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Monday, July 8, 2019

What I'm Reading: Echoes

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories.

Datlow, Ellen (editor).
Aug. 2019. 816p. Saga, $32.99 (9781534413467); paper, $22.99 (9781534413474); e-book, $7.99 (9781534413481). First published July, 2019 (Booklist).
Datlow, widely considered among the best horror anthology editors in the business, has compiled another stellar collection of 30 tales, 27 of which were commissioned for this collection specifically, all about ghosts and other hauntings. With an extremely diverse table of contents, featuring the very best and most respected of today’s writers from horror and beyond such as Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire, and Alice Hoffman, as well as critically acclaimed up and comers like Bracken MacLeod, Indrapramit Das, Alison Littlewood, and Vincent J. Masterson, this anthology has a respect for the rich and long ghost story telling tradition throughout all literature, but instead of simply rehashing old tales, Datlow presents the reader with their 21st Century versions. The results are as complicated and varied as our times. Tales that terrorize sit next to stories that creep; slowly building atmospheric pieces that wait until the final lines to reveal their horrific nature can be found beside tales that are tense, scary, and in your face from the very first sentence. As well as everything you can imagine in between. The range of horror is as wide as the history of the genre itself, but even more impressively, as a volume, this anthology also presents the face of today’s horror to the world, through its most visceral and universal trope, thought provoking tales about death and beyond. Fans of ghost stories from throughout history will haunt your library looking for a copy but especially those who like their 21st Century iterations found in books like Slade House by Mitchell, The Grown-Up by Flynn, or Mapping the Interior by Jones.

YA Statement: Ghosts stories are very popular with teens and this collection would be a great choice for younger readers who are looking for modern versions by today’s most respected writers in the genre and beyond. Many of the stories also feature teens or adults looking back on their teen-aged years.

Further Appeal: This collection was a no brainer star once I started reading the brand new stories, solicited by Datlow, the very best horror editor and anthologist out there today. The feeling and appeal is all up in the review.

I was going to try to include a plot or two in the review, but as I was writing it I realized that those plots took away from the overall point I was trying to make-- the fact that these stories are 1, all very different from each other [in a good way] and 2, giving you 1 or two of the 30 wouldn't help you to know who would like this book.

You just need to know this collection has the best of today's horror writers exploring "ghosts" in their own way. Not a single story is similar to another, and yet, I loved most of them precisely because of their differences. You didn't know what to expect from each author's interpretation of the "ghost" prompt which made for a fun reading experience. Also, even the ones I didn't personally love, that was a personal preference on my part, and it had nothing to do with the quality of the stories.

That is also an important appeal point. This is a HUGE anthology. You will have a few patrons that read the entire thing, but remind readers that most will check it out and sample a few. This is actually the perfect anthology for that. Use it to try out an author or skip around and see what you like. You do not have to read this one cover to cover.

These are modern tales of the oldest horror trope, a trope that goes back to the beginnings of story telling. You need to have this on your shelves for all fans of ghost stories, old or new.

Three Words That Describe This Book:  full range of horror, modern ghost stories, coming of age themes

Readalikes: I don't need to give more as every author who appears here has more you can read if you liked what you got from their story. If you click here for the Goodreads record, you can see a list of authors at the end of the publisher summary.

Also, I did give 3 excellent modern ghosts story options above.

Finally, any anthology edited by Datlow is an excellent choice for people who want more well curated horror collections.

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