Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SF/F: Crucified Dreams: Tales of Urban Horror edited by Joe R. Lansdale

Though Crucified Dreams (Tachyon) reaches beyond SF/F, the roots in that genre are strong enough for this book that this will be its necessary identification.

Edited by Joe R. Lansdale (Mucho Mojo, Bubba Ho-Tep), contributors to the anthology include Neal Barrett, Jr. (The Karma Corps, The Hereafter Gang); Octavia Butler (Kindred); Harlan Ellison; Charlie Huston (Caught Stealing); Stephen King; David Morrell (First Blood) and several others.

Some of these authors are, like King, strongly associated with horror fiction. Others, like Morrell, have strong thriller and crime fiction connections. For the most part, however, the authors represented here number among the very top SF authors writing today. Combine that with the mandate of being a book of “Tales of Urban Horror” and you’ve got a recipe for a collection of compelling short fiction, even if the writers don’t always stick tightly to their urban horror mandate.

If your tastes run towards darkness, Crucified Dreams is a staunchly worthwhile collection, with threads of noir, paranormal, fantasy and horror running through the 19 stories included here. As one might imagine, some of the stories are darker than others, but the bleakness is unrelenting, unsurprising, considering the calibre and reputations of the players here. ◊

Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area, where he works in the high-tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science-fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.

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