THE BEST HORROR FROM FANTASY TALES by Stephen & David Sutton--Eds. Jones


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Excellent, evocative horror picked from the pages of Britain's premier magazine of dark fantasy. Launched in 1977 and modelled on the classic American pulp magazine Weird Tales, with its emphasis on malevolent atmosphere rather than gore, Fantasy Tales has won the British Fantasy Award seven times and the World Fantasy Award once. Those accolades are borne out by the 20, mostly top-notch, stories reprinted here, most receiving their first American exposure. Several are by writers who once wrote for Weird Tales; the best, though, are by younger luminaries: Clive Barker, who in ""The Forbidden"" details the horror of an urban legend come to life in a English slum; Dennis Etchison, monitoring a brutal clash of gringo and Mexican cultures in ""The Dark Country""; and Ramsey Campbell, who contributes both an admiring introduction and, in ""The Voice of the Beach,"" a marvelously spooky homage to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos tales. Of the stories from veterans, the most memorable are Hugh Cave's ""A Place of No Return,"" sturdy pulp about an American anthropologist zombie-hunting in Haiti; Manly Wade Wellman's ""Ever the Faith Endures,"" revitalizing the old horror chestnut of a family destined to stand guard over a demon; and Fritz Leiber's macabre medical terror tale, ""In the X-Ray,"" (which first appeared in Weird Tales itself), about a gift tormented by her dead twin. Only one truly turgid tale--Karl Edward Wagner's pretentious elegy to literature, ""The Last Wolf""--infests the lot; and the remaining tales alone, especially Allen Ashley's claustrophobic ""Dead to the World,"" about a man whose orifices are sealing over, and Cyril Simsa's old-fashioned monster tale, ""Extension 201,"" more than make up for it. With each story accompanied by an appropriately lurid b&w illustration by a top dark fantasy artist, this weighs in as an unusually fine--and fun--horror anthology.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1990
Publisher: Carroll & Graf