cover image Flight or Fright

Flight or Fright

Edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent. Cemetery Dance, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-58767-679-6

This entertaining anthology of horror, mystery, and literary tales about aircraft (most reprinted) will have the reader thinking twice about flying. The stories span the entire century of human flight, beginning with Arthur Conan Doyle’s riveting “The Horror of the Heights,” in which a pilot attempts to discover what lurks in the clouds. Most of the tales tend to skew toward horror. In E. Michael Lewis’s “Cargo,” the crew of a plane bringing bodies back from Jonestown start hearing noises coming from the cargo bay. In Cody Goodfellow’s “Diablitos,” an art smuggler gets more than he bargained for when he tries to bring a tribal mask to the U.S. Others take a different approach, such as Ray Bradbury’s “The Flying Machine,” which sees a Chinese emperor realizing the risk that flight poses to the Great Wall. Standouts include the two original stories: King’s “The Turbulence Expert,” a perfectly tense tale about a mysterious group that prevents aircraft crashes though unusual means, and Joe Hill’s “You Are Released,” made terrifying by its proximity to reality: it follows the crew and passengers on a 777 en route to Boston, who learn that North Korea has just nuked Guam and other countries are retaliating. This is a strong anthology full of satisfying tales. (Sept.)