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The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Three

(The Best Horror of the Year #3)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  432 ratings  ·  48 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
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Jun 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Not as strong as the previous 2 volumes. The stories themselves were good, but that is pretty much where they maintained. This volume unfortunately lacks some of the punch I came to expect from the two solid entries that came before.
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 12, 2011 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
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
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 (Wants to Read More)
Jul 15, 2011 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
Oct 26, 2011 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 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, s ...more
Nancy Oakes
Mar 14, 2013 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
Feb 28, 2016 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.

Eric Guignard
Feb 08, 2012 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
Another great anthology of horror stories. I really am enjoying these books a lot.
Mar 13, 2012 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
Some Good Thrills!

A lot of the authors of this collection are very good at writing short stories. So this horror collection is full of stories that have all the ingredients that are needed to give you the best scares you desire.

If you love reading about werewolves, ghosts, demons and all manner of monstrosities, check out the stories of this horror collection. You won’t be disappointed.
Gary Siebert
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Datlow is a great editor and this is my favorite horror anthology series. I've read most of the volumes and plan to continue buying it until I have the complete collection. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edmund de Wight
Jul 18, 2015 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
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Your mileage may vary. This collection contained mostly good stories. Some, like the "The Riding School" have stuck vividly with me over the last week. Others were not to my style, nor as memorable to me, but there is certainly a wide breadth of horror! From gore-heavy horror to creeping mental suspense/despair, this book is a really good sampler. I've noted down a few authors from it to look up on their own! ...more
Beth Roberts
I've read three of the anthologies in this series now and what's surprising to me is the consistency. I've rated all three volumes 4 stars, arriving at that figure by rating the individual stories and then calculating an overall average as the standing rating for the book as a whole.

I'm beginning to wonder if this is fair: in each of the last two anthologies, there was one story each that I dnf'ed and gave 1 star for. In this anthology, some of the 5-stars really stood out and it seemed to me t
Tiffany Lynn Kramer
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I cheated a bit in regards to this anthology. While I often appreciate the concepts behind the collections Datlow puts together I find the majority of stories are not to my liking. So this time around after questioning the first two stories I checked a synopsis for the others and only read the ones that caught my attention.
At The Riding School started off interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of it's twisted world but I never connected with the characters or their plights.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I like short stories. These are interesting, but not really scary. After reading the book, the only story that stuck with me was the one about the magpies, and that stuck because it was so ludicrous.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not care for this book at all. First of all, I would
have a hard time calling any of these stories horror.
Just didn't do it for me. Some of the stories were absolutely
unreadable. Not good
Langel Catan
This book has some stories that were good and the good ones even had points of confusion. I think artsy and deep was put before clarity and focus on most of these stories.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Favorite stories from this collection:
The Riding School
City of the Dog
Lesser Demons
The Fear
Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls
Victoria Pasche
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Very good selection, on the whole. There are a lot of zombie/apocalypse type tales that owe a debt to "The Walking Dead," which was hot at the time.

Best stories were probably the following: "Lesser Demons," by Norman Partridge, a creepy apocalyptic story about two men fighting off, well, "lesser demons." Another apocalyptic tale that succeeded well was "At Night, When the Demons Come,"by Ray Cluley, about a world beset by female demons. "The Folding Man," about a Satanic figure chasing a young d
Jul 26, 2015 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 01, 2012 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 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
Shazza Maddog
Sep 08, 2011 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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, horror
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
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Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for forty years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short stories and novellas for In addition, she has edited about one hundred science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year series, The Doll ...more

Other books in the series

The Best Horror of the Year (1 - 10 of 12 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
  • The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Nine
  • Best Horror of the Year: Volume Ten
  • The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eleven

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