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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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I just came to the anti-abortion story in the book. It struck me as odd. I wanted to see the horror in it, but it seemed to me to be more like an author's crusade against abortion clinics. I guess I'm one of those readers who needs to feel justified in the victim's deaths--a la Crypt Keeper. (I don't know why. Horror is filled with good people dying. Isn't that what makes it horror?) This story, "Buckets," however, jolted me out of the Halloween experience.
I began October Dreams excited. The first couple of stories really worked on me. Then I saw that it was more than a collection of fiction. The short stories traded spaces off and on throughout the book with authors' memories of their favorite Halloweens. There are also a few essays on Halloween fiction, movies, and whatnot.
I thought, "This is a cool book."
And I guess it still is. But, in practice, I find myself skipping the favorite Halloween memories, the essays, the recommendations for books and film, and, of course, the "whatnot." I go straight for the fiction, and if I start getting bored with a story, which has happened several times--several, several times--I skip to the next one. I've only read half of this book, and at this rate I'll be finished in a couple of days, a skim-read of hundreds of pages. It's a thick tome.
Maybe the rest of you will like the filler. It does flesh out the book, almost giving the short stories a sense of glue. I think October Dreams is OK. It's unusual, a nice attempt at giving you something more for your dollar.