disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via tachyon publications in exchange for an honest review.
nightmares is a collection of 24 short stories but they’re not just any short stories. in this collection, editor ellen datlow has once again drawn together stories that not only complement each other but work together to make it clear to the reader that evil exists and sometimes it can’t be beaten.
normally, i review collections as a whole but this time there were a few stories that stood out, towering over the others and making it clear that they were not going to be dismissed when the ebook was turned off for the night.
closet dreams by lisa tuttle is desperately engaging despite the sparse details. tuttle maintains a visceral level of horror throughout, and still delivers a throat punch of an ending that is as emotionally devastating as it is shocking. if i were rating it alone it would definitely get five stars.
interstate love song (murder ballad no. 8) by caitlin r. kiernan is a bloody rampage on lonely highways but it’s full of love and unutterable sadness. it’s another five-star story.
the atlas of hell by nathan ballingrud had a feeling of familiarity that was extremely disconcerting. the malevolence in the story felt like it was leaking into my room and each page turn added to the oppressive feeling that something horrible was going to happen. even when i realized that i had read the story before, in fearful symmetries (also edited by datlow and i doubt that’s a coincidence!) that feeling of weight did not depart. this is another five-star story.
overall, this is a great collection. it’s a little uneven in some places but all the stories deliver.
four out of five stars