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The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies

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All stories are original to the Ha of Ha and are written about fictional Horror Anthologies that, as books, are real to the stories’ characters: Colleen Anderson – IT’S ONLY WORDS 3414 Daniel Ausema – TREE RING ANTHOLOGY 2066 Dominy Clements – THE USELESS 3463 Rhys Hughes – TEARS OF THE MUTANT JESTERS 1852 Colin Insole – THE APOPLEXY OF BEELZEBUB 5456 Nick Jackson – PAPER CUTS 4 All stories are original to the Ha of Ha and are written about fictional Horror Anthologies that, as books, are real to the stories’ characters: Colleen Anderson – IT’S ONLY WORDS 3414 Daniel Ausema – TREE RING ANTHOLOGY 2066 Dominy Clements – THE USELESS 3463 Rhys Hughes – TEARS OF THE MUTANT JESTERS 1852 Colin Insole – THE APOPLEXY OF BEELZEBUB 5456 Nick Jackson – PAPER CUTS 4097 Rachel Kendall – HORROR STORIES FOR BOYS 3215 AJ Kirby – COMMON MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING RITA KENDALL 10004 Joel Lane – MIDNIGHT FLIGHT 3223 E. Michael Lewis – THE FIFTH CORNER 3866 Tony Lovell – THE FOLLOWER 7330 David Mathew – RESIDUA 10723 Christopher Morris – THE AMERICAN CLUB 6828 Mike O’Driscoll – THE REDISCOVERY OF DEATH 9201 Reggie Oliver – FLOWERS OF THE SEA 6295 Rosanne Rabinowitz – THE PEARL AND THE BOIL 10023 Clayton Stealback – THE WRITER 8487 S.D. Tullis – HORROR PLANET 3703 Mark Valentine – YOU WALK THE PAGES 3138 D.P. Watt – ALL HIS WORLDLY GOODS 6842 I am confident that many of these stories will become classics of this genre. A total of around 113,000 words. ================================ The Book’s Electronic Introduction This is a basic, no frills, no-introduction, highly adequate, perfect-bound paperback book, conveying its wonderful stories and strikingly brilliant photo images. Ironically, yet meaningfully, this delightful handleable real book with hauntingly memorable items of short horror fiction plotted around real horror anthology books has only been made possible by basic electronic facilities in necessary tune with whatever skills I have as editor, typesetter and publisher – and it serves as something that will never become an E-Book. And the lasting image is just that - on page 323 where the book ends. df lewis


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All stories are original to the Ha of Ha and are written about fictional Horror Anthologies that, as books, are real to the stories’ characters: Colleen Anderson – IT’S ONLY WORDS 3414 Daniel Ausema – TREE RING ANTHOLOGY 2066 Dominy Clements – THE USELESS 3463 Rhys Hughes – TEARS OF THE MUTANT JESTERS 1852 Colin Insole – THE APOPLEXY OF BEELZEBUB 5456 Nick Jackson – PAPER CUTS 4 All stories are original to the Ha of Ha and are written about fictional Horror Anthologies that, as books, are real to the stories’ characters: Colleen Anderson – IT’S ONLY WORDS 3414 Daniel Ausema – TREE RING ANTHOLOGY 2066 Dominy Clements – THE USELESS 3463 Rhys Hughes – TEARS OF THE MUTANT JESTERS 1852 Colin Insole – THE APOPLEXY OF BEELZEBUB 5456 Nick Jackson – PAPER CUTS 4097 Rachel Kendall – HORROR STORIES FOR BOYS 3215 AJ Kirby – COMMON MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING RITA KENDALL 10004 Joel Lane – MIDNIGHT FLIGHT 3223 E. Michael Lewis – THE FIFTH CORNER 3866 Tony Lovell – THE FOLLOWER 7330 David Mathew – RESIDUA 10723 Christopher Morris – THE AMERICAN CLUB 6828 Mike O’Driscoll – THE REDISCOVERY OF DEATH 9201 Reggie Oliver – FLOWERS OF THE SEA 6295 Rosanne Rabinowitz – THE PEARL AND THE BOIL 10023 Clayton Stealback – THE WRITER 8487 S.D. Tullis – HORROR PLANET 3703 Mark Valentine – YOU WALK THE PAGES 3138 D.P. Watt – ALL HIS WORLDLY GOODS 6842 I am confident that many of these stories will become classics of this genre. A total of around 113,000 words. ================================ The Book’s Electronic Introduction This is a basic, no frills, no-introduction, highly adequate, perfect-bound paperback book, conveying its wonderful stories and strikingly brilliant photo images. Ironically, yet meaningfully, this delightful handleable real book with hauntingly memorable items of short horror fiction plotted around real horror anthology books has only been made possible by basic electronic facilities in necessary tune with whatever skills I have as editor, typesetter and publisher – and it serves as something that will never become an E-Book. And the lasting image is just that - on page 323 where the book ends. df lewis

34 review for The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Fryer

    The title of the latest editorial offering from D.F. Lewis – who always delivers considered and interesting fiction – initially sounds like quite a lofty boast. And although this might have been acknowledged with a knowing glint in his eye, its literal meaning actually refers to the theme: all the stories contain or reference a horror anthology of some kind, be it real or fictitious. This is tackled in limitless ways and beneath that perfect cover photograph by Tony Lovell (yes, that’s an actual The title of the latest editorial offering from D.F. Lewis – who always delivers considered and interesting fiction – initially sounds like quite a lofty boast. And although this might have been acknowledged with a knowing glint in his eye, its literal meaning actually refers to the theme: all the stories contain or reference a horror anthology of some kind, be it real or fictitious. This is tackled in limitless ways and beneath that perfect cover photograph by Tony Lovell (yes, that’s an actual photograph) is some very potent darkness. But as usual there’s a mixture of humour, drama and quiet horror, and some very familiar names on the TOC alongside those less well known. I was impressed by the quality of several of the latter, but the stories that stood out for me are as follows. Curtain-raiser “It’s Only Words” by Colleen Anderson is a muscular start with the tale of Lloyd, a frustrated and unhappy man who collects horror anthologies. He finally snaps and kidnaps a smug wheel-clamper, but rather than the murderous revenge-against-society one might expect, the results are much more memorable and interesting. I won’t spoil it by revealing the moody sting in the tail of this original piece. Second up is my favourite story in the book. “Tree Ring Anthology” by Daniel Ausema is one of those unique and wonderful curiosities that always pop up in DF Lewis publications. The extraordinary account of a tree’s life, it is told through an analysis of its rings that map out the residual scars of disease, fire and human intervention. Anthropomorphic, dark and strangely moving, this is a superb piece of unconventional storytelling and a great twist on the theme. Rhys Hughes’ “Tears of the Mutant Jesters” is a pleasant diversion from the more serious material involving a book with appendicitis (a vestigial echo of the time when books ate grass). A short tale, it brims with clever wordplay and wry humour. In “Horror Stories for Boys” Rachel Kendall presents a powerful story of a man suffering from migraines who must visit his dying father and face an abusive past. The author managed to make me feel that bitter-sweetness of nostalgia – even though the past evoked isn’t mine – and although light on plot, this is mature and emotional writing. Of a similar calibre is “Midnight Flight” by Joel Lane about an old man losing his memory, searching for a book he recalls from childhood. Both these tales satisfy with very brittle emotions and atmopshere. One of the longer tales, “Residua” by David Mathew is the intriguing story of a possibly-innocent con who becomes attached to a book called Ghostly Gallery in the prison library. He starts to encounter characters from it in real life, also baffled by the intentions of an oddly benevolent guard who seems able to read his mind. It notches up the tension and curiosity well with strong, fleshed-out characters and snappy dialogue. There’s a lot of subtle fear in this story, and when some horrible truths come to light, it pans out into an absorbing journey of damage with a cheeky punch-line. “The American Club” by Christopher Morris follows a young man named Daniel who discovers that his eccentric writer of a father is in a coma following a car accident. Daniel finds a letter from his dad instructing him that in the event of his death, he should to burn all his fiction, the majority of which is unpublished. This is a top class mystery that unravels with perfect pace and likeable voice, and has a tense finale that leaves an unsettling aftertaste. The book ends on a high note with “All His Wordly Goods” by D.P. Watt, the ghostly tale of a man who works in a charity shop and discovers that a donated volume – the Supernatural Omnibus – refuses to leave him alone. Well written, and suffused with a creepy, small town claustrophobia, this tale also nails that fragility of lost childhood. Although I was never once bored or annoyed, some of the tales felt slightly overlong. “The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” by Colin Insole and “The Pearl and the Boil” by Rosanne Rabinowitz both have brilliant concepts, but I’d prefer them to have been realised in just a few less words. And although I very much enjoyed “The Rediscovery of Death” by Michael O’Driscoll – a slick piece of paranoia and obsession concerning a small press stalwart who discovers the publishing opportunity of a lifetime – I predicted the pay-off well before it arrived. A small complaint is that the actual cover is glossy and rather thin, not the pleasing matte quality card to which I had grown accustomed from Megazanthus Press over the last few years. Obviously this isn’t a reason to be put off a book, but a robust feel to a volume always improves the whole experience for me. But despite these minor grumbles, I very much enjoyed “The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies”. Infused with a genuine resonance, the book treats us to a gamut of chills, sprinkled with intelligent humour. The tales are thoughtfully layered, and I was also pleased to discover that that title concept wasn’t restrictive or the cause of any deja-vu: these writers think outside the box. I also felt a strong theme of loss. Several of the stories contain bittersweet visits to the past, grief or an aura of yearning that lends a more sobering atmosphere than the editor’s previous Nemonymous series: chills and melancholy often replacing the whimsy. While there’s possibly something for everyone, this book will have special appeal for the anthology-devouring genre bookworm.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carole Tyrrell

    This is an anthology which uses anthologies, real or imagined, as the theme for an exceptional collection of stories. An intriguing idea in itself and the authors don’t disappoint. Many of them were new to me and that was one of the great pleasures of the HA of The HA. Anthologies can often be a curate’s egg in that some stories stand out immediately and others can feel like fillers. But this didn’t. Although there were obviously some stories which I preferred more than others there were no stor This is an anthology which uses anthologies, real or imagined, as the theme for an exceptional collection of stories. An intriguing idea in itself and the authors don’t disappoint. Many of them were new to me and that was one of the great pleasures of the HA of The HA. Anthologies can often be a curate’s egg in that some stories stand out immediately and others can feel like fillers. But this didn’t. Although there were obviously some stories which I preferred more than others there were no stories that I felt shouldn’t be there. However, although this collection calls itself a Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, do not expect pages dripping with blood and gore with severed limbs flying everywhere. This is not Hollywood’s definition of horror. Instead the authors deal with scary things far more close to home such as dementia and death and a town’s nasty secrets that it wants kept hidden. This is a far more insidious horror; insidious, interior, unsettling and uneasy version and all the more scary for it. Disturbing, psychological explorations of words and their effects. In fact I was so seduced by some of the author’s imaginings that, as I read it on the London Underground, I fully expected to arrive at a hitherto unknown station in another world. How disappointed I was. Stories range from a woman caught in a recurring nightmare when her car breaks down, a librarian whose books acquire a life of their own and a woman desperate to escape her life. The tales that really gripped me were Colin Insole’s ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’, Tony Lovell’s ‘The Follower’, Christopher Morris’s ‘The American Club’ and Reggie Oliver’s ‘Flowers of the Sea.’ But further readings could yield more favourites. I look forward to reading more of Colin Insole’s work for example and anthologies often perform this useful function of giving new writers a chance. D F Lewis has done both reader and writers an invaluable service in editing this collection so well. An elegant, understated cover by Tony Lovell completes the package. A work colleague saw me taking the HA of the HA out of my bag and asked what I was reading. When she saw the cover she almost backed away, saying ‘That looks creepy.’ What more could you ask for? I enjoyed The HA of Ha enormously and look forward to re-reading it again very soon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    PenneyDreadful

    As a reader who has always found the notion of "best of" anthologies somewhat overweening and more than a little ridiculous, I appreciated the winking satire of this book's title immensely. Fortunately, the book's contents were also quite enjoyable. All the stories are of high quality, but my personal favorites are as follows: "It's Only Words," by Colleen Anderson "Flowers of the Sea" by Reggie Oliver "The Pearl and the Boil" by Rosanne Rabinowitz Recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bill Barnett

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kaci

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mat Joiner

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sirensongs

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie Sloan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

  12. 4 out of 5

    Madsplp

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason Rolfe

  14. 4 out of 5

    A.J.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adam Cantwell

  17. 4 out of 5

    Djibril Al-ayad

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Camille Kasen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 4 out of 5

    E.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Neil B

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chriskolak

  24. 4 out of 5

    Conal Cochran

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ross Scott-Buccleuch

  26. 5 out of 5

    Claus

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dancing In

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Paul

  30. 5 out of 5

    Axolotl

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sean Hatfield

  32. 5 out of 5

    Alise

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  34. 5 out of 5

    Selina

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