Years Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2

Years Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2 Acclaimed Author Kathe Koja Brings Her Expert Eye And Editorial Sense To The Second Volume Of The Year S Best Weird Fiction Contributing Authors Include Julio Cortazar, Jean Muno, Karen Joy Fowler, Caitlin R Kiernan, Nick Mamatas, Carmen Maria Machado, Nathan Ballingrud, And No Longer The Purview Of Esoteric Readers, Weird Fiction Is Enjoying Wide Popularity Chiefly Derived From Early Th Century Pulp Fiction, Its Remit Includes Ghost Stories, The Strange And Macabre, The Supernatural, Fantasy, Myth, Philosophical Ontology, Ambiguity, And A Healthy Helping Of The Outre At Its Best, Weird Fiction Is An Intersecting Of Themes And Ideas That Explore And Subvert The Laws Of Nature It Is Not Confined To One Genre, But Is The Most Diverse And Welcoming Of All Genres

Kathe Koja is a writer, director and independent producer Her work combines and plays with genres, from YA to contemporary to historical to horror Her novels including THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, and the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance She creates immersive fiction with a rotating ensemble of video artists, dancers

❰Reading❯ ➶ Years Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2  Author Kathe Koja –
  • Kindle Edition
  • 279 pages
  • Years Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2
  • Kathe Koja
  • English
  • 26 March 2019

10 thoughts on “Years Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2

  1. says:

    This is simply an amazing collection of last year s best weird fiction The stories are all somewhere in between urban fantasy and horror, written by talent such as Caitl n R Kiernan, Nathan Ballingrud, and Carmen Maria Machado, the last of which I had never heard of before but am now desperately scrambling to get my hands on everything she s written I love discovering new writers in anthologies, it s part of what I love about them Year s Best Weird Fiction V2 is gorgeous inside and out and clearly Michael Kelly and Kathe Koja have an keen eye for talent Highlights for me include Carmen Maria Machado s The Husband Stitch, which is a bit, erm, racy, Caitl n Kiernan s Bus Fare and Rich Larson s The Air We Breathe is Stormy, Stormy Johann Thorssonfrom The Best Books We Read In February

  2. says:

    Moving from the first volume, curated by Laird Barron, to this one, overseen by Kathe Koja, I find that, for the most part, the tendencies I set forth for the fuzzy set of weird fiction mostly hold true This is good because I definitely don t have it in me to try anything like that again Part of this, I have to admit, is me being a contrarian sick of the explosion of listicles and think pieces and articles on weird fiction these days, which possibly hit rock bottom with this article, which somehow recapitulates the standard tactic of pointing to weird fiction as the genre that transcends genre without ever using the word weird, in favor of the bland to the point of meaninglessness the new fantastic evinced by the ways in which something deviates from a normativity Anyway.Where Barron s selections last year tended to align with my suspicion that weird fiction is just a specific subset of horror, Koja s choices tend toward dark fantasy with a whimsical sensibility Link than Ligotti, let s say This difference in approach is apparent even from their introductions Barron references Blackwood s The Willows, while Koja s touchstone is the quirky town Riddle from the sort of Bob Dylan biopic I m Not Here Koja s selections, too, are less likely to riff on classics of the genre, concerning themselves instead with folktales kappa than Cthulhu I ll stop The main difference from my schema from the first volume look, I m doing exactly what I said I wasn t going to do is the lack of what we might call a pessimistic epistemological shift these stories tend to be concerned with relationships and the personal insular and conversing with monsters They re all still tonally dark, though, focus on some sort of liminal intrusion, and tend toward a knowledge ignorance binary rather than a good evil binary.This last was the most striking theme of the collection to me, linking it closely with VanderMeer s Southern Reach Area X books I assume most of these stories were written being written before that trilogy was published, making this a similarity in zeitgeist rather than aping the commercial success of those books, although it will be interesting to see how this plays out in next year s stories A meme, before the word became a meaningless bit of internet ephemera, was an idea or custom that spread from person to person in a viral manner a concept introduced by Richard Dawkins , and both VanderMeer and some of the stories here especially Ballingrud and Carroll are concerned with exploring the possible horrific implications of this idea I have to assume said zeitgeist has to do with the post modern information economy, perhaps especially as that relationship parallels that of Lovecraft et al s with the emerging industrial economy maybe we could even ruminate on the spread of the weird renaissance as a real life application of memes and dangerous knowledge, eh It bears pointing out that most of these stories are by women good for Koja and Kelly for putting together a genre anthology that just happened to work out that way without it being explicitly designed as such This crop of authors is also an impressive assortment of up and comers, many of whom I had never even heard of before, and with only one recurring from Barron s volume It seems that the system of rotating guest editors will keep this series from becoming stale or predictable as will the impossibility of strictly defining weird fiction for that matter This, like Volume One, is an excellent collection of stories, whether or not you buy the idea that weird fiction is a genre or field in and of itself.A small quibble there s a certain modern aesthetic sensibility particularly prevalent with online publications and which I tend, possibly unfairly, to associate with workshopped fiction an over reliance on metaphor, a love of single sentence opening closing paragraphs, the omission of certain articles and connectors that a lot of these stories are guilty of, but clearly I am in the minority in finding it irksome at times The Atlas of Hell by Nathan BallingrudNoirish horror set in New Orleans with a seemingly standard weird fiction protagonist seduced by old books how could I not love this one The underworld of crime intersects with the underworld of Hell when a mobster wants to steal the titular artifact from a small time crook operating out of the swamps Things get gory, and the unknowable cosmic horror of Hell is excellently conveyed Shares with the Southern Reach trilogy not only the marshy, Southern American setting, but also a concern with language knowledge as a vector of awful change Maybe language is over It s the language that hurts Feints in the direction of Etchison s The Late Shift at one point, which I appreciated I ve had a copy of North American Lake Monsters on my shelf for ages, and this story makes me feel shameful about not having read it yet Wendigo Nights by Siobhan Carroll The Wendigo, a personification of cannibalism and the frigid north which originally haunted tribes of the Algonquian, has a long pedigree in weird fiction In Algernon Blackwood s The Wendigo it was an unseen monster that kidnapped and impersonated its victims, while Alvin Schwartz s retelling left the creature itself offstage and replaced the impersonation with a pile of ash Norman Partridge s The Hollow Man centered on the monster as some sort of reptilian beast that physically possessed its victim, and now Carroll has moved past a separate monster at all into the meme of wendigo psychosis a real thing introduced by means of a mysterious cylinder dug up by an Arctic research team For all of them, the wendigo is a stand in for the dread of nature, and it s noteworthy that nature is also mostly kept off stage here, with the ambiguously gendered protagonist s diary entries titled by number of days since the station lost contact with the outside world, and presented achronologically all taking place within the walls of the station itself Carroll also folds in inspiration from Who Goes There 1938, which became The Thing 1951 , and then The Thing 1982 , and then The Thing 2011 A variety of possible explanations are proffered for the cylinder, but it doesn t really matter where it came from, does it Headache by Julio Cort zarI m conflicted about the idea of using the year of translation as a basis for inclusion placement in anthologies as opposed to year of initial publication, but c est la vie I m also surprised there was fiction of Cortazar s yet to be translated into English This is a story of mancuspias, some sort of bird mammal creature, and their caretakers, and I finished it absolutely certain that mancuspias were an entry in Borges Book of Imaginary Beings, but apparently they were not Now I m not sure where I would have heard of mancuspias prior to this and find myself in my own real life meta weird story.Written in first person plural from the point of view of the caretakers, whose increasing headaches and sense of vertigo mirror the health of their flock herd and their increasingly precarious standing as commercial farmers it doesn t get much topical than precarity, I have to admit The vertigo, indeed, is literalized in the bizarre spinning about of the mancuspias Throughout, a kind of agitated unease continually bubbles beneath the surface Loving Armageddon by Amanda C DavisA very short story about a woman who loves a man with a hand grenade heart and the danger she faces when he could blow up at any time Again, a variety of possible explanations are offered and discarded, which is a common tactic in modern weird stories, but here the very multiplicity of the stories is what comforts the narrator Carroll s All it needed was our stories gives way to Whichever story she needs right now, so she can love him The Earth and Everything Under by K.M FerebeeBirds begin to erupt from the ground, carrying within them letters written to our protagonist, a hedge witch, by her husband, who was executed for being a hedge witch He, in some sort of underworld afterlife, becomes increasingly feral wolf like, while she makes her peace with his passing and grows closer to the local sheriff this growing closer being conveyed in an excellently understated way by Ferebee , eventually removing the spells on her house which had been placed to keep out what needed keeping out, and keep in what needed keeping in Mentions Woodbine, which is a real town in Georgia, but possibly also a Davis Grubb reference This could easily have been unbearably twee, but it worked for me Nanny Anne and the Christmas Story by Karen Joy FowlerA common trick for weird fiction horror is to end a story with an unresolved conflicting interpretation between the supernatural and mental illness let s call this the Oliver Onions trick we know Elsie is dead, but why Less common probably because it s much difficult to pull off is the de la Mare Aickman tactic where the lack of resolution is compounded by the reader s confusion about what it is that did or did not perhaps happen This is an example of the latter, and an excellent one at that A pair of binary opposite twins are left by their academic parents with a babysitter, who may or may not be taking the place of their mother, and at the twins insistence tells them the story of a changeling complete with magic cradle and a debt with unforeseen consequences which may or may not have something to do with the two of them The Girls Who Go Below by Cat HellisenAs a counterpoint to Nanny Anne, an example of the first type, but it s subtle about it Another sister binary, this time with a few years between them I took the younger for 12 at first and was not really convinced when she was revealed to be 16 , vacation with their aunt in South Africa Things are safe, and therefore boring, until a neighboring boy from a family rud to have fairy blood comes between the two, at which point things get messy I liked this one on a structural narrative level because I enjoy narrators who don t beat you over the head with their possible unreliability and appreciated the musical themes, but the prose crossed the line for me a few too many times ie We kiss until I learn what a heart tastes like Nine by Kima JonesAt the Star Motel because the North Star Motel would be too obvious to white folks in Phoenix, three women cater to African Americans partaking in the Great Migration One of them, Tanner, another protagonist with an ambiguous gender presentation, has been confined there by the juju of an old lover, and the others have fallen into the same trap The witch sends her sons one by one to try to bring Tanner back, and the story is concerned with the death of the ninth and final of them The idea of human calculus and trade haunts this story, but Jones also touches on gender and sexuality and motherhood, and that most integral of horror themes, the weight of the past on the present Bus Fare by Caitl n R KiernanAn entry in Kiernan s long running series starring Dancy Flammarion, albino monster hunter, who here encounters a werewolf at a bus stop in the South and engages her in a battle of riddles Old fashioned and pretty straightforward a good story, but I prefer Kiernan in her devious shifty mode The Air We Breathe Is Stormy, Stormy by Rich LarsonA roughneck seeking to escape his pregnant girlfriend and abusive father finds refuge in the lonely world of an offshore oil rig thematically, we re concerned here with why people choose to live in darkness and murk One night he finds a mysterious woman in the water, and we start to do that suggest and discard possible explanations thing mermaid no selkie no wait, yes but that ends pretty quickly and the story takes a hard left turn into a surprisingly sentimental conclusion The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria MachadoA mature in every sense of the word and deeply feminist retelling of the folktale of the woman with a ribbon scarf tied around her neck, which stems from Washington Irving s The Adventure of the German Student I had assumed for no real reason that the folktale preceded the Irving, Machado told me otherwise, and I defer to her Here, it is just a sad fact of life that women have ribbons tied about their person, and men needle them about it The narrative covers most of our protagonist s life, and is interspersed with blackly humorous asides both instructions for reading the story aloud and other Alvin Schwarz by way of Angela Carter folktales about women The antagonist if that s even the right word to use isn t so much malicious as he is banally inconsiderate, and watching their son follow in his footsteps is fantastically depressing Like Loving Armageddon, a story about the dangers and difficulties of women in a patriarchal society as they deal with the men who love them even as they push and pull them apart Observations About Eggs From the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa by Carmen Maria Machado As promised, one sided dialogue from a man on a plane whose liminal apocalyptic unveiling of the world takes place through a variety of human interactions with mostly chicken but occasionally dragon eggs Particularly Link esque and full of excellent lines and thoughts, but lacking the emotional punch of The Husband Stitch Resurrection Points by Usman T Malik Religious strife in Karachi erupts around a young man who is coming into his own as a kind of Gramscian organic intellectual who uses a biocurrent to heal the afflictions of poor locals The city, like the diabetic limbs of his patients, is rotting and festering, and parallels are drawn between him and the Prophet Isa Jesus Someone once told me dust has no religion Exit Through the Gift Shop by Nick MamatasThe tourism economy takes hold in Lovecraft country Rehoboth, Massachusetts , centered on the local myth of a phantom hitchhiker Told in second person from the POV of the cosmic horror itself, a risky tactic that pays off handsomely here Perhaps, in some ways, a rural New England take on Fritz Leiber s megapolisomancy So Sharp That Blood Must Flow by Sunny Moraine A nightmarish reenvisioning of the end of The Little Mermaid This was not her ending And she sees no reason why she should take it gracefully I m sure I would have appreciated it even if I was familiar with the source material, but this was dark and morbid and lyrical in a way that spoke to me nonetheless The Ghoul by Jean MunoAlso nightmarish and oceanic, but in an entirely different way Our narrator, introduced as just a witness and then essentially forgotten about for the rest of the story, follows a man on a beach that most liminal of environments, locus of the rapture of borders who follows a cry for help from a woman in a wheelchair who is also the titular monster this echoes a similar encounter he had with the woman decades ago This time, she leads him to the avian Fates, who tear him to pieces Perhaps a vision of a pseudo Sisyphean kind of Hell, although that might be too reductionist a reading A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide by Sarah Pinsker A farmer in Saskatchewan gets set up with a cybernetic arm after losing his in a combine accident While his parents also farmers are progressive technologists, he is of an atavist He begins feeling sure that his arm wants to be knows it is a road in Colorado until he has to get a new brain chip because of an infection Weird novum as the yearning for belonging being elsewhere Migration by Karin Tidbeck William F Temple s Forget Me Not 1950 is a neglected classic of weird ish science fiction, a cold open into a confusing and alienating Gnostic universe in the form of an underground complex , all of the broad strokes of which are echoed here Where Temple trips himself up by conforming to mid century generic expectations in the form of the reveal explanation even as it was an understated one for the time and especially the need for an Empowered Individual protagonist, Tidbeck sustains a surreal, beautifully mysterious atmosphere full of unsettling and uncanny details I sometimes try to resist my natural tendency to catalogue similarities to other works in these reviews, but this kind of uncertain spatial weirdness resonates with some of my favorites Michel Bernanos s The Other Side of the Mountain , Gene Wolfe s Forlesen, and Steve Rasnic Tem s similarly circular At the Bureau Hidden in the Alphabet by Charles WilkinsonIn Algeria, perhaps, a man known only the Auteur lives years after his prime as an arthouse director disintegrated into pornography this began, we learn through bits and dribbles of inferences and vagaries, with a pseudo incestuous film about his son and niece whose POV alternates with the Auteur s made when they were adolescents, and which prompted them into an actual incestuous relationship, perhaps, for which they are now seeking revenge, perhaps there s also an aside about the Auteur slamming his son s hand in a door, and also that the son has faked his own death Vengeful dissolution here echoes The Ghoul, but I never thought this one cohered enough to justify what plot there was A Cup of Salt Tears by Isabel YapA Japanese woman with a dying husband encounters, in a bathhouse, a kappa who once saved her when she was a child and has now returned for her love Men as monsters again And don t let them touch you, darling I am telling you this for you are often silly, and they are cruel do not let them touch you and, again, folklore, this time riffing on aging and beauty.

  3. says:

    After talking to Nathan Ballingrud on my podcast, I have been keeping my eye out for stories of his I had not yet read I knew The Atlas of Hell was in this volume, and I had seen acclaim for the anthology over all So I actually bought this for myself This is only exclamation worthy because I already have a big shelf of unread anthologies of short stories at my house And one of my reading goals for 2016 is to get through some of them It makes perfect sense that I would instead buy a new one It is always daunting to approach an anthology so this time I went with the authors I had previously read first Nathan Ballingrud, Karen Joy Fowler, and Karen Tidbeck then to the authors I at least have on my radar and have meant to read Julio Cortazar, Caitlin Kiernan, Usman T Malik last I read the others I find it impossible to summarize these stories as a whole because weird fiction is weird For some it means tweaks of fantasy, fairy tale, or horror for others it is metaphoring the heck out of an idea still others take a normal place or situation and turn it on its side I find the weird within normal the most unsettling, and also the easiest to point to and say that s weird There is just a lot of crossover with other genres and many of these stories could easily belong to the year s best fantasy, horror, etc Luckily for me I have many weird anthologies on my shelf so perhaps I will continue finding an answer to this question of weird.Before I comment on individual stories, I did want to say that I was disappointed by the number of typos in this book With two editors and 21st century technology, I don t understand how anyone can have an inappropriate apostrophe, a misspelled book title, or the wrong article in front of a word beginning with a vowel a alien I don t know what happened but I hope they pay attention to basic grammar and spelling in volume three They are slightly pardoned because of the beautiful cover art I know artists and editors do not have the same job Now without further ado, my favorites in this volume The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud seriously, the Louisiana swamps are scary enough, no need to create hell traveling bone growing swamp monsters Ballingrud is one of the authors that starts with normal places and people and then it goes places you don t expect Loved the ending Wendigo Nights by Siobhan Carroll a disease you can get once you ve heard about it, while trapped without supplies in a polar expedition Terrifying This could easily be a horror story The Earth and Everything Under by K.M Ferebee great witchy story Actually made me cry too Weird Nanny Anne and the Christmas Story by Karen Joy Fowler this is a take on a scary story you might tell as a child but the brilliance in it is that by the end you don t necessarily know what happened exactly, and not knowing is far, far worse Resurrection Points by Usman T Malik interesting very real world setting, with special abilities trying to fit into religious conflict in a community Migration by Karen Tidbeck This story doesn t have anything familiar but it is so unsettling

  4. says:

    YEAR S BEST WEIRD FICTION VOL 2 What is most immediately noticeable in Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly s handsome collection of twenty stories designed by Vince Haig with luscious cover art by Tomasz Alen Kopera, is that the quality of the writing is consistently high and the range of stories represented pleasingly wide which means that the reviewer s task is made easier than is sometimes the case when a collection is less well considered Year s Best Weird Fiction Volume Two includes fabulist stories, stories of pure fantasy and stories in which fantasy is meshed into realistic settings Amongst the characters represented there are witches, mermaid like creatures, shape shifting entities, a werewolf, creatures from ancient mythology, a changeling, a seraphim, peculiar animals, and a ghoul.One of the memes in the collection is the shape shifter idea, found in Nathan Ballingrud s The Atlas of Hell, a gritty fantasy set in New Orleans with enticingly dramatic scenes, and also in Siobhan Carroll s atmospheric Wendigo Nights set in the Artic where a canister is found buried in the ice In Nine, a well paced story about Juju with a slow reveal written by Kima Jones, shape shifting entities and real people are engaged in battle, and in Caitl n R Kiernan s Bus Fare in a creepy setting in South Carolina, Dancy is challenged by a werewolf who appears at first in the shape of a teenage girl In four other stories creatures exist in their pure forms, as in Rich Larsen s outstandingly beautiful and stylish story The Air We Breathe is Stormy, Stormy, and in So Sharp That Blood Must Flow by Sunny Moraine involving a witch and a mermaid The Ghoul by Jean Muno, translated by Edward Gauvin , is about a female creature with claws and fangs, and Isabel Yap s elegant and haunting story A cup of Salt Tears brings to life the Kappa, a river creature from Japanese folklore.Because the range of stories is so broad in this excellent collection, it caters for many different tastes from the visceral in The Atlas of Hell mentioned above, and Exit Through the Gift Shop by Nick Mamatas, to oddly hypnotic dream like stories such as the beautifully written The Earth and Everything Under by K.M Ferebee, or the gentle and macabre story by Cat Hellisen, The Girls Who Go Below, and Karen Joy Fowler s creepy and clever tale Nanny Anne and the Christmas Story Personally, I am attracted to stories that are entirely original and that have no clich characters or ideas in them, as I think they are the bravest and most difficult to write and it is those that are at the outer edge of the genre pushing it onward into new areas There are plenty of such stories in this collection Two in particular I was pleased to have read, are the previously mentioned The Air We Breathe is Stormy, Stormy in which the oil rig is populated as rigs always are, by coarse men young and strong whose faces soon overgrew with bristle and bloat, and Resurrection Points by Usman T Malik whose writing is tight, strong and descriptive Gangly man took the front of his own shirt with a tarantula like hand and began to shake it, fanning his chest I was interested to come across Hidden in the Alphabet, a truly weird and wonderfully original story by Charles Wilkinson that I d read before and which left me as unsettled and oddly tense as it had done the first time And again, I was struck by these lines Delicate features and enormous blue eyes, but with a sort of shivery sensitivity that was irritating, like a pedigree dog that had been badly inbred Amongst these highly imaginative stories were a few which, while I enjoyed them immensely, I did not entirely understand This is true of the curious and memorable fabulist story Migration by Karin Tidbeck, and also The Husband Stitch, a lush and strongly written story by Carmen Maria Machado, which for me is the most mysterious of all the stories in this collection Machado also contributed a second work, Observations About Eggs From the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and this was a story I simply lent into as it is utterly enjoyable and completely mad I found Headache by Julio Cort zar, translated by Michael Cisco to be another very memorable strange story terrible and subtle and one you might recall years later And I do not know whether Loving Armageddon, a restrained love story, by Amanda C Davis would be called fabulist or not, but it was again an unusual and beautifully imaginative work Finally, A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide by Sarah Pinsker is a profoundly bizarre and strikingly different tale that I greatly admired.

  5. says:

    My literary tastes trend toward the grindhouse Schlock, melodrama, and spooky spectacle of the un ironic variety To continue to couch this in terms of the cinema, I prefer John Carpenter over David Lynch Stuart Gordon over Lars von Trier Whatever weird fiction might mean, I often than not prefer it to mean horror, and within that association, I like monsters, creepy settings, unsettling imagery, and a little action That s not to say that I don t enjoy fiction that s intellectual or cerebral But I like what I read to strike a balance somewhere between fun and intellectual, with the slider closer to the former It s all art to me, man whether it s the rickety spookhouse ride or the ballet.I just tend to have fun at the spookhouse.It is, however, with great pleasure that I devoured Year s Best Fiction Volume Two edited by Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly Koja is a powerful writer and artist, and Kelly s voluminous reading of horror and weird literature is award worthy unto itself Together, they ve curated a book of sterling quality diversity in stories, modes, and authorship alike This is elite weird fiction yes, even literary in its aspirations done completely right.Not every story was my bag of popcorn, of course But what makes this collection great is that, even when I didn t vibe with a particular style or narrative, I still recognized that the writing was masterful, and the imagery was haunting This book has a little something for everyone, and, I m not afraid to admit, my own tastes and preferences were challenged for the better.I won t mention all the stories I enjoyed in this collection that would be most of them , but I ll touch on a few Keep in mind that the stories that I didn t enjoy were not bad by any means, but were instead just not right for me.Nathan Ballingrud s The Atlas of Hell was the perfect story to start the collection It s a crime noir yarn with a delirious creature feature bent Siobhan Carrol s Wendigo Nights is equal parts The Thing and introspective supernatural meditation Kima Jones Nine is a period piece that tells a story of dark juju and a patchwork family battling its influence Caitl n R Kiernan turns the monster slayer trope on its head in the pulpy yes selection Bus Fare Rich Larson laughs off the standard mermaid tale in The Air We Breathe is Stormy, Stormy and explores a would be father s fear Usman T Malik writes about religious civil conflict in a foreign born Re Animator take in Resurrection Points Sarah Pinsker s science fiction character study A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide is a subtle examination of identity and rural life with than a passing connection to my own dear Colorado.These selections knocked my socks off scratching that ghoulish horror itch, or conjuring thoughtful reflection Again, even the stories not listed here a couple of which were not to my taste were still full of striking imagery and impression that lasted well beyond the time I spent reading them.Year s Best Weird Fiction Volume Two is an anthology that, despite its chronological inspired name, will remain evergreen I have not read Volume One, but I should With Volume Three right around the corner, there s no better time than to get caught up now.Highly recommended for fans of dark speculative fiction, or for those looking for an entry point into the vast and growing body of high quality weird work and recommended for lowbrow horror junkies, too.

  6. says:

    Perhaps not as viscerally haunting as the first volume edited by Laird Barron , Year s Best Weird Fiction 2 maintains the high quality standard of contemporary dark fiction Editors Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly pick from wide source of the supernatural and the sublime, curating tales that don t fall neatly into any one sub category I hope this series continues for a very long time.

  7. says:

    I like the fact that every volume in this series will have a different editor It gives each volume a slightly different feel and it pushes the limits of what weird fiction really is, and can be There is some truly bizarre stuff in here, my favorites being the two stories by Carmen Maria Machado A wonderful, mind blowing reading experience

  8. says:

    This second edition is as good, if not better, than the previous first, in my humble opinion And I really enjoyed the first I dig Koja s taste in stories, which seems to favor direct language and bizarrely beautiful characters, with a bit of mythos setting wise I m also pleased to see a large number of these are by women Kelly and Koja have a home run here.

  9. says:

    As always with the Year s Best Weird Fiction series, there are some wonderful stories here but the change of editors each time also brings some surprises This is possibly mainstream literary than some weird collections one of the stories first appeared in Granta , but the quality is still consistently excellent Particular standouts from Nathan Ballingrud, Usman T Malik, Karin Tidbeck and Charles Wilkinson, but so much weird goodness on display here Such a shame to hear that the series will be ending after Volume 5

  10. says:


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