A great anthology of vacation-gone-awry horror shorts I read over the summer, appropriately lounging by the pool with a cold drink in one hand, inwardly chilled by tales of living gargoyles, a man who steal the youth of young women to create beautiful dolls, man-eating beasts in the mountains, and a slew of other creative horrors. Despite the garish, over-the-top cover art, this is no B-grade collection and some of the most talented horror authors writing in the genre today are represented: Ramsey Campbell, Nancy Holder, Harlan Ellison, Dennis Etchison, Clive Barker, and one of my new personal favorites, Sarah Pinborough, whose story about a young woman's very memorable trip to Egypt really stuck with me, among many others. With settings from Mexican beaches to Italian villas to Middle Eastern bazaars, these stories ran the gamut and served up some terrific summer-themed fun. I've read a number of horror anthologies and collections edited by Stephen Jones, and they never disappoint. He definitely has a knack for putting together a perfect ensemble, whether it's Lovecraft, Halloween, summer vacations or any other theme. This is a great one for that plane or car ride to your summer vacation destination, or maybe not. Might be better to read it when you get back, when you've arrived home safely and hopefully escaped the fates of these unfortunate travelers!
Another good Stephen Jones anthology...
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 15 years ago
Stephen Jones's horror anthologies are always a worthwhile investment. What makes Summer Chills so fun is that it combines two of my favorite genres: horror and travel writing. This isn't that difficult as travel writing is endlessly malleable and many horror stories involve characters going to unknown lands. (After all, Bram Stoker wrote Dracula with a travel guide by his side.) All of these stories involve travel, but not all of them are necessarily horrific. The term "horror fiction" is a bit of a misnomer in most cases; "speculative fiction" or "fiction of the macabre" would work better (Harlan Ellison's terms). As in every anthology, not all the stories will be to everyone's liking. I lost my patience with some of the stories, but perhaps that was my fault. My favorite stories include: "The Sun, the Sea and the Silent Scream," by Brian Lumley. This best captures the spirit of the book - a tropical vacation turned horrific. It encourages me to read more of Mr. Lumley's fiction. "The Cave," by Basil Cooper. This is an exercise in terror by the use of understatement. "Seeing the World," by Ramsey Campbell. Don't you just hate it when people bore you to death with their vacation pictures? There are original stories and classics, such as "In the Hills, the Cities," by Clive Barker (has he retired or something?) In any case, this is a worthy investment for beach reading...but it is better read at night.
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