As a young teen I wasn’t the avid reader of novels I am today. Maybe I didn’t have the patience for them back then; my hyperkinetic mind couldn’t yet commit to long-form genre literature. I do remember getting through a few Stephen King books (PET SEMETARY and CUJO come to mind), and some by John Saul (NATHANIEL) and John Coyne (HOBGOBLIN), but mostly I read anthologies of horror short stories.
Short stories were ideal for me because I could finish one in a single sitting. As a fright fan I bought up any horror collection I could find: SHADOWS (a long-running series edited by Charles L. Grant), GALLERY OF HORROR (also edited by Charles L. Grant), BORDERLANDS (another series, edited by Thomas Monteleone), STALKERS, and SPLATTERPUNKS, to name just a few. Each book offered me a trove of tales which appealed to my morbid mind and made my heart beat faster.
As much as I loved chewing on these tasty terror morsels, I discovered some stories — and certain authors — hooked me more than others. As I got a little older I began seeking out novels written by authors whose short works I enjoyed. This was how I discovered many of my favorite writers today: Robert McCammon (STINGER), Joe R. Lansdale (THE DRIVE-IN), Richard Laymon (ONE RAINY NIGHT), Bentley Little (THE STORE), and a bunch of others.
Hence why I’m so exited to be editing a new Horror/Science Fiction anthology titled WHAT HAS TWO HEADS, TEN EYES, AND TERRIFYING TABLE MANNERS? (Story submissions are now closed.) I hope to find some talented new voices and share their words with the world. Maybe you’ll find a new author you love.
Short stories are a wonderful, powerful introduction to an author’s oeuvre. One piece can create a fan for life!