cover image Shudder Again

Shudder Again

Various. Roc, $20 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-451-45185-9

As she did in her previous anthology, I Shudder at Your Touch , Slung assembles stories that come together at the nexus of sex and horror. She has selected works from a diverse group of authors who use different means to portray the nightmarish side of such ordinary human emotions as jealousy, envy and unrequited love. Three of the best tales have never before been published. ``Aphra,'' by Nancy Collins, wittily follows the evolution of the narrator's boyhood fascination with X-Ray Specs into a spooky adult fetish. David Kuehls's morbidly humorous ``The First Time'' depicts an aging bachelor of the not-far-distant future who finds unwelcome his co-workers' gift of an android to re-enact his first sexual experience. In the sober, affecting ``On the Lake of Last Wishes,'' Claudia O'Keefe writes of a young woman with AIDS who finds sexual fulfillment only in the dream world at the edge of death. Rarely seen classics by Robert Aickman, Arthur Conan Doyle and T.H. White, blend with entries from such modern masters as Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury to give this collection a freewheeling variety that highlights the entertainment value of its volatile themes. (Dec.)