THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE by Richard Chizmar

THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE

edited by

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Mammoth-sized roundup of the 60 best dark-fiction entries in the first 25 issues of Cemetery Dance magazine--a quarterly devoted to works of particularly dark horror, and one distinguished by the quality of its contents. Four of the stories have previously been reprinted in hardcover (including Stephen King's ``Chattery Teeth,'' one of his most amusing, and oddest, tales), though all the fiction first appeared in Cemetery Dance. The tastiest big-ticket item is an interview with Dean Koontz, done for this collection by Robert Morrish, in which Koontz reveals some secrets of his trade--such as deciding to junk Freudian determinism in favor of free will in his fiction--and admits to rewriting the embarrassingly atrocious Demon Seed (which was done in his 20s) for its latest softcover reprint. Morrish also interviews Chizmar about the birth of Cemetery Dance, first published in 1988, and about the problems encountered in bringing out an admittedly esoteric quarterly. As for the stories, standouts include two tales by Peter Crowther, ``Rustle'' (a dreamy doorway leads to some rustling, sibilant, never defined but very hungry ``things'') and ``Eater'' (a necrophage keeps his freezer well stocked with human parts). Also tops are Poppy Z. Brite's stylish ``A Taste of Blood and Altars'' (vampires on sultry spring nights in New Orleans, an excerpt from Brite's knockout first novel Lost Souls), and William F. Nolan's ``Fyodor's Law'' (Raskolnikov's truly extraordinary man, unbound by conventional moral standards, comes to Los Angeles as a wealthy photographer obsessed with pictures of dismembered bodies). The anthology, in fact, serves as a kind of introduction to, and overview of, the zestful and remarkably diverse field of horror fiction in America. For those who like to dance with the dead, well worth the price.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-881475-24-7
Page count: 800pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1998