Weird Comparisons

We’re not quite ready to reveal the full table of contents for THE WEIRD: A COMPENDIUM OF STRANGE AND DARK STORIES (Atlantic/Corvus), but we have finished the proofing process and provided the publisher with story notes, the extended copyright page, and the introduction.

In the interim before the reveal, I decided to go back and take a look at some of the best-of anthologies from the past couple of years and compare our table of contents to theirs. Below I’ve posted kind of a tease with regard to our book, revealing the number of stories overlapping ours, as well as the list of common writers. For the first two, I’ve put a line of ****** to indicate the year/story from which the antho correspond with our own list.

These other anthologies have a different but at times overlapping mission statement from THE WEIRD, which clocks in at 750,000 words. Our mission statement was to chart the best examples of weird tales/weird fiction over the past one hundred years. We took that brief to mean exploration of several different threads: the traditional weird tale, weird ritual, some weird SF, etc. We also took the opportunity to include weird fiction from beyond the U.S. and U.K., with 17 nationalities represented among the 116 stories . We saw Franz Kafka and H.P. Lovecraft as representing two main strands of weird fiction, etc., and also traced other sources of influence. We also used the opportunity to commission new, definitive translations of several stories and included novellas and short novels.Non-supernatural horror without an element of strange ritual, Gothic fiction, and traditional ghost stories did not fit our brief to select “weird fiction”. We also looked carefully at all public domain material, trying to be definitive but also not rely too heavily on it for the time period of roughly 1908 to 1922. Part of this process included re-evaluating the strength of certain authors and certain classic works.

The four books below have their own constraints and obsessions. The Century’s Best Horror Fiction chooses one story per year as the best from that year. It also contains only four stories not from Anglo sources, and ignores Kafka entirely, probably defining him as not really horror–it is largely concerned with comprehensively chronicling the horror impulse in the UK and US. The anthology also includes more naturalistic horror, selecting some fine authors that simply didn’t fit into THE WEIRD.

The Peter Straub American Fantastical Tales from Library of America has, of course, the constraint of including only stories by U.S. writers, going all the way back to Poe. However, Straub had the freedom to pick any kind of dark fantasy—weird, horror, etc.—meaning that traditional ghost stories are well-represented in his anthology, and correspondingly he has more women writers from the period of 1910 to 1950. He has also selected many stories from “literary” authors, which creates a nice mix of writers who might not always appear in the same volume.

The other two anthologies, The Very Best of Best New Horror edited by Stephen Jones and Darkness edited by Ellen Datlow, both cover roughly the last 20 years of horror fiction, and intersect with The Weird during that period only partially. Neither anthology looks at fiction from outside of the US/UK/Australia.

…THE WEIRD will be out in October and we will post the full table of contents prior to publication. In the meantime, with these story lists as a partial guide, do you have your own favorite weird tale?

THE CENTURY’S BEST HORROR FICTION (ed. By John Pelan, Cemetery Dance)

100 stories total
Same Story Reprinted: 7
Same Authors: 20 – Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, Hanns Heinz Ewers, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Barbour Johnson, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Robert Aickman, Robert Bloch, Charles Beaumont, Jean Ray, Dennis Etchison, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Shea, Stephen King, Fritz Leiber, Bob Leman, Thomas Ligotti, Poppy Z. Brite, Caitlin R. Kiernan

1901: Barry Pain — The Undying Thing
1902: W.W. Jacobs — The Monkey’s Paw
1903: H.G.Wells — The Valley of the Spiders
1904: Arthur Machen — The White People
1905: R. Murray Gilchrist — The Lover’s Ordeal
1906: Edward Lucas White — House of the Nightmare
1907: Algernon Blackwood — The Willows
1908: Perceval Landon — Thurnley Abbey
1909: Violet Hunt — The Coach
1910: Wm Hope Hodgson — The Whistling Room
1911: M.R. James — Casting the Runes
1912: E.F. Benson — Caterpillars
1913: Aleister Crowley — The Testament of Magdelan Blair
1914: M. P. Shiel — The Place of Pain
1915: Hanns Heinz Ewers — The Spider
1916: Lord Dunsany — Thirteen at Table
1917: Frederick Stuart Greene — The Black Pool
1918: H. De Vere Stacpoole — The Middle Bedroom
1919: Ulric Daubeny — The Sumach
1920: Maurice Level — In the Light of the Red Lamp
1921: Vincent O’Sullivan — Master of Fallen Years
1922: Walter de la Mare — Seaton’s Aunt
1923: George Allen England — The Thing From—”Outside”
1924: C.M. Eddy, Jr. — The Loved Dead
1925: John Metcalfe — The Smoking Leg
1926: H.P. Lovecraft — The Outsider
1927: Donald Wandrei — The Red Brain
1928: H.R. Wakefield — The Red Lodge
1929: Eleanor Scott — Celui-La
1930: Rosalie Muspratt — Spirit of Stonhenge
1931: Henry S. Whitehead — Cassius
1932: David H. Keller — The Thing in the Cellar
1933: C.L. Moore — Shambleau
1934: L.A. Lewis — The Tower of Moab
1935: Clark Ashton Smith — The Dark Eidolon
1936: Thorp McCluskey — The Crawling Horror
1937: Howard Wandrei — The Eerie Mr Murphy
1938: Robert E. Howard — Pigeons from Hell
1939: Robert Barbour Johnson — Far Below
1940: John Collier — Evening Primrose
1941: C.M. Kornbluth — The Words of Guru
1942: Jane Rice — The Idol of the Flies
1943: Anthony Boucher — They Bite
1944: Ray Bradbury — The Jar
1945: August Derleth — Carousel
1946: Manly Wade Wellman — Shonokin Town
1947: Theodore Sturgeon — Bianca’s Hands
1948: Shirley Jackson — The Lottery
1949: Nigel Kneale — The Pond
1950: Richard Matheson — Born of Man & Woman
1951: Russell Kirk — Uncle Isiah
1952: Eric Frank Russell — I Am Nothing
1953: Robert Sheckley — The Altar
1954: Everil Worrell — Call Not Their Names
1955: Robert Aickman — Ringing the Changes
1956: Richard Wilson — Lonely Road
1957: Clifford Simak — Founding Father
1958: Robert Bloch — That Hell-Bound Train
1959: Charles Beaumont — The Howling Man
1960: Fredric Brown — The House
1961: Ray Russell — Sardonicus
1962: Carl Jacobi — The Aquarium
1963: Robert Arthur — The Mirror of Cagliostro
1964: Charles Birkin — A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
1965: Jean Ray — The Shadowy Street
1966: Arthur Porges — The Mirror
1967: Norman Spinrad — Carcinoma Angels
1968: Anna Hunger — Come
1969: Steffan Aletti — The Last Work of Pietro Apono
1970: David A. Riley — The Lurkers in the Abyss
1971: Dorothy K. Haynes — The Derelict Track
1972: Gary Brandner — The Price of a Demon
1973: Eddy C. Bertin — Like Two White Spiders
1974: Karl Edward Wagner — Sticks
1975: David Drake — The Barrow Troll
1976: Dennis Etchison — It Only Comes Out at Night
1977: Barry N. Malzberg — The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady
1978: Michael Bishop — Within the Walls of Tyre
1979: Ramsey Campbell — Mackintosh Willy
1980: Michael Shea — The Autopsy
1981: Stephen King — The Reach
1982: Fritz Leiber — Horrible Imagings
1983: David Schow — One for the Horrors
1984: Bob Leman — The Unhappy Pilgrimage of Clifford M.
1985: Michael Reaves — The Night People
1986: Tim Powers — Night Moves
1987: Ian Watson — Evil Water
1988: Joe R. Lansdale — The Night They Missed the Horror Show
1989: Joel Lane — The Earth Wire
1990: Elizabeth Massie — Stephen
1991: Thomas Ligotti — The Glamour
1992: Poppy Z. Brite — Calcutta Lord of Nerves
1993: Lucy Taylor — The Family Underwater
1994: Jack Ketchum — The Box
1995: Terry Lamsley — The Toddler
1996: Caitlín R. Kiernan — Tears Seven Times Salt
1997: Stephen Laws — The Crawl
1998: Brian Hodge — As Above, So Below
1999: Glen Hirshberg — Mr. Dark’s Carnival
2000: Tim Lebbon — Reconstructing Amy


86 stories total

Same Story Reprinted: 5
Same Authors: 20 – F. Marion Crawford, Francis Stevens, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Jerome Bixby, Harlan Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Ligotti, Jeff VanderMeer, Stephen King, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Michael Chabon, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian Evenson, Kelly Link

Charles Brockden Brown, Somnambulism: A Fragment
Washington Irving, The Adventure of the German Student
Edgar Allan Poe, Berenice
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
Herman Melville, The Tartarus of Maids
Fitz-James O’Brien, What Was It?
Bret Harte, The Legend of Monte del Diablo
Harriet Prescott Spofford, The Moonstone Mass
W. C. Morrow, His Unconquerable Enemy
Sarah Orne Jewett, In Dark New England Days
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wall Paper
Stephen Crane, The Black Dog
Kate Chopin, Ma’ame Pélagie
John Kendrick Bangs, Thurlow’s Christmas Story
Robert W. Chambers, The Repairer of Reputations
Ralph Adams Cram, The Dead Valley
Madeline Yale Wynne, The Little Room
Gertrude Atherton, The Striding Place
Emma Francis Dawson, An Itinerant House
Mary Wilkins Freeman, Luella Miller
Frank Norris, Grettir at Thorhall-stead
Lafcadio Hearn, Yuki-Onna
F. Marion Crawford, For the Blood Is the Life
Ambrose Bierce, The Moonlit Road
Edward Lucas White, Lukundoo
Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense
Henry James, The Jolly Corner
Alice Brown, Golden Baby
Edith Wharton, Afterward
Willa Cather, Consequences
Ellen Glasgow, The Shadowy Third
Julian Hawthorne, Absolute Evil
Francis Stevens, Unseen—Unfeared
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Seabury Quinn, The Curse of Everard Maundy
Stephen Vincent Benét, The King of the Cats
David H. Keller, The Jelly-Fish
Conrad Aiken, Mr. Arcularis
Robert E. Howard, The Black Stone
Henry S. Whitehead, Passing of a God
August Derleth, The Panelled Room
H. P. Lovecraft, The Thing on the Doorstep
Clark Ashton Smith, Genius Loci
Robert Bloch, The Cloak
John Collier, Evening Primrose
Fritz Leiber, Smoke Ghost
Tennessee Williams, The Mysteries of the Joy Rio
Jane Rice, The Refugee
Anthony Boucher, Mr. Lupescu
Truman Capote, Miriam
Jack Snow, Midnight
John Cheever, Torch Song
Shirley Jackson, The Daemon Lover
Paul Bowles, The Circular Valley
Jack Finney, I’m Scared
Vladimir Nabokov, The Vane Sisters
Ray Bradbury, The April Witch
Charles Beaumont, Black Country
Jerome Bixby, Trace
Davis Grubb, Where the Woodbine Twineth
Donald Wandrei, Nightmare
Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
Richard Matheson, Prey
T.E.D. Klein, The Events at Poroth Farm
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Hanka
Fred Chappell, Linnaeus Forgets
John Crowley, Novelty
Jonathan Carroll, Mr Fiddlehead
Joyce Carol Oates, Family
Thomas Ligotti, The Last Feast of Harlequin
Peter Straub, A Short Guide to the City
Jeff VanderMeer, The General Who Is Dead
Stephen King, That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French
George Saunders, Sea Oak
Caitlín Kiernan, The Long Hall on the Top Floor
Thomas Tessier, Nocturne
Michael Chabon, The God of Dark Laughter
Joe Hill, Pop Art
Poppy Z. Brite, Pansu
Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter
M. Rickert, The Chambered Fruit
Brian Evenson, The Wavering Knife
Kelly Link, Stone Animals
Tim Powers, Pat Moore
Gene Wolfe, The Little Stranger
Benjamin Percy, Dial Tone

THE VERY BEST OF BEST NEW HORROR (edited by Stephen Jones)

20 stories total

Same Story Reprinted: 1
Same Authors: 9 – Ramsey Campbell, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Hand, Mark Samuels, Lisa Tuttle, Clive Barker, Stephen King

No Sharks In The Med, Brian Lumley
The Man Who Drew Cats, Michael Marshall Smith
The Same In Any Language, Ramsey Campbell
Norman Wisdom And The Angel Of Death, Christopher Fowler
Mefisto In Onyx, Harlan Ellison
The Temptation Of Dr Stein, Paul J. Mcauley
Queen Of Knives, Neil Gaiman
The Break, Terry Lamsley
Emptiness Spoke Eloquent, Caitlín R Kiernan
Mr. Clubb And Mr. Cuff, Peter Straub
White, Tim Lebbon
The Other Side Of Midnight: Anno Dracula, 1981, Kim Newman
Cleopatra Brimstone, Elizabeth Hand
20th Century Ghost, Joe Hill
The White Hands, Mark Samuels
My Death, Lisa Tuttle
Haeckel’s Tale, Clive Barker
Devil’s Smile, Glen Hirshberg
The Church On The Island, Simon Kurt Unsworth
The New York Times At Special Bargain Rates, Stephen King


26 stories total

Same Story Reprinted: 1
Same Authors: 13 – Clive Barker, Thomas Ligotti, George R.R. Martin, Kathe Koja, Stephen King, Lucius Shepard, Poppy Z. Brite, Elizabeth Hand, Dennis Etchison, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Ramsey Campbell

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament Clive Barker 1984
Dancing Chickens Edward Bryant 1984
The Greater Festival of Masks Thomas Ligotti 1985
The Pear-Shaped Man George R.R. Martin 1987
The Juniper Tree Peter Straub 1988
Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds Dan Simmons 1988
The Power and the Passion Pat Cadigan 1989
The Phone Woman Joe R. Lansdale 1990
Teratisms Kathe Koja 1991
Chattery Teeth Stephen King 1992
A Little Night Music Lucius Shepard 1992
Calcutta, Lord of Nerves Poppy Z. Brite 1992
The Erl King Elizabeth Hand 1993
The Dog Park Dennis Etchison 1993
Rain Falls Michael Marshall Smith 1994
Refrigerator Heaven David J. Schow 1995
—- Joyce Carol Oates 1995
Eaten (Scenes from a Moving Picture) Neil Gaiman 1996
The Specialist’s Hat Kelly Link 1998
The Tree is My Hat Gene Wolfe 1999
Heat Steve Rasnic Tem 1999
No Strings Ramsey Campbell 2000
Stitch Terry Dowling 2002
Dancing Men Glen Hirshberg 2003
My Father’s Mask Joe Hill 2005


  1. PhilRM says

    “Lazarus”, by Leonid Andreyev (at least that’s how the author’s name was transliterated in Terry Carr’s “New Worlds of Fantasy #2”, which is where I read it). I think it’s from very early in the 20th century. I have very fond memories of those anthologies; that’s where I discovered Borges and Ballard, among many others.

  2. Eric Schaller says

    The Pelan book is still listed as forthcoming up at Cemetery Dance. I also read the Locus review of it, but it must be from a preview pdf or somesuch. A great idea showing the comparisons–it just makes it clear how much really great fiction has been published this last century since there is so little overlap among the anthologies. I really glad to see H. G. Well’s Valley of the Spiders being reprinted in the Pelan book–although before your cut-off date it truly is a great example of weird horror, one of the strangest pieces that Wells wrote. It looks like all of these anthologies are on the ‘must’ list.

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