Monday 28 December 2015

Favourite Short Stories: 2015

My favourite post of the year.

After my short story lists for 2013 and (especially) 2014 proved so popular–and a big thanks to those who let me know they appreciated the posts or who read some of the stories I listed–I felt inspired to read more short stories in 2015 than ever before. No great hardship for someone like me. Which means that this year's list is even longer–but rest assured, I've still been pretty selective about which stories I've included.

All stories are relatively recent, but not all were published this year. I've tried not to include too many stories from any single author or book, and in all cases I've listed where I first read the story, not necessarily where it was first published. The list is, obviously, hopelessly biased towards my own personal reading tastes.

I hope at least a few of you out there will find some inspiration in the below...

Dan Abnett: Party Tricks (Magic, Solaris)
Robert Aickman: The Coffin House (The Strangers & Other Writings, Tartarus Press)
Robert Aickman: The Strangers (The Strangers & Other Writings, Tartarus Press)
Nina Allan: A Change Of Scene (Aickman's Heirs, Undertow)
Nina Allan: Dazzle (author's website)
Anonymous: The Birds Know (Maps Of The Lost)
Anonymous: Under The Skin (Maps Of The Lost)
Nathan Ballingrud: Skullpocket (IO9)
Nathan Ballingrud: The Visible Filth (This Is Horror chapbook)
Gon Ben Ari: Don't Blink (Jews vs. Aliens, Jurassic London)
Stephen Bacon: It Came From The Ground (Darkest Minds, Dark Minds Press)
Richard Farren Barber: Exchanging Gifts (Wordland 5: True Love, Exaggerated Press)
Laird Barron: The Carrion Gods In Their Heaven (The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, Night Shade Books)
Laird Barron: The Men From Porlock (The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, Night Shade Books)
Simon Bestwick: Horn Of The Hunter (The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, Spectral Press)
Simon Bestwick: The Psalm (author's website)
Brian Bilston: At The Intersection (author's website)
Gary A. Braunbeck: Crybaby Bridge #25 (Halfway Down The Stairs, Journalstone)
Nadia Bulkin: Pugelbone (author's website)
Steve Byrne: Safe Haven (PunkLit UK)
Pat Cadigan: Chilling (author's website)
Ramsey Campbell: Again (Journeys Into Darkness: Midnight Street Anthology,  Midnight Street Press)
Ramsey Campbell: The Callers (Four For Fear, PS Publishing)
Jennifer Claus: The Room Is Fire (New Genre #7)
Ray Cluley: I Have Heard The Mermaids Sing (Probably Monsters, Chizine)
Ray Cluley: Night Fishing (Probably Monsters, Chizine)
Ray Cluley: Turtledove (Within The Wind, Beneath The Snow, Spectral Press)
M.R. Cosby: Strike Three (Dark Lane Anthology #1, Dark Lane Books)
Anthony Cowin: Thirty Minutes Or It's Free (Sunny With A Chance Of Zombies, Great British Horror Books)
Kristi DeMeester: The Marking (Three Lobbed Burning Eye #27)
Malcolm Devlin: Two Brothers (Aickman's Heirs, Undertow)
Steve J. Dines: So Many Heartbeats, So Many Words (Black Static #46)
Frank Duffy: Photographs Showing Terrible Things (Hungry Celluloid, Dark Minds Press)
Brian Evenson: The Din Of Celestial Birds (Weird Fiction Review)
Brian Evenson: Seaside Town (Aickman's Heirs, Undertow)
Kurt Fawver: Marrowvale (The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, Spectral Press)
Gemma Files: Slick Black Bones And Soft Black Stars (The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 24, Robinson)
Gary Fry: The Catalyst (Darkest Minds, Dark Minds Press)
Gary Fry: The Subprime (The Outsiders, Crystal Lake)
Neil Gaiman: The Thing About Cassandra (Trigger Warnings, Headline)
Cate Gardner: The Drop Of Light And The Rise Of Dark (Black Static #45)
Jessica George: Surfaced (Inkitt)
Zoe F. Gilbert: The Manhattan Room (British Fantasy Society Journal #13)
Adam Golaski: Wild Dogs (Supernatural Tales #30)
Taylor Grant: The Silent Ones (Dark At The End Of The Tunnel, Crystal Lake)
Lisa L. Hannett: Smoke Billows, Soot Falls (Spectral Press chapbook)
Rachel Halsall: Hunting (Wild Things, Black Shuck Books)
Glen Hirschberg: Miss Ill-Kept Runt (The Monstrous, Tachyon)
Robert Hood: Grandma And The Girls (Peripheral Visions, IFWG Publishing)
Robert Hood: The Shark God Covenant (Peripheral Visions, IFWG Publishing)
Andrew Hook: The Opaque District (Horror Uncut, Gray Friar Press)
Lauren James: Transcribed Nightmare, More Or Less (author's website)
Paul Jessup: The Drinking Moon (Glass Coffin Girls, PS Publishing)
Paul Jessup: Secret In The House Of Smile (Glass Coffin Girls, PS Publishing)
Mark Howard Jones: The House That Loved Lovecraft (Wordland 5: True Love, Exaggerated Press)
Carole Johnstone: 21 Brooklands: Next To The Old Western, Opposite The Burnt Out Red Lion (For The Night Is Dark, Crystal Lake)
Carole Johnstone: Catching Flies (The Monstrous, Tachyon)
Tom Johnstone: What I Found In The Shed (Supernatural Tales #31)
Caitlin R. Kiernan: The Beginning Of The Year Without Summer (The Monstrous, Tachyon)
Gary Kilworth: The Fabulous Beast (The Ragthorn, Infinity Plus)
Zoltán Komor: Spell Of The Game (Bizarro Central)
Joel Lane: A Cry For Help (Horror Uncut, Gray Friar Press)
John Langan: Underground Economy (Aickman's Heirs, Undertow)
Joe R. Lansdale: The Hunt: Before, And The Aftermath (The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 24, Robinson)
V.H. Leslie: Precious Things (The Outsiders, Crystal Lake)
V.H. Leslie: Preservation (Skein & Bone, Undertow)
V.H. Leslie: Skein & Bone (Skein & Bone, Undertow)
E. Michael Lewis: Fiveplay (Supernatural Tales #28)
Ken Liu: Paper Menagerie (IO9)
Alison Littlewood: The Ghost At The Feast (Horror Uncut, Gray Friar Press)
Alison Littlewood: The Art Of Escapology (Magic, Solaris)
Livia Llewellyn: The Last Clean, Bright Summer (Primeval: A Journal Of The Uncanny #2)
James Machin: An Oubliette (Supernatural Tales #29)
Amelia Mangan: The Bridegroom (The Book Smugglers)
Helen Marshall: Lines Of Affection (Hair Side, Flesh Side, Chizine)
Helen Marshall: The Old And The New (Hair Side, Flesh Side, Chizine)
Laura Mauro: The Grey Men (Black Static #45)
Laura Mauro: Ptichka (Horror Uncut, Gray Friar Press)
Sophia McDougall: MailerDaemon (Magic, Solaris)
Gary McMahon: In The Darkest Room In The Darkest House On The Darkest Part Of The Street (For The Night Is Dark, Crystal Lake)
Stephen McQuiggan: Deletion (Supernatural Tales #31)
S.P. Miskowski: The Second Floor (Black Static #45)
Alison Moore: The Harvestman (Nightjar Press chapbook)
Ralph Robert Moore: The 18 (Darkest Minds, Dark Minds Press)
Ralph Robert Moore: Men Wearing Makeup (Black Static #46)
C.M. Muller: Dissolution (Supernatural Tales #29)
Scott Nicolay: The Bad Outer Space (Ana Kai Tangata, Fedogan & Bremer)
Scott Nicolay: The Soft Frogs (Ana Kai Tangata, Fedogan & Bremer)
Joyce Carol Oates: Gunlove (Celestial Timepiece)
G. Carl Purcell: The Middle Managers Of Pachnout (New Genre #7)
Rosanne Rabinowitz: The Matter Of Meroz (Jews vs. Aliens, Jurassic London)
Louis Rakovich: Go To The Dead Rabbi's House (Unsung Stories)
Steve Rasnic Tem: Waiting At The Crossroads Motel (The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 24, Robinson)
Sarah Read: Magnifying Glass (Black Static #46)
Nicholas Royle: The Larder (The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, Spectral Press)
Lynda E. Rucker: An Element Of Blank (Supernatural Tales #30)
Lynda E. Rucker: Red At The End Of The World (Fantasycon 2015 souvenir book)
Lynda E. Rucker: Where The Summer Dwells (The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 24, Robinson)
Daniel I. Russell: God May Pity All Weak Hearts (For The Night Is Dark, Crystal Lake)
Mary SanGiovanni: Kins (A Darkling Plain)
Mary SanGiovanni: Letting Go (A Darkling Plain)
Neil Schiller: 100%/Serpents (Drunk Monkeys)
Priya Sharma: Fabulous Beasts (A Tor Short Story)
Priya Sharma: The Soul Of Stones (Pine Float Press)
Robert Shearman: Dumb Lucy (Magic, Solaris)
Phil Sloman: Discomfort Food (Chip Shop Of Horrors, Knightwatch Press)
Elizabeth Stott: The Capsule (author's website)
Simon Strantzas: Her Father's Daughter (Nightingale Songs, Dark Regions Press)
Simon Strantzas: Pale Light In The Jungle (Nightingale Songs, Dark Regions Press)
David Surface: The Sea In Darkness Calls, (Darkest Minds, Dark Minds Press)
Rachel Swirsky: If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love (Apex)
Nikki Tanner: Paradise (Sunny With A Chance Of Zombies, Great British Horror Books)
Simon Kurt Unsworth: Little Traveller (The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, Spectral Press)
Stephen Volk: Celebrity Frankenstein (The Mammoth Book Of Best New Horror 24, Robinson)
William Wandless: Doorways (Supernatural Tales #28)
Michael Wehunt: The Devil Under The Maison Blue (The Dark)
Mark West: Mr Stix (For The Night Is Dark, Crystal Lake)
Neil Williamson: The Secret Language Of Stamps (Black Static #46)
A.C. Wise: Chasing Sunset (The Monstrous, Tachyon)
Marion Womack: Orange Dogs (Weird Fiction Review)
Alyssa Wong: Hungry Daughters Of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine)


Datlow said...

Great list. But so you know, some of the stories are quite old: (I didn't have time to check the pub dates of the others).

Laird Barron: The Carrion Gods In Their Heaven -2011
Laird Barron: The Men From Porlock 2011
Ray Cluley: I Have Heard The Mermaids Sing 2011
Ray Cluley: Night Fishing 2012
Brian Evenson: The Din Of Celestial Birds 1997
Neil Gaiman: The Thing About Cassandra 2010
Glen Hirschberg: Miss Ill-Kept Runt 2007 (Hirshberg)
Robert Hood: Grandma And The Girls 1989

James Everington said...

Thanks - yes, they're not all from 2015, it's just one's I've read this year that are contemporary-ish :)