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Dark Forces Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1981

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dark Forces is one of the greatest collections of original horror stories published since World War II, and it may prove to be one of the most influential anthologies of its kind, ever. Edited by award-winning editor (and recognized authority) Kirby McCauley, this was the first superstar collection of famous horror writers. It has been often imitated but never surpassed. McCauley was inspired by another landmark collection; his goal was to publish an anthology "with the same scope and dynamism of Harlan's Ellison's Dangerous Visions, but in the supernatural horror field." Dark Forces succeeds on every level, especially in the selection of the 24 contributors, a "Who's Who" from across the spectrum of imaginative literature: Richard Matheson, Dennis Etchison, Ramsey Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Oh, yes, also found here is the first appearance of an unforgettable short novel called "The Mist" by an up-and-comer named Stephen King. Dark Forces belongs on the shelf of anyone who desires the very best the field has to offer. --Stanley Wiater --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (September 1, 1981)
  • ISBN-10: 055314801X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553148015
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,950,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wagner consistently did justice to the title "Year's Best Horror Stories", Grant gifted us with his "Shadows" series. But when someone asks me for "the best short horror story collection" every volume of those distinguished anthologies, and numerous other collections I've read in the past 2 decades, are always edged out by McCauley's gem "Dark Forces". Included are stories of monsters in the dark and stories of monsters in the mind. Stories that deliver horror with a sledge hammer and stories that deliver it with a scalpel. The best testimony I can make to this book is to say I've owned 4 copies since it was published - every time I've lent one out, I've never gotten it back. Next person who asks can buy their own copy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Patti J. Phillips on July 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I have had the hard copy of this for 20 years and I find myself reading it again and again.If $9.99 looks steep it's really not.There are over 500 pages of superlative stories contained in this volume. I love this book so much that I am going to shell out the $10 to have a copy on digital format to go along with my 'regular' book.
These stories are the best of the best for the time period that the book encapsulates.A lot of the stories you will not find anywhere else published.
I am not going to go into each story because you can read them yourselves but there is not a clunker among them.Buy this book!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brinkley on April 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
DARK FORCES is a real tour-de-force to read. There are some incredibly imaginative stories in here. My personal favorites are "Where the Summer Ends" by Karl Edward Wagner, a story set in Knoxville, Tennessee that delivers a new and horrifying spin on an old "Japanese import"--namely, kudzu; and "Children of the Kingdom" by T.E.D. Klein, about an ancient race of half-human beings that creep stealthily through the sewers of New York City and that may have been responsible for the 1977 blackout in that city (well, not really!). Other good stories were "Dark Angel" by Edward Bryant, "Vengeance Is." by Theodore Sturgeon, "Lindsay and the Red City Blues" by Joe Haldeman (this story is very similar to "Dark Angel" in one respect but I won't spoil it for you--you'll have to read the story to see what I mean), and "The Night Before Christmas" by Robert Bloch (anything by Bloch is great!)

All in all, a must-read for the serious short horror fiction aficionado.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hans curtis on March 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
first of all, this is a CEMETERY DANCE e-book. right there you know it is a quality product, the format perfect,glitch free, pleasing to the eye, with original illustration and cover. and since CEMETERY DANCE published it, it is going to scare you silly!
DARK FORCES!!!!! i first read this book when i was ten years old and hungry for anything by STEPHEN KING, THE MIST is one of my favorite novellas by King and well worth the price paid for this e-book edition, so everything else is just gravy.
And such delicious gravy it is! my favorite among them are THE ENEMY by the great Isaac Bashevis Singer, CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM by T.E.D. Klein, WHERE THERES A WILL by Richard & Richard Christian Matheson, but all the stories are tiny masterpieces you can read more than once, why buy it on KINDLE when you can get a used paperback dirt cheep? the darn thing weighs a ton thats why! spare yourself lugging a cinderblock around and get this e-book edition. you will not regret it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William P. Dillon on September 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauley, is THE horror anthology. It has the best of the best.

This is where Stephen King's The Mist, was first published. In my opinion, The Mist is the best thing Stephen King has yet written.

You can't go wrong with this anthology. Each story represents the best of each author included. The other standout for me was Robert Bloch's The Night Before Christmas.

It is GREAT to have Dark Forces available on Kindle. You owe it to yourself to read this collection if you haven't read it in the past.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps the finest original anthology of suspense, terror and horror I've ever come across. I've gone through so many copies that I've lost count. Every story is a gem: well-written at worst, lyrical and poetic at best. You'll have your own favorites, but I don't think anyone will come away feeling cheated. This is as good as it gets.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on November 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dark Forces is the 'contemporary author' equivalent to the other required classic Horror Story Anthology, Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural. Editor Kirby McCauley had a frighteningly accurate eye for not only quality horror, but for literary merit as well. Each tale is a nearly perfect example of the richness the Dark Fantasy/Horror genre has to offer. This anthology is required reading for anyone who loves DF/H or is just curious to see how truly great it is capable of being. An essential collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wag The Fox on March 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
When I was on a real tear a couple years ago, reading as much short fiction in a summer as I could, this anthology was recommended to me more than a couple of times. Had I not already been swamped with a line-up of collections and anthologies to read at the time, I would have added this one to the pile sooner. Now, having read it, I see that I should have made it a priority.

Dark Forces is not only a truly entertaining book from front to back, but serves as a valuable time capsule for its time, having been published in the very early 80s it manages to show how some of the then up-and-comers fared alongside some true legends in the horror genre.

Right off the bat, the book gave me the chance to revisit Stephen King's The Mist, which is the very last story and the one I immediately jumped to. I don't often re-read books, but for this gem of a tale I'd make an exception. Honestly, if you haven't read The Mist yet, then do yourself a favor and just go buy this anthology. It'll be worth the pricetag for that one novella alone.

Ramsey Campbell's "The Brood" reminded me that I need to pick up one of the novels I have of his sitting on my bookshelf and get to reading his work again. The guy is a wee bit amazing with the tales of terror. Robert Bloch's "The Night Before Christmas" on the other hand was a bit of a letdown, though not because it was poorly written--quite the opposite--but the author of Psycho felt a bit too clever in this one. Then Charles L. Grant's "A Garden of Black Red Roses" offered a really great glimpse of a guy whose work I need to get to know, as he deftly spins a quiet, smalltown horror story here.
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