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Summer Chills: Tales of Vacation Horror Paperback – May 17, 2007

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If the essence of the horror tale is a confrontation with the alien, then what better way to express it than in stories that chronicle the unsettling experiences of characters traveling in unfamiliar lands. Anthologist supreme Jones (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror) mixes 20 stories old and new by some of horror's best and brightest, and the result is a travelogue of terror whose contents span the globe. In Basil Copper's elegant The Cave, a vacationer's walking tour in Austria leads him to a monster of legend. D. Lynn Smith's eerie Charnel House tells of an English woman whose quest for spiritual revelation in Egypt plunges her into occult mysteries. Ramsey Campbell mixes humor and horror in Seeing the World, wherein a man's neighbors bring something terrible back from their vacation in Italy. These and stories by Dennis Etchison, Glen Hirshberg, Clive Barker and others so effectively convey their themes that readers are advised not to bring this book with them on vacation. (July)
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From Booklist

This stout theme anthology on what can happen on summer vacations is a winner. Jones, a leading horror editor active on both sides of the Atlantic, proffers 21 stories in as many settings, ranging from London dinner parties to Africa, the Greek Islands, California, Russia, and a Paris that starts off as the city of our world but quickly moves onward and downward. The contributors range from the late Karl Edward Wagner and Nebula Grand Master Robert Silverberg to a considerable number of literate, distinguished writers who have broken into print in this century (e.g., Nancy Holder, previously known for Buffy tie-in fiction). Of course, that venerable vendor of versatility and excellence in short fiction, Harlan Ellison, pitches in, too. If the chills are unevenly distributed, the pleasurable reading is constant. Green, Roland

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf (May 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786719869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786719860
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,972,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Stephen Jones's horror anthologies are always a worthwhile investment. What makes Summer Chills so fun is that it combines two of my favorite genres: horror and travel writing. This isn't that difficult as travel writing is endlessly malleable and many horror stories involve characters going to unknown lands. (After all, Bram Stoker wrote Dracula with a travel guide by his side.)

All of these stories involve travel, but not all of them are necessarily horrific. The term "horror fiction" is a bit of a misnomer in most cases; "speculative fiction" or "fiction of the macabre" would work better (Harlan Ellison's terms). As in every anthology, not all the stories will be to everyone's liking. I lost my patience with some of the stories, but perhaps that was my fault.

My favorite stories include:

"The Sun, the Sea and the Silent Scream," by Brian Lumley. This best captures the spirit of the book - a tropical vacation turned horrific. It encourages me to read more of Mr. Lumley's fiction.

"The Cave," by Basil Cooper. This is an exercise in terror by the use of understatement.

"Seeing the World," by Ramsey Campbell. Don't you just hate it when people bore you to death with their vacation pictures?

There are original stories and classics, such as "In the Hills, the Cities," by Clive Barker (has he retired or something?) In any case, this is a worthy investment for beach reading...but it is better read at night.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great anthology of vacation-gone-awry horror shorts I read over the summer, appropriately lounging by the pool with a cold drink in one hand, inwardly chilled by tales of living gargoyles, a man who steal the youth of young women to create beautiful dolls, man-eating beasts in the mountains, and a slew of other creative horrors. Despite the garish, over-the-top cover art, this is no B-grade collection and some of the most talented horror authors writing in the genre today are represented: Ramsey Campbell, Nancy Holder, Harlan Ellison, Dennis Etchison, Clive Barker, and one of my new personal favorites, Sarah Pinborough, whose story about a young woman's very memorable trip to Egypt really stuck with me, among many others. With settings from Mexican beaches to Italian villas to Middle Eastern bazaars, these stories ran the gamut and served up some terrific summer-themed fun. I've read a number of horror anthologies and collections edited by Stephen Jones, and they never disappoint. He definitely has a knack for putting together a perfect ensemble, whether it's Lovecraft, Halloween, summer vacations or any other theme. This is a great one for that plane or car ride to your summer vacation destination, or maybe not. Might be better to read it when you get back, when you've arrived home safely and hopefully escaped the fates of these unfortunate travelers!
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Format: Paperback
Again, Stephen Jones has dissapointed me. This is the third anthology I've tried by this so-called editor, and again I'm bored STIFF by what he considers "horror". The British obviously have a slower pace than us Americans!!! I bought this new in Borders and have been trying for over a month to push myself through it, just to get to the end. Horrible- don't buy this new! The stories are stale, slow and not very visceral. Most are more in the genre of Ray Bradbury, but without his quick wit and punch.
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Format: Paperback
With the assembled talents of those authors contributing, I had pretty high expectations from this collection to provide some disturbing moments related to vacationing. With pretty much one exception, this is NOT what this turned out to be.

I will say that the Brian Lumley story ("The Sun, the Sea and the Silent Scream") was both evocative of vacationing sights AND quite creepy; sadly, it was also pretty much the only story in the collection that registered even a little bit higher than a, "Huh - that's odd," response from me.
The other exception - "Incognita, Inc." by Harlan Ellison - was well written, but it focussed on neither vacations nor horror.

Most of the stories focus on the locale vice the plights of the characters, which unfortunately meant that the stories unfolded as a description of the area as opposed to why we should be caring about what happens.
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