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The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven

(The Best Horror of the Year)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  42 reviews
For over three decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror. Bringing you the most frightening and terrifying stories, Datlow always has her finger on the pulse of what horror readers crave. Now, with the seventh volume of this series, Datlow is back again to bring you the stories that will keep you up at night.Encompassed in the pages of The Best Horror of the Y ...more
Paperback, 369 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Night Shade (first published April 8th 2015)
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Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Ellen Datlow is probably one of the hardest working editors in speculative fiction. She was responsible for a whopping 21 volumes of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (from 1988 through 2008), and when that series came to end she launched The Best Horror of the Year, which hit bookshelves this year with Volume Seven.

Even if you only dabble in the stories, her Summation of the year is always required reading. She recaps the genre awards, and offers her exhaustive thoughts on the most notable nov
Frank Errington
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review copy

The Best Horror of the Year - Volume 7, edited by the amazing Ellen Datlow, brings together twenty-two diverse authors in a collection that features a little bit of everything the horror genre has to offer. It truly does have something for everyone. Ellen has been at this for a long time. An editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for more than 30 years and has more than 50 anthologies to her credit.

"The Atlas of Hell" by Nathan Ballingrud. Nathan's work has appea
Richard  Thomas
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I didn't LOVE every story, a number of these tales definitely blew me away. I always love Stephen Graham Jones, but other stand outs include Genevieve Valentine, Rio Youers, Garth Nix, Dale Bailey, Brian Evenson, and Livia Llewellyn.
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a well above average annual "best of" anthology that is either a product of superior editing or maybe just representation of an exceptionally productive year. Maybe both. Anyway, Datlow does a good job of drawing some good stuff together.

I have a love/hate relationship with both awards and the critical portion of the foreword in these annuals. I guess an enumeration of awards is okay, but even the inclusion of a list points towards an editorial bias versus true independence. The annual h
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Another "Year's Best" anthology sunk.

FIRST TIER - Pretty much by now you should know what you're getting. A bunch of modern horror stories collected under the sensibility of an editor - you buys your ticket, you takes your chances.

SECOND TIER - Datlow, as opposed to Jones (and his BEST NEW line) tends to favor the experimental and the poetic over the traditional and the direct - each to their benefits and faults, not to mention your personal tastes. This one seemed to have slightly less of the u
Leah Polcar
I am usually a fan of Datlow's Best Horror , but this collection was a disappointment to me. Sitting here thinking of what to say about this collection, I can only say I can't think of a single story -- never a huge endorsement -- and only have a vague feeling of distaste for this volume. Obviously, with anthologies, you usually get a mixed bag, but here the bag seemed full of stale, generic candies. Pass it up in favor of one of her other collections or Jones' or Guran's Best New Horror anth ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was just something I thought I'd skim through in the few days before my book app trial ended. I had no expectations. I ended up really liking each story I read.
I'm not a big fan of short stories in general. I'd much rather read a full sized novel,often the bigger the better. But I do enjoy reading scary stories. Horror works well for short stories.
I didn't have time to read all the stories in this book,but I did read most. And enjoyed each of them. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love to read short stories between books or if I need a break. This is the fourth scary collection edited by Ellen Datlow that I've read. She definitely has her finger on my taste for the gothic and bizarre. Three-fourths of these stories were absolutely perfect. I especially loved "This Is Not For You," "Winter Children," and "Interstate Love Song."
Ben Loory
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Atlas of Hell" by Nathan Ballingrud
"Persistence of Vision" by Orrin Grey
"Shay Corsham Worsted" by Garth Nix
"Ymir" by John Langan

The Ballingrud especially was amazing-- what a crazy, fun, propulsive voice.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A week of short story collection reviews, and the second of a horror anthology edited by the hardworking Ellen Datlow. This seventh volume of the Best Horror of the Year series came out last summer; Volume Eight is now available as well, though I haven't gotten to read it yet. For fans or the curious, you can currently enter to win a copy of the new volume in a Goodreads' giveaway courtesy of Night Shade Books (entry deadline of 12th August 2016).

In the sea of short story anthologies Volume Sev
Jonathan Briggs
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
While reading editor Ellen Datlow's opening summation of the notable novels and stories from 2014, I couldn't help but feel a bit discouraged as she reeled off recaps of rehashes featuring vampires, zombies, vampire/zombie detectives and blogging psycho killers, all overseen by the overbearing presence of H.P. Lovecraft all over the damn place. Have we come to this?

Not entirely. You couldn't ask for a much better lead-in paragraph than what Nathan Ballingrud provides in this annual's opening sto
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-anthology
This is a solid entry in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror series. I found the strongest story to be "Plink" by Kurt Dinan; it contains no supernatural element, but expresses a horrific theme that many readers should find too familiar for comfort. The final story, "Nigredo" by Cody Goodfellow, is either a brilliant smorgasbord of horror tropes or else a hopeless mishmash, I really couldn't be sure. The first three stories seem like excerpts from longer works, so a cover-to-cover read of this anthology ...more
Lyndsey Silveira
Like any anthology, it's full of stories I loved and ones that fell flat for me.
Some favorites:
"The Atlas of Hell" by Nathan Ballingrud
"A Dweller in Amenty" by Genevieve Valentine
"Outside Heavenly" by Rio Youers
"Allochton" by Livia Llewellyn
"the worms crawl in" by Laird Barron
"Persistence of Vision" by Orrin Grey
"Wingless Beasts" by Lucy Taylor
The story that legitimately gave me the heebie-jeebies and made me afraid to turn off the lights was "Tread Upon the Brittle Shell" by Rhoads Brazos
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
An excellent horror anthology containing various sorts of horrific tales. Overall very good. Contains the usual superstars of horror like Barron, Ballingrud, Kiernan, and Langdon. But there are some real riveting stories from some authors I had never heard of.

I thought Datlow's volume last year was a bit stronger but overall this is still an excellent anthology. Recommend.

ARC provided by Blackgate Magazine.
Jessica Woodbury
I haven't read any short horror before this but I was pretty amazed at the variety of pieces in here. It was a fantastic collection and the only reason it took me so long to read it was that I usually read before bed and sometimes the book left me too creeped out!
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Tread Upon the Brittle Shell was my favorite story.
Christopher Stanley
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
It must be daunting to pick the best horror fiction of the year. It's not just the volume of stories that need to be sifted through in advance, and the need to represent diverse tastes, and to narrow the selection down to one story per author ... and the fact that the bright, shiny story in one anthology might not seem so bright and shiny when transferred to another ... and the niggling issue of subjectivity ... and of course the benefits of including marquee authors who are guaranteed to shift ...more
James Ranger
Jun 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I've heard a lot about the St(r)oker community and how it's all a friend's game, or a whoever kisses the most ass wins kind of game. Nepotism and cronyism, no matter how crappy a writer is. This book is proof that being friends with an editor gets you more than actually being a good writer. Not only are the stories in this volume boring and cardboard with no imagination, they are reflections of the boring authors. Ugh. The only writer here worth her weight in salt is Caitlin R. Kiernan, the only ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stories, 2017
I'm learning my tastes in horror literature and that's worth all the stars. My favorites from this collection with weird synopses notes for my own use thank you very much:

Outside Heavenly - Rio Youers (Satan in a small town)
Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8) - Caitlin R. Kiernan (Twincest manic murder spree)
The Culvert - Dale Bailey (lost brother, underground city)
Allochton - Livia Llewellyn (1930s Lovecraft and maybe the only "Lovecraftian" story I've read that I've ever loved)
Well. It was what it was. Skipping that summation that was copy pasted for some reason to the start was annoying. WHY WAS IT THERE? COULDNT IT HAVE GONE TO THE BACK? WHO ASKED FOR IT????

Anyway, it's a shame that dampened my enthusiasm for reading the book because many of the stories were actually pretty good.

Killing retired child murderers, hell travellers, strange aliens prancing about as old men... lovely!
I had a grand time reading the stories but that darn start will always haunt and annoy me
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
As this is an anthology, it's hard for me to give an overall review of the whole work, but a lot of these stories were really good. A few of them got a little too abstract for me, and one of them featured the main character killing an animal, which I never like, but all in all, I thought this was a good collection. I especially appreciated the multitudes of strong female characters within these pages. One story even contained a trans woman who was an accepted member of a female-only cult
Jeff J.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’ve always felt that horror was well-suited for short fiction - it’s challenging to sustain dread in a novel. That being said, either 2014 was a weak year for horror or my definition of “good” is drastically different from this editor. There were a few gems here but many more I gave up on, and one story (Alison Littlewood’s) that disgusted me.
Megan Hex
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid collection! Enjoyed most of these; strange running theme of the narrator being the bad guy.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
As is true of most anthologies, this one has some very good and very bad stories in it. Which ones are which will depend on your personal taste.
James Rice
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good short stories.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes horror and short stories. Some had very unexpected endings.

Brad Hodges
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the third of Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year series I've read, and it is consistent with the others, with some spine-tingling stories, as well as some that I just didn't get. There are also a few that start out gangbusters and trail off into incoherence. I'm thinking specifically of "the worms crawl in," by Laird Barron, which starts as a nifty homage to Poe's "The Cask of Amantillado" but turns into something entirely different, a kind of monster story that doesn't match up with
Aug 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-15, edelweiss
It was so kind of this editor to put this collection together of authors I won't ever have to read again in the future.

Wait, what? That's not what the purpose of this collection was?

Hunh. News to me.

These are not horror stories. They're not scary. They're tiresome.

The only story I genuinely enjoyed was Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8). However, this was not a horror story. It wasn't even close to scary, I don't know what genre you would classify it as. The fact that someone gets murd
Nov 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
I genuinely do not understand how this book has any good ratings. This anthology isn't the best of anything and it's definitely not horror. The definition of horror literature is "a genre of fiction whose purpose is to create feelings of fear, dread, repulsion, and terror in the audience." Very few of the stories in the book fit that description. There was so little horror here that I wonder how on earth this book ever made it to print. And horror aside, most of these stories were just boring or ...more
L.K. Scott
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Some of these stories really blew me away by the language, the prose, the tone and even the musicality of the sentences. Others were interesting, but not entirely engaging to me, but that's just my personal opinion, but I do understand the quality and effort behind it.

My favorite aspect was the order in which the stories were placed. Ellen Datlow, a skilled editor, did a great job arranging the order in such a way that the fun, easier to read stuff was in front, with more complex stories around
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been quite a while since I read horror; for a long time I wasn't sure I was emotionally up to diving into such dark fiction. Well, I'm glad I decided to read this anthology after all. It was almost like coming home to a genre that just grips my attention and refuses to let go. Ellen Datlow is one of my favorite editors -- my favorite editor of horror! -- and this collection doesn't disappoint!

While not all the stories are to my taste, I thoroughly enjoyed a majority of them. My favorites in
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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

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 Three
  • 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 Eight
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine
  • Best Horror of the Year Volume 10
  • The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 11

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