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Shadows & Tall Trees 7 Paperback – May 2, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award!
Shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award!
“Michael Kelly’s Shadows and Tall Trees is a smart, soulful, illuminating investigation of the many forms and tactics available to those writers involved in one of our moment’s most interesting and necessary projects, that of opening up horror literature to every sort of formal interrogation. It is a beautiful and courageous series.”
"Shadows & Tall Trees (“S&TT”) continues to provide deep cuts of understated horror."
"Shadows & Tall Trees is the premiere journal for weird fiction."
Shadows & Tall Treesis one more demonstration of why so many critics are talking about a renaissance of English-language dark and fantastic fiction. Thoroughly recommended.
About the Author
Michael Kelly is the Series Editor for the Year's Best Weird Fiction. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the British Fantasy Society Award. His fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Black Static, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 & 24, Supernatural Tales, Postscripts, Weird Fiction Review, and has been collected in Scratching the Surface, and Undertow & Other Laments. He owns and runs Undertow Publications. Undertow Publications is home to two acclaimed series' of anthologies: Year's Best Weird Fiction, and Shadows & Tall Trees.
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Which, I'm glad to report, can also be said for the stories contained within. And bonus points for being one of the most perfect matches in tone to the name of the publisher I can recently recall.
The table of contents features a good mix of authors both familiar to me and not, and the quality across the board is outstanding.
Brian Evenson kicks things off with "Line of Sight," a tale of moviemaking gone subtly, creepily wrong. It definitely sets the stage for weirdness, which then kicks right into high gear with M. Rickert's mysteriously unsettling "Everything Beautiful is Terrifying."
Up next, we get the haunting sea-swept gothic feel of "Shell Baby," by VH Leslie, followed by a lonely journey taking a strange turn in Rosalie Parker's "The Attempt." In "The Closure," by Conrad Williams, a would-have-been surgeon revisits his past, and Manish Melwani's "The Water Kings" confronts difficult familial issues and legacies.
"In the Tall Grass" by Simon Strantzas is a kind of bizarro fairy tale of grieving widow/motherhood, while Steve Rasnic Tem's "The Erased" threatens the fragile natures of reality and memory. Robert Shearman's "The Swimming Pool Party" presents an uneasy look at some challenges of motherhood, while "We Can Walk It Off Come The Morning" by Malcolm Devlin resonates folklorish with secrets and hidden paths.
Widowhood and grief get another perspective in Robert Levy's particularly chilling "The Cenacle," and "Slimikins" by Charles Wilkinson is a gut-wrencher of uncomfortable guilty conscience. The end of the world may come with neither a bang nor a whimper in Allison Moore's all-too-possible "The Voice of the People."
One of my special faves here because it's just so hoarders-quirky dystopian is Rebecca Kuder's "Curb Day;" it gave me a neat Bentley Little kind of vibe, and I want to read more.
"Engines of the Ocean" by Christopher Slatsky features some exceptionally gorgeous turns of phrase in a poignant tale of loss, and then Laura Mauro's "Sun Dogs" manages the difficult trick of second-person POV in a difficult and different end-times setting. Next up is Michael Wehunt's "Root-Light," a dose of the uncanny with an old-fashioned feel leading to a disturbing conclusion.
Harmony Neal's "The Triplets" is another special fave; the vanity of those beauty-obsessed pageant-type moms is its own twisted form of Munchausen's by proxy, and there's a certain glee in seeing them get an unexpected comeuppance.
Finishing things off is "Dispossession" by Nicholas Royle, an uncomfortable, isolative, stalkery piece that might make you side-eye your neighbors and check all the dark corners. All in all, this book is quality stuff throughout, and I agree with the editor's hope that maybe just maybe someday there'll be a Volume 8.