Ellen Datlow’s NIGHTMARES is a fine collection with outstanding stories to really make your skin crawl

Ellen Datlow’s acclaimed anthologies NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR and  LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS continue to garner acclaim.



Ellen Datlow often puts together a fantastic anthology and so when I saw her, NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR, I thought that this might be a great way to catch up on some of the ‘newer’ writers.  And I’m glad I took the plunge.

NIGHTMARES offers up some of the best horror short fiction I’ve read in a while.


This was a nice collection that showed me that the new wave of horror is generally in good hands and that there are some very good writers to keep an eye on.

Looking for a good book? NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR, edited by Ellen Datlow, is a fine collection of modern horror with a few outstanding stories to really make your skin crawl.


THE READING DESK enjoys the anthology.

Horror is a category I usually avoided, because I never enjoyed it. However, I chanced upon Josh Malerman’s BIRD BOX a few years ago, and found that I really enjoyed it. I’ve been taking a chance with reading horror since then, and I most recently enjoyed reading NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR edited by Ellen Datlow.


What ties a lot of these stories together is the horrifying realization that there is much more to fear in the here and now; that the real monsters walk amongst us. In touching upon these very real horrors that we read about in the newspaper everyday and then magnifying them, NIGHTMARES succeeds in being a true representation of what scares us in today’s world.



Recently I shared with an old friend my struggle finding Lovecraft-inspired material not written by the author himself. For every “Worms of the Earth” by Robert E. Howard there are a myriad of lesser attempts at aping H.P. Lovecraft’s unique vision.

Given the wealth of Cthulhu mythos “fan-fic” available, the challenge is not in finding content, but rather in discovering stories that entertain without proving too derivative. A few days after this conversation, I returned to a Lovecraft anthology I had purchased many months earlier that had been repeatedly relegated to my “to be read” pile after only two of the stories had been read. Fortunately, this proved to be a mistake on my part. With a long car/train ride ahead of me, I once again picked up LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS and after enjoying the next two stories I turned to and was heartened by what I read.

The secret of quality Lovecraft inspired stories, to my personal tastes at any rate, is demonstrated by the majority of stories in this collection, edited by Hugo and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Ellen Datlow. The challenge met by many of the pieces selected by Datlow is transferring elements of Lovecraft’s work, such as mood and subtle characterization, into a setting or circumstance that, while clearly influenced by the source, extends those ideas into a new direction including culture, setting and time period. The organization of the text as a whole, including the front (Foreword by Stefan Dziemianowicz) and  back matter (“Monster Index”), contributes to a high quality presentation of the stories, even if a few fall flat for this reader.  

Each story is preceded by a single panel image that foreshadows a key event in the story to follow. While not always the case, many of the images are of the monsters encountered in the story to follow. When this is not the case,  the aforementioned “Monster Index” by Rachel Fagundes fills in the gaps by including both narrative and visual sketches of key Lovecraftian monsters that appear throughout. A  handy cross-referencing of monsters with the stories in the anthology allows for the reader to choose those stories that feature favorites first. As an effective collection probably should, Lovecraft’s Monsters is both a fine collection of ancillary stories by writers others than Lovecraft as well as a good introduction to the world of the author. When a recognizable monster, such as The King in Yellow or Azathoth, included in the back of the collections.


Whether a Lovecraft enthusiast or seeking an introduction to his rich world of dark magic and monsters, LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS, edited by Ellen Datlow and published Tachyon is an beach read… especially at dusk.

For more info about NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Nihil

Design by Elizabeth Story

For more info about LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover and illustration by John Coulthart