When it comes to anthologies, fewer phrases bring me more joy and anticipation than “Edited by Ellen Datlow”. Because while I freely admit I have not read all of the anthologies she has had a hand in – I’m probably not even close – I can honestly say I have yet to be disappointed in any book she’s edited, and Nightmare Carnival is another that can be added to the win column.
If you haven’t gathered by the title or the cover picture above, Nightmare Carnival is a collection of 15 stories that center on the goings on at what is supposed to be a place of happiness, but we all know there’s something evil that resides just below the carnival’s surface. I mean, come on…clowns for one. The book is more dark fantasy than horror (although the latter does creep in here and there), and while each story is enjoyable in its own right, for the first time in recent memory I can actually pick some standout stories in a Datlow-edited anthology.
It’s an anthology of original stories that I’m very happy to have been a part of.
Content: “Scapegoats” by N. Lee Wood, “The Firebrand” by Priya Sharma, “Work, Hook, Shoot, Rip” by Nick Mamatas, “And the Carnival Leaves Town” by A.C. Wise, “Corpse Rose” by Terry Dowling, “Last of the Fair” by Joel Lane, “A Small Part in the Pantomime” by Glen Hirshberg, “Hibbler’s Minions” by Jeffrey Ford, “Swan Song and Then Some” by Dennis Danvers, “The Lion Cage” by Genevieve Valentine, “The Darkest Part” by Stephen Graham Jones, “The Popping Fields” by Robert Shearman, “Skullpocket” by Nathan Ballingrud, “The Mysteries” by Livia Llewellyn and “Screaming Elk, Mt.” by Laird Barron.