairly wide range of styles and supernatural beasties represented here. It's a digital-only publication and the eBook formatting is clean and professional.

I found every story in this volume entertaining, but the ones I liked the best were (not ranked):

"Second to Last Stop" by Evan Dicken

(This was a perfect story to open this book. It focuses on a character archetype common in horror films, one that rarely gets a chance to take center stage.)

"Gris-Gris for a Mal Pris" by Rebecca Roland

(The handling of folk magic in this story was idiosyncratic and very believable.)

"A is for Android" by Holly A. Cave

(The sense of dread in this one was there on page one and never went away. Plus, robots! Well, androids.)

"Offworld" by Anton Sim

(Short and sinister with lots of really good little creatures.)

"An Incident in Cain's Mark" by L. Joseph Shosty

(Lovecraftian Steampunk! And a robot! Er, automaton?)

"Professor Pandemonium's Train of Terror" by Simon Kewin

(This wry little piece was clever and quick and had all the monsters.)

"The Revenge of Oscar Wilde" by Sean Eads

(I'm not much for zombies. And I really don't care for the "historical figure versus supernatural creature" sub-genre. But these prejudices didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying this piece. Good writing can make almost anything good, I suppose. And the ending was just fantastic.)

I'm sure others will disagree with my selections above and have their own favorites. And I wouldn't be surprised if they did. As mentioned above, I was entertained by every story here. It's all good stuff.

And, of course, I recommend this anthology to fans of short horror fiction, especially those who like their horror with a bit of a retro feel.