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The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea

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It’s only water, so why should we fear large bodies of it, such as the sea or the ocean? However, when you’re all alone, you realize how scary a place it can be. In Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea. Whether its tales of murderous pirates who stalk the waters in search of It’s only water, so why should we fear large bodies of it, such as the sea or the ocean? However, when you’re all alone, you realize how scary a place it can be. In Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea. Whether its tales of murderous pirates who stalk the waters in search of treasure and blood, creatures that haunt the depths below—ones we’ve only seen in our nightmares, or storms that can swallow you whole, the open water can be a dangerous and terrifying place. With new stories from New York Times-bestsellers and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Christopher Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, and more, Devil and the Deep guarantees you’ll think twice before going back into the water.


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It’s only water, so why should we fear large bodies of it, such as the sea or the ocean? However, when you’re all alone, you realize how scary a place it can be. In Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea. Whether its tales of murderous pirates who stalk the waters in search of It’s only water, so why should we fear large bodies of it, such as the sea or the ocean? However, when you’re all alone, you realize how scary a place it can be. In Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea. Whether its tales of murderous pirates who stalk the waters in search of treasure and blood, creatures that haunt the depths below—ones we’ve only seen in our nightmares, or storms that can swallow you whole, the open water can be a dangerous and terrifying place. With new stories from New York Times-bestsellers and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Christopher Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, and more, Devil and the Deep guarantees you’ll think twice before going back into the water.

30 review for The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Char

    An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply. FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas! WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply. FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas! WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book. SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone. SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read. HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again. A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about. With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it! You can get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Deep-Hor... *A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

  2. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    The sea coughed us up, but some day it’s going to reclaim us, and there’s precious little that we can do about it. I have had a fear of deep water since I was a small child, so—as a horror lover who is not easily shaken—nautical horror is one of my favorite subgenres of both stories and film. When I learned that this sea-themed anthology was coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on it, especially after finding out that a few of my favorite anthology authors were featured in it (Seanan McG The sea coughed us up, but some day it’s going to reclaim us, and there’s precious little that we can do about it. I have had a fear of deep water since I was a small child, so—as a horror lover who is not easily shaken—nautical horror is one of my favorite subgenres of both stories and film. When I learned that this sea-themed anthology was coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on it, especially after finding out that a few of my favorite anthology authors were featured in it (Seanan McGuire and Alyssa Wong). That said, most of these authors were new to me, so it was exciting to get a taste of fresh blood, so to speak. Notably, the biggest stand-outs in the collection for me were What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong, Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire, and A Moment Before Breaking by A.C. Wise, with honorable mentions going to He Sings of Salt and Wormwood by Brian Hodge, and Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith. → Deadwater – Simon Bestwick ★★★☆☆ ← It’s the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: they’re what we mean by ghosts. Our first story takes us to a quiet coastal town, in which a sudden death has left the police force thinking “suicide”, and our narrator thinking “murder”. This was less horror and more mild suspense, so it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from the beginning of the anthology, but I did truly enjoy the writing and found myself invested in the mystery. My main complaint was that there was a lot of cryptic nodding towards the main character’s own troubled past, but we never got any sort of explanation for most of it, which left me feeling like the story wasn’t quite finished. TW: frequent mentions of suicide and self-harm → Fodder’s Jig – Lee Thomas ★★★★☆ ← For many of the afflicted, dancing was the first symptom. This tale comes in two parts—the present, and the past—as our narrator regales the story of what happened to his deceased partner after the man contracted a bizarre infection, sprung from masses of bizarre and grotesque flesh washed up on the shoreline. This was probably the single most unique and creative infection story I’ve ever read, and it explains just enough to satisfy, while leaving quite a lot to the imagination. Alongside the description of the ailment, there’s a bit of a commentary on aging, love and loss, and being a homosexual senior in a small town, all of which made the narrator incredibly endearing. TW: ableism → The Curious Allure of the Sea – Christopher Golden ★★☆☆☆ ← Even heaven could become hell if you were a prisoner there. When a woman’s father’s boat turns up empty, his body nowhere to be found, she comes across a stone with a bizarre marking on it. As an attempt to find closure, she tattoos the marking upon her forearm, but things suddenly become very strange in her life. While I enjoyed the writing itself, I can’t say I was a big fan of the story—I felt like I was being set up at great lengths for what was ultimately an incredibly disappointing ending. → The Tryal Attract – Terry Dowling ★★★☆☆ ← The sole condition Will Stevens set for letting me spend the night in the room with the skull was telling him everything it said. After dreaming about the skull from the attic window, a man spends the evening at his neighbor’s home, sleeping in the room with the skull in hopes of hearing its infamous nightly whispers. This was definitely the first genuinely creepy story in the collection, which I appreciated tremendously, as some of the imagery was downright unsettling. Unfortunately, the explanation for the plot felt lackluster and I found myself disappointed with the ending. → The Whalers Song – Ray Cluley ★★★★☆ ← It’s not just whales we’re chasing, Sebjørn realises. It has never just been whales. This was such a bizarre, haunting, beautifully sad story about a group of whalers who find themselves stranded and falling victim to a very peculiar and unexplainable set of circumstances. It does contain a bit of imagery that’s really tough to stomach—especially if you, like myself, have a weak spot for aquatic creatures—but the scenery that Ray Cluley’s writing paints is so vivid that you can nearly feel the chill of the bitter wind and the bite of the freezing waters the Norwegians travel. TW: explicit animal violence/death → A Ship of the South Wind – Bradley Denton ★★☆☆☆ ← “We are what we are. What we are is good enough.” Despite being a western, this story certainly struck me with stereotypical “horror” feelings; unfortunately, though, it wasn’t much of a pleasant read. Our two protagonists are a man and a boy, both half-Native, half-white, who have been essentially taken hostage by a few thieving white men. I’m going to be honest: not only did I strongly dislike the writing style behind this story (with its stilted phrasing and short, cut-off sentences), but I feel that it doesn’t fit the collection in the slightest. Its ties to the sea were slim and questionable, and left open-ended in the most unsatisfying way. TW: slurs, racism → What My Mother Left Me – Alyssa Wong ★★★★★ ← Maybe she’s calling my name. But so is something beneath the waves, that dark and lovely expanse that neither light nor human beings can touch. A young woman takes her new girlfriend to her family beach home in hopes of finding some closure after her mother’s passing, but what she finds is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could have expected. I love Alyssa Wong’s writing so much, and as a bisexual woman, I was ecstatic enough to see a bi protagonist in this collection (because, let’s be honest, we’ve gotta get more diversity in horror!). I honestly feel like I could write a full review about this one story, because it is so flawless, and gorgeous, and devastatingly sad. → Broken Record – Stephen Graham Jones ★★☆☆☆ ← Maybe a century ago you could get marooned for months or years or ever, but not in the modern world, right? I struggled to rate or review this one, because it was so bizarre that I’m still not totally sure what to make of it. It tells the story of a man who washes up from a wreck and finds himself on a tiny desert island, where magical items slowly start appearing for him—items that he wished for as a child, in a game. The most horrific aspect of this story is the thought of actually being stranded on a desert island, all alone, with no shade or way to get home, but the novelty wears off before the installment ends, sadly. → Saudade – Steve Rasnic Tem ★★☆☆☆ ← “You were in a story which worked for you for a very long time. But that story has ended, and yet you find you are still alive, and now you are in a different story you do not yet understand.” A senior is sent on a cruise by his daughters, in a last attempt to convince him to seek companionship elsewhere after his wife has passed away, but he wants nothing to do with any of the other “cruisers”—except one. Much like several of the other stories in this collection, my frustration comes from the fact that it’s an incredibly nautical-themed tale, but very little in the way of “horror”. Besides the brief moment—a few paragraphs, truly—towards the end that featured a bit of oddity, this was just a really boring, sad recollection of an old man’s trip on a boat. → A Moment Before Breaking – A. C. Wise ★★★★★ ← Maybe it’s a monster, but maybe she is, too. And all they have is each other. A little girl and her mother are on a ship, sailing to America in hopes of a better life, when the child is taken by priests who use terrible works to trap the spirit of the Sea Prince within her body. While their intentions were to nullify the Prince by keeping him bound as such, an unlikely bond forms between the two spirits, and they set out on a path of survival and finding home. This was such a gorgeous, haunting story, full of lore and heartache and some really disturbing sea creature imagery that I loved to death. This was easily one of my most preferred stories in the anthology, and was enough to make me very curious about A.C. Wise’s other work. → Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea – Seanan McGuire ★★★★★ ← The tide goes out, leaving things like me lying stranded on the beach. It always comes back to collect us. When a young girl’s little sister tries to murder her by leaving her to drown in the ocean, a quartet of eels make her an offer: another chance at life, for a price. Full disclosure: Seanan McGuire is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I love her work so much that I skipped past this story and saved it for last because I knew it would be my favorite, and I was right. This is the darkest, creepiest, and most fantastical story in the collection, if you ask me—and it is also gorgeous and sad and whimsical, in all the best ways. ♥ → The Deep Sea Swell – John Langan ★★★☆☆ ← In an odd sort of way, Susan has thought, the trip has been all about the ocean. Susan and her husband Alan go on a winter vacation to Shetland, and take a ferry across the ocean for a leg of the trip, but when Susan is kept awake by her seasickness and anxiety, a little late night exploring leads her to meet up with a very old—and terrifying—entity in the ship. This is a bit of odd writing, as it switches tenses between past and present, but somehow, that only added to the anxiety-inducing nature of the story. While the threat itself wasn’t scary in theory, something about this story puts you right into Susan’s shoes (or fuzzy socks, I should say), and was really enjoyable, if not altogether incredibly memorable. → He Sings of Salt and Wormwood – Brian Hodge ★★★★★ ← As a rule, ignorance was no virtue, but if you gave too much thought to the sea, and everything with teeth that called it home, you’d never venture out to meet it. Danny Yukimura, a washed-up surfing pro, is practicing his free diving out in the deeps when he comes across a sunken yacht full of sea worms. Back on land, strange, carved pieces of driftwood begin washing up on shore, with faces that slowly become more and more familiar to him. I absolutely adored this story and was sad to see it end. The diving parts are so atmospheric and well described that, as someone who is afraid of being in deep water myself, I was downright claustrophobic. The slow build of dread is anxiety-inducing in the best way, and the ending is flawlessly executed. → Shit Happens – Michael Marshall Smith ★★★★★ ← “I never realized the end times would smell this bad.” Rick boards a ship planning to have a weekend of work conferencing, networking, and lots of booze—he never expected the apocalypse to happen while he was out on the water, though, and he definitely never expected it to come in such a disgusting form. This story is gross, cringe-y, hilarious, and downright amazing. It was easily the most fun story in the anthology, and it definitely reminded me of a horror-comedy film like Shaun of the Dead (especially with the goofy banter between Rick and Peter-from-London towards the end of the installment). Plus, there are a couple of political and work-related quips in the story that had me grinning from ear to ear. 10/10, would laugh (and cringe) again. → Haunt – Siobhan Carroll ★★★☆☆ ← This is not the same as justice. But it has its own meaning. The finale first reads like a simple ghost story of sailors trying to outrun spirits in the late 1700s, but with the name-dropping of massacres and accidents of the 18th century, becomes evident—and is then proven by the author’s note—that this story is less horror and more historical fiction about the sailors of this time period that joined the abolitionist movement against slavery. I love the idea behind the story and think it’s a fantastic meaning to offer, and the writing itself is lovely and fits the era very well, as far as I know. My only complaint was that it read a bit slowly and repetitive. All in all, though, it’s not a bad way to close the collection. FINAL AVERAGE RATING: 3.53/5 Thank you to Night Shade Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Robert Collins

    Ellen Datlow is like the late Peter Haining she finds stories by other authors that fit a theme then puts them into a collection this The sea horror collection she has huge amount of collections from Alien sex, Lovecraft, Dolls, (which I have read), Mad Hatters, Vampires, Science fiction, fantasy, well over 90 books. But unlike Haining she also writes stories too. This has Christopher Golden of Buffy fame, Michael Marshall Smith & lot more bit unlike many collections she also at the back with all Ellen Datlow is like the late Peter Haining she finds stories by other authors that fit a theme then puts them into a collection this The sea horror collection she has huge amount of collections from Alien sex, Lovecraft, Dolls, (which I have read), Mad Hatters, Vampires, Science fiction, fantasy, well over 90 books. But unlike Haining she also writes stories too. This has Christopher Golden of Buffy fame, Michael Marshall Smith & lot more bit unlike many collections she also at the back with all important blank page I hate when there is no blank page & you see end of last story is the biography of each author which is great if want read more books by them & is useful if names are odd so Know of it's a man or woman how can You tell if just A.E.? something. This been a complete disappointment unlike The Doll collection this has lot of dull stories or just plain shit. But doesn't matter as my cat Snowball had to be put to sleep on 30th of August 18 so it has spoilt this book as I am depressed & sad. I did like Fodder's Jig the gay dance, The Whalers Song a Modern Moby Dick & A ship of the south wind. Congratulations award winning book of 2018 by me THE BULLSHIT AWARD 2018 for worst book of the year load of rubbish glad so glad got this from Darlington Libuary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    I did not finish this book. the stories I read were 3 stars at best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    And this book is already a Kindle deal - it's only $1.99 right now! May be the best $1.99 you spend this year, so grab one now. *********************************** This is a wonderful collection. It's not huge - a little over 300 pages - but I read it in one sitting because I had to keep reading. Ellen Datlow is an editorial genius and I can't wait to read another of her collections. 4 stars. Read this if you haven't. I highly recommend it. Ocean creepies! Awesome. Very well written and absorbing, And this book is already a Kindle deal - it's only $1.99 right now! May be the best $1.99 you spend this year, so grab one now. *********************************** This is a wonderful collection. It's not huge - a little over 300 pages - but I read it in one sitting because I had to keep reading. Ellen Datlow is an editorial genius and I can't wait to read another of her collections. 4 stars. Read this if you haven't. I highly recommend it. Ocean creepies! Awesome. Very well written and absorbing, for the vast majority. Definitely a winner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tyler J Gray

    My favorites of the stories include Deadwater by Simon Bestwick Fodder's Jig by Lee Thomas What my mother left me by Alyssa Wong A moment before breaking by A.C. Wise Sister, Dearest Sister, Let me show to you the sea by Seanan McGuire He Sings of salt and wormwood by Brian Hodge The rest were various stages of slight dislike/not for me to I enjoyed it. I didn't hate any of the stories. Overall average is 3.37 Really did enjoy it over all :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong ★★★★★ “I’m monstrous, beautiful. For the first time in my life, I feel whole.” This was painful but good. I’m still choking back rage filled adrenaline over the levels of betrayal. It’s one of those man vs wild stories that let you see who are the real monsters. Normally selkie stories are of misogyny, ultimate power over your wife. This was modern and brutal. But it ended well so I’ll forgive Alyssa Wong my palpitations. A Moment Before Breaking by A.C. Wise What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong ★★★★★ “I’m monstrous, beautiful. For the first time in my life, I feel whole.” This was painful but good. I’m still choking back rage filled adrenaline over the levels of betrayal. It’s one of those man vs wild stories that let you see who are the real monsters. Normally selkie stories are of misogyny, ultimate power over your wife. This was modern and brutal. But it ended well so I’ll forgive Alyssa Wong my palpitations. A Moment Before Breaking by A.C. Wise ★★★★★ “Once upon a time, a child went under the waves and did not drown. Once upon a time, a child rose, a dripping, monstrous thing, climbing up from the waves again.” Amazing! Lovecraft never wrote so well! Fairytales, the Deep Ones, cults, glowing tattoos, friendship, and bloody vengeance! This page turner had it all. This was the story I was waiting for. Consider me pleased. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show To You the Sea by Seanan McGuire ★★★★½ Another winner! Brutal versions of fairytales, those closer to the original pre Hans Christian Anderson versions, are something I love. Somewhere between The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and Puppetmaster Seanan McGuire has found a way to make you scream! Unforgettable. Deadwater by Simon Bestwick ★★★★☆ “I told you: you do whatever it takes to protect the safety you’ve found.” Quietly violent story of damaged people finding each other. Saudade by Steve Rasnic Tem ★★★★☆ “Loneliness is terrible. Loneliness deadens the spirit. A man who has lost his wife knows much about loneliness, I think.” This an adult version of the tale of La Llorona. It was sad but well done. He Sings of Salt and Wormwood by Brian Hodge ★★★★☆ I rather liked this story of two people who love the ocean separately, and completely... almost as much as they love each other. Haunt by Siobhan Carroll ★★★★☆ “You have no idea how much even a sick child can fight you when she knows you are dragging her to her death.” A ghastly reminder that you don’t need to create monsters for horror stories: humans are the original and reigning evil. Fodder’s Jig by Lee Thomas ★★★☆☆ “I screamed. I think everyone who wasn’t infected screamed.” Rather unpleasant sad story about a man who endured a monstrous family to find happiness... only to then face real monsters. The Curious Allure of the Sea by Christopher Golden ★★★☆☆ "Sometimes she would trace the three spirals with her fingertip. It relaxed her completely, made her feel as if she might float away." This felt like the beginning of a great mythological tale, something spooky, ancient, and possibly evil. Then it just hung up the phone. The Tryal Attract by Terry Dowling ★★★☆☆ "It truly took moments to realize that I was the one yelling, mine the only skull screaming!" This started out well with a mysterious old skull passed down over five generations that whispered to its keepers. The middle gave me a moment of true heart clenching fright. I gasped and shuddered, the audio for this story was well done. The conclusion, and historical/familial ties, felt discordant. It was rushed and lacked punch. A Ship of the South Wind by Bradley Denton ★★★☆☆ “At least we aren’t crazy,” he said. Uncle JoJim shrugged yet again, and his empty sleeve flapped. “Not yet.” Two Native Americans coming home from a hunting trip are accosted by three nefarious roughnecks from Missouri. It’s an ugly story that ended well while reminding you most of them didn’t. The Deep Sea Swell by John Langan ★★★☆☆ “What remained is his anger, his rage... in the suit, his fury, burning...” An angry ghost of a diver killed by a sea monster returns for no apparent reason. It has backstory, and avid description, but still feels random. Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith ★★★☆☆ “Then both of us were laughing as we ran faster and faster, over the bridge and toward a city on fire.” Crazy, funny, gross paranormal disaster movie story told from the oddly believable POV of businessmen. Enjoyable but not memorable. Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones ★★☆☆☆ That was weird. Not SGJs normal well thought out horror with depth. At best you could say it was whimsical. The Whalers Song by Ray Cluley DNF I’m skipping this because reading about whaling will just upset me. I’d be blind to the story’s merits. 3.6 average for the 14 out of 15 stories I read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael J.

    I approach themed anthologies with caution. In too many instances, the central idea begins to wear thin after multiple stories with the same approach. However, with Ellen Datlow behind the ship’s wheel as editor, I decided to read this one. I trust her story judgment. It was also the winner of The Bram Stoker 2018 Award for Best Anthology Of The Year. It’s not hard to see why. None of these stories were lukewarm in temperature. Everything met my expectations. Out of fifteen stories ten were abov I approach themed anthologies with caution. In too many instances, the central idea begins to wear thin after multiple stories with the same approach. However, with Ellen Datlow behind the ship’s wheel as editor, I decided to read this one. I trust her story judgment. It was also the winner of The Bram Stoker 2018 Award for Best Anthology Of The Year. It’s not hard to see why. None of these stories were lukewarm in temperature. Everything met my expectations. Out of fifteen stories ten were above average (hot!), and three exceeded all expectations (scalding!) which makes them worthy of pedestal placement. The three five-star stories were: “Fodders Jig” by Lee Thomas is the name for a disease birthed by the sea. The story includes a horrific monster scene that is truly disturbing. What makes this tale even more important is how it deals with broken relationships and preserving what’s important. “Broken Record” by Stephen Graham Jones is the highly imaginative tale of a desert island castaway who sees his desert island wish list manifest in strange and wondrous ways. “He Signs Of Salt And Wormwood” by Brian Hodge concerns free diving, driftwood statues and the call of the sea. At its’ core is a heartwarming story about relationships. The entertaining above-average four star tales include: Simon Bestwick’s “Deadwater” which is more of a crime novel with a clever amateur sleuth and a disturbing motive. The only horror element in the tale is a very ghastly method of murder. “Curious Allure Of The Sea” by Christopher Golden details an example of the power of tattoos and talismans to attract and bring up all manner of things from the sea. “A Ship Of The South Wind” by Bradley Denton is a fast-paced story set within a steampunk apocalypse on an inland sea. In the creepy “What My Mother Left Me” by Alyssa Wong family ties run deep, even when separated by the land and sea. Steve Rasnic Tem’s “Saudade” sees a recently windowed elderly man embark on a strange and creepy senior matchmaking ocean cruise. In “Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You To The Sea”, Seanan McGuire shows how nobody can be meaner than one sister to another. Rivalry can be brutal. A.C. Wise’s “A Moment Before Breaking” is an unsettling boat journey by refugees. A haunted diving suit creates chaos in “The Deep Sea Swell” by John Langan The very funny and entertaining “Shit Happens” by Michael Marshall Smith uses the sea as catalyst for a zombie infection that begins in the gastro-intestinal tract. I almost gave this a five-star rating but it ends too abruptly with no resolution offered or hinted at. In “Haunt”, a story told in a much earlier style (like Moby Dick and other sea tales) Siobhan Carroll writes of a monstrous sea crash that results in a sinking ship as past misdeeds return across the waters to punish specific sailors. It shivered my timbers. Because the above stories were so strong and of such high quality, it hurt the impression of the two selections I rated only three stars: An old skull in a lofty room yearns for a sea view and does its’ best to communicate those desires in “The Tryall Attract” by Terry Dowling. Norwegian whalers run into spooky trouble in “Whalers’ Song” by Ray Cluley. This is a superior collection, more than worthy of the awards it earned and was nominated for.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP: Horror Stories of the Sea, is a collection of 15 sea-themed stories edited by Ellen Datlow. Most of these stories hit between two and four stars with me, but there were some that I found exceptional or "unique". Personal favorites of mine included: "He Sings of Salt and Wormwood", by Brian Hodge: I honestly don't believe that I've read a story by Brian Hodge that I haven't loved, to some degree. His language evokes the most impressive images and moods, and his tales always THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP: Horror Stories of the Sea, is a collection of 15 sea-themed stories edited by Ellen Datlow. Most of these stories hit between two and four stars with me, but there were some that I found exceptional or "unique". Personal favorites of mine included: "He Sings of Salt and Wormwood", by Brian Hodge: I honestly don't believe that I've read a story by Brian Hodge that I haven't loved, to some degree. His language evokes the most impressive images and moods, and his tales always seem to have a hint of that "otherworldliness" in them that make you think such a thing might just be possible . . . ". . . if you gave too much thought to the sea, and everything with teeth that called it home, you'd never venture out to meet it." "It loves you. But it's love on a whole different wave length." This one has to be my number one favorite--I simply loved everything about it. "Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea", by Seanan McGuire: A jealous younger sister thinks she finally has the upper hand... "But sometimes damage is done, and it can't be repaired . . . " This one was so remarkable in the characters, and the mindsets of the them--especially the oldest. It had one of those endings that couldn't have been more perfect and fitting to the story. "What My Mother Left Me", by Alyssa Wong": Powerful story of dominance, sorrow, redemption and discovery. And of course, the sea. The Curious Allure of the Sea", by Christopher Golden: A Father lost at sea leaves behind a symbol that his daughter feels holds the key to his disappearance. ". . . Pale things, drawn back by an allure they'd never understood". "Deadwater", by Simon Bestwick. This one deals with "damaged" people, and how they have their own ways of coping. Not as much a "sea story", but a remarkable tale, in general. "It's the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: . . . " Overall, a very mixed bag of stories. I'm honestly surprised at some selections that made it in here to begin with. However, most of them had something "good" to pick out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |

    Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this from Edelweiss for review consideration. If you think that affects my review, you don't know me very well. The Devil and the Deep was an anthology that sounded kind of interesting to me, but I had no true desire to read it. Mostly because I'm still a bit biased against anthologies, even though I've had some pleasant experiences lately. However, when I saw that it was available on Edelweiss  for immediate download, I figured there was no harm in giving it a l Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this from Edelweiss for review consideration. If you think that affects my review, you don't know me very well. The Devil and the Deep was an anthology that sounded kind of interesting to me, but I had no true desire to read it. Mostly because I'm still a bit biased against anthologies, even though I've had some pleasant experiences lately. However, when I saw that it was available on Edelweiss  for immediate download, I figured there was no harm in giving it a look-see. I liked it. Maybe I didn't love it, but I really liked it. It wasn't until I was looking back over the book for this review that I realized exactly how much I had liked it. Deadwater by Simon Bestwick - the opening story in The Devil and the Deep - immediately got me. I've read Bestwick before, and was as impressed with his ability to make sympathetic characters and handle difficult situations in Feast of All Souls as I was in Deadwater. Fodder's Jig by Lee Thomas - This was an interesting one. I didn't like most of it because hit on one of my pet peeves. (I can't tell you what it is for spoiling an important part of the story.) However, it was a delightfully open-ended tale, and I liked the whole idea of it. The Curious Allure of the Sea by Christopher Golden - I normally make neat little notes to remind myself of what I liked about the story on Goodreads. My note for this one was a simple "Hoooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllyyyyyyy Ssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!" So, that's all I'm going to say about that one. What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong -  I like the take on Selkies, though I suppose that's not quite the word. It's a much darker, more gruesome thing than the seal-pelts I'm used to reading about. This was deliciously dark, though I do think the acrylic nails thing was overdone a bit. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire was a absolutely fantastic re-telling of the Little Mermaid. It'll send shivers down your spine. (And no, it's not related to her Into the Drowning Deep book.) I absolutely loved this story from beginning to end. Never a misstep! Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith - This was well-written, completely gross, and fun to read. If you're put off by the idea of reading about bodily functions, I highly suggest you avoid this story. And, of course, the offering of Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones was the straight up level of weird that I'm coming to expect from him.  That man has an odd, odd mind. Favorite Quotes (Quotes may change in final copy): "It's the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: they're what we mean by ghosts." - Simon Bestwick, Deadwater "I've watched enough horror movies to know that if we sleep here, it's going to murder the f*ck out of us." - Alyssa Wong, What My Mother Gave Me "The problem with social media is that it'll recycle bullsh*t without anybody stopping to check it has any basis in reality-" Michael Marshall Smith, Shit Happens Overall, while it wasn't my favorite anthology, The Devil and the Deep had a strong showing. There are a few stories in here, such as Golden's, that should emit a siren's call for any horror fans. Definitely one worth checking out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    The Scary Reviews

    More misses than hits inside this one. My review can be read here ----> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1r0 More misses than hits inside this one. My review can be read here ----> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1r0

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Another great collection from Ellen Datlow - short and satisfying horror set around the theme of the sea. Full review to come.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike D

    Listen to Ellen Datlow talk about this book on my podcast This new nautical themed anthology edited by Ellen Datlow really blew me away. It is perfectly executed, diverse, and bold in a way that I have come to expect from her work. It contains 15 all original short stories, all of which are solidly written and engaging. The edition starts with "Deadwater" by Simon Bestwick, which is remarkably well done and really hooks you in. It is the kind of tale that you expect to be in an anthology like th Listen to Ellen Datlow talk about this book on my podcast This new nautical themed anthology edited by Ellen Datlow really blew me away. It is perfectly executed, diverse, and bold in a way that I have come to expect from her work. It contains 15 all original short stories, all of which are solidly written and engaging. The edition starts with "Deadwater" by Simon Bestwick, which is remarkably well done and really hooks you in. It is the kind of tale that you expect to be in an anthology like this and has broad enough appeal that it will speak to most readers. The other big highlights for me were Michael Mashall Smith’s "Sh*t Happens" and Siobhan Carroll's "Haunt." Michael Marshall Smith’s was the funniest short fiction I have read in a long time and Siobhan's was easily the most powerful short horror I have read in years. This one demands the attention of short horror fans! Read my full review at Signal Horizon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    I'd heard a lot about this anthology before I read it, and was unsurprised to find it on the Stoker ballot. I think it deserves to be there. The stories are diverse in tone, subject, mood and voice. More than one had an ending I didn't see coming at all but which totally made sense when it did, and there are several I would happily read again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    Average Rating: 2.5 stars My average rating for one of my most anticipated books of the year was 2.5? Yikes, I am so disappointed. And look, it's not 100% on this book. As I've been experimenting with anthologies this year, I've gradually learnt that I don't really enjoy short stories. In saying that, there were two basic criteria's these stories had to adhere too. They were: a. Set in or near the sea b. Be scary That's all I needed from these stories. Maybe I'm harder to scare than I originally th Average Rating: 2.5 stars My average rating for one of my most anticipated books of the year was 2.5? Yikes, I am so disappointed. And look, it's not 100% on this book. As I've been experimenting with anthologies this year, I've gradually learnt that I don't really enjoy short stories. In saying that, there were two basic criteria's these stories had to adhere too. They were: a. Set in or near the sea b. Be scary That's all I needed from these stories. Maybe I'm harder to scare than I originally thought? Possibly. But some of these weren't set near the sea or had anything to do with the ocean. This just wasn't the nautical horror I was expecting. Very underwhelming. DEADWATER by Simon Bestwick ★★★★☆ FODDER’S JIG by Lee Thomas ★★☆☆☆ THE CURIOUS ALLURE OF THE SEA by Christopher Golden ★★★☆☆ THE TRYAL ATTRACT by Terry Dowling ★★☆☆☆ THE WHALERS SONG by Ray Cluley ★★☆☆☆ A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton ★★☆☆☆ WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong ★★★☆☆ BROKEN RECORD by Stephen Graham Jones ★★☆☆☆ SAUDADE by Steve Rasnic Tem ★★☆☆☆ A MOMENT BEFORE BREAKING by A. C. Wise ★★☆☆☆ SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU to the Sea by Seanan McGuire ★★★★☆ THE DEEP SEA SWELL by John Langan ★★☆☆☆ HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge ★★★★☆ SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith ★★☆☆☆ HAUNT by Siobhan Carroll ★★☆☆☆

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Smith

    A very good collection overall. Some of the more memorable ones include "Fodder's Jig," "The Whaler's Song," "Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea," "Broken Record," "He Sings of Salt and Wormwood," and "Shit Happens." But my favorite was "Haunt" by Siobhan Carrol. Just a tremendous short story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kazima

    I thought some of the stories were the weakest of the bunch, which is unfortunate because at first I had to force myself to keep going back to the collection. However, the stories seemed to get better and better, or maybe I just got more and more into it. Probably a combination of both, and at any rate I would highly recommend it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shafiya Mū (Yon Nyan)

    DNF @ 58% This collection is an incredibly boring anthology of stories where most tales aren’t even horror. Some of them have water or seaside settings with very little to nothing to do with the sea, plot wise. They’re also mild sci-fi tales of murder or uneventful epidemics or just fucked-up family dynamics with a one-dimensional twist that’s a half-assed attempt at spookiness and terror. Since I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of this anthology, I dropped it. I read other reviews of this and i DNF @ 58% This collection is an incredibly boring anthology of stories where most tales aren’t even horror. Some of them have water or seaside settings with very little to nothing to do with the sea, plot wise. They’re also mild sci-fi tales of murder or uneventful epidemics or just fucked-up family dynamics with a one-dimensional twist that’s a half-assed attempt at spookiness and terror. Since I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of this anthology, I dropped it. I read other reviews of this and it feels like we all read completely different books. I’m confounded, to be honest. Either way, wasn’t for me, by far. If you’re looking for actual oceanic horror, I don’t recommend this at all. Go somewhere else.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan Baxter

    Another brilliant anthology from Datlow. I love sea stories and the wide variety included here is amazing. Not every one hit me, but the majority are outstanding and a couple are better than 5 star stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

    Review forthcoming

  21. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    This was really OKAY. It started out with a few very well written, strong stories but the further along I got in this collection, the duller things got, unfortunately. I feel like this happens often in horror anthologies, and it's a real shame.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Airaology

    A collection of horror stories surrounding waters! That’s right. Not some horror cliche of haunted houses. This time we’re delving deep into the unknown. Yay! Going into this hoping for some fresh ideas. None of that haunted house malarkey. Simon Bestwick "Deadwater" -> it opens with a mystery! Death by the beach - suicide? Murder? Self induced death by a super duper drug? Who knows but our protagonist, Emily who is something of an amateur investigator with a tortured past and she unravels the c A collection of horror stories surrounding waters! That’s right. Not some horror cliche of haunted houses. This time we’re delving deep into the unknown. Yay! Going into this hoping for some fresh ideas. None of that haunted house malarkey. Simon Bestwick "Deadwater" -> it opens with a mystery! Death by the beach - suicide? Murder? Self induced death by a super duper drug? Who knows but our protagonist, Emily who is something of an amateur investigator with a tortured past and she unravels the cause of Robin's death. She wants justice for Robin. Emily's backstory is hinted just enough to make you wonder and want more. And she is a plucky, resourceful sonofabitch. The writing itself was wonderful - direct, with just enough details for me to consider reading some of Simon's works in the future. Favourite quote - You do whatever it takes to cope with the damage. And if anything threatens your coping mechanism, your safety, your sanctuary, you do whatever it takes to protect it. lee Thomas "Fodder’s Jig" - second entry and I am LOVING IT. So far no regrets on purchasing the book. This one starts with a protagonist where we're not sure of the gender - or name for that matter - until the plot opens up and I jerked my head thinking, did I just assume the gender??It's a testament to Thomas's writing. It's fast paced, characterization was done well (especially at the details of gold digger family) and the details felt real. The mystery of what was happening, the lead up to the end and the big reveal was awesome. The POV suited the story and carried it forward and Oooohhhh that ending! Bitter-freaking-sweet! Favourite quote - we'd witnessed the emergence, or perhaps reemergence, of a life form that could produce spores containing a commutable virus Christopher Golden "The curious allure of the sea" - one word: melancholy. If these stories have one thing in common in terms of style is that they’re vague at certain parts and won’t hold your hand while you read so you can interpret a text in 100000 ways. This story is about Jenny who lost her father at sea and sees a symbol and immediately is drawn to it. Is she from a long line of sirens? Do the symbols mean anything? Does Jenny do further research? No to these so we’re left with a whole lotta questions. Having said that, I did enjoy it, even with the bleak ending. My only gripe is the supernatural element were more subdued. Favorite quotes - the cool solace of the sea slid up her arm, soothing the burn Terry Dowling “The Tryal Attract” - so far, this has the least ocean descriptions/sea setting but it’s also one of the most intriguing atmospheric ones yet. Dave who is attracted to a skull. Which, I get it now I’m typing it down sounds weird and the story is that: weird and eerie with equal doses of mystery. Who is the owner of the skull? Why does Dave dream of it? What year is this damn story? Cause it started off and I thought, okay a period piece and then there was a mention of an airplane and I thought, hm maybe not. Either way, the best bits are the quiet moments with Dave and the Skull. It helps that the ending actually feels good even if it felt rushed Favorite quote: a skull watches everyone in the room. - I’d never touched, let alone held, a human skull before - this ultimate palace, library; vital stronghold of another being, once a complete entity, someone who had left this “container” behind when he’d vanished in death. Ray Cluley “the whalers song” - OHHHHHHH! The ocean setting is strong with this one, yes hmm. The blurb at the back: a Norwegian whaling ship is stranded in the Arctic, its crews threatened by mysterious forces. Having said that, I need someone to please explain this story, especially the ending. Aside from the ending, it is an interesting story from the explanation of whale culling - I don’t condone the act but it is fascinating description - to the bits of background of the characters. Told in a third POV which differs from the first few stories. The mystery and suspense is strong with this one. Less horror though. Bradley Denton “A ship of the South Wind” - Less ‘ocean’ theme but I’ll let it slide because a) I like the 3rd person POV - a childlike innocence in a harsh world and b) I love the justness of the ending. This one feels like a Tarantino wet dream and if you know any of his movies you’ll know what that means. It’s fast paced, which is always a plus and it didn’t miss a beat. Favorite quote - Charley pondered. “So now they might consider us to be Kaw?” Uncle JoJim shook his head. “No. We are what we are.” He looked toward the moon. “What we are is good enough.” Alyssa Wong “What my mother left me” - what the duck did I just read and why isn’t it a FULL BLOWN NOVEL??? This story is deliciously meaty and tasty and twisty! Emma and her girlfriend, Gina goes to Emma’s deceased mother’s house to arrange the affairs and things ramped up from weird to weirder to holy shit what the hell. I get strong Girl Power vibes with this, considering its theme of oppression and possession (not the vomit-pea-soup type) and obsession. Love the fast pace, 1st POV writing with a voice that’s neither annoying nor flat. Favorite quote - Maybe she’s calling my name. But so is something beneath the waves, that dark and lovely expanse that neither light nor human beings can touch. Stephen Graham Jones “Broken Record” -1) what the hell did I just read? 2) Is there a metaphor in this? 3) I struggle to finish this one but at the end 4)it was okay. 5)Symbols upon symbols if one likes those types of stories. 6)Not that scary, unless you consider being stranded on an island with no one and nothing in sight terrifying. To me, that’s my Tuesday afternoon! Steve Rasnic Tem “Saudade” - oh boy. This was sad. Anything involve with animals and old people really gets the heart going. The description was wonderful: I could really picture this Senior Singles Cruise vibe and the pace moved along nicely. The ending, like most of the other stories, is bitter ducking sweet. The absence of someone stable, the longing of that past is enough to bring someone over the edge Favorite quote: “You were in a story which worked for you for a very long time. But the story has ended, and yet you find you are still alive, and now you are in a different story you do not yet understand.” A. C wise “A moment before breaking” - not my fav as it felt all over the place. Seanan McGuire “Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show to You the Sea - ohhhh it’s Mira Grant which means it’s gonna be good. This is the one story I was super excited to sea through (heh) and it did not disappoint. Little Mermaid (sort of?) with a devilish twist. The ending is sweet and full of justice, reminisce of the first story by Bestwick. John Langan “The Deep Sea Swell” - Well. Ok. So. This name is popping up for horror. I’ve never read any of his other works but this is a good introduction to see if I want to or not. I do not. Brian Hodge “He Sings of Salt and Wormwood” - THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL. honestly top 3 fav. From the voice of the protagonist - third POV and still felt real - to the plot and progression, everything about this story clicked. The ending, so open and so satisfying, made this author another one for me to look out for. A tale of a surfer past his prime and his ocean-loving partner and the ocean’s gifts Favorite quote - He, too, was ready for another way of life, or he wasn’t. The ocean would accept him. Or it wouldn’t. He could still be a part of it either way. Note: despite this being one of my fave entries, it has some glaringly obvious typo and unmatched names which made me think: editor, wyd? Michael Marshall Smith “Shit Happens” - ANOTHER LOVE. Between the ongoing tension, quips of humor and the mystery of it all this is now top 3. Want this to turn into a movie type of thing. The voice, can I just say, I ducking love the voice and POV. You can picture the character and the timeframe (the problem with social media is it’ll recycle bullshit without anybody stopping to check it has any basis in reality, but then - there it was - a different source saying the same thing. This source was CNN. And regardless of the forty-fifth president’s views on the matter, I consider CNN to be real fucking news. ) -> shows you the setting without info dumping as well as strengthening the character’s voice. Favorite quote - “Shannon?” “I’m still here,” she said. “What’s going on?” “Carl Himmick is trying to kill me.” “Because of the delay on the RX350i?” Siobhan Carroll “Haunt” - the most terrifying thing about this tale is the history behind it. The author was inspired by a sailor’s account aboard a slave ship.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I mentioned in my last post about Ellen Datlow how I planned to read more collections edited by her, and The Devil and the Deep is the next one I chose. I have always enjoyed stories about the sea and I was excited by the idea of reading horror stories all themed around the ocean. Sadly I didn't quite get what I wanted but I enjoyed this collection nevertheless. As per usual, I'll be going through the stories one by one. Deadwater by Simon Bestwick-This was a great story to start with. A woman's I mentioned in my last post about Ellen Datlow how I planned to read more collections edited by her, and The Devil and the Deep is the next one I chose. I have always enjoyed stories about the sea and I was excited by the idea of reading horror stories all themed around the ocean. Sadly I didn't quite get what I wanted but I enjoyed this collection nevertheless. As per usual, I'll be going through the stories one by one. Deadwater by Simon Bestwick-This was a great story to start with. A woman's lover is found dead, handcuffed to a post by the sea and drowned. It's ruled as a suicide but she's not so sure. This is a straightforward story, rooted in reality and it was great to read because of that. It also had a compelling main character which is very impressive in a short story. Fodder's Jig by Lee Thomas-This was about a disease that comes from the sea, starts with people dancing uncontrollably and ends with them committing suicide by walking into the water. It was an interesting concept if a little mishmash. I would have liked more focus on the cause behind the disease and the dancing element didn't make much sense really/felt out of place with the overall theme. The Curious Allure of the Sea by Christopher Golden-A woman's father dies at sea and she finds a strange amulet on his boat. The amulet gets stolen but she is compelled to get a tattoo of it on her arm and this tattoo calls things to her. This was a really unique story and I loved how it fit in with the collection's theme. It built up well and had this subtle sinister tone to the whole thing which made it really enjoyable. The Tryal Attract by Terry Dowling-There is a skull coated in silver and it talks to people, although no one can ever make out the words. Our protagonist goes to check it out and becomes the first person to understand it. This was a hard story for me to get into and just when it got going, it ended. I felt the climax was too abrupt and I didn't 100% follow what was going on since I couldn't engage with it. Maybe with different pacing I could have really enjoyed this. The Whaler's Song by Ray Cluley-A group of whalers maybe get attacked by whales? This started off so well and I think would have benefited from a more simple execution of the core concept. There was a weird mystical element and something surreal going on and it muddied the horror of the story for me. Good characterisation and certainly one of the stories that most strongly follows the anthology theme. A Ship of the South Wind by Bradley Denton-This is a cowboy and 'indjuns' story about two mixed race Native Americans who encounter an unfriendly cowboy and his son. This wasn't a bad story but it had absolutely nothing to do with the sea, apart from a harpoon being involved. I enjoyed it but it has zero to do with the anthology concept in my opinion. What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong-God, I don't even know where to begin with this story. Our main character's mother dies and leaves her a cottage by the sea. When she gets to the cottage, a very disturbing part of her mother is still there. This might be the weirdest story of all in a pretty weird collection and I hated it at first, then it kind of grew on me. I understood what it was trying to do mythology-wise which I think helped, even if it went about it in a very unusual way. Still, points for creativity. Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones-A guy washes up on a desert island and strange items start washing up one by one. This has such a cool premise and the beginning was really enjoyable. It was well written but I think ultimately the idea could have been used to much greater strength. Near the end it lost the potential it had earlier on and while I still liked it a lot overall, it took a weird turn which I sadly could have done without. Still one of the strongest in the collection. Saudade by Steve Rasnic Tem-While on a cruise for lonely singles, a man encounters a strange woman at night. Early on I thought I knew where this story was going and I was very glad when I was wrong. However, it's another one that ended weaker than it started off. It had some good moments and it wasn't forgettable but it wasn't one of my favourites either. A Moment Before Breaking by A. C. Wise-Sadly I didn't really 'get' this story. It's about a girl being transported somewhere by boat I think but beyond that, I couldn't really say what was going on. There's a storytelling mechanic which I think is meant to explain what is going on but it doesn't work for me. One of the weakest in my eyes. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire-I am always LIVING for Seanan McGuire's contributions to these anthologies and this is no different. A girl wakes up to find herself being drowned by her sister, only to be offered an opportunity to survive...at a price. This had a fantastic atmosphere, intriguing characters and it packed so much good stuff into such a short amount. I would read a whole book with this concept and I loved it. The Deep Sea Swell by John Langan-I forgot this story when writing this review which is never a good sign. It's about a couple who go on a boat trip and end up in the worst accommodation when they insult a staff member. As is becoming a theme with this anthology, it started off well and then just became incoherent and hard to follow. A poor execution of a good idea. He Sings of Salt and Wormwood by Brian Hodge-This one deserves kudos for having a very surreal and unusual premise and actually executing it well. A surfer guy is dating a woman who regularly receives presents from the sea that wash up on the shore. Things soon take an unsettling note however and he begins to worry about what the presents mean. I was utterly drawn into this story and I had no idea where it was going which is always good. I am getting the ending of it a little confused with another story in this collection but I really liked it overall. Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith-This story has the weirdest premise and it shouldn't work but it does? While on a business trip taking place on a cruise ship, a mysterious affliction strikes people who are close to the sea. This is one of those short stories I could see being expanded into a whole book and it would make a great comedy horror one. It worked extremely well as a short story in my eyes but I did kinda want more from the world and the characters. One of the strongest in the anthology. Haunt by Siobhan Carroll-I possibly didn't give this story the chance it deserved because I was sort of done with the anthology by the time I reached it. It has the strong general premise of a ghost ship relating to slaves being drowned but the execution just wasn't there. It had some good moments but overall it wasn't enough to keep my attention or leave a lasting impact. Overall, this anthology falls into the usual 'mixed bag' category. I did find myself loving many of the stories and I was pleased that most of them managed to stick to the theme so strongly. A major running problem for me was that many of the stories had strong concepts but executed them in bizarre or muddled ways. Maybe it comes down to personal taste but I do enjoy short stories that are simple but effective, and that doesn't describe many of the ones found here. However, I would still recommend this anthology and it definitely has some real belters. Overall Rating: 3.5/5

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    I am blown away by how many of the reviews for this book are good. Great, even. Because this is a load of ****. (Insert your favourite, four-letter prophanity.) The “horror” stories are bland and unmemorable. But they are worth the one star, sure. The narrators, however, are not. There are two, and they both seem to enjoy mocking the different dialects of the English language. Ms. Kowal’s British accent in the first story is, to my Norwegian ear, not off the charts bad, but it is disgustingly "pos I am blown away by how many of the reviews for this book are good. Great, even. Because this is a load of ****. (Insert your favourite, four-letter prophanity.) The “horror” stories are bland and unmemorable. But they are worth the one star, sure. The narrators, however, are not. There are two, and they both seem to enjoy mocking the different dialects of the English language. Ms. Kowal’s British accent in the first story is, to my Norwegian ear, not off the charts bad, but it is disgustingly "posh old lady"-like. So very unfitting for the young character she portrays. Mr. Campbell tries his luck with an Australian accent, but sounds like a British drunk instead. The next story, set in Norway, has a cast with names that are undoubtedly Icelandic (not the narrator’s fault, of course), and Mr. Campbell lends them a broken Russian English accent. I don’t expect the narrators to master an array of accents, but unless they do, why try? This book gave me a lot more irritation than entertainment - the only reason why I finished it was to see how bad it would get.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff McIntosh

    Another good anthology by Ellen Datlow - with all the stories having some connection to the sea. All stories copyrighted in 2018. As with all anthologies, not all stories appealed to me. Carroll's "Haunt" - which tells the tale of a a ghostly ship haunting the survivors of an earlier slave massacre....was perhaps too historical for my tastes, but a good story nonetheless. I especially enjoyed Bestwick's "Deadwater", and an ocean inspired zombie apocalypse, Smith's "Shit Happens". "What My Mothe Another good anthology by Ellen Datlow - with all the stories having some connection to the sea. All stories copyrighted in 2018. As with all anthologies, not all stories appealed to me. Carroll's "Haunt" - which tells the tale of a a ghostly ship haunting the survivors of an earlier slave massacre....was perhaps too historical for my tastes, but a good story nonetheless. I especially enjoyed Bestwick's "Deadwater", and an ocean inspired zombie apocalypse, Smith's "Shit Happens". "What My Mother Left Me", a tale of a monstrous metamorphosis, is also quite good. Read it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    C.L. Phillips

    Overall, 4 stars. There were a few really poor stories here, most of them placed right up front for some reason. Still, I trudged on, wanting to give each story a shot for its own merit. Doing so was a great pay off, for the last half of the book was especially good. I wanted to give each story its own rating, since each from a different write. Besides, the only fair way to review an anthology is to review each individual story. So, here it goes. Deadwater: A female protagonist uses her best skill Overall, 4 stars. There were a few really poor stories here, most of them placed right up front for some reason. Still, I trudged on, wanting to give each story a shot for its own merit. Doing so was a great pay off, for the last half of the book was especially good. I wanted to give each story its own rating, since each from a different write. Besides, the only fair way to review an anthology is to review each individual story. So, here it goes. Deadwater: A female protagonist uses her best skill (sex, of course) to manipulate men and find a killer. Not what I think of when I think horror story. 2 stars Fodder’s Jig: I really wanted to see what was happening here, because there was something interesting happening with the dancing people along that shore; but I couldn’t see anything going on story-wise beside the overwhelming, in-your-face sex. Gave up when I encountered talk of “his sticky cock.” 1 star, because I just couldn’t finish it. The Curios Allure of the Sea: Really cool tale. A woman gets a couple tattoos. Seagulls are after her. The tattoos burn. People look at her strangely. It’s a like a Lovecraftian story (with a talisman!) and written well. 5 stars. The Tryal Attract: A good ghost story, with an artifact (an attract). 4 stars. The Whalers Song: A crew of Whaler’s get shipwrecked. We watch through the eyes of our narrator as things get eerie and frightening. Also, cool talk of whales and whaling. (Also, this was the first story that took place on the water AND was a horror story.) 5 stars. A Ship of the South Wind: Played like a weird western, where the white men hated mixed-blood “Injuns.” A ship in a desert that used to be sea. Kind of weird, which I like, but it lost me toward the end and I didn’t care about any of the characters. 3 stars. What My Mother Left Me: Meh. I started it. Went two pages. Did not intrigue me. Did not care about the college girls biting each other’s ears, blowing into each other’s ears. I got the impression that they were coming to clean out a dead mom’s house, and apparently it was such a devasting situation like we needed to see flirting instead of mourning. I’m really over this teeny-bopper mindset that sex and flirtation and sexual tension is of the utmost importance and I need to see it in every story. 1 star. Note to writers: There are more important things to show the reader than things related to sex. Go ahead, search for other feelings. They’re there. In fact, if you feel you need to show me sex, don’t. Write the story without it. It will be better. I promise. Do like Elmore Leonard: leave out the stuff people skip over. Broken Record: I liked this story. It was an interesting take on an old writing prompt: what 10 things would you have on a desert island? Some of it was funny, some sad. But I’d call this fantasy more than horror, even though a monster does make an appearance. 4 stars. Saudade: I’ve read a few things buy Steve Rasnic Tem and I’ve really like them all so far. This was an interesting that took a widower on a single’s cruise that turned into something like ghost story…kind of. That’s what great about Tem’s work: though it is certainly of the horror genre, it is otherwise tough to put in a box. 5 stars. **Best story of the Anthology** A Moment Before Breaking: A true horror story, and it took place in the sea, and it was about the sea. This story delivers on all the promises in the title of this book. There are monsters in the deep, an artifact, magic, a cult, a human sacrifice of an uncommon variety, and interesting characters. That’s a lot to jam into a short story, but A.C. Wise managed to do it, and with style. It was worth drudging through some of the earlier stuff to find this gem. It is incredibly well-written, perhaps the most skillfully-crafted story in this anthology. 5 stars +. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show to You the Sea: This story does not take long to become creepy. It’s a revenge tale twice told, each sister wanting to punish the other. Throw in some ocean-related horror, a couple monster, and you’ve got a good story. 4 stars. The Deep Sea Swell: A ghost story at sea. A lot happens in this story, too much to go into here; but it was a good read, with stories layered within a story. I always enjoy that. Well-written. 4 stars. He Sings of Salt and Wormwood: This story led me astray, starting off with talk of diving and surfing. I wasn’t interested at first…then the worms showed up. Then there was talk of a 52 Hertz whale voice (that’s loud). Then weird carven statues started washing up on shore. Then I was hooked. This is among the best stories found in this collection. It renewed my fear of the deep. 5 stars. Shit Happens: This manages to be face-paced, intriguing, disgusting, frightening, humorous, and mysteriously unsettling all at once. This is the style and craft many of us long for in our writing, but few manage to pull off. A great story; a quick read. 5 stars. Haunt: Great story about a ship’s crew during the period of the Slave Trade. Slavery, and the atrocities related to, and derived from it, play a prominent role, especially in the mind of the character called Swift. The ghost ship that stalks the Minerva feels as real as the rest of the story. This tale is spooky on many levels and worth the read. 5 stars.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexa "Naps" Snow

    Nice collection overall. Enjoyed some, skipped some. I love the seas, water, never thought it could give me the chills but there were stories that reminded me of the dark side of the ocean.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Skibbe

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 7/10 average overall. I usually don't read anthologies/collections, but read this one on a trip. The stories were pretty hit or miss, but the following stood out: Fodder’s Jig by Lee Thomas (9/10) - Stars two older gay men who fall in love late in life, one of whom is dealing with a rough divorce when a bizarre disease emerges worldwide that causes people to dance wildly and speak in tongues. Creepy cosmic horror that seamlessly blended a bunch of disparate themes and ideas. The Whalers Song by 7/10 average overall. I usually don't read anthologies/collections, but read this one on a trip. The stories were pretty hit or miss, but the following stood out: Fodder’s Jig by Lee Thomas (9/10) - Stars two older gay men who fall in love late in life, one of whom is dealing with a rough divorce when a bizarre disease emerges worldwide that causes people to dance wildly and speak in tongues. Creepy cosmic horror that seamlessly blended a bunch of disparate themes and ideas. The Whalers Song by Ray Cluley (9/10) - An eerie story about a modern whaling ship that sinks. The small crew escapes ashore, only to be confronted by strange artifacts from past whaling ships on the abandoned spit of land they find. It was way creepy and probably the most haunting story in the collection. A Ship of the South Wind by Bradley Denton (8/10) - A few years after the Civil War, Two Native Americans in Kansas are accosted by a group of white travelers. Help comes from an unexpected source -- an eccentric, potentially supernatural figure named Captain Thomas. Interesting choice to set a sea-themed horror story in Kansas, and I think the way the story built and maintained tension was great. Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones (8/10) - A man is trapped on a desert island, only to find the "10 things you would want on a desert island" list he wrote as a kid has inexplicably come true. Thought the voice, writing, and general concept was great. A Moment Before Breaking by A. C. Wise (9/10) - While bound for the US, a young immigrant girl's ship is attacked and sinks. She is captured by cultists who perform a strange ritual, which binds her to a creature called the prince of the sea. A weird story with beautiful writing, and I loved that we see the main character at multiple points in her life. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show To You The Sea by Seanan McGuire (10/10) - When her little sister drowns her in the tide pools by their Washington home, a teenager makes a deal with an eel-like entity of the sea to get her revenge. I'm already a big fan of the author, but this exceeded my expectations with visceral body horror, great prose, and well-realized characters. He Sings of Salt and Wormwood by Brian Hodge (10/10) - During a deep-sea diving exercise, a competitive surfer finds an old shipwrecked yacht and strange wormlike creatures devouring the wood. When he returns to his home in Oregon, he and his wife begin to find strange, humanoid carvings along the shore every day. The writing was stellar, and Hodge made me really care about the main characters, which is always tough in a short story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brad Hodges

    "It’s a natural human tendency to fear the unknown, and our relative ignorance about the sea fosters superstitions, myths, and legends about it and what might inhabit it (sirens, sea monsters, forms of organic life that we can’t even begin to comprehend because the conditions in which they flourish are inimical to human life)." So writes Ellen Datlow in her introduction to The Devil and the Deep, an anthology of horror tales connected with large bodies of water (mostly the ocean). I have no part "It’s a natural human tendency to fear the unknown, and our relative ignorance about the sea fosters superstitions, myths, and legends about it and what might inhabit it (sirens, sea monsters, forms of organic life that we can’t even begin to comprehend because the conditions in which they flourish are inimical to human life)." So writes Ellen Datlow in her introduction to The Devil and the Deep, an anthology of horror tales connected with large bodies of water (mostly the ocean). I have no particular fear of the ocean, and in fact can feel drawn to it (I'd love to have a house on the ocean, except with global warming one day it would be underwater), but I get it. They say we know about the universe than we do the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. The stories, of course, vary in style and quality, and some of them are only marginally connected to the sea. "A Ship of the South Wind," by Bradley Denton, takes place on dry land on the Kansas prairie, but it does contain a ship, with a captain who knows how to throw a narwhal tusk. It also has a great opening sentence: "Uncle JoJim slid his shotgun into its scabbard behind Calico Girl’s saddle, then walked into the shin-high tallgrass to retrieve his sixth prairie chicken of the day." A good percentage of the stories are about some kind of force that attracts people to become part of it. This is true with "What My Mother Left Me," by Alyssa Wong, "He Sings of Salt and Wormwood," by Brian Hodge, " and my favorite, "Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea," by Seanan McGuire, a savage tale about sisters--one tries to kill the other by tying her up in a tidal pool, but it backfires. Badly. There are also stories about ships, either old ("Haunt," by Siobhan Carroll, about ghost ships taking the dead aboard), and newer ("Shit Happens," by Michael Marshall, set aboard the Queen Mary, and involving zombies. There's another set on a ferry going between Scotland the Shetland Islands, "The Deep Sea Swell," by John Langan, which has a ghost in a diving suit, and another about whalers getting stranded on a spit of land that has something very nasty on it ("The Whaler's Song," by Ray Cluley). I think the most interesting story is "Broken Record," by Stephen Graham Jones, which finds a man stranded on a desert island but has random objects arriving. Then he realizes that these are the things he listed on a contest entry years ago, about what he would want on a desert island. One of them is his mother, and another is a werewolf. Finally, I have to mention "The Tryal Attract," by Terry Dowling. It has a whispering skull. 'Nuff said.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Luana

    A collection of very well written horror and dark fic, with a diverse mix of stories. For some, the perils of the natural world occupy a large part of tale for others, the supernatural menace is much more to the forefront. And while there were a couple of stories that did not resonate quite so strongly for me the majority did. I think this was especially the case where characters I had come to care for managed, in whatever strange or oblique way, to win through. In part, this is what made the an A collection of very well written horror and dark fic, with a diverse mix of stories. For some, the perils of the natural world occupy a large part of tale for others, the supernatural menace is much more to the forefront. And while there were a couple of stories that did not resonate quite so strongly for me the majority did. I think this was especially the case where characters I had come to care for managed, in whatever strange or oblique way, to win through. In part, this is what made the anthology so satisfying, not just the myriad of different ways the authors managed to twist the world of unease, of strangeness, but that a good number of these stories saw a certain sense of justice done, of closure achieved and characters prevailing (maybe). However, even where this last was not the case, and where to begin with the use of many nautical terms had me unsure that I would enjoy the story, I was won over as in the final story 'Haunt' by Siobhan Carroll. This last story not only ended up being a totally engrossing combination of character backstory and will he/won't he survive narrative but it ended with a satisfying twist and then to top it all of the author's note gives the historical details on which the tale was based on and it all adds to both an added richer and tragic dimension. "SS: There were so many fantastic stories in The Devil and the Deep. How did you decide what order to put them in? ED: The most important stories in any anthology are the first and last. The first needs to be inviting, not too dense or complicated and of course, interesting. You need a strong story to draw in the reader. The last story is usually the one I deem the strongest, although on occasion, I’ve put a short grace note story last. The rest of the stories are a mix of word length, complexity, tone, point of view. Many factors. Usually a strong but complex story just past the middle. All anthologists, however, are cognizant of the fact that we can’t control the order in which readers read an anthology. Some readers choose to read their favorite writers first, the shortest story first, whatever. But obviously, anthologists have to ignore that." https://www.scifiandscary.com/editor-...

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