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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)


Aliya Whiteley — ‘The Beauty’
A story of cosmic fecundity and fungal weirdness that I couldn't put down. After a global pandemic has erased the female half of the species, through fungal growths that spread like a cancer from the reproductive organs, a small group of men establish a successful, though heartbroken, rural commune. The Group confirms itself nightly with oral storytelling from Nate, the young narrator of the story, who fashions stories about the women they remember from before the pandemic and can now only eulogise. Or he tells tales of the group's origins to reinforce its purpose. What comes next for them and mankind will make your eyes widen.

This story gave me an early Ursula K. Le Guin, John Christopher or Atwood vibe, that I was content with, but it then went vertical into new airspace as its ideas about human society, humanity, gender, and fungus, take a successful leap of faith that is erotic, grotesque, horrifying, and tender all at once. I actually can't give much more detail because, beyond the set up, anything more would be a spoiler. But the story may startle and shock a reader unto its end.

When I look at what flows from the dystopia pipe in genre, I often wish someone would turn the tap off before such an important area of speculative fiction loses its meaningfulness. So what a refreshing gust of tiny spores this novella explodes into, and I inhaled them all with glee.

Recommendation: Beauty (Unsung Stories)