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This new edition of the premiere collection of the year's finest horror stories continues its tradition of riveting tales of terror from some of the best-known contemporary writers. Contributors include Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Lisa Tuttle, Thomas Ligotti, Karl Edward Wagner, and Kim Newman. This new edition of the premiere collection of the year's finest horror stories continues its tradition of riveting tales of terror from some of the best-known contemporary writers. Contributors include Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Lisa Tuttle, Thomas Ligotti, Karl Edward Wagner, and Kim Newman.


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This new edition of the premiere collection of the year's finest horror stories continues its tradition of riveting tales of terror from some of the best-known contemporary writers. Contributors include Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Lisa Tuttle, Thomas Ligotti, Karl Edward Wagner, and Kim Newman. This new edition of the premiere collection of the year's finest horror stories continues its tradition of riveting tales of terror from some of the best-known contemporary writers. Contributors include Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Lisa Tuttle, Thomas Ligotti, Karl Edward Wagner, and Kim Newman.

30 review for Best New Horror 5

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lucia

    Really getting to enjoy these collections as much as the Karl Edward Wagner BEST HORROR collections. Will definitely be on the lookout for more of these in used bookstores this summer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucian Poll

    Best New Horror 5 showcases twenty-nine horror shorts published during 1993, and was the last instalment to be co-edited by Ramsey Campbell. Short-story anthologies are a mixed bag at the best of times and here we have a rollercoaster ride of quality, with runs of good stories followed by stretches of duds and then back again to the good stuff. A strong finish to the anthology makes this a solid 4/5 for me. As for the stories themselves, take a look: Later – Michael Marshall Smith (4/5 – A man see Best New Horror 5 showcases twenty-nine horror shorts published during 1993, and was the last instalment to be co-edited by Ramsey Campbell. Short-story anthologies are a mixed bag at the best of times and here we have a rollercoaster ride of quality, with runs of good stories followed by stretches of duds and then back again to the good stuff. A strong finish to the anthology makes this a solid 4/5 for me. As for the stories themselves, take a look: Later – Michael Marshall Smith (4/5 – A man sees his beloved cruelly knocked down and killed in a hit-and-run accident. He cannot bear to be without her, and goes to macabre lengths to bring her back. This is a good story with some touching and believable expressions of grief, but it’s also one of those stories that is slightly spoiled the moment the supernatural is brought in. Slight spoiler – this was originally published in a zombie anthology, so I guess it had to go there, but I reckon this story would have packed a bigger punch had it ended just before the zombie stuff kicked in.) When The Red Storm Comes – Sarah Smith (4/5 – One Smith gives way to another, this one presenting a tale set in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, shortly after the turn of the century. Peace talks are taking place between Russia and Japan, and the town is awash with foreign diplomats and their entourages. Amid the hubbub Susan Wentworth finds herself the subject of Count Ferenc Zohary’s intense interest. He promises to make her a vampire, just like him – if he is indeed what he says he is. Horror veterans have probably read dozens of stories like this over the years, but it’s worth a look all the same.) The Exhibit – Martin Plumbridge (4/5 – Suzie is enduring a succession of drab beach-side attractions with her father, all the while wishing herself somewhere else. When her father suggests they try The Wax Museum, Suzie stays put and sends him in on his own. When he fails to materialise some time later, Suzie and the museum’s attendant head in to investigate. I liked this more than I thought I would, given the setup. The story goes in some unexpected directions, which helps build a satisfyingly creepy atmosphere.) Leavings – Kathe Koja (2/5 – Gordon finds he is being haunted by the long, choking hair of his dead lover Sophy. He’s pulling hair from the back of his throat, from his food, from his drink, seemingly everywhere. But why is Sophy haunting him so? I wasn’t keen on this, which is a shame as I rather liked “Impermanent Mercies”, Koja’s previous story in Best New Horror 3. “Leavings” is written in a jarring, cut-up style. I’m assuming this is to give us a sense of the madness Gordon is experiencing, but it’s not a narrative device that chimes with me. (J. G. Ballard’s “The Atrocity Exhibition” is perhaps the only exception that springs to mind.) This won’t put me off reading another of Koja’s stories, though.) Human Remains – Edward Bryant (3/5 – A group of women meet at a hotel. They dine together even though they have never met before. They are each survivors of a man recently executed for serial rape and murder, and the women exchange their experiences of him. Vicky shares the story of her narrow escape but leaves out a few crucial details, not least that she secretly wishes to feel the thrill of that evening once more. I’ve rarely felt as conflicted about a story as I did here. Like Vicky, Bryant omits a few important details from his story, forcing you to fill in the blanks for yourself, and the conclusions drawn are unsettling to say the least. Scored purely on the unease it creates, this would be a 5/5, but I can’t say I liked this one.) Flying Into Naples – Nicholas Royle (3/5 – Royle fills the “holiday horror” slot for this particular Best New Horror with a weird slipstreamy story about a divorcee jetting into Naples in the hope of re-engaging with an old flame, Flavia. When he tracks her down he finds that Flavia only really comes alive when she is in her car. At all other times she is practically grey and lifeless, as if she is gathering a fine layer of dust like everything else around town. I wasn’t overly keen on this story from the outset. My first impression was that we’re on holiday with a stalker, and I’m not entirely convinced that was intentional.) The Sixth Sentinel – Poppy Z. Brite (5/5 – This superb ghost story sees Rosalie, a young woman in modern-day New Orleans, haunted by the ghost of a local mid-nineteenth-century pirate. She knows the ghost is there, sometimes seeing his reflection in mirrors. Oftentimes they will talk. But Rosalie is a sullen and withdrawn figure. Every evening she slugs whisky to dull the pain of her existence. The ghost can’t bear to keep seeing Rosalie like this and so takes it upon himself to discover the source of her pain. Not for the faint-hearted!) The Brothers – Rick Cadger (4/5 – Ian is driving home with his odious brother-in-law, Neville, who is stopping over for a few days. Home is the picturesque village of Galham, with its pair of large serpentine statues erected like bookends on either side: The Brothers. Events take a bizarre turn when, upon arriving home, Ian suddenly finds himself a guest; that somehow his wife is now married to Neville. This story has no right to work as well as it does. It’s written in the second person for a start (a tough sell for me), it operates solely and unapologetically on its own terms and doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. Even so, this is an oddie but a goodie.) The Owen Street Monster – J. L. Comeau (4/5 – A mean and mighty fine story told entirely as a sequence of phone calls made by Janine, the local queen bee, to her closest friends. It seems some of Janine’s friends aren’t coping very well. Some are doubting whether the titular monster they’d killed was a monster at all. A devilishly fun short.) One Size Eats All – T. E. D. Klein (4/5 – Andy receives a sleeping bag as a Christmas gift, but the packaging seems to contain a misprint: One Size Eats All. At least, Andy hopes it’s a misprint. Klein does a great job of pressing all the scary buttons, even if this story was written for kids.) Mulligan’s Fence – Donald R. Burleson (4/5 – Kelly returns to the neighbourhood where she grew up. The apartment block in which she lived is long gone, razed to the ground, but old man Mulligan’s fence still stands. Kelly scans the wood, running her fingers over the initials carved there, remembering the names, unaware she is also somehow drawing some of her old childhood friends back to the fence. For the most part this was a straight-up 3/5. As short as the story was, it lingered much too long on a roll call of inconsequential characters from Kelly’s past, but the Tales-From-The-Crypt-style ending just about rescued it.) How She Dances – Daniel Fox (4/5 – Michael shares a taxi with Alice, who is trying to get home to her baby, Anne-Marie. Michael is wary of Alice from the off. She seems unstable, speaking in halting sentences, struggling to get her meaning across, but one thing becomes clear: Alice didn’t arrange a babysitter. Michael is concerned for Anne-Marie, but soon comes to regret not leaving well enough alone. Not for the first time we have a story in Best New Horror that reminds me of a nightmarish sketch in Chris Morris’s Blue Jam radio show, produced years later – the one with the plumber, he says, tiptoeing around spoilers. Anyway, this is a good read, albeit one guilty of constantly warning the reader about the horror to come, which is a bit of a cheap way of building tension.) Passages – Karl Edward Wagner (3/5 – Three old friends meet at a school reunion and fall into a conversation detailing their secret horrors. Freddie tells of his sisters and their friends dressing him up in girls clothes, Marcia tells of how she was convinced she had spiders infesting her tight curly hair, while Grant, a surgeon, tells of his hatred of needles – and how he overcome his fear. For me, this was a misfire. Wagner does a good job of building up the story, creating a sense of unease as Grant tells his story, but the payoff is underwhelming.) Easing The Spring – Sally Roberts Jones (3/5 – A folksy horror tale which sees an environmental campaigner introduced to a young woman called Ceri in a somewhat obvious matchmaking attempt by Ceri’s grandmother. They hit it off, which turns out to be bad news for our man. This is okay, but you will have almost certainly read or seen numerous other stories along these lines, not least of which *cough* a certain cult 1970’s British horror film starring Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward *cough*. Goodness me, that was a long cough.) Safe At Home – Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem (2/5 – Melissa is struggling to cope in her relationship with Charlie. Scenes of her inner conflict, of the horrors she experiences when they become intimate, are intercut with snatches of dialogue from Uncle Pat to his niece, Mandy, and Uncle Pat loves Mandy so very, very much. This was originally published in an erotic horror anthology called “Hottest Blood”. Taken out of that context, this story is badly exposed as a grubby shocker. The attempt to conflate child abuse with hairy Lovecraftian squid-sex later in life, real or imagined, feels badly misjudged here.) Mother Of The City – Christopher Fowler (4/5 – Douglas hates London, hates how his friends have all moved there and made successes of their lives, hates how he’s been left behind. He meets Michelle, and suddenly things seem to be looking up. Trouble is Michelle absolutely adores London, and when Douglas lets slip his true feelings about the place Michelle takes it to heart. Douglas wants to patch things up with Michelle but finds London really doesn’t want to play ball. Another winner from Fowler.) Justice – Elizabeth Hand (3/5 – Janet is a journalist who is stranded in a one-horse town after her editor pulls the story she’s working on. She is told to investigate a nearby cattle mutilation instead. Janet is furious, but reluctantly goes along with it. Later, Janet spies a familiar-looking RV parked in town with what sound like two huge dogs shut up inside. The RV belongs to itinerant lawyer, Irene Kirk, who Janet discovers has her own sense of justice. Hand’s excellent story “The Bacchae” in Best New Horror 3 was a modern take on Euripides’s tragedy. She dips into Greek mythology again for “Justice”, but doesn’t quite succeed. The story takes an age to get going, and feels overlong as a result. Could just be a case of me having recently read “The Bacchae”, though.) The Big Fish – Kim Newman (3/5 – From one author attempting to relive recent glories, it seems, to another. Newman gave us the superb “Red Reign” in Best New Horror 4, which was a fantastic mash-up of literary and real-life characters set in Victorian London, which then gave rise to his “Anno Dracula” series. In this novelette he tries another mash-up, this time plonking a Chandleresque private detective into a Lovecraftian world, but on this occasion he comes up short. The near-constant wisecracking soon became tiresome, and the roll-call of names and movies dumped into the first half of the story could have been better spent developing some of the characters. I couldn’t shake the impression that this was more fun for Newman to write than it was for me to read.) In The Desert Of Deserts – Thomas Tessier (3/5 – A man is crossing the Sahara desert because reasons. Each night he parks his Range Rover and wakes the next morning to find evidence of someone stalking him: sets of footprints nearby or around the Rover; a recently discarded cigarette butt. Time to buy a gun, then. This was okay – Tessier’s vivd depiction of the Sahara in particular – but the ending is weak.) Two Returns – Terry Lamsley (4/5 – We’re on the up again now with a wonderful Jamesian ghost story. Mr Rudge is a old man who one evening witnesses a caped, silhouetted figure standing manfully on a darkened railway platform. Mr Rudge is alarmed to see glimpses of this shadowy figure all the way home, and always ahead of him. When Mr Rudge gets in through the front door he finds a decidedly unwelcome something hanging on his coat-hook…) The Moment The Face Falls – Chet Williamson (4/5 – Paul Kenyon is a former screenwriter who knocks out a steady stream of pseudonymous novels to make ends meet. Out of the blue he receives a phone call from a producer who really, really liked that western he wrote decades ago – the one with Jimmy Stewart, the one directed by Anthony Mann – and he wants Kenyon to write the screenplay of a soon-to-be-published nailed-on bestseller. After so long in the wilderness things are finally looking up for Kenyon. What could possibly go wrong? If you liked ye olde “Tales Of The Unexpected” – and I did – then you’ll lap this up.) Darker Angels – S. P. Somtow (4/5 – This extraordinary story was originally published in an anthology called “Confederacy Of The Dead”, and ticks pretty much every box of that premise. We’re witnessing the last dregs of the American Civil War through the eyes of Jimmy Lee, a fourteen-year-old boy left picking his way through a battlefield carpeted with the corpses of Confederate troops. Amid the carnage he meets Old Joseph, a former slave who seems to remember Jimmy from a decade earlier, and who is skilled in magic as old as the rivers and mountains of this young America. This is a terrific story – certainly a highlight of the book – but is sadly let down by an ending which feels at odds with the message it was trying to convey.) The Timbrel Sound Of Darkness – Kathe Koja & Barry N. Malzberg (2/5 – The ghost of Springheel Jack takes to haunting Sir Arthur Sullivan (one half of Gilbert & Sullivan). Well, “haunting” is perhaps a bit strong. “Floats about telling Sullivan how shit and worthless his work is and will be in the fullness of time” may be a better description. A bit like me with this story, I guess.) The Tsalal – Thomas Ligotti (3/5 – The exhausted people of Moxton are desperate to leave town but find their every effort to escape is thwarted. Something is repelling them, pulling them back in. Something is sucking the life out of Moxton, its people and seemingly all existence itself. The only one not affected is Andrew Maness, a man who possesses an arcane book of knowledge called The Tsalal. This is another Lovecraftian effort from Ligotti, who seems here to have shifted from his usual lush storytelling style to the kind of stale, overly-verbose and hopelessly tangled prose you’d normally expect of H.P. himself. It’s a shame because, once you have hacked your way the turgid first half of the story, “The Tsalal” really comes alive. Not his best, but worth sticking with.) In The Still, Small Hours – Charles Grant (4/5 – Lucas is unable to accept that his other half, Joan, has perished in an air crash. He haunts the observation deck of a mostly empty airport nearly every week, waiting for her in the still, small hours, watching as the last few planes descend and land. There he meets a mysterious man called Daryl, who Lucas assumes to have recently landed. It seems Daryl knows a lot about the airport and its workings. He also seems to have known Joan. Grant does a great job of creating a sense of unease around Daryl by the simple act of withholding information from the reader: a diverting distraction here, a question left unanswered there. An effective chiller.) Ice House Pond – Steve Rasnic Tem (4/5 – Bear with me here. A while ago, TV executives hit upon a weird little ratings hit: slow TV. Whether it was two hours of unbroken footage taken from the driver’s seat of a train, or an unhurried and voiceover-free look at someone blowing glass, these shows would find a steady audience. This novella is a little like that, and it absolutely works. The story focuses on Rudy Green as he literally rebuilds his life following the death of his wife and unborn child. Rudy purchases a rundown house isolated in its own winter wonderland, and begins to clear it out. A large frozen pond dominates the immediate landscape, it’s thick ice a shifting, swirling sheet of grey. A channel of near-black water runs to the ice house adjoining the residence. When a neighbour swings by suggesting Rudy harvest the ice, to restock the ice house, to restart an old tradition of building a house of ice with the excess, Rudy agrees. But what secrets does the ice hold? This is a great story from SRT.) The Dog Park – Dennis Etchison (4/5 – This British Fantasy Award-winning short finds a writer called Manning visiting the local dog park on the off-chance he’ll find his lost pooch. The park itself is a thinly-veiled cover for the movers and shakers of the TV and movie industry to come gather and network, a scene Manning is happy to quit. The locals overlooking the park from their expensive designer homes are keen to close the whole shebang down. They’re certainly not the kind of people to worry about the occasional dog being snaffled by the local wildlife. This is a good story, but I wouldn’t have guessed it was an award winner.) The Marble Boy – Gahan Wilson (5/5 – Two boys break into a graveyard for a ruddy good explore and soon find a life-size marble statue of a boy encased in glass. Presumably the statue is of the boy buried nearby, the one in a grave whose stone lid appears to have split in two. Much to George’s horror, Andy levers the lid apart and reaches into the grave. Bad, bad move. This is an excellent horror short that delivers with every paragraph, building up the atmosphere and tension before delivering a truly spine-chilling climax.) Mephisto In Onyx – Harlan Ellison (5/5 – As with the previous book, Best New Horror 5 closes with a barnstorming, award-winning novella from a seasoned pro who really knows what he’s doing. Rudy Pairis is a mindreader who is asked by Ally, a long-time friend, to help her acquit convicted mass-murderer Henry Lake Spanning. Ally confesses she is in love with Spanning, which Rudy finds utterly bizarre given how Ally was the prosecuting attorney who built the case against Spanning in the first place. With only days to go before Spanning’s execution, Rudy very reluctantly agrees to visit him. Ellison’s writing positively crackles in this twisty-turny tale. Rudy is a great character armed with a number of laugh-out loud opinions, descriptions and turns of phrase. (A security guard being “seven foot in any direction”, is a personal favourite.) Worth seeking out a copy for this story alone.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie Cat Books

    An older (1994) edition of the mammoth book of the best new horror (volume 5), this edition earns it's spot amongst all the others. I have to say, I found this version a little disappointing and had to drudge my way through more stories than usual. This is most likely due to the age of publication and the wider array of authors from the later editions. That being said, I did enjoy "One size eats all" by TED Klein, "The Marble Boy" by Gahan Wilson and "Mefisto in Onyx" by Harlan Ellison. I recomme An older (1994) edition of the mammoth book of the best new horror (volume 5), this edition earns it's spot amongst all the others. I have to say, I found this version a little disappointing and had to drudge my way through more stories than usual. This is most likely due to the age of publication and the wider array of authors from the later editions. That being said, I did enjoy "One size eats all" by TED Klein, "The Marble Boy" by Gahan Wilson and "Mefisto in Onyx" by Harlan Ellison. I recommend this book, but if you have an option, go for a more recent edition.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stefan

    This book was printed in 1994, I bought it in 1999, it's 2015 now so I guess it's okay to say the title doesn't work anymore. While I could be talking about the "new" I'm referring to the word "Horror". Though there were creepy ideas in some of the stories the majority of them were not thrilling at all. I have no idea if this book was considered to be a good read back then but today for me it is definitely not. This book was printed in 1994, I bought it in 1999, it's 2015 now so I guess it's okay to say the title doesn't work anymore. While I could be talking about the "new" I'm referring to the word "Horror". Though there were creepy ideas in some of the stories the majority of them were not thrilling at all. I have no idea if this book was considered to be a good read back then but today for me it is definitely not.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leah Polcar

    Your general mixed bag of stories, some meh, some quite good. Nothing stood out here as truly great, but I also don't remember anything truly awful. Granted, I have already forgotten most of what I read, hence the meh, but if you like generally well written horror stories, most any (Mammoth) Best of Horror collection is worth a go and this is no exception. Your general mixed bag of stories, some meh, some quite good. Nothing stood out here as truly great, but I also don't remember anything truly awful. Granted, I have already forgotten most of what I read, hence the meh, but if you like generally well written horror stories, most any (Mammoth) Best of Horror collection is worth a go and this is no exception.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Harlan Ellison's "Mefisto in Onyx" is unforgettable - seems editor saved best for last. Death row inmate has psychic power, thinking he has upper hand in final act; twist (as only Harlan can do) is unexpected, shocking, and can throw off reader, in best way. More novella, than short story. Peter Straub, Clive Barker, and Charles L. Grant's subtle horror you can also find. Best collection. Harlan Ellison's "Mefisto in Onyx" is unforgettable - seems editor saved best for last. Death row inmate has psychic power, thinking he has upper hand in final act; twist (as only Harlan can do) is unexpected, shocking, and can throw off reader, in best way. More novella, than short story. Peter Straub, Clive Barker, and Charles L. Grant's subtle horror you can also find. Best collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg Kerestan

    This volume of Best New Horror isn't bad, but not one story stands out as an obvious classic of the genre or of the anthology series.The Kim Newman story, "The Big Fish," is pretty good but not his best. This volume of Best New Horror isn't bad, but not one story stands out as an obvious classic of the genre or of the anthology series.The Kim Newman story, "The Big Fish," is pretty good but not his best.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marni

    This anthology for me is memorable for containing the best psychological horror story I have ever read, Chet Williamson's 'The Moment The Face Falls'. As I have experienced, in my own small way, the L.A. screenwriting scene, I can vouch that TMTFF is Hollywood in a rotten nutshell. This anthology for me is memorable for containing the best psychological horror story I have ever read, Chet Williamson's 'The Moment The Face Falls'. As I have experienced, in my own small way, the L.A. screenwriting scene, I can vouch that TMTFF is Hollywood in a rotten nutshell.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Mehhhh not bad but not great...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dbell

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave mcloughlin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pere Ibanez

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Hair

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thrown With Great Force

  19. 5 out of 5

    bluetyson

    The Best New Horror 5 (Mammoth Book of Best New Horror) by Stephen Jones (1995)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vulpine-Vixen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darren Phasey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Rosemary

  23. 4 out of 5

    MJ VARA

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

  25. 5 out of 5

    Monaliza Khalid

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rolando Caloca

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex Johnstone O’Neill

  28. 5 out of 5

    stephanie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caty

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

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