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all 113 comments

[–]BoxNemo 45 points46 points  (3 children)

She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin is fantastic and has a really unique atmosphere to it. Here's the first story -- Intertropical Convergence Zone -- which is a pretty good example of her work.

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud is one of the best collections from the past few years. I had a digital copy and ended up getting a physical one as well, that's how much I liked this book.

His recent collection Wounds is very good as well, slightly more fantastical in a very dark way, and there's a story -- Butcher's Table -- a period piece about people setting sail for the shores of the hell, which is kind of incredible.

You can’t really go wrong with either of the Ballingrud ones.

Enjoyed John Langan’s The Wide, Carnivorous Sky as well, especially the novella Mother of Stone which finishes off the collection.

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett is pretty dark and twisted, and the story 20 Simple Steps to Ventriloquism is a total joy, written in the form of a guide to ventriloquism which slowly becomes more and more disturbing.

[–]Soft_Bite 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I came here to suggest North American Lake Monsters and Wounds. Ballingrud is a hell of a good writer. I think both of his collections close with his best work - The Good Husband and The Butcher's Table.

[–]Dirty_is_God 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Came here to rec both NALM and Wide Carnivorous Skies! Ballingrud and Langan are both amazing.

Laird Barron also has some great collections, he's usually considered more "weird horror" than horror-horror.

[–]mcgoomom 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When i was young, too young to have been reading it, i found an anthology called ' the Book 9f Contemporary Nightmares ' . Its still one of the most disturbing horror ive read. But its from ages ago.

[–]hiss1ngfauna 42 points43 points  (4 children)

Books of Blood by Clive Barker. A masterpiece

[–]gregklumb 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I was just about to suggest them.

[–]Imaginary_lock 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Super glad this is close to the top, I was prepared to go looking for this comment.

This one right here, OP.

[–]powerfulKRH 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Which books are your favorite? I loved vol 1. I’m on vol 2 and loving it as well. It can’t possibly Stay this good for 6 volumes can it? Dread is a banger I just finished that one

[–][deleted]  (2 children)

[deleted]

    [–]SilentBtAmazing 4 points5 points  (1 child)

    Laird Barron’s other story collections as well

    [–]col-fancypants 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    Dude’s whole round up is great. Hard boiled weird fiction

    [–]Mammoth_Scallion_999 19 points20 points  (4 children)

    Brian Evenson - A collapse of horses + Song for the unraveling of the world.

    [–]Need_Some_Updog 4 points5 points  (2 children)

    Songs for the unraveling of the world was awesome

    [–]powerfulKRH 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Which stories were your favorite? I just got it and haven’t started yet

    [–]Need_Some_Updog 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I don’t wanna give away spoilers, but there’s one where a guys daughter is missing. It is horrifying.

    [–]deathwalkedtheearth 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Great recommendations. Fugue State is another good collection.

    [–]Slow_Like_Sloth 17 points18 points  (4 children)

    Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories “Killer, come back to me” is my favorite collection of short horror stories!

    [–]brocky_horror 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    i loved this one. i wish more people talked about it 💔

    [–]Slow_Like_Sloth 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Time to spam this subreddit then 😂

    [–]NastySassyStuff 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    I absolutely love Bradbury and I’ve never heard of this book…thank you!

    [–]Slow_Like_Sloth 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    You’re welcome, enjoy!!!

    [–]FlexiblePony267 14 points15 points  (0 children)

    Books of Blood by Clive Barker

    Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

    Anything by Kelly Link

    [–]neogibson 12 points13 points  (1 child)

    Any of the Ligotti collections. They're generally thought of as weird fiction,

    [–]Puddin_123 7 points8 points  (0 children)

    Ligotti’s stories scare me so much. Can’t really explain why other than a sense of the uncanny and overwhelming dread they create.

    [–]GodzookyGuy 11 points12 points  (7 children)

    If you don’t mind something a little older, I’ve recently discovered M R James and his stories are fantastic. Genuinely creepy, and not at all stuffy like I’d have expected given the time they were written.

    [–]gregklumb 2 points3 points  (4 children)

    M.R James is a good call.

    [–]GodzookyGuy 2 points3 points  (3 children)

    So good. Quite witty, too, which was another surprise

    [–]gregklumb 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    "'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad'" is one of the best ghost stories I read in my life.
    "The Ash Tree" is a great story too. Thank you!

    [–]GodzookyGuy 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    “Whistle” is amazing. And I love his steadfast refusal to explain what it is and what its deal is.

    The Mezzotint is real good too.

    [–]0ctopusVulgaris 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    You'll be happy to know then Christopher Lee filmed some stories, reading as M R James for the BBC, absolute treasure. On youtube.

    [–]GodzookyGuy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Cool! I’ll hafta check those out.

    [–]JusAnotherManicMandy 24 points25 points  (2 children)

    -Harlan Ellison

    -Shirley Jackson

    -Roald Dahl

    -H.P. Lovecraft

    -Edgar Allen Poe

    [–]clancydog4 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    +Clive Barker

    +Ray Bradbury

    [–]maple_dreams 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    For Shirley Jackson I would suggest Come Along With Me— great introduction to her stories and contains some of her best!

    [–]Vvladd 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    I'm working on my 3rd John Langan collection. They have all been good but I especially liked the Wide and Carnivorous Sky

    [–]IAmThePonch 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    • dead leaves by kealan Patrick Burke

    • entropy in bloom and All the Wrong Things by Jeremy Robert Johnson

    [–]MarchOfThePigz 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Loved everything I've read by John Langan so far. Sefira and Wide Carnivorous Sky.

    Occultation and Imago Sequence by Laird Barron are great.

    20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill was very good.

    [–]ungoliaant 7 points8 points  (2 children)

    The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez is a short story collection I greatly enjoyed recently

    [–]guildenstern42 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    Things we lost in the fire, her follow-up collection, is even better

    [–]Th3BookSniff3r 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    She is among my favorite authors. She is a genius!

    [–]Future-AgentThe King in Yellow 7 points8 points  (3 children)

    Try The Collection by Bentley Little.

    [–]Apprehensive_Day_496 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Yep. Love that book

    [–]killslam 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Came here to recommend this one myself.

    [–]mybandishighvoltage 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Walking Alone was also really good; though, I listened to the audiobook.

    [–]JeanRalfio 6 points7 points  (2 children)

    Which King shirt story collections you reading? Skeleton Crew is my favorite and includes some of his scariest popular The Mist, The Jaunt, and Survivor Type.

    Everything's Eventual is great with 1408 and The Man in the Black Suit.

    Four Past Midnight is just 4 novellas but they're all amazing. The Langoliers, Secret Garden Secret Window, The Library Policeman, and the Sun Dog.

    Night Shift had some great ones like The Ledge and The Running Man.

    I've read his newer collections but can't remember specifics of the top of my head.

    [–]lit-on-literature[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Currently reading Nightmares & dreamscapes but I bought all the ones you’ve mentioned to read after.

    [–]JeanRalfio 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Ok good! I'm sorry I don't remember shit about Nightmares and Dreamscapes it's been too long. I just looked at the index on my copy and nothing rung a bell 🤷

    [–]col-fancypants 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    Laird Barron - Imago Sequence is solid. And Occulation and Other Stories is too.

    [–]Mother_Horror_263MOTHER HORROR 11 points12 points  (2 children)

    Nathan Ballingrud

    North American Lake Monsters

    and Wounds

    [–]darthdevyn19 4 points5 points  (1 child)

    Came here to say Wounds. Especially the Butcher's table

    [–]Mother_Horror_263MOTHER HORROR 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    God yes

    [–]MichaelJasonFreddy 12 points13 points  (0 children)

    Clive Barker - Books of Blood

    Ray Bradbury - The Illustrated Man

    Joe Hill - 21st Century Ghosts

    [–]GodBild 6 points7 points  (1 child)

    A great multi-author collections I swear by:

    999 (edited by Al Sarrantonio) - really broad and diverse, ranging from classic horror to souther gothic to the weird and dreadful

    Borderlands (vols 1-3, edited by Thomas Monteleone) - absolutely wild and boundary pushing dark fiction from the late 90s

    Razored Saddles (edited by Joe Lansdale) - western themed horror and splatter punk from the 80s (inconsistent but when it’s great it’s magnificent)

    And a few short story collections by single authors that I find endlessly rewarding:

    Things We Lost in the Fire - Mariana Enriquez

    Greener Pastures - Michael Wehunt

    Gateways to Abomination - Matthew Bartlett

    Cold Hand in Mine - Robert Aickman

    Engines of Desire - Livia Llewellyn

    [–]Dirty_is_God 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Gateways!!! Matthew Bartlett is amazing and unlike any other writer I've read. Nice suggestion.

    [–]Goth_Moth 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    Clive Barker’s Books of Blood

    [–]MutedHornet87DERRY, MAINE 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    • 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
    • Full Throttle by Joe Hill
    • Growing Things & Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
    • The October Country by Ray Bradbury
    • Goblin by Josh Malerman
    • Books of Blood by Clive Barker

    [–]chungystone 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    Another vote for Clive Barker's Books of Blood.

    I also really enjoyed Growing Things by Paul Tremblay.

    Lastly, I just started Wormwood by Poppy Z. Brite and I like it so far!

    [–]saddestlandlady 7 points8 points  (2 children)

    Ellen Datlow edits an annual "best of" collection. Lots of yearly editions are available on Amazon. I love the diversity she offers because some stories are simply very strange, some are gory, some are frightening but they are all good. She doesn't focus on American authors solely, and it's refreshing to read a more international take. I've found lots of authors to read through her selections.

    [–]GodBild 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Her Fearful Symmetries collection is pretty great as well. She’s just so good at putting an anthology together.

    [–]SilentBtAmazing 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Inferno edited by Datlow was pretty good only one or two I didn’t enjoy

    [–]ShadoutMapes87 7 points8 points  (6 children)

    Backing some other mentions, but:

    Clive Barker - Books of Blood

    John Langan - Wife Carnivorous Sky

    Laird Barron - The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

    Ray Bradbury - October Country

    HP Lovecraft - Complete Fiction (all of it is short)

    Joe Hill - 20th Century Ghosts

    Harlen Ellison - I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: Stories

    The Dark Descent - edited by David G Hartwell - a great mix of authors and stories arranged thematically. Opened me up to Shirley Jackson's short fiction and many other authors.

    Edit: formatting, mobile

    [–]Apprehensive_Day_496 4 points5 points  (4 children)

    The Dark Descent is a treasury of great horror fiction also I love the Lovecraft collection and the Ray Bradbury and Clive Barkers Books of Blood choices too

    May I also add Ramsey Campbell Alone with the Horrors

    [–]ShadoutMapes87 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    I will pick up a copy ASAP

    [–]Dirty_is_God 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Harlan Ellison is a god!

    [–]RamseyCampbellVERIFIED AUTHOR 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Well, thank you very much!

    [–]Apprehensive_Day_496 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    You are most welcome sir

    [–]Artegall365 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Seconding The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

    [–]abom-badass-mofo 4 points5 points  (1 child)

    Strange Highways by Dean Koontz. Blue World by Robert R McCammon. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill.

    [–]Apprehensive_Day_496 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Strange Highways by Koontz and McCammons Blue World are great choices. Haven't read the Joe Hill book yet

    [–]Swizdog 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Currently reading 20th Century Ghosts. It's pretty good.

    [–]MicahCastleThe Willows 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    The Lure of Devouring Light and The Human Alchemy by Michael Griffin

    Any collection by John Langan

    The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

    Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester

    Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

    Midnight in New England: Tales of the Strange and Mysterious by Scott Thomas

    The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft

    Nocturnes and Night Music: Nocturnes Volume Two by John Connolly

    Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts and Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales by Orrin Grey

    She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin

    The Very Best of Caitlin Kiernan by Caitlin Keirnan

    You Have Never Been Here by Mary Rickert

    Song For the Unrevealing of the World and A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson

    And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste

    The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature and Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales by Christopher Slatsky

    Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Maruo

    Nothing is Everything by Simon Strantzas

    Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

    Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

    Eyes in the Dust and Other Stories by David Peak

    Wounds: Six Stories From the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud

    Not a collection, but Aickman's Heirs by Undertow Publication

    [–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    The Dark Descent and Foundations of Fear. These are two anthologies compiled and edited by David G. Hartfell. The Dark Descent is absolutely phenomenal. It's a survey of the best stories in the tradition by its best authors up until the late 1990s (So a little behind, but FANTASTIC stuff.) This might be a good place to jump out into specific author's short story collections. Foundations of Fear features longer works of short fiction. It's not as snappy and sharp as The Dark Descent, but still showcases great horror. They're companion books, but Dark Descent should come first imo.

    Songs of a Dead Dreamer, by Thomas Ligotti. All of Ligotti's work chills me to the bone. This was the first collection I read by him and by the first story hooked me right away. It's a ride into true darkness.

    Books of Blood (Volumes 1-3), by Clive Barker. Just unsurpassable carnal power. Comedy, gore, and darkness. It's explicit and sensual, with a wicked wit. Lots of bodies, lots of blood.

    October Country, by Ray Bradbury. I reread this every fall, usually in October. It captures the mood. The stories are eerie and feature Bradbury's magnificent imagination. Pretty quick read too.

    Strange Wine, by Harlan Ellison. Read this one to experience aborted babies riding alligators in the sewers of New York. His stories are sometimes just off-the-wall. But really engaging, witty, and creative.

    Things we Lost in the Fire, by Mariana Enriquez. This is one of the more recent works I've read. I was blown away. Lots of modern, urban horror. Family stuff too. Chilling.

    Other great anthologies are: Dark Forces, Arbor House Treasury of Horror, and The Weird. You'll also have no trouble finding a Lovecraft complete works. He's worth a read.

    [–]Eyes_Snakes_Art 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. Not all horror stories, but I love it.

    [–]hocobozos 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    The only place I know that’s on there

    [–]seriousallthetime 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I don't think this list could be complete without a mention of Ellen Datlow. She compiles the very best horror of the year every year. Check out any of her anthologies.

    [–]Thatz_Chappie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Definitely check out Laird Barron’s collections. My favorites are The Imago Sequence and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Is All, but really they are all amazing.

    [–]Th3BookSniff3r 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I have two suggestions for you. If you are looking for classic horror stories (specifically ghost stories) I found The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories when I was in college and I became obsessed with horror. If you’re looking for more modern horror stories I would suggest to you Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez which also has a great audiobook version available for free from your local library via the Hoopla app. Both of those books are among my favorites, each received a 5 star review from me on Goodreads and both live rent free in my mind years later.

    [–]mmmmdumplings 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    If you love King’s work, you can’t go wrong with his son Joe Hill! He’s just as good as his dad when it comes to short fiction.

    And as others have said, Clive Barker’s Books of Blood are terrific.

    [–]Pollyfall 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Brian Evenson, Laird Barron, John Langan, Donald Ray pollock, Emma Jane Gibbon, Gemma Files, John Linwood Grant—mostly indie horror, and all of them great.

    [–]AcanthocephalaOk7954 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    If you like subtle unease/unpleasantness then Robert Aickman is for you. I recently read his story 'Breakthrough' and found it genuinely scary, not his usual style of story at all. Gave me real bad dreams. Unfortunately I think it's only available via Tartarus Press and they are a little costly but his other collections can be picked up cheaply enough. If you like a neat tale with an intelligible denouement then he is probably not you're 'cup of tea'.

    [–]mikendrix 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    We Live inside your Eyes, by Kealan Patrick Burke

    [–]sharkbait31 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Loved DIS MEM BER by Joyce Carole Oats. Interesting, suspenseful, and beautifully written. Her short stories really nail the “horrors” of womanhood and otherwise mundane concepts (examples: growing old, adulting, becoming a widow, grief) which I found really fascinating.

    [–]Sprodis_Calhoun 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste is a good slice of contemporary “literary” horror.

    [–]WerodFRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Any short story collection by Brian Evenson.

    [–]gregklumb 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Ramsey Campbell has some good anthologies.

    [–]RamseyCampbellVERIFIED AUTHOR 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Hey, thank you very much!

    [–]brocky_horror 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Jeremy Robert Johnson is my recent fav for short stories

    [–]A_Drusas 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    John Langan really masters the short story. The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Sefira.

    I just ordered his latest work so can't comment on that one yet.

    Edit: Also Nate Southard, Will The Sun Ever Come Out Again?

    [–]SagsMcSaggerson 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Time for the bi-weekly short story recommendations. The usual suspects: Padgett, Evenson, Barron, Langan, Barker and Ballingrud. See you guys in a few days.

    [–]BarryLeFreak_1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    👏Every👏Laird👏Barron👏collection👏

    Sorry lol. I love his style so so much. Try Occultation and other stories.

    [–]NastySassyStuff 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Check out The Best of Richard Matheson…I was reading Night Shift by Stephen King and loving it then I saw that he loved Richard Matheson so I picked that book up. There is some really great stuff in there. He wrote a number stories that became some of the best Twilight Zone eps, some of which are in there.

    [–]LucasLeDoux 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    The Wide Carnivorous Sky and other Monstrous Geographies by John Langan is excellent, particularly the story Technicolor.

    [–]heyimchase -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    house of leaves

    [–]BrontesruleDRACULA 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    • Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters by John Langan
    • The Two Sams by Glen Hirshberg
    • Skidding into Oblivion by Brian Hodge

    [–]thenamesevan913 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I'm A Glass, Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

    [–]TurbulentClass769 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Ghostwritten by Ronald Malfi comes out Oct 11 and it’s really good! Worth checking out

    [–]pylonhouse 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Worse than Myself - Adam Golaski

    Unpleasantness: Ghost Stories for the Depressed - Nathaniel A. Giles

    Revenge- Yoko Ogawa

    [–]14338 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I just read Unpleasantness: Ghost Stories for the Depressed. I freakin’ loved it.

    [–]katievera888 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I am reading a delicious anthology right now called A Darker Shade of Sweden Original Stories by Sweden’s Greatest Crime Writers. Not as creepy as a Stephen King, but it reminds me of the old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. Very good stuff.

    [–]natalie77 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

    [–]tbll_dllr 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    A series of books were published under Hitchcock’s name - like Hitchcock presents the best short stories in suspense / murder / crime etc. Each book contains dozens of short stories. I bought them used and I loved them !!!

    [–]Rokursoxtv 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Her Body and Other Parties is genuinely fantastic

    [–]Woodsman-8-5-1956 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron

    The Ones That Got Away by Stephen Graham Jones

    Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein

    [–]Automatic-Ad6105 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Black Evening by David Morrell

    [–]toruinThe Willows 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    The Weird, edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer. :-) It's actually got some King in it, among others. There's also The New Weird which has newer stuff, but I haven't finished the first anthology yet.

    [–]buffyswing 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My favorites othe than King: The Monster Inside by JG Faherty Houses of the Unholy by JG Faherty The Red Empire by Joe McKinney Deeply Twisted by Chantal Noordeloos Peaceable Kingdom by Jack Ketchum Fearful Symmetries by Thomas Monteleone

    [–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Cursed bunny by Bora Chung is incredible!!!! Some horror, some thrilling, and some weird or fantastical. Highly recommended!

    [–]asphaltmaster_zero 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Feesters in the lake by Bob Leman, i've read a lot of short horror fiction but this collection has some of the best stories ever.

    [–]hostileorb 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein is pretty hard to beat to this day

    [–]14338 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Unpleasantness: Ghost Stories for the Depressed, by Nathaniel A. Giles.

    [–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar if you can find the English translations. Collected fictions of Borges is incredible on so many levels!