Saturday 4 June 2011

The Scotsman Abroad | Strange Tales of Dark Fantasy 2

Yeah, I've been getting about a bit of late, haven't I?

Well, there's no stopping me now! :D

As ever, it's an absolute pleasure to be on the roster of regular contributors to Strange Horizons, and they've just published another piece of mine: my review of Subterranean Tales of Dark Fantasy 2, which is to say a second anthology of dark fantasy tales published by Subterranean Press.

No shit, you say. Actually, I'm only being an oaf in part. In fact please, pop on over to Strange Horizons and read my review of the second Subterranean Tales of Dark Fantasy to find out just how hard to categorise this anthology proved.

For those of you on the fence about this collection, I'd draw particular attention to "A Pulp Called Joe" by David Prill and Stephen R. Boyett's "Not Last Night But The Night Before." Both truly excellent tales in their own right, and by a pair of authors I confess I'd never read before I sat down with Subterranean Tales of Dark Fantasy 2.

And that right there is what I love about anthologies: the high probability of accidental, or perhaps I should say incidental, exposure to talents unknown, and authors untold. Needless to say, going forward I'll be seeking out other work by Prill and Boyett wherever it may be... and wherever it might, in turn, lead me.

So tell me, everyone: what have been some of the best surprises you've had - the most revelatory discoveries you've made - by way of collections and anthologies?


  1. By far my greatest anthology discovery was when I read one of Thomas Ligotti's stories in the anthology The New Weird. I knew within a few sentences that I'd found an author I'd love, and he's turned out to be one of my favorite reads.

    As for the actual Dark Fantasy anthology review, I read it when it first went up on Strange Horizons. Very interesting review. Good work! (When's the next one coming, eh?)

  2. I'm thinking the next one will be of Mistification by Kaaron Warren, though I've not written it yet, far less sold it, so I shouldn't speak too soon, lest I bugger up my chances. :/

    Anyway, Ligotti, eh? I don't know that I've ever read the fellow, though of course I've heard his name mentioned - and often enough I'll admit to being interested. Sort of Lovecraftian stuff, is that right?

    Oh, do tell, Nathaniel: if for instance I wanted to start reading Thomas Ligotti, where would be the best place for me to start?

  3. He is definitely Lovecraftian, though I certainly wouldn't call him a clone or anything that derivative. His work is very, very pessimistic. The best starting spot is Teatro Grottesco for two reasons. One, it's (in my opinion) his best. Two, it's one of his very few affordable works. I must warn you that, if you do discover an affinity for Ligotti, you may soon find yourself paying obscene prices to track down his hard to find work.

  4. Alrighty then. Teatro Grottesco is less than a fiver on Amazon marketplace... I've got a fiver... here goes nothing, I guess!

    What about this graphic novel based on Ligotti's books? I've been getting back into the comics of late - more on which sometime next week - and The Nightmare Factory intrigues. Does it do the gent justice?

  5. Hope you enjoy Teatro Grottesco.

    I actually haven't read the graphic novels yet, though they're certainly on my list. From what I've read, Ligotti didn't have a large role in their making, but the creators were fans. I can't imagine his work coming off well in that medium, but I've heard some fans so they're quite good (if not as good as the stories themselves), so I'll hold judgment till I read them.