The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Some Will Not Sleep: Adam Nevill's Favourite Horror Short Stories
Sean Kitching , October 30th, 2016 07:40

To mark the Halloween release of his own first collection of short stories, Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors, horror novelist and genre aficionado, Adam Nevill, selects a Baker’s Dozen of his favourite short stories from contemporary writers in the field of modern horror. As with Nevill’s 2015 filmic Baker’s Dozen, fans of the genre are going to find an abundance of suggestions to work through on this list. (Written by Adam Nevill, as relayed to Sean Kitching)


Nathan Ballingrud — ‘Sunbleached’
Just when you thought you couldn't abide another vampire story, a writer makes the idea of them enthralling again, by more or less only giving vampirism a bit part, but a role more horrifying than usual, despite its supporting cast status. This story was published in one of the best single author collections in recent years, North American Lake Monsters, and I've yet to come across anyone who didn't like the book. It's hard to take one story from it on standalone strength, because the collection is of such quality. The author's style is almost Carverlike, or Woodrellish, or resonant of William Gay at times, and his focus is often directed at the ordinary in America, and their tragic and troubled relationships, while the cosmic, weird, or inexplicable elements, form a catalyst for the equally involving, human action in the foreground.

'Sunbleached' is the story of two, young fatherless boys, living with their single mother, who is employed in the service industry, and a vampire that dwells in the crawlspace beneath their home. The boys have their own designs on the horror beneath the floorboards, and into it they invest their most heartfelt desires. But the consequences of these desires will make you sit up straight when you reach the end.

When so many compete in the horrific and gruesome stakes, it's the compassion and wisdom in this writer's work - without sacrificing the grim and grue' - that makes his own contribution to the field so resonant. Why not have it all? Good fiction is good fiction, with or without vampires.

North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press)