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American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now

by Peter Straub (Editor)

Other authors: Charles Beaumont (Contributor), Jerome Bixby (Contributor), Anthony Boucher (Contributor), Paul Bowles (Contributor), Ray Bradbury (Contributor)37 more, Poppy Z. Brite (Contributor), Truman Capote (Contributor), Jonathan Carroll (Contributor), Michael Chabon (Contributor), Fred Chappell (Contributor), John Cheever (Contributor), John Collier (Contributor), John Crowley (Contributor), Harlan Ellison (Contributor), Brian Evenson (Contributor), Jack Finney (Contributor), Davis Grubb (Contributor), Joe Hill (Contributor), Shirley Jackson (Contributor), Caitlín Kiernan (Contributor), Stephen King (Contributor), T. E. D. Klein (Contributor), Fritz Leiber (Contributor), Thomas Ligotti (Contributor), Kelly Link (Contributor), Richard Matheson (Contributor), Steven Millhauser (Contributor), Vladimir Nabokov (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Benjamin Percy (Contributor), Tim Powers (Contributor), Jane Rice (Contributor), M. Rickert (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Isaac Bashevis Singer (Contributor), Jack Snow (Contributor), Peter Straub (Contributor), Thomas Tessier (Contributor), Jeff VanderMeer (Contributor), Donald Wandrei (Contributor), Tennessee Williams (Contributor), Gene Wolfe (Contributor)

Series: American Fantastic Tales (2)

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261598,386 (3.79)17
A collection of forty-two stories of horror and fantasy from the 1940s to the present by a number of noted authors including Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, and Stephen King.

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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Amazing cross section of modern contemporary fiction writers. Biggest surprises were Joyce Carol Oates & Michael Chabon. Other greats by Jonathan Carroll, Thomas Ligotti, & more. ( )
  SESchend | Nov 2, 2021 |
While there are several stories worth reading here, I much preferred the first volume of this set. Once you hit the 1980s (about halfway through) the quality drops sharply, with a few exceptions (Ligotti, Millhauser, Rickert, Percy--too bad Straub gives away the entire story to that last in his introduction; I guess he thought we'd forget by the time we got there.) ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
Generously, 2½** – and that high only because it's Library of America.

In any kind of an anthology of this sort, a reader will prefer some stories over others. Unfortunately, those that I preferred in this case were few in number – and, to a significant degree, were stories that I already know and authored by well-known writers (e.g., Shirley Jackson's "The Daemon Lover," one of Jackson's best but also one that any Jackson admirer will already have read). ( )
  CurrerBell | Dec 17, 2018 |
I'm a bit torn. The introduction by Straub seems misleading. He focuses on the horror elements, but it seems several the stories chosen fall into the fantastic fiction that the actual title of the book suggests. I'm not a huge fan of several of the stories chosen and think that there are better examples that could have been chosen. Also, the length of a lot of the selected stories runs far too long.

That being said, there's some real gems here and there are not as many collections out with the scope of these two volumes.

So I personally am torn whether to add the collections to a wishlist. I think if you can get it from a library or borrow it, great. Be prepared to skip stories, but you might be able to find some authors to follow. ( )
  JonathanGorman | May 6, 2010 |
I appreciate the author's name at the top of the left page and the title of the short story on the top of the right page.
I appreciate the biographies. They are very thorough. I like the alphabetic sequence. The birth and death dates go very well with the story's publication date. For some reason, which I cannot justify, I need to know when the story was written/published (1948 or 1812) and the age of the author (24 or 72).


Peter Straub, 'A Short Guide to the City' (pages 389 to 400) - garbage. Also, I believe this is the editor of the series.
Jeff VanderMeer, ' The General Who Is Dead' (pages 401 to 405) - garbage.
George Saunders, ' Sea Oak' (pages 423 to 446) - hilarious.
M. (Mary) Rickert, "The Chambered Fruit" (pages 528 to 562) - nobody is that stupid, but it is worth reading.
Kelly Link, "Stone Animals" (pages 579 to 622) - garbage. For humor, page 598, line 24, "Catherine told him that she accidentally slept with Leonard." Accidentally? And then, page 612, lines 1 to 2, "She hadn't even slept with him. She had just said she had ...".
Tim Powers, "Pat Moore" (pages 623 to 654) - no opinion. But, page 650, lines 36 to 37, "star decals in constellations on our bedroom ceiling". Did that bring back memories! I was just under 2 years old (no lie), in my crib, in the bedroom with a curtain for a door, and my 4 year old older brother was biting my wrist . This was in the Army pre-fabs in Chicago, on Bryn Mawr Avenue, just east of Milwaukee Avenue.
Benjamin Percy, "Dial Tone" (pages 673 to 684) - garbage, a telemarketer sob story.

I was thoroughly confused at the end of page 557. There is a reference to Jackson Pollack, a name with which I am unfamiliar. The Notes don't help, neither does my Webster's. Wikipedia has an article entitled Jackson Pollard (I may have mistyped the search name), but it describes Jackson Pollock, an American longevity claimant. It also has an article entitled Jackson Pollock (for Paul Jackson Pollock), an American abstract painter. Why did I have to pause for an unfamiliar name? Sometimes, I worry myself.

I wrote this, from my notes, several months after actually reading the book. ( )
  TChesney | Apr 27, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Straub, PeterEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beaumont, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bixby, JeromeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boucher, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowles, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brite, Poppy Z.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capote, TrumanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chabon, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chappell, FredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheever, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collier, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crowley, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evenson, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Finney, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grubb, DavisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hill, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jackson, ShirleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kiernan, CaitlínContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, T. E. D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leiber, FritzContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ligotti, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Link, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matheson, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Percy, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rice, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rickert, M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Singer, Isaac BashevisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snow, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Straub, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tessier, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
VanderMeer, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wandrei, DonaldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TennesseeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, GeneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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A collection of forty-two stories of horror and fantasy from the 1940s to the present by a number of noted authors including Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, and Stephen King.

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