Best New Horror #26

Best New Horror # 26

Edited by Stephen Jones

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

THE EDITOR WOULD like to thank Kim Newman, David Barraclough, Ellen Datlow, Gordon Van Gelder, Robert Morgan, Rosemary Pardoe, R.B. Russell, Amanda Foubister, Andrew I. Porter, Johnny Mains, Mandy Slater, Jason V. Brock, Andy Richards, Shawn Garrett (Pseudopod), Andy Cox, Michael Kelly, David Longhorn and, especially, Peter and Nicky Crowther, Michael Smith, Marie O’Regan and Michael Marshall Smith for all their help and support. Special thanks are also due to Locus, Ansible, Classic Images, Entertainment Weekly and all the other sources that were used for reference in the Introduction and the Necrology.

INTRODUCTION: HORROR IN 2014 copyright © Stephen Jones 2015.

SECONDHAND MAGIC copyright © Helen Marshall 2014. Originally published in Gifts for the One Who Comes After. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE CULVERT copyright © Dale Bailey 2014. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2014. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE PATTER OF TINY FEET copyright © Richard Gavin 2014. Originally published in Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE FOUR STRENGTHS OF SHADOW copyright © Ron Weighell 2014. Originally published in Summonings. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE NIGHT RUN copyright © Simon Kurt Unsworth 2014. Originally published as ‘The Private Ambulance’ in Noir. Reprinted by permission of the author.

HOME AND HEARTH copyright © Angela Slatter 2014. Originally published in Home and Hearth. Reprinted by permission of the author.

DUST copyright © Rebecca Lloyd 2014. Originally published in Mercy and Other Stories. Reprinted by permission of the author.

SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN copyright © Robert Shearman 2014. Originally published in Fearful Symmetries. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE NIGHT DOCTOR copyright © Steve Rasnic Tem 2014. Originally published in The Spectral Book of Horror Stories. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE DESECRATOR copyright © Derek John 2014. Originally published in The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows Volume 2. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE WALK copyright © Dennis Etchison 2014. Originally published on Tor.com. Reprinted by permission of the author.

DIRT ON VICKY copyright © Clint Smith 2014. Originally published in Ghouljaw and Other Stories. Reprinted by permission of the author.

SKULLPOCKET copyright © Nathan Ballingrud 2014. Originally published in Nightmare Carnival. Reprinted by permission of the author.

TESTIMONY OF SAMUEL FROBISHER REGARDING EVENTS UPON HIS MAJESTY’S SHIP CONFIDENCE, 14-22 JUNE 1818, WITH DIAGRAMS copyright © Ian Tregillis 2014. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2014. Reprinted by permission of the author.

AT LORN HALL copyright © Ramsey Campbell 2014. Originally published in Searchers After Horror: New Tales of the Weird and Fantastic. Reprinted by permission of the author.

SELFIES copyright © Lavie Tidhar 2014. Originally published on Tor.com, September 2014. Reprinted by permission of the author.

MATILDA OF THE NIGHT copyright © Stephen Volk 2014. Originally published in Terror Tales of Wales. Reprinted by permission of the author.

THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO, INTRODUCTION BY TORLESS MAGNUSSEN, PH.D. copyright © Peter Straub 2014. Originally published in Turn Down the Lights and Conjunctions: 62 Exile, Spring 2014. Reprinted by permission of the author.

BURNT BLACK SUNS copyright © Simon Strantzas 2014. Originally published in Burnt Black Suns: A Collection of Weird Tales. Reprinted by permission of the author.

NECROLOGY: 2014 copyright © Stephen Jones and Kim Newman 2015.

USEFUL ADDRESSES copyright © Stephen Jones 2015.

INTRODUCTION. HORROR IN 2014

A NEW SURVEY by Nielsen Books & Consumer found that 67% of books sold in America were in print format, with just 23% reading e-books. Audiobooks accounted for 3% and the remaining 7% consisted of mysterious “other formats”. Of those figures, 42% of books sold were published in paperback and 25% in hardcover.

Nielsen also reported that sales of print books increased 2.4% over 2013. Unfortunately, this was mostly driven by sales of children’s literature and adult non-fiction, whereas adult fiction actually declined by 7.9%—the only publishing category that did not show an increase.

Meanwhile, book industry research company Bowker released the results of a six-year overview that revealed that the growth of self-publishing was slowing down on a year-on-year basis in both the print and e-book markets. However, the survey did not include self-published works available on Amazon without an ISBN.

In January, almost exactly five months after the death of founder and publisher Nick Robinson, UK imprint Constable & Robinson was sold to Little, Brown Book Group, part of Hachette UK Ltd. That same month independent publisher Quercus, which includes genre imprint Jo Fletcher Books, was put up for sale following a “significant trading loss” for 2013.

Three months later, Quercus was sold as an independent division to Hodder & Stoughton, which is yet another Hachette subsidiary. However, Hachette’s planned purchase of the Perseus Book Group (which includes Running Press) was cancelled in July, after the parties could not reach agreement.

The Denmark-owned Egmont Publishing Group decided to sell its Egmont USA division, which publishes YA and children’s books, while Osprey Publishing Group’s SF imprint Angry Robot cancelled its young adult genre imprint, Strange Chemistry, letting editor Amanda Rutter go. Osprey then subsequently sold the Angry Robot imprint to American entrepreneur Etan Ilfeld, before itself being sold to Bloomsbury.

Stephen King’s novel Mr. Mercedes involved a former policeman’s hunt for a psychopath who used a stolen car as a murder weapon. An excerpt from the novel appeared in the May 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly. The author’s second blockbuster book of the year, Revival, was dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft, amongst others. It was about a small-town Methodist minister who had started experimenting with “secret electricity” in the 1960s, and disappeared following the loss of his family in a freak accident.

Meanwhile, King’s 2009 novel Under the Dome (the basis of the CBS-TV series) was reissued in two volumes.

Thirty-eight years after she made her debut with Interview with a Vampire, Anne Rice returned to her bloodsucker roots with Prince Lestat, the thirteenth volume in The Vampire Chronicles.

In Jeffery Deaver’s The Skin Collector, quadriplegic investigator Lincoln Rhyme was on the trail of a psychopath who kidnapped women with perfect skin and tattooed cryptic messages on their flesh with deadly bio-toxins.

John Connolly’s The Wolf in Winter, the twelfth volume in the author’s “Charlie Parker” series, was available in a 3,000-copy signed edition exclusive to Waterstones bookshops. It came with a bonus CD.

Neil Gaiman promoted the single-volume reprinting of his short fantasy/ horror story The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains with live appearances in London and Edinburgh in July, supported by Eddie Campbell’s projected illustrations and music by Australia’s FourPlay String Quartet.

Meanwhile, Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning The Graveyard Book was reissued as a two-volume graphic novel illustrated by P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman and others, and in a “Commemorative Edition” featuring bonus material. A new audio version of the same title featured a cast that included Derek Jacobi, Miriam Margolyes, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Reece Shearsmith, Lenny Henry and Gaiman himself.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, donated £1 million to the “Better Together” campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. In September, the majority of four million Scottish residents voted against going independent.

In a shock revelation posted on an online blog, author Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter Moira Greyland accused her late mother of molesting her as a child, along with her father, Walter Breen, a convicted long-time molester who died in prison.

Charlaine Harris’ Midnight Crossroad (aka Midnight) was the first in a trilogy set in the near-deserted town of Midnight, Texas.

A Detroit policewoman was on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer in Broken Monsters by South African author Lauren Beukes.

A troop of boy scouts encountered a bio-engineered horror in the Canadian wilderness in The Troop by the pseudonymous “Nick Cutter” (Craig Davidson), which came with a cover quote by Stephen King that described the novel as “old-school horror at its best”.

Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters was set at Christmas, as the behaviour of a young boy with Asperger’s may have be ...

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