File Size: 1468 KB
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Books (October 7, 2014)
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
A newly released anthology, Nightmare Carnival, tends to present carnivals and circuses from this darker finish of the scale. This specific new variety of dark dream and horror is edited by the inestimable Ellen Datlow, editor of results of genre anthologies and the winner of many, many awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, the Shirley Jackson, and most recently the World Dream Award forever Achievement. Datlow continues to demonstrate to her impeccable ability for spotting good and chilling stories with Nightmare Carnival. I’ll discuss a few of the best stories here.
I am not familiar with In. Lee Wood, but the girl story “Scapegoats, ” the leadoff story, was excellent. It is mainly advised from the perspective of Mae, “The Amazing Lobster Woman, ” part of the World Famous Bishop Brothers Traveling Carnival. Through Mae, we become acquainted with the many characters of this train-traveling carnival/circus, especially a gentle elephant known as Madelaine. The story centers after the carnival’s introduction in a small town, where an unjust incident involving Madelaine ends with a local man’s death, and the unfair consequences for the carnival. I would not spoil the ending, but the title should give you some idea. And enable me say that the ‘scapegoat’ scene is pretty traumatic. Yet , the ending offers something of a just desert, at least by some moral compasses.
Priya Sharma's story, “The Anatomist’s Mnemonic, ” in Datlow’s most recent Year’s Best Horror was brutal, but very well-written. The girl story here, “The Revolutionary, ” is about a fire act in a circus that ends tragically… and mysteriously. The story revolves around a love triangle, and in some ways it’s simply a homicide mystery and soap safari rolled into one. Nevertheless Sharma’s characters and conversation really suck you in. “The Firebrand” wasn’t exactly horror, but a very intriguing thriller.
Jeffrey Ford’s “Hibbler’s Minions” is something of a monster story centered about a flea circus. The story commences with a farmer marketing a strange beast to a traveling circus that hopes it will be a popular, money-making attraction. Regrettably, the creature dies soon after it is purchased — but all is not lost. The odd creature has a few fleas that finish upward becoming the most amazing flea festival ever. A circus palm named Hibbler trains them and soon his take action becomes the key money-making superstars of the circus. However, several of the creatures in the circus begin to mysteriously die… adopted by several human deaths as well. Hibbler’s fleas finish up being much more than expected.
Genevieve Valentine’s “The Lion Cage” is a story about two inscrutable circus felines that seem to be to have a power or effect after any who spend too much time near them — or even look at them too long. I found this story very weird, and the strain mounted all through. However, I had been a bit puzzled by the denouement. I actually re-read it several times and am still unsure just what happened. Apart from that, this story brings an effective terrify.
Nathan Ballingrud is quickly rising toward the most notable of my set of favorite strange authors. I was more than wowed by his first collection, North Us Lake Monsters. But his story here, “Skullpocket, ” was completely unlike something of his I’ve read thus far. If you’ve seen The Nightmare Before Holiday or Beetlejuice, those videos will give you something of the Tim Burton-like feel of “Skullpocket. ” The story’s protagonist is one Jonathan Wormcake, the Gentleman Corpse of Hob’s Landing, and the story informs how Wormcake came to be, the history of his town and their long-running festival, and Wormcake’s prodigal love. This is an absolutely amazing story. It offers humor, despair, and sheer creepiness all through, and at just the right beats — in my opinion, a very hard combination to pull off. And Ballingrud works in doing with a horror ending something I’ve never seen before: “Skullpocket” ends on both a dismal nihilistic note and a good hopeful note as well. That description sounds incredibly contradictory — but Ballingrud pulls it off superbly. I highly recommend this anthology for “Skullpocket” alone.
If that was not enough gushing, let me add that I think there was even a better story in Nightmare Carnival: Stephen Graham Jones’s “The Darkest Part. ” When a short horror story begins off with the line “All we wanted to do was kill a clown, ” you know you are in for a crazy ride. Stephen Graham Roberts is an incredibly capable horror writer. I highly recommend his 2010 series The Ones that Obtained Away, especially “Father, Son, Holy Rabbit. ” Roberts is a gritty, hard-hitting writer and “The Darkest Part” is no exemption. This story is distressing on several levels and though I believed I knew where the ending was going, Jones completely surprised me. It really takes on on the typical fear-of-clowns trope, without becoming cliché d or predictable. Inside addition, it’s rare for me to get a chill from a horror story, but “The Darkest Part” is one of those extremely disturbing and scary tales — very effective!
That is just the cream of the crop of Problem Carnival. There are other amazing stories within this Datlowian anthology, by superstars such as Laird Barron, Livia Llewellyn, Nick Mamatas, and Joel Lane. This specific is an outstanding horror and dark fantasy anthology. I cannot recommend it enough., I confess to being mad for carnival fiction, and this anthology piqued my interest immediately. What a wonderfully odd group of tales! A great deal good here; my faves included the deeply distressing 'The Darkest Part' by Stephan Graham Jones, the wonderfully grotesque 'Skullpocket' by Nathan Ballingrud, and Laird Barron's 'Screaming Elk, MT'. I could honestly say I actually enjoyed every single adventure here; I only wish there have been more!, A single of the best choices of stories I have read in years and I read quite a lot. Not a bad story in the group and some were really outstanding!, Struck and miss. But all stories worth a look., This is a publication full of wonderment. Jeffrey Ford's 'Hibbler's Minions' is hilarious, creepy, and brilliant. Each story has been a pleasure. Thank you Ellen Datlow, you've done it again., Ellen Datlow is definitely an incredibly prolific editor of the horror anthology. A single look through the page in the front of " Nightmare Carnival" list the other books she has worked on let’s you know this isn’t her first performance, or even the girl tenth. And one read convinces you Datlow has got this act down.
" Nightmare Carnival" is a blast. You’ve got stories for all different proclivities: fast action-filled stories, sweeping period dramas, modern day love stories both sweet, and seedy, and simple stories of folks from various walks of life ability to hear about, or seeing, scary carnivals. " Nightmare Carnival, " has tales of terror that hit you in a variety of different ways, and terrify you with different assaults. All of the stories within the pages of this collection use parts and pieces of various types of techniques and styles. Still, the point is this collection works on many different levels, and can appeal to many types of horror fans. Cosmic horror fans, supernatural horror fans, social horror fans, experimental horror fans; you’ll find a story for whatever kind of horror you're into in these pages.
Get Nightmare Carnival if you feel like going for a wild ride, and walking a pitch-black half way. It’s one of the most entertaining horror choices I’ve read this yr. And absolutely pick it up if you’re a lover of scary stories about clowns, the fair, and also the circus., I pre-ordered this to have something FRESH & new to read pre-Halloween, but I feel sooo dissapointed! Excellent great collection of over 300 horror books, over a hundred anthologies. This sounded fresh & inventive by its description~but would fit in the weird genre more than anything else. NOT NECESSARILY scary or even slightly entertaining, I had to go thru 6 stories to find the one that was remotely interesting. Even that wasnt scary. NOT A new HORROR anthology: ( Do not waste your $$$. I am returning it to Amazon . com., A slow and uninteresting read. I kept hoping the next story would be better.... but no, all of them were stinkers.
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