The Year's Best Horror Stories, Series X
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“Horror fiction has held a universal appeal throughout the ages. Every culture has had its myths of demons and ghosts and were-beasts. If Stephen King is read by millions today, so did Victorian readers line up in the streets to buy the latest chapters of the penny-dreadfuls, and eighteenth century readers shivered beside their candles over the pages of the newest Gothic novel. People like to be frightened, whether by a movie or a book or just a good spooky story told by firelight.
“The question is often asked: Why do people like to be frightened? Perhaps a better question: Why do certain people like to frighten other people? Sorry—a trade secret.
“Writers of horror fiction want to frighten people, and it is my task to select those who best succeed in this ...”
she sung her way through number after amazing number. And finally she was taking her last bows, crowing “Thank you, thank you” at the crowd. There was a cough at his shoulder and a familiar stench of tobacco. Holly looked up. “You’re on,” Blemings said. He touched Holly’s shoulder. Without transition, Holly found himself onstage. The audience was noisy and enthusiastic, a good bunch. A glance to the rear, and he saw that the backup musicians were not his regular sidemen. They stood in shadow,
Showered, used the toilet, brushed his teeth, brushed his hair. Back into the bedroom. The drawn shades refused the moonlight entry, but he knew his way blind to the far paneled wall. “Hell, there’s still lots of things left, though, you know. I just have to be more careful from now on, that’s all. Some of the things you need are kind of hard to get. Like bodies. I don’t know. The kid was easy, but I don’t know ...” He exercised for half an hour, lay on the carpet for five minutes to feel the
from my pocket.) “You read it, please,” said Fr O’Connor, leaning forward and reaching beneath his cassock for his tobacco pouch. So I smoothed out the folded sheets on my knee and began to read from James Wyntour’s memoir: “Of the doom of the Wyntours it is now time to speak, shameful though it be; for I am the last of the line, and my time too, is at hand. It all began with my great-great-grandfather, Capt Royston Wyntour, master of the smack ‘Judith Lee’. He was a fisherman of some repute
of Inverness. Why?—at this time of all times in a woman’s life. Surely persons of substance expect their firstborn to be delivered with all the advantages of modern obstetrics. Instead of which Elaine, who at a pinch could always make do with the best, was holding her breath in the whitewashed bedroom next to us, while the local midwife did whatever local midwives do. The atmosphere was charged with unvoiced questions. At a sharp cry from the next room Harry paused in midglass. The Scottish
Dangerous Visions, and he has written two volumes of collected essays, The Glass Teat (1969) and The Other Glass Teat (1975). Since 1962 Ellison has lived in the Los Angeles area, where he has achieved considerable acclaim as a television script writer. In 1975 a film adaptation was released of his post-nuclear holocaust novella, “A Boy and His Dog,” itself incorporated into Ellison’s forthcoming novel, Blood’s a Rover. In recent years three important collections of Ellison’s fantasy stories have