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October Dreams:: A Celebration of Halloween Paperback – September 3, 2002
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A winner of the International Horror Guild Award, October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween is undoubtedly the grandest horror anthology ever compiled on the genre's signature holiday, and unlikely to be supplanted in that position. Weighing in at almost 650 pages, this intelligently selected compendium contains work from nearly every contemporary bestselling author, cult favorite, and hot up-and-comer in horror. The volume mixes a generous amount of well-written new fiction with classic reprints, several "Favorite Halloween Memories," an informative "Short History of Halloween" by Paula Guran, a well-chosen "Overview of Halloween Films" by Gary A. Braunbeck, and an equally useful "Reader's Guide to Halloween Fiction" by Stefan Dziemianowicz. Many of the authors contribute both a story and a Favorite Memory, and Ray Bradbury, to whom the volume is rightfully dedicated, contributes these and a poem.
No review can do justice to an anthology whose table of contents crowds three pages. But perhaps a taste of three stories will suggest the breadth and depth of the whole. Ray Bradbury's subtle "Heavy Set" considers what it might be like to be the mother of a muscular, disturbed, and exceptionally attached son. In the West Coast gothic "A Redress for Andromeda," Caitlin R. Kiernan presents a beautifully written consideration of the costs of a hidden secret. Artist Gahan Wilson proves himself also talented at fiction with "Yesterday's Witch," in which trick-or-treaters find the neighborhood witch isn't any such thing ... or is she?
October Dreams is highly recommended to all fans of horror and dark fantasy. --Cynthia Ward
About the Author
Richard Chizmar is the World Fantasy Award-winning editor of Cemetery Dance magazine and numerous anthologies. He is also the author of more than forty published short stories, as well as the recent hardcover collection Midnight Promises.
Robert Morrish is a writer whose work has appeared in Cemetery Dance magazine.
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That's why I like the memories better than the stories. Most people who write about Halloween write about things that scare themselves, things that they allow themselves to be afraid of once a year. For many people that's losing a child, or or a spouse, being confronted with an unbearable secret, or whatever lives underneath the bed at night. If you don't share the author's fears, or if frankly the fear is too personal for you, it is difficult to lose yourself in the story. Suprisingly, the memories were better. They were sort of a safe nostalgia, most of which involved some weird or supernatural occurrence. And we, the readers, can comfortably enjoy imagining being in the same circumstances. The memory essays were also better at evoking the mood of Halloween - the dry, crumbly leaves, the cool wind and crisp nights, the dark sky above and bonfires below, the good food at home as the harvest time begins.
One of the agonies of modern man is that he has lost his sense of time. In the soulless cubicle, spring is summer is autumn is winter. The world turns, but he lacks any markers to delineate the passage of time. Without any means to measure his progress through time, he loses any sense of meaning for the here and now. We appreciate the present more when we build snowmen in winter, fly kites in the spring, eat ice-cream and catch fire-flies in the summer, and rake leaves in the fall. We need Halloween to keep faith with the past, to share feelings we normally repress with those who have gone before us. So happy Halloween, even if all you get is a bag of rocks!