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The Best Horror of the Year Volume Three (The Best Horror of the Year #3)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  285 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews

What frightens us? What unnerves us? What causes that delicious shiver of fear to travel the lengths of our spines? It seems the answer changes every year. Every year the bar is raised; the screw, tightened. Ellen Datlow knows what scares us; the nineteen stories included in this anthology were chosen from magazines, webzines, anthologies, literary journals, and single aut

Paperback, First Edition, 361 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 17, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
I almost didn't pick this up, because I had already read about a third of the stories elsewhere. The good news is that all of those stories are well worth reading again. As an entry in an ongoing series, I feel (so far) that this is Datlow's strongest effort yet. The overall quality is terrific, so much so that Datlow had the luxury (I feel) of story placement, kinds of stories, etc. In other words, Volume 3 is a superior collection of horror, every bit as good if not better as Jones' annual eff ...more
Darren Hayes
Jun 13, 2011 Darren Hayes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I am going to be completely honest, I have never really enjoyed collections of stories when they are gathered by various authors. I have always found that they have been to many of them that come out at the same time and just figured there was no point in getting involved with something that I found tedious. Now let me tell you that my mind set has been completely changed.

Editor Ellen Datlow’s selection of short horror fiction in this book actually kept me entertained. I actually found my self
So, onwards with the plan to retroactively catch up on this series while not letting the new releases outpace me (most recent volume to be read very soon) - helped by the fact that 6 of these stories already appeared in Best New Horror 22 and were read and reviewed by me there (and so the reviews are re-purposed here). And, as usual, keeping an eye out for potential Pseudopod episodes... and, as usual, being a year-encompassing "best of", these tend to be somewhat long reviews as I try to give e ...more
Heidi Ward
In picking up an older anthology, one runs the risk of already having encountered some of the stories. Unfortunately, I was familiar with about a third of these (among which are great tales by Laird Barron, Glen Hirschberg, Norman Partridge, and Joe Lansdale), but I picked it up for $1.99 on Kindle, so what the hey.

The good news is, most of the new (to me) stories blew me away. The collection opens with Cody Goodfellow's brilliant and utterly perverse "At the Riding School," of which the less s
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Nov 11, 2011 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Horror short story readers
I feel that the writing for most of these stories was very high quality, but I admit there were a few I didn't like at all, because of the content. However, this makes for a good horror collection. You will get your money's worth, most likely. Favorite stories by Cody Goodfellow, Joe R. Lansdale, Catherynne M. Valente, and Norman Partridge.

Reviewed for Bitten by
Nov 07, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
At the Riding School by Cody Goodfellow
Awakened by a late night phone call a veterinarian is called in to a local private boarding/riding school to deal with an emergency. She has dealt with emergencies there before, off the books, as it seems that the headmistress has some sort of dirt on her. Goodfellow does a wondrous job at casting an air of anticipatory dread. Goodfellow has our lead lay out the fairly mundane details behind the history of the riding school and its headmistress in a fairly
Jonathan Briggs
Apr 15, 2012 Jonathan Briggs rated it really liked it
The first thing I notice is that Night Shade Books has recycled some of its back cover copy word for word from last year's volume -- right down to the story count. Seventeen scaaaarry stories, the cover promises, but that contrary Table of Contents lists 21. And I thought we cleared up this "legendary editor Ellen Datlow" business last year. "Legendary" is an adjective best reserved for chupacabras. A legendary editor would've paid more attention to the galleys. But I'm griping about cosmetic, ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Another collection of The Best Mediocre Horror of the Year and probably the last one I am going to bother with. Most of the stories here are uninteresting and forgettable. The exceptions come (not surprisingly) from Brian Hodge, Nicholas Royle and Tanith Lee. In order:

"Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls": A girl with a terrible secret befriends a boy with a terrible power who lives next door.

"The Obscure Bird": An amateur ornithologist becomes a little too involved with his work.

Nancy Oakes
Mar 21, 2013 Nancy Oakes added it
Shelves: horror
If I have to give this book a number rating, I'd probably give it 2.5 stars. I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed -- after the big improvement from Volume One to Volume Two, I had expected that the trend would continue with Volume Three. It didn't. On the back-cover blurb it says the following:

"What causes that delicious shiver of fear to travel the length of our spines?...Every year the bar is raised; the screw is tightened. Ellen Datlow knows what scares us..."

Well, the bar has not b
Eric Guignard
Feb 08, 2012 Eric Guignard rated it it was amazing
Finished reading "The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Three" last night, edited by Ellen Datlow and really enjoyed it.

I read a great of deal of short horror stories from multiple periodicals and web sites, much of which is drek. It's wonderful to sit down and peruse this collection, in which every story is so well written, unique, and truly a "best of." Some of the stories I read before, but they helped set the mood for other authors I was not familiar with. The horror tales in this anthology ar
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Another great anthology of horror stories. I really am enjoying these books a lot.
Mar 23, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of dark fiction
Datlow has returned with her annual collection, and as usual, those who share similar tastes will be pleased. I personally don't feel this volume was as strong as the two previous, but there are several very strong tales here that literary horror fans shouldn't miss. There's quite a bit of overlap with Stephen Jones's Mammoth book this year, which is unfortunate. I'll do a brief rundown of each story herein:

"At the Riding School" by Cody Goodfellow: I felt this was a weak beginning to the collec
Edmund Wight
Aug 09, 2015 Edmund Wight rated it liked it
A collection of horror stories. Not all are your standard horror that's published in America. There's a very European feel to many of them; more introspective and moody - sometimes you have to reflect on what you read for a minute to realize the horror of the piece.

I think one of my favorites piece was about 3/4 of the way through. It was called:
The Days of Flaming Motorcycles
It's a very different take on the zombie apocalypse. very creative. The good stories in this collection are like that; d
Oct 21, 2015 Jeffrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
I only give this book three stars. It was good, and I enjoyed most of the stories, but there were just too many that I struggled through to give it any higher a ranking. I actually skipped most of the first 10-12% of the book because it was all talk about awards and writers and mostly junk that did not make it into the anthology because it was too long like novels and novellas. I don't want to read about all that. I want stories!!!

Of the stories that were in the book I would say that I enjoyed r
Tom Harold
Feb 06, 2012 Tom Harold rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this collection and was particularly surprised to find how much I enjoyed the lengthy "year in review" prior to the stories themselves. There were only one or two stories that I just couldn't get into, but the rest I felt were very good with some outstanding pieces in the lot of them. I liked Velente's "The Days of Flaming Motorcycles" very much, particularly for the voice of the main character as well as the twist on the usual zombie idea. Hirshberg's "Shomer" was a good one with the ...more
Dec 09, 2011 Laurie rated it it was amazing
I tend not to care for anthologies; the ratio of stories I like versus stories I don’t is usually skewed too far to the negative. This book is the exception. Editor Datlow truly has harvested the best this year; while there were one or two stories that really didn’t do much for me, none of them made me wonder why they had been selected.

The stories run the gamut from werewolves to ugly mutant nuns with foldaway killer robots- mutant nuns who take offense to being mooned- to zombies with feelings
R.G. Evans
Aug 19, 2012 R.G. Evans rated it really liked it
The trend in this 2011 collection seems to be versions of apocalyptic horror--"At Night, When the Demons Come,"Lesser Demons," "When the Zombies Win." The standouts among such tales here are Tanith Lee's "Black and White Sky" which closes on a series of horrifically claustrophobic images that readers will not soon forget and the most original zombie story I've ever read, "The Days of Flaming Motorcycles," by Catherynne M. Valente. The collection closes with a thought-provoking post-modern ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Xarah rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
My favorites in this collection are:

"Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls" by Brian Hodge (I found the ending to be quite haunting)
"--30--" by Laird Barron (I found this story to be haunting as well. It, strangely, reminded me of archaeological surveys and how those can be in abandoned locations and kind of creepy)
"Transfiguration" by Richard Christian Matheson (The alone-ness is what's scary)
"The Days of the Flaming Motorcycles" by Catherynne M. Valente (An interesting take on a zomb
Shazza Maddog
Sep 08, 2011 Shazza Maddog rated it really liked it
A collection of horrific short stories, with ideas ranging from the last living person in a zombie village, to a post-apocalyptic world, where women and demons are seen as interchangeable, and both are often destroyed without a thought, The Best Horror of the Year lives up to its title. With some amazing authors (Richard Matheson and Tanith Lee, to name some of the stand-outs), there is a story in this collection for nearly everyone. From the absurd to the truly horrific, the ongoing flavor is d ...more
Nov 15, 2014 thebaronessofbooks rated it liked it
Some of the stories were interesting, well written, and genuinely scary. But more often than not it felt like a lot of these stories just had a "scary" element added to them just so they could be in this collection. I wouldn't call it "The Best Horror of the Year" by a long shot.

But the few really good stories I felt made up for it enough to keep plowing through this book and to give it an extra star.
Victoria Vivian
Jan 31, 2015 Victoria Vivian rated it it was amazing
This anthology had so many great stories, I just can't even begin to tell about all of them. So here's short list:
Folding Man was a great action story.
Was She Wicked? Was She Good? Was so different very short and sweet.
--30-- just left me with my mouth open
Transfiguration just confirmed that I'm not the only one that thinks that The Alaskan ice is a great place forEvil.

Night Demons shook me to my core. The ending is a heart breaker.

I recommend this book to any horror fan.
Oct 22, 2011 Christopher rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, sf-2010
Not a great collection, but I appreciated its brevity compared to other best of 2010 anthologies. B: Partridge, Harland, Valente, Langan ("The Revel"--brilliant concept reminiscent of "A Galaxy Called Rome," but unfortunately the way it climaxed and resolved was a serious let-down, too forced and too trite).
David Marshall
Aug 20, 2011 David Marshall rated it really liked it
This is a superb anthology. If you want to see what's new and exciting in the horror genre, you can't do better than start with this book.
Maureen O'Leary
Dec 31, 2015 Maureen O'Leary rated it it was amazing
This is brilliant horror. I'm addicted to this whole series now. I read this edition while on a ten hour road trip through the deserts of Utah, Nevada and California. One of the freakiest reading experiences of my life. This is good stuff, no lie.
Dick Harding
Nov 08, 2015 Dick Harding rated it liked it
Some of the stories were excellent, especially those by John Langan, Karina-Sumner-Smith, Reggie Oliver, Christopher Fowler.
Feb 05, 2016 Graham rated it liked it
Would be 3.5 if possible. Datlow has the same hit-or-miss quality as Guran, but I prefer her taste in literature to her rival's.
Apr 16, 2012 Michael rated it it was ok
Wasn't a fan of this anthology overall, although I did really like the Richard Harland and Joe R. Lansdale stories.
Jul 22, 2015 SmokingMirror rated it liked it
3.0 "Black and White Sky" Tanith Lee The scenario did not work for me, as horror, but the story is well done anyway.
Deborah Replogle
Dec 28, 2013 Deborah Replogle rated it really liked it
Lots of interesting stories. Nothing too gory. I like psychological horror, much better than blood and guts.
David rated it did not like it
Aug 02, 2015
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Speculative Short...: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 3 1 7 Jul 04, 2012 10:01AM  
  • Best New Horror 22 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #22)
  • Gathering the Bones
  • The Grimscribe's Puppets
  • The Ones That Got Away
  • Year's Best SF 16
  • Eclipse Four: New Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror
  • October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween
  • Gallery of Horror
  • The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2012
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection
Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter
More about Ellen Datlow...

Other Books in the Series

The Best Horror of the Year (8 books)
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume One
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Two
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
  • The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight

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