This never happens: I buy an anthology because of a short story that is on a preliminary awards list and that story disappears from the final list of nominees and I still love the anthology and am glad I bought it. But that’s exactly what happened with Nightscript II: An Anthology of Strange and Darksome Tales, edited by C.M. Muller.
I took a chance on it because “Reasons I Hate my Big Sister” by Gwendolyn Kiste was on the long list for the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. The story is quite good but somehow got eliminated from the final list of nominees. For weeks the anthology was my bedtime reading, and I hopped and skipped all over it, appreciating every single story for the quality of the writing even if the theme or resolution didn’t totally grab me.
- “The Carnival Arrives in Darkness” by Michael Griffin–very unique approach to the subject matter. More sweet than weird.
- “The Inveterate Establishment of Daddano & Co.” by Eric J. Guignard–interesting narrator with a great voice.
- “Nearness” by Ralph Robert Moore–the most intimately horrifying story in the whole anthology.
- “No Abiding Place on Earth” by Matthew M. Bartlett–most frightening creatures and great description.
- “Pause for Laughter” by José Cruz–truly an existential tale of a future. Touching in a weird way, which is hard to fathom, considering it’s told by a machete-wielding clown.
This is an anthology you should not ignore. I liked it so much I’m going to ask Muller if he’ll do a little Q&A here. And I’m going to get Nightscript I soon. Nightscript III will be out in October.
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