‘New Fears’ edited by Mark Morris

newfears

The horror genre’s greatest living practitioners drag our darkest fears kicking and screaming into the light in this collection of nineteen brand-new stories. In “The Boggle Hole” by Alison Littlewood an ancient folk tale leads to irrevocable loss. In Josh Malerman’s “The House of the Head” a dollhouse becomes the focus for an incident both violent and inexplicable. In “Speaking Still” Ramsey Campbell suggests that beyond death there may be far worse things waiting than we can ever imagine… Numinous, surreal and gut wrenching, New Fears is a vibrant collection showcasing the very best fiction modern horror has to offer.

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Okay, so I initially went into Waterstones hunting for the final installment in Ezekiel Boone’s Hatching trilogy (check out my reviews for the first two books here and here) and came out instead with New Fears. My quest for Zero Day ended in failure (I eventually ordered it and am now happily devouring it), but the cover for New Fears pulled me in simply because it put me in mind of the covers of The Hatching and Skitter. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions in my reviews of Boone’s books that I’m prone to night terrors that revolve solely around bugs so any horror book that has such things adorning its cover is guaranteed to be a book that’ll scare the living crap out of me (metaphorically, of course).

There were a couple of stories within New Fears that genuinely creeped me out, namely The House of the Head, which is unique take on the traditional haunted house story in the respect that it’s about a haunting that takes place inside a dolls house. We witness the events unfolding through the eyes of a young girl, who’s reflecting upon it many years later as a grown woman. The description of the creepy ass doll’s head which seems to be at the epicenter of the haunting genuinely chilled me and don’t even get me started on the scene where the girl can see its reflection in the dolls house bathroom mirror…despite not actually seeing it in the bathroom! Also, somewhat ironically, this story was written by Josh Malerman whose novella A House at the Bottom of a Lake I didn’t get on with overly well.

However, I found a majority of the stories somewhat anticlimactic. The Salter Collection, for example, had a great premise. Imagine having an immense collection of phonograph cylinders dating back to more than a century ago, only to find undiscovered secret cylinders hidden beneath the outer wax coating, cylinders that contain sound recordings of a mysterious language and haunting screams. That’s pretty cool, right? Well, yeah, it would have been if the ending hadn’t fallen so flat. It’s sometimes good to leave the conclusion of a story open ended, but I have to confess and say that I didn’t understand it at all. I don’t know, maybe I’m a bit stupid and not good at reading between the lines. I mean, I don’t need things spoon feeding to me but I just found it didn’t seem to make sense.

An intriguing collection of horror stories nonetheless and well worth a read. Amazon informs me that a second collection is due out later this year!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Song: Eels’ Fresh Blood

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This book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-reader format.

13 thoughts on “‘New Fears’ edited by Mark Morris

      1. Works well for dumb horror movies, too! Troll 2 comes to mind as a stellar example of a stupid (and I mean really, REALLY stupid) and just all around bad horror film. So much so that it’s awesome. If you haven’t seen it, grab a copy and some popcorn. It’s totally hilarious and awkward and awful.

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    1. Thank you! 😀
      I’m just over half way through ‘Zero Day’ (well, maybe closer to three quarters of the way through) and I literally have no clue how it’s all gonna end, I hope it’s a decent ending else it’s gonna be traumatic knowing that there isn’t another book where things can be resolved 😦

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      1. Good to hear. I have been pretty ill the last 24 hours. Don’t know why. Fever type thing. Woke up last night in sweat and pain.
        Missed the dentist today and just resting today. Will meditate. Didn’t feel like it a few hours ago. My doctor has me meditating along with medication. Am glad you have found a medication fairly quickly that you are happy with. It can take a while sometimes so if it’s working something may be smiling upon you.
        Good luck for the Easter weekend for you and your people.

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  1. Excellent summary Jazz! You know, I love horror, but ironically, of all anthologies, they are often the ones I struggle with the most. It seems they always fall a tad short. I do love the idea of the spin on the haunted house with the dollhouse! Talk about upping the creep factor. Dolls are naturally horrifying in my opinion 😉

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    1. Thank you! ❤
      Yeah, that was exactly the issue I had with this collection. There seemed to be this massive build up and then…nothing. I think very often the endings were being left open for interpretation, but sometimes it was almost as though the authors had had fantastic ideas but weren't quite sure how exactly they'd play out so they figured they'd leave it for the reader to decide.
      Eugh, I know, right!? I'm with my family for a couple of days and my nan has a thing for porcelain dolls and they're so creepy! She has one about the size of a small toddler sitting in an armchair!

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  2. I have been finding myself in horror reads as of late.. well, not something to write statistics over but my second horror title in a row is quite an achievement.. oh hey, I don’t absolutely at all blame ya for walking out of the bookshop with this one, at first glance I actually thought it was the cover of one of those Hatchings books 😀 hahaha… I don’t think I am ever going to read them so you are freaking brave for just rolling with the series by the way!

    Hope all’s well, Jazz! ❤

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