About the Book
Stephen King hates to fly.
Now he and co-editor Bev Vincent would like to share this fear of flying with you.
Welcome to Flight or Fright—an anthology about all the things that can go horribly wrong when you’re suspended six miles in the air, hurtling through space at more than 500 mph and sealed up in a metal tube (like gulp! a coffin) with hundreds of strangers. All the ways your trip into the friendly skies can turn into a nightmare, including some we’ll bet you’ve never thought of before… but now you will the next time you walk down the jetway and place your fate in the hands of a total stranger.
Featuring brand new stories by Joe Hill (King’s son) and Stephen King, as well as 14 classic tales and one poem, from the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Dan Simmons, and many others—Flight or Fright is, as King says, “ideal airplane reading, especially on stormy descents… Even if you are safe on the ground, you might want to buckle up nice and tight.” 😱
Book a flight with Cemetery Dance Publications for this terrifying new anthology that will have you thinking twice about how you want to reach your final destination.
Table of Contents
Notes on the Book from Stephen King & Bev Vincent…
“I grew up in a house where we didn’t have a TV until I was 10. We couldn’t afford one. We used to go down the street and peek in the neighbors’ window to watch Your Hit Parade. Books were what we had — and the radio. My mother was a reader, and she read to us. She read us Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when I was six and my brother was eight; I never forgot it. And we used to get Classics Illustrated comic books, which were also fairly bloody. I still remember the Oliver Twist one — there was blood all over that thing. Comic books were the closest we had to a visual medium.”
– Stephen King, Parade Magazine
“The idea for each of the stories in this book came in a moment of belief and was written in a burst of faith, happiness, and optimism. Those positive feelings have their dark analogues, however, and the fear of failure is a long way from the worst of them. The worst—for me, at least—is the gnawing speculation that I may have already said everything I have to say, and am now only listening to the steady quacking of my own voice because the silence when it stops is just too spooky.”
– Stephen King, Introduction to Nightmares and Dreamscapes, November 1992
Jim Norman’s wife had been waiting for him since two, and when she saw the car pull up in front of their apartment building, she came out to meet him. She had gone to the store and bought a celebration meal—a couple of steaks, a bottle of Lancer’s, a head of lettuce, and Thousand Island dressing. Now, watching him get out of the car, she found herself hoping with some desperation (and not for the first time that day) that there was going to be something to celebrate.
He came up the walk, holding his new briefcase in one hand and four texts in the other. She could see the title of the top one—Introduction to Grammar. She put her hands on his shoulder and asked,
‘How did it go?’
And he smiled.
But that night, he had the old dream for the first time in a very long time and woke up sweating, with a scream behind his lips.
His interview had been conducted by the principal of Harold Davis High School and the head of the English Department. The subject of his breakdown had come up.
He had expected it would.
The principal, a bald and cadaverous man named Fenton, had leaned back and looked at the ceiling. Simmons, the English head, lit his pipe.
‘I was under a great deal of pressure at the time,’ Jim Norman said. His fingers wanted to twist about in his lap, but he wouldn’t let them.
‘I think we understand that,’ Fenton said, smiling. ‘And while we have no desire to pry, I’m sure we’d all agree that teaching is a pressure occupation, especially at the high-school level. You’re on-stage five periods out of seven, and you’re playing to the toughest audience in the world. That’s why,’ he finished with some pride, ‘teachers have more ulcers than any other professional group, with the exception of air-traffic controllers.’
Jim said, ‘The pressures involved in my breakdown were extreme.’
Fenton and Simmons nodded noncommittal encouragement, and Simmons clicked his lighter open to rekindle his pipe. Suddenly the office seemed very tight, very close. Jim had the queer sensation that someone had just turned on a heat lamp over the back of his neck. His fingers were twisting in his lap, and he made them stop.
‘I was in my senior year and practice teaching. My mother had died the summer before—cancer—and in my last conversation with her, she asked me to go right on and finish. My brother, my older brother, died when we were both quite young. He had been planning to teach and she thought…’
He could see from their eyes that he was wandering and thought: God, I’m making a botch of this.
If you’re like me, you love a good horror series. Hell, series are cool, period, right? I remember my 1970s collection of The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor! I treasured those 19 or 20 comics. Add the amazing artwork and illustrations that a series often comes with, and they’re great! Throw in a great editor and the really good writers, telling their most frightening stories—and series are fantastic!!
I have been collecting Stephen Jones’ The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror since around 2003 and I finally have them all in either hard copy or digital editions. But having more isn’t always easier! I’m always going: Where did I place that one book with the killer vampire story in it? Or which book was that crazy story about the “sticks” in? you know by Wagner?
Well, now-a-days it’s very easy to look things up and put a quick name to a book to a page number … and find just what you’re looking for. But back in the day? It was a treasure hunt!
But look no further—because here is the ultimate Master List (thank you ISFDB & StephenJoneseditor.com) of Tables of Contents from all 28 anthologies!—and the covers!*—almost three decades of great short horror fiction! “That’s gotta be like forty-eight hundred teeth!”
(*If an edition had more than one cover, I’ve included both below.)
xiii • Introduction: Horror in 1989 • [Horror in … Introductions] • (1990) • essay by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell
1 • Pin • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
8 • The House on Cemetery Street • (1988) • novelette by Cherry Wilder
33 • The Horn • (1989) • novelette by Stephen Gallagher
57 • Breaking Up • (1989) • short story by Alex Quiroba
66 • It Helps If You Sing • (1989) • short story by Ramsey Campbell
75 • Closed Circuit • (1989) • novelette by Laurence Staig
93 • Carnal House • (1989) • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
104 • Twitch Technicolor • (1989) • short story by Kim Newman
115 • Lizaveta • (1988) • novelette by Gregory Frost
144 • Snow Cancellations • (1989) • short story by Donald R. Burleson
154 • Archway • (1989) • novelette by Nicholas Royle
176 • The Strange Design of Master Rignolo • (1989) • short story by Thomas Ligotti
189 • …To Feel Another’s Woe • (1989) • short story by Chet Williamson
205 • The Last Day of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux • (1989) • novelette by Robert Westall
236 • No Sharks in the Med • (1989) • novelette by Brian Lumley
275 • Mort au Monde • (1989) • short story by D. F. Lewis
279 • Blanca • (1989) • novelette by Thomas Tessier
303 • The Eye of the Ayatollah • (1990) • short story by Ian Watson
312 • At First Just Ghostly • [Kane] • (1989) • novella by Karl Edward Wagner
370 • Bad News • (1989) • short story by Richard Laymon
383 • Necrology: 1989 (Best New Horror) • [Necrology (Jones & Newman)] • (1990) • essay by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
xvii • Introduction: Horror in 1990 • [Horror in … Introductions] • essay by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell
1 • The First Time • (1990) • short story by K. W. Jeter
14 • A Short Guide to the City • (1990) • short story by Peter Straub
25 • Stephen • (1990) • novelette by Elizabeth Massie
47 • The Dead Love You • (1989) • short story by Jonathan Carroll
60 • Jane Doe #112 • (1990) • short story by Harlan Ellison
70 • Shock Radio • (1990) • short story by Ray Garton
89 • The Man Who Drew Cats • (1990) • short story by Michael Marshall Smith
105 • The Co-Op • (1990) • short story by Melanie Tem
115 • Negatives • (1990) • short story by Nicholas Royle
126 • The Last Feast of Harlequin • [Cthulhu Mythos] • (1990) • novelette by Thomas Ligotti
159 • 1/72nd Scale • (1990) • novelette by Ian R. MacLeod
185 • Cedar Lane • (1990) • short story by Karl Edward Wagner
194 • At a Window Facing West • (1990) • short story by Kim Antieau
205 • Inside the Walled City • (1990) • novelette by Garry Kilworth
222 • On the Wing • (1990) • short story by Jean-Daniel Brèque
230 • Firebird • (1990) • novelette by J. L. Comeau
252 • Incident on a Rainy Night in Beverly Hills • (1990) • novelette by David J. Schow
272 • His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood • [Cthulhu Mythos] • (1990) • short story by Poppy Z. Brite
Stephen King had a son?
Yes. In fact, King had two sons; and a daughter. Both sons, Joe (see below) and Owen (see: https://owen-king.com/ ) are writers. This post is about Joe Hillstrom King (aka. Joe Hill).
You’ll recognize the family resemblance in the photo below. But, damn, can Joe Hill write a mean ghost story!
The story goes he published this on his own without any influence from Stephen King which is commendable. So for, what, a decade? Joe Hill wrote on faith that his own talent would garner a name for himself.
And you know what? It did.
Hill is the very successful author of the novels The Heart-Shaped Box (scared the @%#* outta me); Horns (made into a great film starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe); a hauntingly clever take on the vampire novel, N0S4A2 (“Nosferatu”); and The Fireman (also made into a feature film).
I’m starting out with this story: “You Will Hear the Locusts Sing” (above photo), partly because I hate locusts. Then, there’s the Bible plague (yuk); and the Exorcist II where James Earl Jones plays that African prince who commands the dreaded things and the camera is on the little locust back of one of them in some ingenious new film technique as it flies across the continent and oceans as the demon Pazuzu!).
I’ve also heard a lot of good things about the story out on the grapevine. I’ll circle back and do a review of the collection! Hope you’ll pick up a copy and join me!
To read is to be.
Interviews & Vids