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999: Twenty-Nine Original Tales of Horror and Suspense

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,299 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Award-winning writer and editor Al Sarrantonio gathers together twenty-nine original stories from masters of the macabre. From dark fantasy and pure suspense to classic horror tales of vampires and zombies, 999 showcases the extraordinary scope of fantastical fright fiction. The stories in this anthology are a relentless tour de force of fear, which will haunt you, terrify ...more
Paperback, 688 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Harper Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1999)
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Douglas I think you nailed it as a problem with a scan. My experience proofreading for Project Gutenberg these kinds of errors from scans are pretty common. N…moreI think you nailed it as a problem with a scan. My experience proofreading for Project Gutenberg these kinds of errors from scans are pretty common. Now the question is that in this day and age why did they have to use a scan to create a digital edition? Didn't they already have digital versions of the originals?(less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Start your review of 999: Twenty-Nine Original Tales of Horror and Suspense
I am judging this collection of short stories with an especially critical eye for several reasons:

1) it promises to deliver some of the best original horror stories by authors at the pinnacle of their craft (including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Edward Lee and William Peter Blatty)

2) it received the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology

and 3) despite my commitment to finish this 700+ page anthology (and neglecting many other books while I persevered), it still took me too long to finish -
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Rating only for „Der Unterhaltungskünstler“ (OT: The Entertainment) by Ramsey Campbell.

1.5 stars, actually. It wasn’t much fun. I tried a few of the other stories but didn’t finish any of them and gave the book back to the friend whom I had borrowed it from.

The anthology as a whole won the Bram Stoker Award and was nominated for both the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award. So, maybe I picked the wrong stories? Did I read the one written by Stephen King? I don’t remember at this po
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great collection of horror and suspense stories. A huge book, cotaining 17 short stories, 8 novelettes, 3 novellas and 1 short story. Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Eric Van Lustbader, Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman are just some of the authors.

There's some gore-fest, some psycological thrillers, some creature feature stories, but I'm sure everyone will find something they enjoy.

I found it hard to pick my favourite. 'Elsewhere' by William Peter Blatty (who wrote 'The Exorcist') is brillian
Brian Steele
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Although now a decade old, this anthology remains quite dear to me. Thanks to Sarrantonio, I was introduced to quite a number of new Horror Authors; those who don't get the same marketing blitz as King or Koontz. And thank Cthulhu for that! While some of the "Old Guard" stand up and take notice here (Campbell, Blatty, Oates, ect.), I also got to check out short works by Kim Newman and Neil Gaiman. While I was already a fan of both authors, I soon started following Edward Lee and F. Paul Wilson a ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have this book on one of my "to keep" paperback shelves. There are quite a few stories in here that I liked a lot, and very few that I just didn't care for. In an anthology, that's quite a feat! ...more
Bernie Gourley
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
999 is a collection of 28 short stories and one novella that are all in the genre of horror and dark suspense. The collection includes some superstar authors such as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, and David Morrell, but all of the authors are established writers and most will be familiar to readers in this genre.

I won’t go into each story in depth, but will list and briefly describe each. A few of the stories stuck with me, while others were quite forgettable—so I’ll point out whi
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Those five stars are for my favorite five stories in this collection. I am going to review each of them separately below when I have a few minutes. I didn't love every story presented, but those I did more than made up for those I didn't. Awesome editing Sarrantonio.

"The Road Virus Heads North" by Stephen King *****– This is a very scary story and I have read it many times. A recurring theme in King’s writing is a character’s ability to see the future in some way, and yet be powerless to change
Ellie Midwood
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-read
A very good short-story collection of horror. I particularly enjoyed "The Ruins of Contracoeur," "The Road Virus Heads North," "The Theatre," and "Elsewhere." I would definitely recommend it to all fans of the genre! ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this many years back and know that I really enjoyed it at the time, but sadly cannot recall much from it. I do remember that I felt quite pleasantly unsettled by Joyce Carol Oates's entry ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Anthologies are always a mixed bag- you can't please everyone all of the time. But this one was a bit more "mixed-baggish" than I was expecting. To be fair, I'm not really a big fan of fantasy (okay, I loath it), and many of these stories are quite heavy on the fantasy/"aren't I writing just the quirkiest thing ever" element, so that may have biased my opinion.

The standouts for me: The Ruins of Contracoeur by Joyce Carol Oates, The Entertainment by Ramsey Campbell, The Shadow, The Darkness by T
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, let me say that there are quite a few typo errors in the version that I read. However, they in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this most excellent collection of stories in the horror genre, collected by Al Sarrantonio. This is at least the third book that I have read that was edited by Mr. Sarrantonio, and I must say that I like his choices.

This is a rather hefty book, weighing in at almost 700 pages (666 for the ebook and more than that for the paperback), and includes a very
Keri Ann
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, I just didn't love it. Seeing Stephen King as a contributor is what drew me to the book in the first place. Turns out that the story he added (The Road Virus Heads North) was something I had already read in Everything's Eventual, however it is a great story for anyone who's never read it. There were a few stories in 999 that I might consider reading again, but the majority of the stories left me wanting for something. A lot of the time I found myself finishing the story and th ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A startlingly dark short story featuring some characters from the American Gods sequel-novella “The Monarch of the Glen”.

Like “Anansi Boys”, it’s very iterative in the sense of not really following up on “American Gods” in any direct ways - for much of my time reading the story I was honestly not quite sure if it’s even meant to be in the same universe as it, or if Gaiman was just reusing certain characters - which works in its favour, as it does have its own particular style. Very “crime movie
Lyndsay Mccrossin
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a delicious collection of tasty literary morsels; I gobbled them up greedily each evening, refusing to go to sleep at appropriate hours, just to find myself unable to sleep anyway when I finally did hit the pillow. These stories of horror will make your skin crawl, your eyes double check for ghosties in the corners of your bedroom, and your body hair stiffen as your flesh gooses in terror. This collection scared the hell out of me and I enjoyed every second of it. If you enjoy the horror ge ...more
Pia Cathrin
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the tales in this book are very captivating. It's a big book, but since it consists of individual stories by various authors ... well, it makes it easy to read. A few of the stories were a bit huh? to me. I guess I didn't quite get the point of them or didn't find them scary. But overall this book is worth the read. ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Fuck it. I'm throwing in the towel, I just couldn't finish this book ...more
Gilda Felt
Over 650 pages, a quarter of a million words, and enough adrenaline rushes to keep the average horror reader up for nights, 999 is dark decadence indeed.

I was expecting more from this book. “Never-before-published tales” by King and Wilson, I’m there, and they didn’t disappoint. But I can’t say the same for the rest of the book. Too many of the stories may have had things going on that were horrifying, but they weren’t horror stories. One pleasant exception (other than King and Wilson,) was Rehe
Nancy Hudson
This was a pretty decent anthology of horror and suspense stories. Many of them were quite good while others were pretty poor. I’m pretty fussy about my horror/suspense. The best stories were By Thomas Disch, Stephen King, Nancy A. Collins,David Morell, Thomas Ligotti and Joe R. Lansdale. The novelette at the end by William Peter Blatty was pretty good also. It really creeped me out. This book would have been far better if some of the more depraved stories had been kept out of it. I don’t know w ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was a tough one to get through.

I appreciate now, why horror-anthology readers were quick to give this book one or two star at best over at Amazon; it’s not what I’d call a “horror anthology” nor is there much in the way of suspense, but the marketing and the title itself suggests otherwise.

This book is more a ‘weird tales with interesting characters’.

I get it - the editor was obviously going for the same readers that made Hitchcock suspense anthologies so popular...but most of the storie
H. Anne Stoj
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, anthology
Over all, a really fantastic collection of short stories. While the collection is over a decade old, I was pleased to find that I hadn't read anything in it before. (Or, if I had, I don't remember and thus it was new again.) My favorite, I think, was Joyce Carol Oates. I'm not recalling the title, but the language is still haunting me (forgive the pun), which always means a very strong story to me. Mad Dog Summer, now it's the author I'm forgetting, was also really memorable as it felt a bit lik ...more
Becky Ippolito
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I'd have to say that the first half of the book was a bore to me. I don't rememember a single story from that part. The second half was much better with stories that kept me on my toes and anxious to pick up the book any chance I could. Notably stories I enjoyed were "The Grave" by P. D. Cacek, about a strange librarian who was a little too emmeshed with her mother and motherhood; "The Rio Grande Gothic" by David Morrell was an exciting story about a small town cop and the creept shoes he keeps ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-be-continued
To be fair, I haven't read the entire book; but, those few stories that I HAVE read over the years were enough for me to say that this is a good, if slightly uneven, anthology. Joyce Carol Oates' "The Ruins of Contracoeur" is a beautiful, disturbing, and über-mysterious piece, and Dennis L. McKiernan's "Darkness" is the kind of story that will leave you giggling...nervously. Naturally, Stephen King's story was fun and eerie, and F. Paul Wilson's "Good Friday" was a superb example of gritty, nast ...more
Badly Drawn Girl
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it

Impressive collection! I'm quite fond of short stories and I'm a recovering horror addict. I cut my teeth on the stuff. The very first book I ever bought was The Shining... I was 8. I found it at a library closeout sale for a dime. That was the start of something wonderfully awful. But as I got older I lost my passion for the genre, or maybe I wasn't reading the right stuff, but either way, horror and I parted ways. But I had heard good things about this collection so I gave it a shot. There is
Kristen Pfaff
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in horror
Recommended to Kristen by: Felicia
This book is a must-read for people looking to gain an introduction to the horror field or looking to expand their range of authors to read. Some of the highlights included:

Amerikanski Dead at the Moscow Morgue - Kim Newman
The Owl and the Pussycat - Thomas M. Disch
The Road Virus Heads North - Stephen King
Keepsakes and Treasures: A Love Story - Neil Gaiman
An Exaltation of Termagants - Eric Van Lustbader
Catfish Gal Blues - Nancy A. Collins
Rio Grande Gothic - David Morell
The Tree is My Hat - Gene W
Linda Appelbaum
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book offers 29 original stories sure to disturb your sleep if you read just before bedtime. The stories will scare, disturb, horrify, and give you the willies. If you enjoy scary, suspenseful, chilling horror stories you will certainly get caught up in this book. Keep the lights on brightly when reading because the shadows hold unknown creepy things that might getcha!
Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Only 2 gems, the story by Neil Gaimen is worth the whole book
J.D. Heskin
Dec 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Lewd, rapey, and written to appeal to child molesters. I wish I could unread it!
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
"Amerikanski Dead at the Moscow Morgue," by Kim Newman (1999): 6.25
- As I had to read it in two installments, maybe I missed the big gist, but a decidedly unscary or undisturbing look at zombies outside of the particularly insouciant tone the prose took about halfway through, although I don't know how deliberate that was, and I kinda think it was instead Newman's attempt to signal bureaucratic incompetence and disinterest, even in the face of danger. As is, the piece does deal explicitly with C
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, this is certainly ... large. A quarter of a million words or so of new horror fiction, or at least it was new in 1999 when it was published, by most of the top writers in the genre at the time, plus some relative noobs ... though I note the absence of a few important names, and the mix slants heavily white-male.

There isn't an unreadably bad story in the bunch. There was only one that had me squirming, not by how bad it was but by how intense it was. I've discovered a couple of new writers
Sep 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Most of the stories in the anthology were average and forgettable. Some did stand out though. Sadly, most did so for the wrong reasons.

Several of the stories were long and not fun to read. The Shadow, the Darkness, by Thomas Ligotti, was amongst the most boring pieces of writing I've ever had the misfortune to read, and annoyingly it was also one of the longest stories in the collection.

There were also some good stories but ones which had no place in a horror anthology.
Rio Grande Gothic was a
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Al Sarrantonio (born May 25, 1952, in New York City) is an American horror and science fiction author who has published, over the past thirty years, more than forty books and sixty short stories. He has also edited numerous anthologies and has been called “a master anthologist” by Booklist.

Wikipedia entry: Al Sarrantonio

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