On Saturday the mail carrier delivered a package for which I’ve waited the past nine months. Cemetery Dance published a massive, two-volume anthology called The Century’s Best Horror Fiction. Edited by genre historian John Pelan, it covers one hundred stories and one hundred authors across the entire 20th century.
These are stunning books; I fully commend Chizmar and his team for such an ambitious undertaking. This book has been years in the making, as you can imagine, and I preordered it last summer. It’s a bit pricey at $150 (more for subsequent printings) but well worth the investment.
Looking over the table of contents, I’d say 70-75 percent are stories I haven’t yet read. Some are incredibly obscure, while others are among the most-anthologized stories ever penned. In the story notes for every selection Pelan discusses his reasons for including each particular piece and oftentimes recommends alternate tales or authors who almost made the cut (poor Joseph Payne Brennan, overlooked yet again). That “honorable mention” list could fill a third book; no doubt I’ll try to track down many of those passed-over gems in the future.
I would rank The Century’s Best Horror Fiction among horror’s top retrospectives. It goes right on my bookshelf between The Dark Descent, Foundations of Fear and the two American Fantastic Tales volumes that Peter Straub collected a few years back for Library of America.
A couple of weeks ago I also received the latest issue of Cemetery Dance magazine, a Graham Masterton special. There was *ahem* a slight delay between issue #64 and #65, but it’s crammed with great interviews and stories. I even picked up two Masterton books I haven’t read because the other contributors raved about them. Here’s hoping #66 isn’t far behind . . .
In other news has anyone else heard about the movie Paranorman? It’s supposed to come out this summer, and the trailer has me hooked. It’s a kids’ film, I know, but a kids’ film with monsters.