Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (Horror Anthology)

Title: Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror | Author: Various – edited by Ellen Datlow | Publisher: Tachyon Publications | Pub. Date: 10/17/2016 | Pages: 132 | ASIN: B01G5V6FNS | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Incest, abuse, murder | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Netgalley | Purchase on Amazon

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

From horror’s most acclaimed editor comes the most groundbreaking horror of the new millennium. In Nightmares, editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow has skillfully reprised her classic anthology Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror.

In these twenty-four chilling tales, you will find iconic authors—including Richard Kadrey, Garth Nix, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Gene Wolfe—reminding us that evil will simply not go away. Two inexperienced thieves discover a residence that makes Home Alone seem like a playground romp. Concerned parents struggle with morality while their cruel child courts fairy revenge. The Ash Mouth Man might be just a legend to girls who wish to waste away—but is he worth just one kiss? – Goodreads


Typically I try to do anthologies by rating them on a story by story basis. For shorter collections/anthologies I will still do that but some are a bit too story-packed to go story by story. So I’m going to try something a little different with this one.

Generally Ellen Datlow’s anthologies are themed. This one is a follow up to her Darkness: Two Decades of Horror anthology. They don’t really have a ‘theme’ exactly. Just a general collection of horror stories. So! Let’s get started.

First off, I love the cover. Even though I read the e-book this would be one I would want for the cover. Now, I’ll move on to the stories.

Stories I Loved:  Our Turn Too Will Come One Day (Brian Hodge), Spectral Evidence (Gemma Files), Hushabye (Simon Bestwick), The Clay Party (Steve Duffy), Mr. Pigsny (Reggie Oliver), Was She Wicked? Was She Good? (M. Rickert), Ambitious Boys Like You (Richard Kadrey)

Stories I Liked: Dead Sea Fruit (Kaaron Warren), Very Low-Flying Aircraft (Nicholas Royle), Lonegan’s Luck (Stephen Graham Jones), The Shallows (John Langan), The Atlas of Hell (Nathan Ballingrud), Closet Dreams (Lisa Tuttle)

Stories That Made Me Go “Meh” (meaning I generally liked them but thought they could have been better): Sob in the Silence (Gene Wolfe), Strappado (Laird Barron), Little Pig (Anna Taborska)

Stories I Did Not Like. At All: Shallaballah (Mark Samuels), The Goosle (Margo Lanagan), How We Escaped Our Certain Fate (Dan Chaon), Interstate Love Song: Murder Ballad 8 (Caitlin R. Kiernan)


There were a few that I teetered back and forth on. The writing was great, nothing to complain about there. It was the subject matter that I didn’t like. No fault of the authors, it just didn’t agree with me. Other people might not have problems with them.

The Iffy Category: Omphalos – Livia Llewellyn (I thought it was disturbing and I really wasn’t sure what the ending was all about), The Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love – Robert Shearman, Shay Corsham Worsted – Garth Nix (I really liked it but it needed to be longer. It just seemed like a snippet with no real background or conclusion. I was definitely interested in it but there needed to be more.)

The stand-outs for me were Spectral Evidence by Gemma Files, Mr. Pigsny by Reggie Oliver and Ambitious People Like You by Richard Kadry. Spectral Evidence because I am a total sucker when it comes to document-type or epistolary type stories and books. And this was a good one. I loved Mr. Pigsny because it had an interesting demonic story and a creepy painting. Horror gold for me. Ambitious Boys Like You interested me because it starts with the often used ‘robbing the mysterious old man’ theme (which we all know does not end well for the would-be robbers, usually) and I was interested in seeing which way this one would go.

4 out of 5 Skulls