THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF HORRORS 2: STRANGE STORIES & WEIRD TALES Edited by Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards
The short fiction market continues to be a tough sell. Few of the magazines that took submissions in the golden ages of genre fiction now exist and those that do are inundated by new authors who believe that writing a short story is easy and quicker than penning a novel. In fact, the short story is no easier to write than a novel or poem and writing a good one demands talent as well as perseverance.
Fortunately, the market for genre short fiction still thrives in the professional publishing arena with publishers such as Jo Fletcher Books, Titan and PS Publishing holding the torch aloft, but it is often in the independent/small press field through which the very life blood of the horror and fantasy genres flows. The writers who appear in small press collections may not have the PR power of Stephen King but their fiction is no less honed and polished for eager readers.
The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2 continues this tradition…
Every year sees a new volume in the Ellen Datlow-edited Best Horror of the Year series. The 2019 edition (volume 11), with a terrific cover by Audrey Benjaminsen, features work first published in 2018.
There are over 20 stories in this volume including “Masks” by Peter Sutton, from the pages of The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors. In her introduction, this is what Ellen says of Horrors:
This review seemed to have passed us by — it appeared earlier this year on Goodreads. Pamela Scott says: “This collection (The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors) contains some of the best horror fiction I’ve read in ages … It’s great to read an anthology where you love every story in it. There tends to be a mixture of brilliant stores, good stories, okay ones and a couple that aren’t so good. I loved every story in this collection. The stories all fit into the ‘horror’ category, more or less. I loved how diverse and different the stories are. There are no two alike. I especially enjoyed Down Along The Backroads by Jenny Barber, Guising by Gary McMahon, Masks by Peter Sutton and The Trade-Up by James Brogden.”
The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors gets a lovely review on the British Fantasy Society’s website. The reviewer, H T Scott, says:
The thing about anthologies is that you get a plethora of diversity, which in my humble opinion is no bad thing. The Alchemy Press book of horrors doesn’t disappoint, with contributions from well-known names such as Ramsey Campbell, Samantha Lee, Mike Chinn, and Peter Sutton, there are also a few authors there that I have never read before. Anthologies are a good way to dip your toes in the shallows of someone’s writing, giving the reader, us, an idea of what to expect.should we want to read more of their work One thing is for sure, Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards have brought together some very talented people and every story in the book 100% deserves to be included. Unthemed this collection takes the reader to some very dark places.
There’s a rather wonderful review of The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors in the latest issue (number 9) of Phantasmagoria Magazine:
…It is definitely one of the best anthologies I have come across for quite some time and I would highly recommend it… If the stories weren’t enough, the book is also illustrated throughout with finely drawn headers for each of the stories by the talented Jim Pitts, adding that extra touch of quality to this book…
Read the full review here (scroll down the page to read it).
…this is a very strong example of that rare thing these days: a non-themed horror anthology, though the accent is very much on the weird and the strange rather than pure horror, but that’s no bad thing. There are some gems here…