Weird fiction is a type of speculative fiction involving supernatural and sometimes scientific elements characterized by a serious feeling of foreboding and dread, the cause of which may not be explained. Ranging from laugh out loud funny to anxiety producing, the stories are fantastic in the sense of bizarre and strange. Not all the tales and authors are forgotten but many are unknown to modern readers. With better known authors, you'll find their lesser known stories such as Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker. Judith Illes writes an informative introduction on the genre of weird fiction and then introduces each individual tale. This collection of short stories will beckon to fans of suspense, the supernatural, ghosts, vampires and the occult.

The important thing to remember is these stories weren't intended as high brow literature. Printed in pulp fiction magazines, weird fiction has rarely achieved serious respect. Some of the stories are clearly products of their time and may strike the modern reader as quaint. Even so they are excellent examples of the weird fiction genre and stepping stones to the eventual development of the horror and science fiction genres. Other stories have stood the test of time and really deserve to have the dust brushed off their covers. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde remains one of the funniest ghost stories ever written and may inspire you to collect the rest of this author's work. The beauty of an anthology is the opportunity to taste the style of so many authors and then indulge later by binge reading your favorites.

Included in the anthology are:

Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker
A Water Witch by H.D. Everett
The Ash Tree by M.R. James
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Haunted Orchard by Richard Le Gallienne
The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers
Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft
The Horror at Martin's Beach by H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia H. Greene
The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens
The Twisting of the Rope by W.B. Yeats
The Inmost Light by Arthur Machen
Blood Lust by Dion Fortune
The Woman's Ghost Story by Algernon Blackwood
The Lady with the Carnantions by Marie Corelli
The Guest by Lord Dunsany
The Oval Portrait b Edgar Allen Poe
The Spider by Hanns Heinz Ewers
The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs


~review by Larissa Carlson Viana

Edited and Introduced by Judika Illes
Red Wheel/Weiser Books, 2016
pp. 279, $16.95