Multcolib My Librarian Nick: U.K. horror royalty
Annotation:Many writers in this anthology are on the list, but this tome is a great place to start. Cemetery Dance has been publishing great weird fiction for years, giving many new writers an outlet, and here they give the English "New Wave" their due. A thorough and understated book of excellent short stories.
Annotation:Like many of the authors presented here, Williams cut his teeth with short stories in small press magazines and anthologies. This title and "One" (below) are two different sides of a post-apocalyptic coin. "The Unblemished" is pure horror, with wounded, fragile characters trying to survive human and non-human evil raining down on London. I love this author and this book. Delicious, and highly recommended.
Annotation:A tamer version of "The Unblemished" that shows England after an unknown destructive force. This novel makes Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" look like "Spot Goes To The Farm." Bleak and grainy, but as with his other works, excellent writing and breathable characters.
Annotation:Known more for his high-paced thrillers (under the name Michael Marshall) MMS is one of the most gifted short story writers in any genre. Another scribe who toiled in the short story market and for good reason, as he crafts poetic horror in such a 'short' format. Out-of-print in hardcover, this collection is the perfect choice for an introduction to his very subtle yet alluring prose.
Annotation:On this list with many younger and less prolific (for now) authors, how can I present a list like this without the great Ramsey Campbell? If you have not read, please do. Ever since he sent a letter to August Derleth as a young lad, RC has been perfecting not only the short story but endless novels as well. Known for his quiet, dreamlike snapshots of everyday life, you won't find too many traditional supernatural villains here. The horror is your neighbor, or a gaslight, perhaps that rattling noise in your garage that you just can't identify. Another short fiction collection that is mandatory for your creepy bookshelf, with no clunkers or fillers. Each one is a tailored work of art in itself. Most of the 'kids' on this list owe a great deal of influence to this man (try his novel "The Influence"). Highly recommended.
Annotation:I would like to say that Nevill's future is bright, but he has been a beacon in the U.K. wave for a few years minimum. Popular Scandinavian authors (Larsson, Nesbo) could not have written a first novel this cold, gripping, and with teeth. Fans of those thrillers may like or hate this visit into upper Sweden but make no mistake, gooseflesh impending...If you went camping near the Arctic with H.P. Lovecraft and Knut Hamsun, your diary may look like this novel. Check out Nevill's other book "Last Days" and his new novel I have yet to read...
Annotation:Lebbon is a versatile writer and editor who has written in fantasy and sci-fi. The first story I read of his was the title of this collection. At this point you should know that most great horror writers never get their novels published and slave away in small mag markets, but Lebbon broke through with finely cured short fiction. I feel his characters could use some polishing but his narrative(s) and descriptions will latch on to you, hypnotize.
Annotation:For fans of horror and dark fiction, Stephen Jones is a liberator extraordinaire. He has edited so many anthologies and collections, I would need an entire wing devoted to his work just to get started...The Mammoth Book series has helped countless writers emerge and this man knows how to pick 'em. Although this is the latest volume MCL carries, I highly recommend any volume or any volume he has edited for that matter. You will always find a story, writer, or character you love in his editions, especially this series. A true lover of horror and weird fiction and a tireless editor. Stephen Jones, if you see this, you're my hero.
Annotation:Part thriller and mystery, but with strong horror and dystopian elements, this first book in the Forgotten Gods series is ripe with great characters and excellent plotting. Pinborough, who has written many novels of horror, shows why she has such a strong following outside the U.S.
Annotation:While still moving forward as a writer and artist, albeit with less horror themes, Barker's canon all started with this collection (well, Book 1 at least). You thought Clive the Barker was just Pinhead's father? Think again. Soak it in, immerse yourself, and roll around these innovative tales like a snow angel....or demon. A classic in the genre and thunderbolt of the post-Stephen King group of writers.
Annotation:A very prolific writer comparable to Lumley and Campbell, Masterton has been writing consistently for over 40 years. MCL carries much of his fiction old and new, but this is a favorite and mines the rich, varied history of Native American shamans. A great popcorn book. Fast, entertaining, and with strong Lovecraftian flourishes. The film adaptation is laughable but a fun ride and worth a look.
Annotation:You've read him or heard of him, but if you aren't into Gaiman's Sandman series or read any of his novels, enjoy this versatile collection of stories from a fierce advocate of storytelling.
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The legacy of authors that hail from the United Kingdom is well-known and diverse. From epic poems to stage plays to mysteries, the written word has deep roots across the pond. This list highlights the incredible output of great horror, supernatural, and weird fiction of contemporary writers from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I wanted to title this list "British Invasion" but that name was taken by the first, excellent anthology presented here.