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Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge Paperback – October 4, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From Publishers Weekly
Presented as "stories from the edge" about misfits and outcasts, Holder and Kirkpatrick's all-original anthology of moody horror instead shows how close to the edge everyone is. Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, Elizabeth Massie and other award-winning writers cover a gamut of approaches, from traditional shocker and physical slasher through psychological terror to urban New Weird dark fantasy. While most selections respect the "outsider" theme, many exhibit a longing for community, taking an "alternate mainstream," not an antimainstream, attitude. A notable exception is Joe R. Lansdale's unsettling tale of the University of Texas clock-tower shootings, "The Shadows, Kith and Kin." Often clever in their descriptions of the networks that outsiders form, these stories tend to give insights into subcultures rather than individuals. The overall feeling is the horror of belonging more than of being excluded, as in Elizabeth Engstrom's haunting portrait of a future proletarian being taught the virtues of making his reality his dream, "Honing Sebastian."
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About the Author
Nancy Holder is a Los Angeles Times bestselling author and a charter member and Trustee of the Horror Writers Association. A Bram Stoker Award-winner, she has written more than 63 books.
Nancy Kilpatrick is the award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 200 short stories, and she's edited eight anthologies. Her most recent book is The Goth Bible.
Top customer reviews
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In the stories to follow, we have a worthless case of a bestiality-committing cult, necrophiliacs of several stripes and the things they do to have access to the dead, a story of the children of hookers and druggies being put on literal collars and leashes to kill each other in fighting rings, and a totally pointless putrid yarn about an "ugly bar", where a man and at least one other person abduct and brutalize a pop star to death through unspeakable means (the room they take her to apparently features dead animals and babies to boot, and in the beginning of the story the narrator is already telling us how he might mutilate her). And once again, NO point to this story except to gross us out. There are a few capable writers in the mix, but even their stories didn't grab my attention and certainly didn't salvage the collection (plus, you can easily find stories by Neil Gaiman, Jack Ketchum, Steve Rasnick Tem etc in other anthologies or online). I felt like a shower couldn't undo the stuff I'd just read through in this book and promptly, sadly, dumped it in the garbage. I don't do that with books.
Please, if you want good anthologies, look into Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's work; they often invariably include some stories that cross the line with violence, but their books are winners overall and always include worthy writing. Kilpatrick and Holder are writers I like, but this served as a reminder to be very careful of what story collections I grab online.
It's pretty hard to write a convincing story about an outsider, since out is so in these days. Some of the stories do miss the mark in that regard, but all of them are extremely well-written and the book does manage to convey a feeling of having a cohesive theme while making sure each story is as disparate from its neighbor as possible. Kudos to the editors, Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick.
Standout stories include 'Expanding Your Capabilities Using Frame/Shift Mode' by wicked wordsmith David J. Schow; the quiet fury of Michael Marano's first person chiller '...And The Damage Done' is indelible; and 'Violent Angel', a hilariously black tale by Thomas S. Roche, is truly devilish. Personally, I enjoyed all the stories!
Another nice touch is having the author's bios on the same page that their story begins, rather than putting them all in the back.
The only downside is the thin, cheap paper the publisher used in the making of this book... mine arrived with a marred, crushed spine; the front cover will crease; and the paper inside is tissue-thin.
Though there are some name contributors like Gaiman, Little, Tanith lee, Lansdale, and Brite, many of the authors are just as good but not as widely known writers. The tales run the speculative fiction gamut from fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, and even poetry. Overall the fine compilation is funky, way out and different due to the wacko cast, who make the abnormal seem like the normal. The Nancys have provides a fun compilation.