Great review of Year’s Best Weird Fiction

Esteemed writer Nathan Ballingrud has posted a review of Year’s Best Weird Fiction on Amazon.com.

“Well, it’s a triumph. A really well-assembled collection, which succeeds in distinguishing itself from the best horror and best fantasy anthologies with an eclectic table of contents and a good opening essay by guest editor Laird Barron, in which he deftly uses Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” as a case study in describing his particular take on what makes a story “weird.” I love most of the stories in this book, and some are downright incandescent – from Paul Tremblay’s bleak “Swim Wants to Know If It’s As Bad As Swim Thinks” to the nightmare logic of Kristi DeMeester’s “Like Feather, Like Bone,” to the volcanic vision of Jeff VanderMeer’s “No Breather in the World But Thee”. I’m genuinely excited about where this is going. Barron did a knockout job, and series editor Michael Kelly deserves applause for getting this off the ground. The best part of the whole project? Rotating editors, keeping the perspective fresh, and the definition of the “weird” fluid. I’m already excited to see what Kathe Koja brings to the table next year.”

Aickman’s Heirs

Coming Spring of 2015, Aickman’s Heirs, edited by Simon Strantzas, an anthology of strange, weird tales by modern masters of weird fiction, in the milieu of Robert Aickman, the master of strange and ambiguous stories. Editor and author Strantzas, an important figure in Weird fiction, has been hailed as the heir to Aickman’s oeuvre, and is ideally suited to edit this exciting volume. Cover art by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich. Cover design by Vince Haig.aickman1

Shadows & Tall Trees review

A cracking review of Shadows & Tall Trees from Goodreads.

http://bit.ly/1tYJIqH

A nice, diverse selection of spooky/weird stories. The writing is solid all around, and the subjects move well beyond the basic fare of scratches at the window and thumps under the bed. My favorites were Robert Shearman’s deeply weird “It Flows From the Mouth,” “Summerside” by Alison Moore, and Michael Wehunt’s “Onanon” which was without question the strangest and most gleefully surreal piece in the collection. The scariest,, however, was a good-old-fashioned haunted-house story by V.H. Leslie called “The Quiet Room”; the fact that it made me jumpy was a pretty impressive feat, as I was reading it outside in the middle of the day.

One thing did strike me, though—and I would call this more of an observation than a criticism—which was that the likable characters seemed few and far between in the anthology. It’s possible that that is just the nature of these types of tales; dark things happen, and somehow it seems fitting that they happen to dark people; that is how we make sense of the world. In other cases, the characters are not so much offensive as they are painfully limited—isolated or abandoned types who finally step outside their private shelter only to find the world to be stranger, harsher and more dangerous than they had imagined. Maybe the latter is a reflection of writers’ own bookish personalities, or maybe it’s just easier to send your characters to their doom if they’re a bit obstinate and aren’t texting with a collection of upbeat and levelheaded friends who advise them to please, just go to a regular amusement park and not the abandoned one on the outskirts of town where all those children disappeared.

I mention all that not to suggest that there’s anything wrong with the anthology—because I do think it is very good—but maybe just as a reminder to myself and other writers that jerks and introverts make it easy to manufacture drama but they’re not really the most fun people to hang around.

-Joe Gola

Shadows & Tall Trees to go indefinite hiatus

Regrettably, I am putting Shadows & Tall Trees on indefinite hiatus. Sales have not met my meagre expectations and have made the journal a losing proposition. It’s been a good run. I’ve produced six volumes, with several stories being selected for reprint in “Year’s Best” and “Best Of” anthologies, and acclaim from many quarters. But acclaim alone cannot keep the journal solvent, so, for now, I’m shuttering the publication. Should circumstance change I may consider resurrecting the book.

That said, I am focusing my attention on other exciting projects. Projects that will hopefully sell. The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 2, will see publication a year from now. In the summer I will be publishing the tremendous first collection from a talented new writer. And the spring will see the release of a sensational, original anthology edited by a writer I’ve long admired. Plus another surprise or two. More details in due time.

Many thanks to all those who have supported Shadows & Tall Trees, and helped make six fabulous issues possible. The latest volume was published a couple months ago. If you haven’t already, please consider buying a copy, or leaving a review. Thank you.