Horror wears many faces. Nightmares take the shape of a dreamer’s soul and cast the reflection back, alien and utterly familiar, with a range of elicited emotion from disgusted to morbidly curious to haunted. The delight of a horror anthology is that it doesn’t force a reader to choose only one type of horror to experience or one type of terror to feel, but provides a variety of what-ifs to explore.
New Fears is an experiment aimed at resurrecting non-themed anthologies, hoping to be the first of a new series of anthologies. Edited by Mark Morris, New Fears gathers several contemporary horror authors with a wide range of subject and ambience to their stories. “The Boggle Hole” by Alison Littlewood feels more like an old folktale, properly threatening like such stories used to be, while “Shepherds’ Business” by Stephen Gallagher ruminates on the casual horror that is humanity. Some stories feel almost abstract or surreal, while others feature gallows humor or a leering sort of lewdness. Many of the stories in New Fears fall into more of a creepy sort of horror, reveling in situations that make the skin crawl; however, someone could be forgiven if, after reading “The House of the Head” by Josh Malerman, they were to have trouble sleeping. Not every story will fit every person, but that’s also part of the lure of this book. How boring it is for someone to read only what they’re used to and expect.
The popularity of shows like Black Mirror may be a sign that the world is indeed craving more collections of short-form fictions. If so, New Fears is well poised to be a leader of the trend.
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