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The Best Horror of the Year Volume One

(The Best Horror of the Year #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  643 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
An Air Force Loadmaster is menaced by strange sounds within his cargo; a man is asked to track down a childhood friend... who died years earlier; doomed pioneers forge a path westward as a young mother discovers her true nature; an alcoholic strikes a dangerous bargain with a gregarious stranger; urban explorers delve into a ruined book depository, finding more than they a ...more
Paperback, 321 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Night Shade Books (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nancy Oakes
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
To be perfectly blunt, if this was a selection of the best horror of the year 2008, either I must have missed something or horror writing was at an ebb that year. Out of 21 stories, there were three that were relatively creepy, and out of those, I'd already read one. To be sure, I know that anthologies are pretty iffy, but in the world of hit or miss, this book takes the prize for most misses. I hate being so negative, but jeez -- there's just no other way to say it.

The tale I liked the best was
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ugh. Why is it so difficult to find a GREAT horror anthology? They always seem to be mediocre, and this was no different. Decent, okayish stories for the most part, a couple that were actually enjoyable, but overall, not wowed.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Another great anthology of short horror stories.
Dr. Detroit
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
The problem with most horror anthologies, including this one, is the loose, free and easy application of the term “horror” to what ultimately ends up in the table of contents.

In my strange world (it’s okay, they know me there), red meat, arteries bustin’ wide open, grey matter going up in flame, and writing that attacks the beast and gets in and gets out without carrying any excess baggage – in other words, something that actually repulses, horrifies, or even causes your gorge to rise - goes a l
Jonathan Briggs
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Indie outfit Night Shade Books swooped to the rescue after bigger publisher St. Martin's scuttled Ellen Datlow's long-running annual anthology of the best horror fiction. Although it's good to have the venerable editor still at work culling the good stuff, the inaugural volume of this series reboot is wobbly on its newborn feet. It's not that the stories are particularly objectionable. But for the most part, they're not exceptional either. What makes them the "best" horror of 2008? They're not s ...more
Brendan Moody
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's important to start with what this volume is not. It's not a collection of a particular type of horror story; Datlow's taste, while tending toward the subtle over the blatant, is wide-ranging, and includes stories traditional and modern (to the extent that these labels are useful), long and short, serious and comic. Some are closer to dark fantasy than "horror" as some readers define it. This book is also not necessarily cued to your specific tastes. the editor has not magically reached into ...more
Andrew Neal
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
There's a thin line between portraying something mysteriously horrific and writing so vaguely that a reader doesn't know what the hell you're saying. Most of the authors in this anthology trip over that line so hard that this should be an America's Funniest Home Videos montage, not a Best Horror anthology.

Having said that, I quite liked:
The Hodag
It Washed Up
The Narrows
Ross Lockhart
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Read in manuscript. A solid collection of terrifying tales, collecting the best short stories and fiction published in 2008. High points include E. Michael Lewis's "Cargo," William Browning Spencer's "Penguins of the Apocalypse," Laird Barron's "The Lagerstatte," Adam Golaski's "The Man From the Peak," and Simon Bestwick's "The Narrows."
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
My favorite story was The Hodag, which was a perfect slice of Americana - isolated, violent, haunted, creepy Americana.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Lo mejor del año en cuentos de horror, es lo más malo que he leído en este año. De esta selección que fue editada por Ellen Datlow, podría mencionar como los mejores, sin afirmar que son ni siquiera buenos, el de Michael Lewis: "Cargo", que toma como pretexto lo sucedido en Jamestown (conocido como Jamestown Massacre), cerca de Georgetown en una de las antiguas Guayanas de Sudamérica, en donde el pastor Jim Jones, envenenó a su congregación (900 personas) con Kool Aid de uva. "Esmeralda" de Glen ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Lots of brilliant stories--but enough meh that it gets a 4. A zombie does not a horror story make.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Horror fans that are willing to ignore the weaker stories
Overall a below average anthology that unfortunately does not do its name any justice. If it wasn't for the fine entries by Laird Barron and William Spencer Browning this anthology would not be worth mentioning at all. Either 2008 was a extremely bad year for horror fiction (even though I remember it quite differently) or the the normally impeccable Ellen Datlow had a bad day (or rather a bad year) when chosing this sea of mediocrity as the year's best horror.

But enough of my lengthy ramblings,
Beth Roberts
I like anthologies the same way I like M&M's: they're chocolate so they're all good. They're small, so they don't require a major commitment, and all the different colors make them fun.

And every now and then, you get one you swear just tastes better than the others. I still swear the tan ones were more chocolaty than the others but then they stopped making those, so that's another story.

But anyway. . .I've read enough short fiction the last few years to start recognizing the authors that I s
Jo Koc
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would've rate this anthology 3.5 if possible instead of 4 starts.
What bothered me most was the fact that there are some really good story whose effect and pleasent experienced is lost because of the mediocre and bed stories. there are some stories that I wouldn't put in the genre of horror, some predictive ones, some that have nice way of building tension but don't deliver at the end.
I wouldn't call this the best horror stories.
On the other side that are stories so we'll paced and intriguin
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Some stories are phenomenal, one was unnecessarily disgusting and involved child rape (that certainly lowered my score), but the finale story was my absolute favorite!

Overall, nothing stunning or actually scary (save for the last story), but a nice way to pass the time.
Violet Laflamme
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
DNF - the stories were not engaging and not really what I'd qualify as horror save for one. I won't give it one star just in case the later stories turned out to be better, but my reading list is too long to press on with something I'm not loving.
Nicole Wright
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
this was very hit or miss, some stories were amazing and some were so awful
James Patrick
Apr 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This anthology wasn't for me. High quality stories to be sure, but they focused too much on the fantastical. I just couldn't get into the vast majority of stories.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it liked it
My Rating ★★★ 1/2

Datlow draws upon the many sources of the horror to find the best collection of horrific, spine-tingling, and grotesque short stories of the year. The stories range from the obviously gore-filled to the more subtle tales of dark fantasy.

Cargo, E. Michael Lewis - ★★★
Davis, a cargo-hold tech, is sent out to retrieve a most precious cargo - human bodies. Hoping it stays a routine pick-up, he is surprised to find that it won't be a quiet ride home.

If Angels Fight, Richard Bowes -
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
This book as a mixed bag for me. Many of the stories didn't really grip me, but as with many anthologies, there are some pearls in between. If you can grab this book in a sale, and you like horror, I recommend getting it.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
After a bookstore shopping session, this was one of the books I was looking forward to reading, and it turned out it was an autographed copy.
So, the anthology starts with a summation of 2008, which would be useful to look into to check out other reads in horror fiction. As for the stories:
Cargo, E. Michael Lewis
The opening story is about soldiers bringing back the dead after the incident in Jonestown. It was okay. 3 stars.

If Angels Fight, Richard Bowes
I just couldn't get into this one really. 1
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
*** Cargo by E. Michael Lewis
Not really scary but ok story
* If Angels Fight by Richard Bowes
**** The Clay Party by Steve Duffy
Gruesome story that could have actually happened
**** Penguins of the Apocalypse by William Browning
About a struggle many have in life
** Esmeralda by Glen Hirshberg
The story could have been structured better
*** The Hodag by Trent Hergenrader
Folklore tale that was written in a unique way
*** Very Low-Flying Aircraft by Nicholas Royle
What could happen if a pl
Aaron Bellamy
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
As I write this, the Best Horror of the Year series edited by Ellen Datlow is on volume seven. I've read several of them, though out of order, and like most anthologies, the stories can be hit and miss. Datlow begins each volume with a 'summation' of the year which, though dense, is a treasure trove of other writings. This launching volume is a stronger one, lead by the astonishingly well written 'The Man From the Peak' by Adam Golaski. This story begins as one of the most well realized parties ...more
Alison C
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
For about 20 years now, one of my great pleasures of the year has been the publication of The Year's Best Horror and Fantasy, co-edited originally by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and more recently by Datlow and the team of Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. But last year this long-running anthology series came to an end, to my great dismay. It turns out, though, that Ellen Datlow has continued on in her chosen field as editor of horror anthologies, and The Best Horror of the Year, Volume One, is ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
A varied selection of short stories from satisfactory to good.
Summation 2008
Cargo by E. Michael Lewis
If Angels Fight by Richard Bowes
The Clay Party by Steve Duffy
Penguins of the Apocalypse by William Browning
Esmeralda by Glen Hirshberg
The Hodag by Trent Hergenrader
Very Low-Flying Aircraft by Nicholas Royle
When the Gentlemen Go By by Margaret Ronald
The Lagerstatte by Laird Barron
Harry and the Monkey by Euan Harvey
Dress Circle by Miranda Siemienowicz
The Rising Rive r by Daniel Kaysen
Christopher Munroe
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish there was a way to give this book 2 1/2 to signify my ambivalence with it. Neat ideas abound, and interesting things are done with horror tropes, but at no point was I really scared by this. And that's subjective, which I know, but I'm the one writing the review, so there it is. Interesting, but it didn't affect me, it reads like a series of fun intellectual exercises rather than horror stories.

Which under any other title wouldn't be a problem, I loves me some cute literary exercises! How
Shellie (Layers of Thought)

Still currently reading this great collection. There are 21 stories. Here are a few words/or one blogged review about the stories I have completed:

"The Goosle" by Margot Lanagan - a very dark fairy tale "post telling". Here is a review of the short story at Layers of Thought.
Two others:
"The Clay Party" a sort of Donner party story with a paranormal twist
"Esmeralda" a post book dystopian

What I really like about this collection is that Datlow summarizes the year in horror mentioning many many oth
Aaron Bond
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I got this book at the library to check out Laird Barron. And while Barron's story was good, it was far outclassed by several other entries.

“When the Gentlemen Go By” by Margaret Ronald was probably my favorite. Just a gripping short story.

"Beach Head" by Daniel Lemoal was a fun read that went differently than I expected.

“Harry and the Monkey” by Euan Harvey is a fell-good story if that can really be applied to horror. Had some King-ish elements for sure, which I say as a compliment.

Datlow did a
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I rarely finish anthologies. I usually burn out about 2/3 of the way through, which seems to be the anthology equivalent of the post-weekend-update part of Saturday Night Live--the place where you stash the weaker material to fill the thing out.

This one, though, is top-notch beginning to end, and the last story is probably my 2nd favorite in the entire book. (the first story is my favorite.) Of course I didn't love every story, but the quality is consistently high all the way through
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Loved the fantasy and horror collections that Datlow used to edit along with Terri Winding. I miss those for the stories and for the long, year-in-review introductions the editors provided. This is a lighter version of those books, concentrating solely on the horror half. Not as well put together as the older series (I didn't like the author bios and info lumped together at the back instead of with each story, for example), but it's a fine collection nevertheless. Some stories better than others ...more
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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 (10 books)
  • 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 Seven
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine
  • Best Horror of the Year Volume 10

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“so mean that her death would cause a thousand of Hell's toughest demons to opt for early retirement.” 1 likes
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