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
‘Virtually unknown during his lifetime, the writer and critic Howard Phillips (H. P.) Lovecraft attracted a huge readership for cult science fiction, fantasy, and Gothic terror. According to the author and critic Joyce Carol OATES, the posthumous publication of his collected stories made the greatest impact on HORROR NARRATIVE since the writings of Edgar Allan POE. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, to a deranged mother and syphilitic father, Lovecraft developed verbal acumen in childhood and retreated into a fictive world of terror and extraterrestrial phantasms inspired by the fantastic Pegana tales of Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany.
Lovecraft created his own mythic cycle popu- lated with MONSTERS such as those that permeate “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928), a murky nether world where titans speak an unknown language. Emphasizing perverse science, NECROMANCY, occultism, LYCANTHROPY, cannibalism, and demonology, he wrote a distinctive brand of horror for the pulp magazines Weird Tales and Astounding Stories. He took the time to admire a peer, poet Walter DE LA MARE, and to lavish encouragement and advice on a field of young, promising Gothic writers, including a contemporary, Clark Ashton Smith, author of “The Hashish-Eater” (1922). Lovecraft was also quick to single out the fakes and flakes, including the American horror writer Robert William Chambers, author of the play The King in Yellow (1895)*, which Lovecraft castigated for its lack of thought.
Like Poe, Lovecraft expressed his debt to ATMOSPHERE. In the critical volume Supernatural Horror in Literature (1945), he extolled the worth of surroundings above plot mechanics as the source of a sensation, a concept introduced by the Gothic master Ann RADCLIFFE in 1794.
As a result of Lovecraft’s control of setting and TONE, he produced unrelentingly pessimistic views of humankind in a world in which evil and savagery prevail, both in reality and nightmares, as found in “The Beast in the Cave” (1905), an early tale in which a tourist in Mammoth Cave kills an albino being resembling a prehistoric human. In a posthumous collection, The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death (1995), his tales of urban dread fuse midnight phantasms with waking horror. In “Azathoth” (1922) and “The Descendent” (1926), his doomed characters cringe before threatening worlds where fearful, whirling phantasms reach beyond land into sky and sea.
In “The Rats in the Wall,” one of the tales collected in The Best of H. P. Lovecraft (1987), the author exploits the oldest human dread, fear of the unknown. His hapless protagonist digs into the tiled floor of Exham Priory to discover a horror—the remains of people who died in a state of panic: “and over all were the marks of rodent gnawing. The skulls denoted nothing short of utter idiocy, cretinism, or primitive semi-apedom” (Lovecraft, The Best, 33).
The revelation suits a prevalent theme in Lovecraft sagas—the degeneracy of a family into crime, immorality, and madness. Underlying this and other nihilist views is Lovecraft’s atheism and the hopelessness for humanity, themes replicated in Fred Chappell’s Dagon (1968) and in the pessimistic urban Gothic of Leonard Lanson Cline’s The Dark Chamber (1927) and John Ramsey Campbell’s To Wake the Dead (1980) and New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1980).’
*This is incorrect. “The King in Yellow” is a short story written by Robert W. Chambers, in which a play by the same name, when read, drives its reader insane. It is one of a very popular, critically lauded, collection of stories. “The [King in Yellow] is named after a play with the same title which recurs as a motif through some of the stories. The first half of the [collection] features highly esteemed weird stories, and the book has been described by esteemed critics such as E. F. Bleiler, S. T. Joshi and T. E. D. Klein as a classic in the field of the supernatural.” I cannot comment on Lovecraft’s opinion of Chambers/his work. See:
Clements, Nicholaus. “Lovecraft’s ‘The Haunter of the Dark,’” Explicator 57, no. 2 (winter 1999): 98–100.
Heller, Terry. The Delights of Terror: An Aesthetics of the Tale of Terror. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.
Lovecraft, H. P. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. New York: Del Rey, 1987.
Oates, Joyce Carol. Telling Stories. New York: W. W. Nor- ton, 1998.
Price, Robert M. “H. P. Lovecraft: Prophet of Human- ism,” Humanist 61, no. 4 (July 2001): 26.
Wohleber, Curt. “The Man Who Can Scare Stephen King,” American Heritage 46, no. 8 (December 1995): 82–90.
(Source: Mary Ellen Snodgrass, The Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature, 2005)