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Poe's Children: The New Horror

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,253 ratings  ·  154 reviews
From the incomparable master of horror and suspense comes an electrifying collection of contemporary literary horror, with stories from twenty-five writers representing today’s most talented voices in the genre.

Horror writing is usually associated with formulaic gore, but New Wave horror writers have more in common with the wildly inventive, evocative spookiness of Edgar
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2008)
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Baby Teeth by Dan RabartsFresh Fear by William   CookRead the End First by Suzanne RobbZippered Flesh by Weldon BurgeDead Harvest by Mark Parker
Best Horror Anthologies
115th out of 338 books — 627 voters
Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
313th out of 1,921 books — 1,473 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erika Schoeps
Overall: 3 stars

The Bees: 4 stars
Cleopatra Brimstone: 4 stars
The Man on the Ceiling: 3 stars. The writing of this piece is intentionally obscure, and it can be kind of annoying… but overall, a beautifully written story with a deeper meaning lurking beneath the heavy-handed writing.
The Great God Pan: 1 star. I have no idea what’s going on here, and the characters are SO annoying. I couldn’t finish it.
The Voice of the Beach: 1.5 stars. I managed to finish this one, but it was still pretty horrible
In the introduction to this anthology, Peter Straub describes his goal in putting together these 24 contemporary horror stories. Basically, he wanted to prove that the horror genre is more than the scary monsters, blood, gore, and cheesy book covers that most people associate with it. He wanted to show that the horror genre is a legitimate literary genre and can be considered more "literary" than people have considered it before. This collection had nothing to do with putting together "scary" st ...more
This was not scary. Not even remotely. Poe's great-great-step-god-children.
As several reviewers stated below, horror doesn't get nearly as much credit as it deserves; so, I encourage other horror enthusiasts to read whatever they can get their hands on. But if I had to compile an 'ultimate list' of recommendations, Poe's Children wouldn't be on it.

I started reading Poe's Children in high school and still haven't finished. (It's been several years now.) The stories are painfully slow, and often, the endings were so anti-climactic and strange (and not in a good way) tha
Scott  Fletcher
Really, really good. Obviously this is a short story anthology collecting works from different authors so you're going to love some, hate some, and be really confused by some; but, overall, I'd say that this was a very decent read and the stories I loved made up for those I didn't and for those that made me wonder what the heck the author was thinking when they wrote it. Before I go into which stories I like the best, I will have to say that I was really surprised many of them were collected in ...more
John Wiswell
This is advertised as a Horror anthology, but it is not. It is not even a Literary Horror anthology. It is an anthology for the kinds of short fiction that don’t fit in traditional Horror, Gothic, Fantasy or Science Fiction, with an emphasis on literary expression over storytelling. Only the most impressionable readers will be scared of any of the shorts contained within. Instead, corpses, ghosts and madmen are refurbished to fiction that speculates on the nature of life, creativity, angst, chil ...more
In which Peter Straub sets out to broaden the umbrella of “horror” beyond the stereotypical blood-and-guts sensationalism typically associated with it. He succeeds at this so well that I had a hard time figuring out exactly what made some of these stories fit into the genre at all.

Dan Chaon - “The Bees” - A husband and father is haunted (literally or metaphorically?) by the first wife and child he abandoned during his drinking days. Impressively dark and downtrodden, although one wishes the two
Several stories I'd already read in the authors' collections. The Kelly Link and Shelley Jackson stories were two of these, but rereading them in this other context was AWESOME. "The Man on the Ceiling," written by a married couple ( . . . ) was the basis of a novel of the same name that got a lot of praise. I tried to read a few years ago, specifically looking to see what was up with currently acclaimed and cutting edge horror, and I just could not finish it and the story made me mad about it a ...more
Placing Poe's name on this collection of stories is almost sacrilege. I don't know why I put myself through them all. The only reason this managed to get 2 stars was for Neil Gaiman's "October in the Chair" (I really wished it were longer entire novel longer). Honorable mentions are The Bees, The Man on the Ceiling, and The Voice of the Beach (tolerable). A couple stories such as "The Sadness of Detail" and "20th Century Ghost" had promise, but failed to deliver a whole package. 5 stars ...more
Wondering if any of my friends on Goodreads has read this. It has some pretty bad reviews on Amazon! Anyone??????????
Well....I just finished reading this collection. I enjoyed most of the stories in the book. Personally, I was disappointed by the S. King and J. Hill stories, since I'd read both of them previously in other books. I would recommend it to anyone who, like myself, likes the freedom of reading short stories. When you HAVE to put your book down for a while, it doesn't matter, because
William Hage

These are not Poe's children.

Peter Straub wanted to create a collection without the blood and gore that is associated with a lot of the horror genre. He wanted to showcase what he calls 'literary horror' and he did far from that.

This book as some other reviews have pointed out is painfully slow and most of the stories have nothing to do with horror at all. There are a few good stories, but the bad ones outweigh the good by a great deal.

I'm not a huge King fan, (His work is hit or miss with me
I'm torn on this one, but going back over the list of stories, I think it was probably quite good. There are some lovely stories in this collection. "The Voice of the Beach" was by far my favourite, but I also very much enjoyed "The Kiss," "Louise's Ghost," "20th Century Ghost," and "Leda." It just ended on what, for me, is a very frustrating note.

I find that a lot of contemporary short horror feels like it's being narrated through a thick mist, with curiously detached characters taking actions
Great pieces by Don Chaon, Elizabeth Hand, the Tems, Thomas Ligotti, Joe Hill and Jonathan Carroll. Really awful stuff from Brian Evenson, Glen Hirshberg, Benjamin Percy and Straub himself. Everything else is just about average.
I have really been striking out lately. This book was so-so at best. I normally like anything weird, creepy and out there, but most of these stories were pointless. I would recommend reading the following four and skipping the rest:
-Ballad of the Flexible Bullet
-The Sadness of Detail
-Black Dust
-October in the Chair
Nikka Calindas
I have to admit, the one thing that led me to buy this book was the awesome cover. What can I say? Color me noir, I guess. But as I go through the short stories, they had somehow come up short from what I truly expect from the horror stories that were spawn by the master of suspense, Edgar Allan Poe. This collection of short stories feels more like an insult to the great man's memory rather than a salute to his genius.

Nevertheless, there are still great stories embedded in this collection though
I used to devour short stories, but nowadays, unless they're really, really good, and hopefully have some kind of point to the story they're telling, I just don't have the patience. I'd rather get involved in a really long book with a continuous story line. I got about 1/3rd thru this book and none of the stories had been all that appealing to me yet, so even tho there may be a hidden gem amongst the rest that are left, I'm stopping there. I did scan a bit thru the rest tho, and they seemed to b ...more
Christina Wilder
The stories had their moments, but if you're looking for actual horror instead of a collection of weird reads, you might want to skip this one.
Rachel d.
A couple of authors from this anthology were worth checking in too, but overall not that impressive...
The new horror, huh? I must like old horror.
Horror is an absolutely amazing genre, so when I picked up Poe’s Children, edited by Peter Straub, I believe I held in my hands a source of horror that would terrify and thrill me.

But this novel is nothing more than multiple dead trees filled with annoyance and arrogance.

Yet somehow Straub believes a reader should be “fortunate” enough to read these authors that he has painstakingly thrown together. Personally, I do not believe Straub has created an astonishing anthology; these stories, instead
Mar 29, 2014 Alex rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I’m glad I borrowed this from the library and only spent time suffering through this collection. There are individual selections in this that are worth the time. However, go read them in the authors’ collections as it will yield a significantly better experience. Here’s three collections you should read instead of this one:

“Cold Print” by Ramsey Campbell
“20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill
“Songs of a Dead Dreamer” by Thomas Ligotti

Going through my notes I really enjoyed six stories from this collec
The premise of this Peter Straub edited anthology is that, despite all appearances to the contrary, there are authors in the horror genre who are worthy successors to the literary, artful fiction of Edgar Allen Poe. Straub seems to be setting out to prove that there are great writers in this genre and that horror fiction can and occasionally does rise to the lofty title of literature.

Like any genre, horror is littered with derivative, formulaic, gratuitous crap, but there are writers who have ri
Okay, I'll fess up -- I didn't actually read this entire collection, which my husband described as "okay." Instead, I read only the pieces he marked as worth reading. Of these, the stories "Louise's Ghost" by Kelly Link and "October in the Chair" by Neil Gaiman were probably worth checking the whole book out of the library, if not buying it.

"Louise's Ghost" was magical realism with a very strong, humorous voice. It made me want to go right out and read Link's debut book, and as soon as I finish
Overall I enjoyed this anthology. As with any short story collection everyone will have different stories they love and hate. I am not going to recap all the stories here. I figure if you want to read them, do so. I did not think any were bad enough to make me warn a potential reader about a particular story.

My biggest complaint is that some of the stories really have no horror or even fantastical element in them at all. This does not make them bad stories just a bit puzzled at their inclusion i
Scott Rhee
The horror genre doesn't often get a lot of respect or recognition, and probably for good reason. There are, admittedly, a lot of piss-poor writers working in the genre, and the genre does tend to follow very demographically-biased trends. (Right now, the "in" thing in the horror genre is zombies. I love zombies, but there is such a thing as saturating the market...) There are, however, a lot of really great writers working in the genre, many of which continually cross over and overlap into "lit ...more
Elizabeth Reuter
Any anthology is bound to be mixed in quality. If nothing else, the range in writing styles means some authors will appeal more to each reader than others.

That said, Poe's Children is really, really mixed in quality. A couple of the stories are brilliant and terrifying--Campbell's Voice of the Beach had me hiding under my blanket--a handful of others interesting and worth the read.

Unfortunately, more than a few stories here are exercises in mental masturbation. Straub got this collection togethe
Theresa Glover
This is a collection of “New Horror,” and the classification was enough to intrigue and interest me. Much To my chagrin, the label was the cause of much of the consternation I felt reading the book. While there were shining gems (“Bees” by Dan Chaon, “Cleopatra Brimstone,” by Elizabeth Hand, “The Sadness of Detail,” by Jonathan Carroll, “Leda,” by M. Rickert, “In Praise of Folly,” by Thomas Tessier, “Plot Twist,” David J. Schow, “The Two Sams,” by Glen Hirshberg, “The Ballad of the Flexible Bull ...more
Because this is an anthology, not only of stories but of authors, I knew going in I would not like everything that was included. I had not heard of half the authors in this collection, though I have looked up a couple of them because of it. The title of this seems a bit of a misnomer. I would have classified most of the inclusions as literary spec fiction. Or maybe spec fantasy. Perhaps that is a sign of the times; that those we look to for great horror have been horrified by what else is out th ...more
Junior Cain
Peter Straub is one of the greatest horror novelists today, one who prides himself on openness about what literature is and what makes it great. A great many authors attempt to write horror novels, but their works lack distinguishing qualities and the skills that would elevate them from simplistic gore to the level of true literary intrigue and Poe-like personae. In this collection of horror and dark fantasy, Straub unmasks the phenomenal creativity and nightmarish plotting of several literary w ...more
Anne Earney
There are some great stories in this collection of modern horror edited by Peter Straub, most of them from the big names you'd expect: Straub, King, Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman. I'm a big fan of Brian Evenson's work, but didn't care for his story here. Many of the stories, especially those in the first half of the collection, felt incomplete, as if they were excerpted from novels or truncated. There is some metafiction (fiction that calls attention to the fact that it is fiction), which surprised me. ...more
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Cleopatra Brimstone 5 80 Nov 06, 2014 08:54AM  
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
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“...the materials of genre - specifically the paired genres of horror and the fantastic - in no way require the constrictions of formulaic treatment, and in fact naturally extend and evolve into the methods and concerns of its wider context, general literature.” 2 likes
“Her earliest memory was of wings. Luminous red and blue, yellow and green and orange; a black so rich it appeared liquid, edible. They moved above her and the sunlight made them glow as though they were themselves made of light, fragments of another, brighter world falling to earth about her crib. Her tiny hands stretched upwards to grasp them but could not: they were too elusive, too radiant, too much of the air.” 0 likes
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