cover image Outsiders: 22 New Stories from the Edge

Outsiders: 22 New Stories from the Edge

, . . Roc, $14.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-451-46044-8

Presented as "stories from the edge" about misfits and outcasts, Holder and Kirkpatrick's all-original anthology of moody horror instead shows how close to the edge everyone is. Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, Elizabeth Massie and other award-winning writers cover a gamut of approaches, from traditional shocker and physical slasher through psychological terror to urban New Weird dark fantasy. While most selections respect the "outsider" theme, many exhibit a longing for community, taking an "alternate mainstream," not an antimainstream, attitude. A notable exception is Joe R. Lansdale's unsettling tale of the University of Texas clock-tower shootings, "The Shadows, Kith and Kin." Often clever in their descriptions of the networks that outsiders form, these stories tend to give insights into subcultures rather than individuals. The overall feeling is the horror of belonging more than of being excluded, as in Elizabeth Engstrom's haunting portrait of a future proletarian being taught the virtues of making his reality his dream, "Honing Sebastian." Agent, Howard Morhaim. (Oct.)