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edited by Stephen Jones

Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 11


The Mammoth Book of Best New horror series edited by Stephen Jones is for the most part chock full of good scary stories. However, I have come to find that Jones favors British horror authors, and I sometimes come away from some stories thinking "WTF was that?", and not in a good way. Each volume contains a lengthy introduction that goes over the new horror films, books, games and television shows of that year, in this case 2000.  After the short stories, we are also presented with a "Necrology" covering all of the important men and women in the horror industry who have passed away in the previous year.


"Halloween Street"
By Steve Rasnic Tem
Rating: 5/10
Quote: "I see things in her face."

Comments: The old white house draws Laura in. In fact, it is the only thing she seems interested in.

By James Herbert
Rating: 6/10
Quote: "Oi, fuckin Quasimodo!"

Comments: This was a decent tale (but not really horror IMHO) with an interesting twist at the end.

"Growing Things"
By T. E. D. Klein
Rating: 5/10
Quote: "Before it was just one bulge."

Comments: I’ve heard many good things about Klein, but I didn’t particularly care for this one. The reader is forced to jump to too many conclusions for this house to be the one which appears in the home improvement magazines.

By David J. Schow
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Another big black hole where special keys were concerned was that people tended to store them in places where they were sure to remember…and promptly forgot.”

Comments: Ethan likes to keep cigar boxes full of pictures of ex-girlfriends. He has apparently forgotten how he broke up with some of the ones in his “special” box, and I have my doubts about the safety of Victoria.

“The Emperor’s Old Bones”
By Gemma Files
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “I don’t buy. I sell.”

Comments: Tim Darbersmere loved (if that’s the word) the woman who rescued him from death after his parents abandoned him in Shanghai during World War II. Would you be willing to do what he does to find your love (?) and have a whole new life to live with her?

“The Entertainment”
By Ramsey Campbell
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “You’ve been caught, you have to play. If you don’t it won’t be fair.”

Comments: Tom Shone (Thompson) arrives in town too late to find a normal hotel. Instead he finds something out of a nightmare…

“Harlequin Valentine”
By Neil Gaiman
Rating: 5/10
Quote: “Harlequin has given you his heart. You must discover its beat yourself.”

Comments: I wasn’t really familiar with the commedia dell'arte before now, so this little harlequinade maybe doesn’t have as much of an impact on me as it would on others. It was decent, but it’s not one I’ll really remember a year from now.

“The Stunted House”
By Terry Lamsley
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Good swimmer, anyway.”

Comments: Mel has an affinity for finding hidden things. This time she decides she likes her latest discovery and makes a deal.

“Just Like Eddy”
By Kim Newman
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “That, I maintain, was him. Edgar Allen Poe.”

Comments: Anybody who is a Poe fan should read this one. It pokes fun at the numerous misspellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s name throughout the years, substituting Allen for the correct spelling of Allan. There are numerous lines from Poe’s stories and poems sprinkled throughout, adding to the fun if you’ve read Poe’s work.

“The Long Hall on the Top Floor”
By Caitlin R. Kiernan
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “Something that means something, you know?”

Comments: I didn’t think this was one of Kiernan’s better stories, but it’s still a pretty decent little ghost story.

By Thomas Tessier
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “I understood: Roth had known all along.”

Comments: This was an interesting tale about a Muse (a Bettgeist?), and the effect she had on two Jewish writers living in Paris before and during the Second World War.

“The Ballyhooly Boy”
By Graham Masterton
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “I’ve got you now Jerry.”

Comments: This was an excellent story of ghosts and revenge, set in a creepy little Irish town near Cork by the name of Ballyhooly. It was cleverly set up and executed, and I highly recommend it.

By Michael Marshall Smith
Rating: 5/10
Quote: “Welcome.”

Comments: This was another of the stories in this series of books which I wouldn’t really classify as horror. It seemed more like a story about a wimp who has lost his mind and his will to live, but it wasn’t scary or horrifying to me in the least.

By Michael Marano
Rating: 6/10
Quote: “I’m okay.”

Comments: Since I’m not gay, this one probably didn’t hit home as much as it would for some people. The eponymous “burden” refers to someone who has lost many friends from AIDS and who must constantly worry about being infected himself due to lifestyle choices.

“Naming the Dead”
By Paul J. McAuley
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “You have made a grave mistake, Mr. Carlyle. You really should not have come here.”

Comments: I enjoyed this story of Mr. Carlyle, a “ghost-eater” with a fondness for a Victorian lifestyle.

By F. Paul Wilson
Rating: 8/10
Quote: “It’s the eighth.”

Comments: This tale about being struck by lightning (and the supernatural results) was very good. I also liked the ending and how it allows you to interpret the story in your own way.

“A Fish Story”
By Gene Wolfe
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “It was late by then, and there was only one person in it, and that one person was me.”

Comments: This was an interesting, short little tale of one person’s ability to affect perception of those around her.

By David Case
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “You will still play God?”

Comments: This one took a little while to get going and come together, but once it did, I enjoyed it very much.

By Tim Lebbon
Rating: 10/10
Quote: “Enough.”

Comments: This was an incredible novella depicting a stranded group’s struggle to survive in a Ruined (with a capital R) world.

“Pork Pie Hat”
By Peter Straub
Rating: 9/10
Quote: “When I’m done, tell me if we found it, okay?”

Comments: Near the end of his career, a great jazz musician tells a college kid interviewing him about a strange Halloween night many years before.

“Tricks & Treats One Night on Halloween Street”
By Steve Rasnic Tem
Rating: 7/10
Quote: “Your knife, I’ve got your knife little girl.”

Comments: Steve Rasnic Tem presents a bunch of super-short short stories centering on his fictional “Halloween Street”, where all sorts of horrible things can and do happen to little children. Several of these were pretty good.


572 pp.

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