Friday, 16 March 2018

In Praise Of Non-Themed Anthologies

In relation to a few things seen on social media recently, I just wanted to say: non-themed anthologies of original fiction are brilliant, aren't they? Especially, I feel, for weird, supernatural & horror fiction. Why? Well:

1. They can give you a real sense of where the genre is right now, its trends & obsessions
2. Paradoxically, they also provide a purview of the breadth & depth of the genre, irrespective of current trends
3. So they provide homes to stories you sense wouldn't quite 'fit' anywhere else, especially for newer writers
4. They're the best place to find new writers to love in the future, writing from the gut & heart, alongside ones you already know can deliver the goods
5. And you can get a real sense of an editor's personal taste too, their own take on this genre of ours
6. In the best ones, you never know what the next story will bring

But... I confess I find them really hard to review on this blog. There's no theme, so you can't mention that: any connections you see between the stories are likely all in your own mind or too general & obvious to be worth mentioning. And writing about each individual story can feel too repetitive, too much of a time-drain. Especially as there seems to be a tendency for these anthologies to push 20 stories or more.

So I've been remiss on that score, but to repeat, I do love a good non-themed anthology of original horror or supernatural fiction. So here's a link to a few of my favourites of recent years:

Shadows & Tall Trees #6 (ed. Michael Kelly, Undertow)
Shadows & Tall Trees #7 (ed. Michael Kelly, Undertow)
Looming Low #1 (ed. Justin Steele & Sam Cowan, Dim Shores)
New Fears #1 (ed. Mark Morris, Titan)
Nightscript #1 (ed. C.M. Muller, Chthonic Matter)
Nightscript #2 (ed. C.M. Muller, Cthhonic Matter)
A Book Of Horrors (ed. Stephen Jones, Jo Fletcher Books)
Darkest Minds (ed. Ross Warren & Anthony Watson, Dark Minds Press)
For The Night Is Dark (ed. Ross Warren, Crystal Lake)
Strange Tales V (ed. Rosalie Parker, Tartarus Press)
Hauntings (ed. Ian Whates, NewCon Press)
The Shadow Booth #1 (ed. Dan Coxon)
ETA: The Black Room Manuscripts #3 (ed. J.R. Park & Daniel Marc Chant, Sinister Horror Company - suggested by Penny Jones)

Any further suggestions welcome in the comments!

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