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Rolling in the Deep

The Deep

Mira Grant

When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses.

They didn't expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn't expect those mermaids to have teeth.

This is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench...and the depths are very good at keeping secrets.

Among the Thorns

Veronica Schanoes

Among the Thorns, by Veronica Schanoes, is a dark fantasy taking place in seventeenth century Germany, about a young woman who is intent on avenging the brutal murder of her peddler father many years earlier, by a vagabond with a magic fiddle.

This novelette is included in the anthology Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction (2018), edited by Irene Gallo.

Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

Into the Drowning Deep

The Deep

Mira Grant

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a "mockumentary" bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they're not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life's work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.

But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

20th Century Ghosts

Joe Hill

Imogene is young, beautiful... and dead, waiting in the Rosebud Theater one afternoon in 1945....

Francis was human once, but now he's an eight-foot-tall locust, and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing....

John is locked in a basement stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children, and an antique telephone, long since disconnected, rings at night with calls from the dead....

Nolan knows but can never tell what really happened in the summer of '77, when his idiot savant younger brother built a vast cardboard fort with secret doors leading into other worlds....

The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - essay by Christopher Golden
  • Scheherazade's Typewriter - shortstory
  • Best New Horror - (2005) - shortstory
  • 20th Century Ghost - (2002) - shortstory
  • Pop Art - (2001) - novelette
  • You Will Hear the Locust Sing - (2004) - shortstory
  • Abraham's Boys - (2004) - shortstory
  • Better Than Home - (1999) - novelette
  • The Black Phone - (2004) - shortstory
  • In The Rundown - (2005) - shortstory
  • The Cape - (2005) - shortstory
  • Last Breath - (2005) - shortstory
  • Dead-Wood - (2005) - shortstory
  • The Widow's Breakfast - (2002) - shortstory
  • My Father's Mask - novelette
  • Voluntary Commital - (2005) - novella

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Wayward Children: Book 2

Seanan McGuire

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first...

Jacqueline was her mother's perfect daughter -- polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it's because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father's perfect daughter -- adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can't be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Burning Girls

Veronica Schanoes

Nebula-nominated Novella

"Burning Girls", by Veronica Schanoes, is a fascinating dark fantasy novella about a Jewish girl educated by her grandmother as a healer and witch growing up in an increasingly hostile environment in Poland in the late nineteenth century. In addition to the natural danger of destruction by Cossacks, she must deal with a demon plaguing her family.


Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

The Bloody Chamber

Angela Carter

From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

Contains:

  • The Bloody Chamber
  • The Company of Wolves
  • The Courtship of Mr. Lyon
  • The Erlking
  • The Lady of the House of Love
  • The Snow Cild
  • The Tiger's Bride
  • The Werewolf
  • Wolf Alice
  • Puss-in-Boots

The Book of Lost Things

John Connolly

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother. He is angry and alone, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in his imagination, he finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a land that is a strange reflection of his own world, populated by heroes and monsters, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book... The Book of Lost Things.

An imaginative tale about navigating the journey into adulthood, while doing your best to hang on to your childhood.

Red as Blood and White as Bone

Theodora Goss

Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss is a dark fantasy about a kitchen girl obsessed with fairy tales, who upon discovering a ragged woman outside the castle during a storm, takes her in--certain she's a princess in disguise.

This story is included in the anthology The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 11 (2017), edited by Jonathan Strahan.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Foxglove Summer

Rivers of London: Book 5

Ben Aaronovitch

In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook, Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm...

Coraline

Neil Gaiman

Hugo-, Nebula-, BSFA-, Stoker, and Locus-winning, and Mythopoeic-, World-Fantasy-, and IHG-nominated Novella

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own... except that it's different. It's a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there's also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home.


Hear this novella read on a podcast from Harper Teen.

Faerie Tale

Raymond E. Feist

Successful screenwriter Phil Hastings decides to move his family from sunny California to a ramshackle farmhouse in New York State. The idea is to take some time out, relax and pick up the threads of his career as a novelist.

Good plan, bad choice. The place they choose is surrounded by ancient woodland. The house they choose is the centrepoint of a centuries-old evil intent on making its presence felt to intruders.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a short story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was first published in 1820. Along with Irving's companion piece Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity.


Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All

Neil Gaiman

You ask me if I can forgive myself? I can forgive myself for many things. For where I left him. For what I did.

The text of The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains was first published in the collection anthology Stories: All New Tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (2010). This gorgeous full-color illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between writer Neil Gaiman and artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman's story.

The Changeling

Victor LaValle

When Apollo Kagwa's father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. Now Apollo is a father himself--and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo's old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. Irritable and disconnected from their new baby boy, at first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go even deeper. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act--beyond any parent's comprehension--and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo's odyssey through a world he only thought he understood, to find a wife and child who are nothing like he'd imagined. His quest, which begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma's whereabouts, takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It's a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we're lucky.

Deathbird Stories: A Pantheon of Modern Gods

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison's masterwork of myth and terror as he seduces all innocence on a mind-freezing odyssey into the darkest reaches of mortal terror and the most dazzling heights of Olympian hell in his finest collection.

Deathbird Stories is a collection of 19 of Harlan Ellison's best stories, including Edgar and Hugo winners, originally published between 1960 and 1974. The collection contains some of Ellison's best stories from earlier collections and is judged by some to be his most consistently high quality collection of short fiction.

The theme of the collection can be loosely defined as God, or Gods. Sometimes they're dead or dying, some of them are as brand-new as today's technology. Unlike some of Ellison's collections, the introductory notes to each story can be as short as a phrase and rarely run more than a sentence or two. One story took a Locus Poll Award, the two final ones both garnered Hugo Awards and Locus Poll awards, and the final one also received a Jupiter Award from the Instructors of Science Fiction in Higher Education (discontinued in 1979).

When the collection was published in Britain, it won the 1979 British Science Fiction Award for Short Fiction. His stories will rivet you to the floor and change your heartbeat... as unforgettable a chamber of horror, fantasy and reality as you'll ever experience. -Gallery

"Brutally and flamboyantly shocking, frequently brilliant, and always irresistibly mesmerizing." -Richmond Times-Dispatch

Table of Contents:

Every Heart a Doorway

Wayward Children: Book 1

Seanan McGuire

Tiptree and Hugo Award nominated novella.

Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things.

No matter the cost.

Unnatural Creatures

Neil Gaiman
Maria Dahvana Headley

Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds--collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.

The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology.

Sales of Unnatural Creatures benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative and expository writing, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - essay by Neil Gaiman
  • * - (1972) - short story by Gahan Wilson
  • The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees - (2011) - short story by E. Lily Yu
  • The Griffin and the Minor Canon - (1885) - short story by Frank R. Stockton
  • Ozioma the Wicked (2013) - short fiction by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Sunbird - (2005) - novelette by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sage of Theare - (1982) - novelette by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Gabriel-Ernest - (1909) - short story by Saki
  • The Cockatoucan; or, Great-Aunt Willoughby - (1900) - short story by E. Nesbit
  • Moveable Beast (2013) - short fiction by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • The Flight of the Horse - (1969) - short story by Larry Niven
  • Prismatica - (1977) - novelette by Samuel R. Delany
  • The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me (2013) - short fiction by Megan Kurashige
  • The Compleat Werewolf - (1942) - novella by Anthony Boucher
  • The Smile on the Face - (2004) - short story by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Or All the Seas with Oysters - (1958) - short story by Avram Davidson
  • Come Lady Death - (1963) - short story by Peter S. Beagle

Through the Woods

Emily Carroll

Discover a terrifying world in the woods in this collection of five hauntingly beautiful graphic stories that includes the online webcomic sensation "His Face All Red," in print for the first time.

Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to "Our Neighbor's House"--though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in "A Lady's Hands Are Cold." You might try to figure out what is haunting "My Friend Janna," or discover that your brother's fiancée may not be what she seems in "The Nesting Place." And of course you must revisit the horror of "His Face All Red," the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page.

Already revered for her work online, award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll's stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.

NOS4A2

Joe Hill

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it's across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls "Christmasland."

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble-and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx's unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He's on the road again and he's picked up a new passenger: Vic's own son.

Exclusive to the print editions of NOS4A2 are more than 15 illustrations by award-winning Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodríguez.

The Twisted Ones

T. Kingfisher

When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother's home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods in this chilling novel that reads like The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show.

When Mouse's dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?

Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there's more--Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather's journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants... until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.

Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors--because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they're looking for you. And if she doesn't face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.

The Eyes of the Dragon

Stephen King

A tale of archetypal heroes and sweeping adventures, of dragons and princes and evil wizards, here is epic fantasy as only Stephen King could envision it.

Alice

Chronicles of Alice: Book 1

Christina Henry

A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll...

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Cuckoo Song

Frances Hardinge

The first things to shift were the doll's eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss's face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak.

'What are you doing here?' It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. 'Who do you think you are? This is my family.'

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out.

Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family - before it's too late...

Cuckoo Song is a darkly atmospheric novel from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Branford Boase award.

Floating Dragon

Peter Straub

The terrors afflicting the sleepy town of Hampstead, Connecticut, were beyond imagination. Sparrows dropping dead from the trees like rotten fruit, disfiguring diseases spreading like wildfire, inexplicable murders and child drownings shattering the lives of the citizens - never can such a list of horrors have afflicted one town. But the evil madness had a long history. A catastrophe had struck Hampstead every thirty years since its foundation 300 years before - yet only Graham Williams, a writer and descendant of one of the original founders, had looked into the 'black summers' and their mysterious origins. When he discovers that descendants of the three other original settlers are back living in the town, he knows it will be the blackest summer yet...

Blind Voices

Tom Reamy

"It was a time of pause, a time between planting and harvest when the air was heavy, humming with its own slow warm music."

So begins an extraordinary fantasy of the rural Midwest by a winner of the John W. Campbell, Jr., Award for best young science fiction writer.

One summer day in the 1920s, Haverstock's Traveling Curiosus and Wondershow rides into a small Midwestern town. Haverstock's show is a presentation of mysterious wonders: feats of magic, strange creatures, and frightening powers.

Three teenage girls attend the opening performance that evening which, for each, promises love and threatens death. The three girls are drawn to the show and its performers-a lusty centaur, Angel the magical albino boy, the rowdy stage hands-but frightened by the enigmatic owner, Haverstock. The girls at first try to dismiss these marvels as trickery, but it becomes all too real, too vivid to be other than nightmare reality.

Each feels the force of the show and its power to alter everyday lives: Francine is drawn embarrassingly to the centaur, Rose makes an assignation with one of the hands and gets in trouble, and Evelyn is fascinated by the pathetic, mysterious Angel, The Boy Who Can Fly, and together they plan escape.

The Ceremonies

T. E. D. Klein

Graduate student Jeremy Freirs and aspiring dancer Carol Conklin, summering in the New Jersey village of Gilead, are trapped in a nightmare of terror, with an evil force emanating from a place once called Maquineanok, the Place of Burning.