Laurel Scholnick is a professional archivist, librarian and researcher, and a lover of horror fiction, comics/graphic literature, and in dramatic form, particularly film and television drama, and one of the most prolific contributors to the discussion list Horror in Film and Literature at Indiana University. Among her projects has been completion and enhancement of a database of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episode segments.
There is no lack of supernatural horror in the anthology, but what soon becomes apparent is how well the stories presented here can play on anxiety in the face of both supernatural and real-life horrors. While no one eats 'dollburgers', and dolls don't in turn actually eat people (as in Lisa Tuttle's "Dollburger"), people (especially women) enter into bad marriages against their better judgment all the time and can end up with children, too, as a result...and then find out just how crazy the one they really love is (as in "Shadetree" by J. Michael Reaves). It can be scary to think that kindness to animals could lead to our undoing...for some it's a just-deserts kind of thing, a price for disingenuousness and cheating ("The Inheritance" by Alan Dean Foster), and for some it's from letting it all go too far to be a benefactor (as in Richard Houston's "The Man Who Was Kind to Animals"). There are stories here of adulterers, a child unaware of how to control his unusual powers, revenge seekers, those who give of themselves until there is (literally) nothing left, werewolves, a pair of occultists, murderous parents who find the tables turned on their predation, a torturer, another magical child, a hypnotizing pool that absorbs much more than the stress from people's muscles...and a toy that will not let itself be lost: Stephen King's "The Monkey", which I first read years ago in his collection Skeleton Crew, is a fine closer as it leaves you with a terrible foreboding that there will be no end to the nightmarish havoc this cursed little mechanical cymbal-clapper will continue to wreak on the world.
Each of these selections had me eagerly turning the pages and wondering what I was in for in the next story. Highly recommended!
- Horrors ed. Charles L. Grant (Playboy 0-872-16905-7, Oct ’81, $2.25, 223pp, pb)
- 7 · Introduction · Charles L. Grant · in
- 9 · The Dead Line · Dennis Etchison · ss Whispers Oct 1979
- 20 · Black Evening · David Morrell · ss *
- 26 · Party Night · Reginald Bretnor · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) Mar 1969
- 40 · A Demon in My View · Melisa Michaels · ss *
- 52 · In the Land of the Giving · Beverly Evans · ss *
- 56 · Nightshapes · Barry N. Malzberg · ss Werewolf!, ed. Bill Pronzini, Arbor 1979
- 63 · Savoury, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme · Chelsea Quinn Yarbro · nv *
- 87 · The Inheritance · Alan Dean Foster · ss *
- 95 · Dollburger · Lisa Tuttle · ss F&SF Feb 1973
- 101 · Shadetree · J. Michael Reaves · ss F&SF Sep 1977
- 116 · Kisses from Auntie · Craig Shaw Gardner · ss *
- 124 · Morning Talk · Steve Rasnic Tem · ss *
- 127 · The Man Who Was Kind to Animals · Richard Houston · ss *
- 141 · Far Removed from the Scene of the Crime · Nicholas V. Yermakov · ss F&SF Apr 1980
- 150 · The Drum Lollipop · Jack M. Dann · ss Orbit 11, ed. Damon Knight, G.P. Putnam’s 1972
- 162 · The Good Is Oft Interred · George W. Proctor · ss *
- 177 · The Pool · William F. Nolan · ss *
- 186 · The Monkey · Stephen King · nv Gallery Nov 1980
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.