Last week I reviewed Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories, a collection edited by John Joseph Adams.
Haunted Legends is a collection of short stories based on ghostly legends from around the world, compiled by another renowned editor, Ellen Datlow. Datlow has won Hugo Awards for Best Professional Editor and for Best Short Form Editor. She has also won the World Fantasy Award, Locus Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Bram Stoker Award. More than a few of her anthologies were published for young adults, including The Faery Reel: Tales From the Twilight Realm, with Terri Windling (Viking 2004) and The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People, also with Terri Windling (Viking, 2010).
For a complete bibliography (and much more), see Ellen Datlow’s website.
Co-Editor Nick Mamatas also has a website, and a new novel coming out in May. He is a prolific writer of short stories himself, as well as novels, poetry, articles, essays, and even a graphic novel.
DATLOW, Ellen, ed & Nick Mamatas. Haunted Legends. 347p. Tor. 2010. Tr $27.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2300-2. LC 2010032193.
Adult/High School– In concept, this collection mimics some of the best aspects of Datlow and Windling’s fabulous Fairy Tale anthologies for adults (Avon), featuring modern retellings of old legends. But instead of time-worn fairy tales, the often-obscure local legends upon which these stories are based, illuminated in afterwords by each story’s author, will be unfamiliar to most readers. Considering that the collection begins with a deeply disappointing take on the greatest and most famous of all American ghost stories, Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the relative obscurity of the other legends is probably to the collection’s advantage. In any case, nearly every selection stands well on its own. The exception is “Fifteen Panels Depicting the Sadness of the Baku and the Jotai,” which might require readers to skip to the afterword after a few difficult pages, and then again after a few more. After the rocky start, this stunning collection features one near-perfect story after another. Though many of them are scary, creepy, or just plain weird, the overwhelming tone, embodied by such masterpieces as “That Girl,” “Down Atsion Road,” “Return to Mariabronn,” and “The Redfield Girls,” is one of sadness and guilt, as is only right for a genre about the precariousness of death, and things left undone in life. Perhaps a bit heavy for teens looking for a good scare, but ultimately deeply rewarding.– Mark Flowers, John Kennedy Library, Solano County, CA