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About Bracken MacLeod
~ Terrence Rafferty, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Bracken MacLeod has worked as a martial arts teacher, a university philosophy instructor, for a children's non-profit, and as a trial attorney. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies including LampLight, ThugLit, and Splatterpunk and has been collected in WHITE KNIGHT AND OTHER PAWNS and 13 VIEWS OF THE SUICIDE WOODS by ChiZine Publications, which the New York Times Book Review called, "Superb."
He is the author of the novels, MOUNTAIN HOME, STRANDED, and COME TO DUST.
He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel.
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Everyone loves a good ghost story, especially Ellen Datlow—the most lauded editor in short works of supernatural suspense and dark fantasy. The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories is her definitive collection of ghost stories.
These twenty-nine stories, including all new works from New York Times bestselling authors Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Seanan McGuire, and Paul Tremblay, span from the traditional to the eclectic, from the mainstream to the literary, from pure fantasy to the bizarrely supernatural. Whether you’re reading alone under the covers with a flashlight, or around a campfire with a circle of friends, there’s something here to please—and spook—everyone.
Contributors include: Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Vincent J. Masterson, A.C. Wise, M. Rickert, Seanan McGuire, Lee Thomas, Alison Littlewood, M.L. Siemienowicz, Richard Kadrey, Indrapramit Das, Richard Bowes, Nick Mamatas, Terry Dowling, Aliette de Bodard, Carole Johnstone, Dale Bailey, Stephen Graham Jones, Bracken MacLeod, Garth Nix, Brian Evenson, Jeffrey Ford, Gemma Files, Paul Tremblay, Nathan Ballingrud, Pat Cadigan, John Langan.
… and she has the rats in her walls.
It was a killer year for horror fiction of the harder kind. Authors, editors and publishers presented readers with some startling works of horrific imagination, stories graphic in the extreme yet with subtleties suggesting larger meanings, tales that explore humanity by plumbing depths of soulless inhumanity and, in some cases, outright depravity. The stories here represent the best of them, disturbing tales that dig deep and take you into the dark heart of horror itself, unrelenting and unapologetic.
“So Sings The Siren” by Annie Neugebauer takes us onto a Dark Fantasy stage for a one-night-only performance of mythological torture. Then Ryan Harding’s “Junk” gets right to the hardcore stuff with the ultimate dick-pic horror tale. Robert Levy’s “The Cenacle” is a literary cemetery feast you may have a hard time stomaching (Tums won’t save you).
Nathan Ballingrud’s “The Maw” treads surefootedly on Sci-Fi ground, right up to the edge of the Maw itself in a tale of stunning originality. Luciano Marano made his first pro sell when he sold “Burnt” to DOA III, certainly one of the year’s best anthologies, and the tale has it own fiery fetishistic twist.
“The Better Part of Drowning” by Octavia Cade treads waters of both science fiction and fantasy but it’s pure horror at its biting depths. Tim Waggoner’s “Til Death” is Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse horror at its absolute best.
“Letter From Hell” comes with that special delivery you only get from Matt Shaw. Dani Brown gets down and very dirty in her “Theatrum Mortuum,” which may be the most extreme thing you read all year.
Glenn Gray’s “Break” is a hard-to-take anatomy lesson given to a man weary of doing hard time. In “Bernadette” Ramiro Perez de Pereda gets medieval in his tale of a djinn summoned by a desperate priest.
Brian Hodge takes you on a trip to Mexico you will never forget in “West of Matamoros, North of Hell.” This story is a masterpiece of suspense, a grueling experience that may well leave you exhausted by the end. You might even feel like a vacation afterward, but we’re betting it won’t be to Matamoros.
Bracken MacLeod’s “Reprising Her Role” takes us behind the scenes of a porno snuff film for a gut-wrenching reprisal and unexpected bonus footage.
A real-life death threat inspired Doug Ford’s “The Watcher” and we think it shows. “Scratching From The Outer Darkness” showcases Tim Curran’s descriptive prowess and gives you a tale of hardcore Cthulhu Mythos.
Brace yourself when Adam Howe’s “Foreign Bodies” takes you deep into the bowels of a nasty abyss—which might make a good echo chamber for the laughter Adam’s patented black humor is likely to elicit.
Sean Patrick Hazlett introduces us to “Adramelech,” an ancient demon with a taste for broiled children. Daniel Marc Chant’s “ULTRA” jacks into a popular VR game called Slut Slayer. But what if it’s more than a game?
Nathan Robinson takes us into the trees with a group of militant environmentalists who will discover a tree hugger of the deadly sort, entirely alien to their experience.
Scott Smith (A Simple Plan and The Ruins) wraps up this year’s fat package of the hard stuff in a big bloody bow with “The Dogs.
Twenty-one brand-new stories of the ominous and terrifying from some of the horror genre's most talented writers. In 'The Dead Thing' Paul Tremblay draws us into the world of a neglected teenage girl and her younger brother and the evil that lurks at the heart of their family. In Gemma Files' 'Bulb' a woman calls in to a podcast to tell the terrifying story of why she has escaped off-grid. And Rio Youers' 'The Typewriter' tells in diary form of the havoc wreaked by a malevolent machine. Infinitely varied and beautifully told, New Fears 2 is an unmissable collection of horror fiction.
It’s dangerous out there…on the road.
The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin.
But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal.
Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces.
And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper.
But those are just stories. Aren’t they?
Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road.
Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways.
So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride.
- Introduction by Brian Keene
- doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity”
- Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit”
- Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine”
- Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy”
- Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog”
- Orrin Grey — “No Exit”
- Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line”
- Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats”
- Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat”
- Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane”
- Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger”
- Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh”
- Richard Thomas — “Requital”
- Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch”
- Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End”
- Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine”
- Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing”
- Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker”
- Rio Youers — “The Widow”
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the editor:
So what makes Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road so special?
Lost Highways comes at the theme of road stories with the desire to push the boundaries of what that theme means. Because of that, it collects authors of diverse levels of experience and notoriety in the worlds of horror and dark fiction. This brings together voices like Joe R. Lansdale, Cullen Bunn, Josh Malerman, Damien Angelica Walters, Rio Youers, Bracken MacLeod, Rachel Autumn Deering, doungjai gam with Ed Kurtz, and Kristi DeMeester. All of these unique voices bring a fresh and often unexpected take on the theme.
What made you think of this theme for the anthology?
Road trips can be fun but they can also be long and boring. And while you can read a book to yourself to pass the time, it’s not a very social experience.
In the spirit of John Carpenter's The Thing and Jacob's Ladder comes Stranded -- a terrifying, icebound thriller where nothing is quite what it seems by Bracken MacLeod.
Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.
Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
DREAD: A Head Full of Bad Dreams is a terrifying volume of the darkest hallucinatory revelations from the minds of the most accomplished award-
winning authors of our time.
Travel dark passageways and experience the alarming visions of twenty masters from the horror, fantasy, science fiction, thriller, transgressive and speculative fiction genres as they bare their souls and fill your head with a lifetime of bad dreams.
These aren't your mother's fairy tales.
Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we're pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.
These stories will scare and delight 'children' of all ages!
- Introduction by Gary A Braunbeck
- “The Pied Piper of Providence” by William Meikle
- “The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by Peter N Dudar
- “Little Maiden of the Sea” by David Bernard
- “The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by Armand Rosamilia
- “In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by JP Hutsell
- “The Horror at Hatchet Point” by Zach Shephard
- “The Most Incredible Thing” by Bracken MacLeod
- “Let Me Come In!” by Simon Yee
- “The Fishman and His Wife” by Inanna Arthen
- “Little Match Mi-Go” by Michael Kamp
- “Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by Scott T Goudsward
- “Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik
- “Curiosity” by Winifred Burniston
- “The Ice Queen” by Mae Empson
- “Once Upon a Dream” by Matthew Baugh
- “Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by CT Phipps
- “Donkeyskin” by KH Vaughan
- “Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by Sean Logan
- “Fee Fi Old One” by Thom Brannan
- “The King on the Golden Mountain” by Morgan Sylvia
- “The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa
Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths
So what makes this Lovecraftian Fairy Tales anthology special?
William Meikle: Lovecraft was working on stirring some base emotions in the reader, asking us to reflect on the depth and wonder of the Universe around us. Fairy tales, whether from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen or from the oral tradition are a similar means of tapping into something old and primal, and a fusion of both gives us added insight into how archetypes and myth might evolve in an age where the most frightening thing is ourselves.
Armand Rosamilia: The mashup of Lovecraft and fairy tales blended together way too easy. It makes you wonder... Reading through these stories you can see how the two parallel and fit nicely together, especially since the base for Cthulhu mythos and fairy tales are so dark and have that underlying gloom to them.
Tell us more about your horror short story.
William Meikle: I have a fascination with the power of music to affect changes in our mental, and physical, picture of how the world works at a basic level. THE PIED PIPER OF PROVIDENCE is one of my explorations of just that. Plus, it was a load of fun exploring how a modern city might respond to an age old menace.
When scores of children around the world begin to inexplicably rise from the dead—Sophie among them—everything becomes much harder.
Mitch rescues her from the morgue, determined to carve out a normal life for them no matter what, though it soon becomes clear that may not be possible. While the kids who’ve returned behave like living children, they still look very dead. And they can do something else that normal children cannot. Something terrifying. While debate rages over whether the children’s return is a mercy or a sign of approaching judgment, a congregation of religious fanatics determined to usher in the apocalypse has its own plan for salvation.
Now Mitch must find a way to save Sophie from an increasingly hostile world that wants to tear them apart and put her back in the ground for good.
The last thing basket case, Leslie, ever wanted to do was waste a Saturday in detention with a jock, a princess, a geek, and a rocker... until she found herself shackled to the floor of a dungeon with all of them instead. Now, if they can't find a way to put aside their differences and band together, they'll die together instead. "The Texas Chainsaw Breakfast Club or I Don’t Like Mondays" is Bracken MacLeod's love letter to both the survival horror and teen coming-of-age dramas of the 70s and 80s.
Five strangers with nothing in common, except their chains.
"Bracken MacLeod’s The Texas Chainsaw Breakfast Club, or I Don’t Like Mondays is a hilarious homage to those films of the 1980’s where the jock the rebel and high school sweetheart come together to overcome some nasty head teacher or some such thing. Funny and brutal in equal measures this is the standout story for me." -- Jim McLeod at The Ginger Nuts of Horror
“'The Texas Chainsaw Breakfast Club, or I Don’t Like Mondays,' by Bracken MacLeod (author of Mountain Home and White Knight), is probably exactly what you think it is. Take the idea of the characters from The Breakfast Club, throw them in a torture dungeon reminiscent of something Leatherface might have if he was well-off and lived in suburbia, and you’re on your way to where this brutal and funny story wants to take you. MacLeod knows his stuff, and he manages to paint vivid pictures of these high-school stereotypes, vivid enough to not make you picture Molly Ringwald and company, and then he destroys them, both emotionally and physically…. This is fun stuff." -- horrornews.net
"The Texas Chainsaw Breakfast Club or I Don’t Like Mondays by Bracken MacLeod, whose Mountain Home I enjoyed immensely last year, is a killer piece that borrows from above said movies giving us a handful of survivors who find themselves in a Saw like situation. The only way to escape their captor is to turn the tables. Witty and nail biting, this is a clear favourite for me." -- Nathan Robinson at Snakebite Reviews