HAUNTED NIGHTS edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. NY: Blumhouse/Anchor Books. 2017.
This anthology fell directly into the theme for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge. All the stories in the volume are built around Halloween.
The book includes stories by Seanan McGuire, Stephen Graham Jones, Jonathan Maberry, Joanna Parypinski, Garth Nix, Kate Jonez, Jeffrey Ford, Kelley Armstrong, S.P, Miskowski, Brian Evenson, Elise Forier Edie, Eric J. Guignard, Paul Kane, Pat Cadigan, John Langan, and John R. Little.
One of the things I love about anthologies is that they expand my reading palette, introducing me to authors whose work I haven’t read before. The only authors in this collection I’d previously read were Seanan McGuire and Jonathan Maberry.
That’s going to change. I have every intention of reading more by every author in this collection.
Each of the stories is unique and imaginative. They are tied to the night of Halloween, but not to each other. Yet the way they’re arranged in the collection flows and builds.
While I enjoyed all the stories, the ones that were my favorites were: Seanan McGuire’s haunted house tale “With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfsbane Seeds” which opens the volume; “The Turn” by Paul Kane; and “Jack” by Pat Cadigan.
One of the things that interested me in “The Turn” was the situation causing the conflict/terror for the male protagonist by a male author. The very thing that causes that problem is something that, if a woman did not do it, is likely to kill her when she’s walking alone at night. So would a female character meet the same fate? That sense moves the story away from the bones of the plot, and what I felt was the author’s intent, but it was something that struck me as I read it. Which is what excellent writing is supposed to do — make you think long after the piece is finished. Make you expand in new directions, inspired by the author’s imagination.
These stories made me think, made me feel, made me wonder. Which means the book will become an annual (or so) re-read, so I can make fresh discoveries every time. Isn’t that great?
What did you read this month? How did you feel about it?
Next month, for November, we read a book (or collection) built around family. We reconvene on Tuesday, November 19th.