Inferno
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Inferno

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3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  175 ratings  ·  26 reviews
As stated in her introduction to Inferno, Ellen Datlow asked her favorite authors for stories that would “provide the reader with a frisson of shock, or a moment of dread so powerful it might cause the reader outright physical discomfort; or a sensation of fear so palpable that the reader feels compelled to turn on the bright lights and play music or seek the company of ot...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Tor Books (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 446)
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Stephen
3.5 stars. "The Monsters of Heaven" by Nathan Ballingrud is one of the best short stories I have ever read. It haunts me to this day. The rest of the stories are okay to excellent, but if you have a chance, seek out Ballingrud's story.
Riju Ganguly
I had been an admirer of ghost stories and the "quiet horror" (although I never used to know it under that name) ever since I started reading fiction. Violence, especially if that is described to be taking place in the commonest possible circumstances (e.g. within the four walls of a drab room occupied by a family not that different from mine), or which involves loss & pain to people who can be actually felt for in everyday life (e.g. someone's children or wife getting lost or murdered or to...more
Ana
A really nice collection of short horror and supernatural stories from very different authors, with each bringing their own style and touch to the subject.
Nora Peevy
Inferno was okay, not my favorite anthology edited by my favorite editor, Ellen Datlow. The concept was interesting. She wanted to edit a collection of horror stories not themed. She succeeded at this, but I just didn't find myself reading many of the stories and being really excited about them. I liked that the collection didn't include your typical horror monsters like vampires and werewolves. The stories are not bad; they just weren't really my favorites. The author selection was a good one;...more
Steve
More later. There's some good stories, but I thought the quality or better, edge, faded down the stretch. The collection started out great, with some pretty dark stuff, but by the end, with Datlow's old anthology, Terri Downing, delivering a by the numbers bore-fest, "The Suits Auderlene," I had had enough. In with a bang, out with a whimper. Stories to read:

"Riding Bitch," by KW Jeter
"The Forest," by Laird Barron
"The Monsters of Heaven," by Nathan Ballingrud

(Note: These 3 great stories are in...more
Daryl
Ellen Datlow co-edited my favorite set of anthologies, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (21 volumes, 1987-2007), editing/choosing the horror half. Lots of good stories therein over the years, so I had high hopes for this collection. The cover copy states that her goal was stories (all original to this anthology) that "provide a frisson of shock or a moment of dread so powerful it might cause the reader outright physical discomfort; or a sensation of fear so palpable as to compel the reader to...more
Hesper
Not exceptional, but not terrible. Closer to 2.5 stars, but that's not an option.

The anthology's tile is the loosest of thematic underpinnings for this collection, which in itself is a far cry from the editor's stated aim of giving readers "a frisson of shock." Most of the stories are solidly written, but few sustain the kind of creepy, atmospheric suspense that can lead to the chills and thrills you'd expect from quality horror.

The better reads were "The Ease with Which We Freed the Beast" and...more
Dirk
Anthologies like this are about the only place to find horror short stories these days, which is unfortunate because I think scary short stories are pretty awesome. The perfect length to read before turning off the light at night. And reading one right before bed is like dropping a little bit of mental lsd into your dreams.

Ellen Datlow has been doing the horror thing for a couple of decades now. She’s edited over 50 anthologies and won a ton of awards for doing so. The point is, if you are gonna...more
Julia
All short stories in this anthology were written by award-winning authors, young and older. Most write for horror magazines where their stories are regularly featured, as well as write novels, many of which win the Bram Stoker Award. I love short horror/thriller fiction anthologies as the variety is excellent and the editor(s) are so dedicated to getting the anthology published.

Authors include: Terry dowling,(the suits at auderlene, 2007, Paul finch, Bethany's Wood , 2007Laird barron, The Forres...more
Res
I have a rule for short stories: if I get to the end of the second page and I haven't encountered a human being whose fate I care about, I stop reading. This saves me a lot of time reading The New Yorker, and it means that of the twenty stories in this collection, I only read twelve all the way through.

I only liked four: Stephen Gallagher's "Misadventure," a quiet little story about a man who used to see ghosts; Joyce Carol Oates' "Face," which seems to be mostly about our horror of old age; Luc...more
Adina
One word: disappointment. I was promised blood-curdling tales of horror and I got a collection of timid short stories that didn't even make me flinch. Maybe I should have read them late at night, by the flickering candle light, instead of going through them in broad daylight, who knows?
Jennles
This collection was really disappointing.
Mark Bukovec
Mar 19, 2008 Mark Bukovec rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of literary horror short fiction
Great original horror anthology. I really wish more like it were published. Lots of great authors deliver, particularly Lucius Shepard, Terry Dowling, and Glen Hirshberg.

I'm usually amazed by Jeff Ford, but his story really left me thinking "Huh?" and felt misplaced. The Elizabeth Bear story wasn't my cup of tea, either.

I'm keeping an eye out for stories by Nathan Ballingrud, whose "Monsters of Heaven" is excellent.
Muse en Lystrala
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colin
A terrific book of contemporary horror stories, amongst which Pat Cadigan's 'Stilled Life,' and stories by Lee Thomas, Lucius Shepherd and Paul grant especially stand out.

There's a full review at Suite101
Jeremy
I would recommend only six stories: Misadventure, Lives, The Uninvited, Ghorla, Face (Joyce Carol Oates and feminist psychological horror),and Hushabye. The other fourteen disappointed, underwhelmed, bored, or had an interesting idea that was like a single without any runs being scored.
N.L. Riviezzo
I found most of the stories to be rather dull and not really living up to the 'horror' aspect of things. I honestly cannot name one story in the book that I truly enjoyed. I had been extremely hopeful on getting some honest-to-goodness horror but was left out in the cold.
Jenn Li
Ellen Datlow, my go-to horror anthologist, has really let me down this time. The collection is not bad--in fact a few of the stories, including the first one, are actually quite good. But the overall sense trying to search for a few diamonds in a coal mine.
H.N.
This was probably more of a 3.5, but there were some quite excellent stories in it, so I'll bump it up on the strength of those stories.
Susan
I only liked one of these. Why are characters in horror always so spineless and stupid?
Joe
Another great anthology. This, and Lovecraft Unbound, are her best to date.
Kate
Ug. I really detested this book. Out of all of the stories told, I liked one.
Karmen
First 2 stories were rather understated. "the misadventure" was wonderful!
Kathleen
Probably the best horror anthology I've read this year.
ingenue
Note to self: horror, still not your thing.
Arun
Arun marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
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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
More about Ellen Datlow...
Snow White, Blood Red Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (Riverside Series) (The Dresden Files #10.9) The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm Lovecraft Unbound Black Heart, Ivory Bones

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