Tag Archives: Nightmare Carnival

HorrorTalk reviews “Nightmare Carnival”

Nightmare Carnival 27th Sept 2014Steve Pattee of HorrorTalk has posted a review of “Nightmare Carnival”:

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.

Here’s the link to the full review.

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.

It’s still available at Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Tagged , ,

Reviews of Nightmare Carnival Edited by Ellen Datlow

Nightmare Carnival 27th Sept 2014 I’m very proud to be included in this line up, which has had some great reviews. It contains some superb stories, including the much lauded “Skullpocket” by Nathan Ballingrud. The anthology is on Locus 2014 Recommended Reading List , as is “Hibbler’s Minions” by Jeffrey Ford, another story that’s to be found within.

TOC: “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, “Screaming Elk, Mt.” by Laird Barron.

For her anthology Nightmare Carnival, Ellen Datlow has assembled fifteen new stories that explore the horrific possibilities inherent in carnivals and their entertainments. The dark carnival theme has been a staple of weird fiction since the early part of the twentieth century, and over the decades numerous writers have written stories drawn from its most familiar inspirations, notably sideshow performers whose incredible feats border on the uncanny and the grotesque physical horrors of the freak show. Several of the stories in Nightmare Carnival fit this bill, but to Datlow’s credit a number of her selections take the dark carnival theme into provocative new territory…Ballingrud’s tale is a magnificent piece of storytelling. Accompanied by another fourteen estimable acts, it makes admission into Nightmare Carnival well worth the price. Locus review by Stefan Dziemianowicz (March 2015 issue)

Jeffrey Ford’s “Hibbler’s Minions” diminishes the carnival to its smallest possible manifestation: a flea circus. These fleas, however, are not ordinary—nothing presented in Nightmare Carnival is ordinary. They rise from the dust bowls of the 1930s to infect and devour, first animals, then fellow performers. And, if they get their way, all of humanity. Michael R. Collings

Beyond the tent flap—er, cover—of this book, you will encounter the horrifying and extraordinary: a richly deserved performance staged for a bloodthirsty audience; a beautiful fire eater who evokes flames of desire; a man with a particular talent who is chosen for a bizarre presentation; a family who disappears in the wake of a traveling carnival; a fatal sexual obsession; a group of academics who chase the memory of a carnival into the darkness; vicious, anthropomorphic fleas; a singing voice to die for; caged lions that are not what they seem; a delightfully horrific twist on the killer clown trope; a carnival’s association with mass murders in Alaska; and my favorite story of all, Nathan Ballingrud’s “Skullpocket”, a wonderfully warped and brilliant tale that resonates with Bradbury’s darkest “Something Wicked” period. Count Gore

This new collection of dark fantasy and horror is edited by the inestimable Ellen Datlow, editor of scores of genre anthologies and the winner of many, many awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, the Shirley Jackson, and most recently the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Datlow continues to show her impeccable ability for spotting good and chilling stories with Nightmare Carnival…I’ve raved a bit about Priya Sharma before. Her story, “The Anatomist’s Mnemonic,” in Datlow’s most recent Year’s Best Horror was brutal, but very well-written. Her story here, “The Firebrand,” is about a fire act in a circus that ends tragically… and mysteriously. The story revolves around a love triangle, and in some ways it’s just a murder mystery and soap opera rolled into one. But Sharma’s characters and dialogue really suck you in. “The Firebrand” wasn’t exactly horror, but a very intriguing thriller…I highly recommend this anthology for “Skullpocket” alone. James McGlothlin for Black Gate

 Peter Tennant’s Best in Class 2014 for Black Static:

Best Short Story – ‘Skullpocket’ by Nathan Ballingrud. Nathan Ballingrud’s story of the ghoul next door blew me away when I read it in the Datlow edited anthology Nightmare Carnival. It’s beautifully written, blackly comedic and enormous fun, from first word to last, and I simply didn’t want it to end. Other stories that rocked my world in 2014 include Priya Sharma’s ‘The Firebrand’ (also from Nightmare Carnival), ‘The Night Just Got Darker’ by Gary McMahon, ‘Water for Drowning’ by Ray Cluley, ‘This Many’ by S. P. Miskowski, ‘And the Children Followed’ by Richard Hirst, and ‘Little Devils’ by Thana Niveau. There may be others I should mention, but off the top of my head and at this moment right now, those are the ones that come to mind.

Best Anthology – Nightmare Carnival edited by Ellen Datlow. This one was a no-brainer. Ellen Datlow’s carnival themed anthology was streets ahead of any other anthology I read in 2014, with another offering from her, The Cutting Room, the only volume that came close.

The anthology is still available at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble.


Tagged , , , ,

First Review for Nightmare Carnival

Nightmare Carnival 27th Sept 2014It would be possible to highlight any of the stories in Nightmare Carnival, point out excellences in each. Datlow is a first-rank editor, and her choices ring true throughout. Several stories are told from in third-person present-tense (e.g., “She walks away….”), which I normally find distracting and less effective than past-tense narratives…except that here, there are specific reasons for that choice, pay-offs for readers that validate authors’ decisions and Datlow’s selections. And that comes as near as I can to a negative comment on the anthology. In all, it is strong, with fascinating characters, conflicts, and settings; it is intriguing that the term carnival can be made to mean so many things and incorporate to many varieties of horror…including one bona fide werewolf.

If you have a lingering fear of clowns, perhaps stemming back to reading Stephen King’s IT on a dark and cloudy night; if you are not certain why lions can be so intimidating, even locked in their cages; if you wonder what life must be like for those for whom the anonymity of a carnival back lot is the only choice; if, in a word, you suffer from any form of “carnival nightmares,” don’t let this book pass by.

It’s a killer.

Michael R. Collings at Collings Notes.

The full review can be read here.


Tagged , ,

Ellen Datlow Interview

Sean M. Thompson of Adventures in Poor Taste interviews Ellen Datlow about Nightmare Carnival and the process of  editing an anthology.

Tagged ,

Nightmare Carnival edited by Ellen Datlow

Nightmare Carnival is for sale right now in trade paperback but only through the Dark Horse website but will be out in bookstores and as an eBook on 7th October.

I am chuffed to bits that I’ve been included in this collection and that it’s been introduced by Katherine Dunn, the author of the marvellous Geek Love, which I’ve raved about before.

Table of contents:Nightmare Carnival 27th Sept 2014

Preface by Ellen Datlow

Introduction by Katherine Dunn

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
Screaming Elk, Mt by Laird Barron

Tagged , , ,

Katherine Dunn

Geek Love 1I’m excited about “The Firebrand” being included in Ellen Datlow‘s Nightmare Carnival, out later this year, as it Geek Love 3includes wonderful writers like Joel Lane, A.C. Wise,  N. Lee Wood, Nick Mamata, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, Jeffrey Ford, Dennis Danvers, Genevieve Valentine, Stephen Graham Jones, Robert Shearman, Nathan Ballingrud, Livia Llewellyn and Laird Barron.

I was even more excited to hear that Katherine Dunn is writing the introduction. Yes, KATHERINE DUNN.

Her novel, “Geek Love”, widened my eyes and broke my heart. It’s the story of Al and Lil Binewski and their travelling carnival. Lil gobbles pesticides and exposes herself to radiation to birth a brood that includes are Arturo the  flipper boy, Electra and Iphigenia the Siamese Twins, Olympia the hunchbacked albino Geek Love 4dwarf and Fortunato the baby with telekinetic powers.

Geek Love 2It’s a marvellous book about family dynamics and power, of love and otherness. By the last page I wanted to begin it again and go back on the road with the Binewski’s.

There’s a great article on the book on Wired if you’re a fan too- Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes. *Be warned if you’ve not read it as it contains spoilers.*

Tagged , , , ,

Nightmare Carnival

Ellen Datlow has announced the table of contents for Nightmare Carnival, an anthology she’s edited for Dark Horse which will be available later this year.

Scapegoats    N. Lee Woodcover[2]
The Firebrand    Priya Sharma
Work, Hook, Shoot, Rip    Nick Mamatas
And the Carnival Leaves Town    A.C. Wise
Corpse Rose    Terry Dowling
Last of the Fair    Joel Lane
A Small Part in the Pantomime     Glen Hirshberg
Hibbler’s Minions     Jeffrey Ford
Swan Song and Then Some     Dennis Danvers
The Lion Cage     Genevieve Valentine
The Darkest Part     Stephen Graham Jones
The Popping Fields     Robert Shearman
Skullpocket     Nathan Ballingrud
The Mysteries    Livia Llewellyn
Screaming Elk, Mt.    Laird Barron


As ever, I’m indebted to Ellen Datlow, especially for her tireless patience with regards to “The Firebrand”

Tagged , ,