REVIEW : Poe (2009), edited by Ellen Datlow

Strange Horizons have my review of Ellen Datlow’s latest fantasy/horror short fiction anthology Poe.

As might be evident from the increasingly beligerent tone of the review, I did not get on with this book.  The three stories (by Steve Rasnic Tem, Lucius Shepard and John Langan)  that I singled out for praise are genuinely excellent but I found it depressing how many of the other stories misfired or seemed overly familiar.  Looking back at the book now, I suspect that my expectations were shaped by the fact that the only horror short fiction I had read before this anthology were a few bits and pieces in Interzone and collections of stories by Lovecraft, Ligotti and James.  One might argue that, as a result of this, my yardstick was a trifle too long but a) given some of the names associated with the anthology I do not think it is unreasonable to expect fireworks and b) if you’re going to buy a horror anthology I can think of no reason why you’d choose Poe over the recent reprint of Ligotti’s My Work is Not Yet Done (2002).

EDIT 26/02/09 : Evidently my review has generated some discussion over at Ellen Datlow’s Livejournal.