Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror

Ellen Datlow, ed.

This sophisticated, scary anthology collects the best horror fiction published between 1984 and 2005, one of horror’s most innovative eras. These exceptional stories, hand-picked by horror-expert editor Ellen Datlow, are tales that range from the subtly psychological to the disturbingly visceral.


Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror

by Ellen Datlow, ed.

ISBN: 9781892391957

Published: 2010

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and eBooks


This sophisticated, scary anthology collects the best horror fiction published between 1984 and 2005, one of horror’s most innovative eras. These exceptionally diverse stories, hand-picked by horror-expert editor Ellen Datlow, are tales of the subtly psychological, the unpredictably mischievous, and the disturbingly visceral.

Here are classics, such as horror master Stephen King’s “Chattery Teeth,” the tautly drawn account of a traveling salesman who unwisely picks up yet another hitchhiker; Peter Straub’s eerie “The Juniper Tree,” describing a man whose nostalgia for the movies of his childhood leads to his stolen innocence; and George R. R. Martin’s sinister “The Pear-Shaped Man,” in which a young woman encounters a neighbor who likes her a bit too much.

Whether you grew up on Clive Barker’s Books of Blood; Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; or are newly discovering Stephen King’s son, breakout author Joe Hill; there is something here for everyone who enjoys being more than just a little bit scared.

Praise for Darkness

“This diverse 25-story anthology is a superb sampling of some of the most significant short horror works published between 1985 and 2005. Editor extraordinaire Datlow (Poe) includes classic stories from horror icons Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Stephen King as well as SF and fantasy luminaries Gene Wolfe, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, and Lucius Shepard. The full diversity of horror is on display: George R. R. Martin’s ‘The Pear-Shaped Man’ about a creepy downstairs neighbor, and Straub’s ‘The Juniper Tree,’ which chronicles a drifter’s sexual molestation of a young boy, exemplify horror’s sublime psychological power, while Barker’s ‘Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament’ and Poppy Z. Brite’s ‘Calcutta, Lord of Nerves’ are audaciously gory masterworks. This is an anthology to be cherished and an invaluable reference for horror aficionados.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

Darkness promises to please both longtime fans and readers who have no clue what ‘splatterpunk’ was supposed to mean.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Make sure you are in a safe place before you open it up.”
New York Journal of Books

“Datlow is a high-calibre anthologist.”
Innsmouth Free Press

“About as close to horror perfection as any fan could ask for in an anthology.”
Choate Road Horror Blog

“Eclectic…a complete overview of some of the best horror stories published in the last twenty years.”
SF Site

“I can’t recommend this book highly enough and no, that’s not just the rabid fanboy inside me talking. This is my serious critic’s voice. I know it doesn’t translate well in the written word, but trust me. I give my highest recommendation for this book.”

About Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow is one of horror’s most acclaimed editors. She was the fiction editor of OMNI for nearly twenty years, and edited the magazines Event Horizon and Sci Fiction. Her many anthologies include the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series; Snow White, Blood Red; Lovecraft’s Monsters; and Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror. Datlow has won multiple Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, and Shirley Jackson awards. She has received several lifetime achievement awards, including a World Fantasy Award—her tenth—in 2014. Datlow lives in New York City.

Accolades for the anthologies of Ellen Datlow

Praise for The Monstrous

[STAR] “Datlow, horror anthologist extraordinaire, brings together all things monstrous in this excellent reprint anthology of 20 horror stories that explore the ever-widening definition of what makes a monster, with nary a misstep.
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Eerie and artfully executed, the narratives are highly imaginative and chilling.”

“It is the monstrous wonders that come from the intelligent minds of these
authors that make this book amazing.”
Suspense Magazine

“Datlow has more backed-up expertise and accumulated assets than almost any other horror/dark/weird editor in the business.”

“This collection has something disturbing for everyone.”
Washington Independent

“Ellen Datlow continues to show not just her enthusiasm as a fan of the horror genre, but her excellence as an anthologist. Recommended.”
Monster Librarian

“Datlow is not just an expert (sorry, Ellen, but it’s the right word) at recognizing great horror; she’s an expert at recognizing great storytelling.”
Cemetery Dance

Praise for Lovecraft’s Monsters

“[An] amazing and diverse treasure trove of stories. As an avid fan of Lovecraft’s monstrous creations, THIS is the anthology I’ve been waiting for.”
Shattered Ravings

“Datlow brings together some of the top SF/F and horror writers working today and has them play in Lovecraft’s bizarre world. And that’s a delight.”
January Magazine

Praise for Hauntings

“Apt to entertain and disquiet the horror fans.”
SF Site, Featured Review

“Datlow once again proves herself as a master editor.”
Arkham Digest

This is the best of the best—don’t miss it!”
The Tomb of Dark Delights

Praise for The Cutting Room

“Superstar editor Datlow makes no missteps in this reprint collection of dark tales involving movies and moviemaking.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

Kirkus Excellent Horror Read for October
“[A] tempting volume of stories from renowned editor Ellen Datlow”

“This collection of 23 stories should appeal to fans of horror and SF primarily, though noir and hard-boiled-mystery readers should feel welcome too. . . . Definitely worth checking out.”


Visit the Ellen Datlow, ed., website.


“Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament” by Clive Barker
“Dancing Chickens” by Edward Bryant
“The Greater Festival of Masks” by Thomas Ligotti
“The Pear-Shaped Man” by George R. R. Martin
“The Juniper Tree” by Peter Straub
“Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds” by Dan Simmons
“The Power and the Passion” by Pat Cadigan
“The Phone Woman” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Teratisms” by Kathe Koja
“Chattery Teeth” by Stephen King
“A Little Night Music” by Lucius Shepard
“Calcutta, Lord of Nerves” by Poppy Z. Brite
“The Erl King” by Elizabeth Hand
“The Dog Park” by Dennis Etchison
“Rain Falls” by Michael Marshall Smith
“Refrigerator Heaven” by David J. Schow
“———” by Joyce Carol Oates
“Eaten (Scenes From a Moving Picture)” by Neil Gaiman
“The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link
“The Tree Is My Hat” by Gene Wolfe
“Heat” by Steve Rasnic Tem
“No Strings” by Ramsey Campbell
“Stitch” by Terry Dowling
“Dancing Men” by Glen Hirshberg
“My Father’s Mask” by Joe Hill

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