cover image The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2014

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2014

Edited by Paula Guran. Prime, $19.95 trade paper (576p) ISBN 978-1-60701-431-7

In Guran’s fifth edition of eclectic nightmares, new and veteran authors blend psychological terror and supernatural wonder into disturbing hybrid tales, which confront “that which we do not know.” Many of these stories first appeared in small-press collections and other independent fiction venues that are willing to challenge convention. Steve Rasnic Tem’s “Wheatfield with Crows,” a shadow-show of dark conscience, is both an emotionally searing ghost story and a commentary on the genre. David Schow’s “Blue Amber” resembles a graphic and splattery Outer Limits script. Mystical scribe Laird Barron marries grim violence with supernatural ambiguity in the chilling “Termination Dust,” and Neil Gaiman’s use of Greek myth evokes contemporary lust and self-destruction in “A Lunar Labyrinth.” A few pieces, like Dale Bailey’s “The Creature Recants,” set tongue too firmly in cheek to elicit pathos or wonder. Despite those misses, this fearful feast of revelations, hauntings, and shattered realities reveals the horror genre’s enduring power and creativity. [em](Aug.) [/em]