The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015

No matter your expectations, the dark is full of the unknown: grim futures, distorted pasts, invasions of the uncanny, paranormal fancies, weird dreams, unnerving nightmares, baffling enigmas, revelatory excursions, desperate adventures, spectral journeys, mundane terrors, and supernatural visions. You may stumble into obsession—or find redemption. Often disturbing, occasionally delightful, let The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror be your annual guide through the mysteries and wonders of dark fiction.

Content (in alphabetical order by author)

Kelley Armstrong, “The Screams of Dragons” (Subterranean Press Magazine, Spring 2014)
Dale Bailey, “The End of the End of Everything” by Dale Bailey (, 23 Apr 2014)
Laird Barron, “(Little Miss) Queen of Darkness” (Dark Discoveries #29)
Elizabeth Bear “Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle” (Dead Man’s Hand, ed. John Joseph Adams)
Richard Bowes, “Sleep Walking Now and Then” (, 9 July 2014)
Nadia Bulkin, “Only Unity Saves the Damned” (Letters to Lovecraft, ed. Jesse Bullington)
Gemma Files, “A Wish From a Bone” (Fearful Symmetries, ed. Ellen Datlow)
S. L. Gilbow, “Mr Hill’s Death” (The Dark #4)
Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, “The Female Factory” (The Female Factory)
Maria Dahvana Headley “Who Is Your Executioner?” (Nightmare Magazine, Nov 2014)
Stephen Graham Jones, “The Elvis Room” (The Elvis Room)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, “The Cats of River Street (1925)” (Sirenia Digest #102)
Alice Sola Kim, “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” (Monstrous Affections, eds. Kelly Link & Gavin Grant/Tin House #61)
John Langan, “Children of the Fang” (Lovecraft’s Monsters, ed. Ellen Datlow)
Yoon Ha Lee, “Combustion Hour” (, 10 Apr 2014)
V. H. Leslie, “The Quiet Room” (Shadows & Tall Trees: 2014, ed. Michael Kelly)
Ken Liu, “Running Shoes” (SQ Mag, Issue 16, Sept 2014)
Usman T. Malik, “Resurrection Points” (Strange Horizons, 4 August 2014)
Helen Marshall, “Death and the Girl from Pi Delta Zeta” (Lackington’s, Issue 1, Winter 2014)
Brandon Sanderson, “Dreamer” (Games Creatures Play, eds. Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner)
Simon Strantzas, “Emotional Dues” (Burnt Black Suns)
Steve Rasnic Tem, “The Still, Cold Air” (Here with the Shadows)
Lavie Tidhar, “Kur-A-Len” (Black Gods Kiss)
Jeff VanderMeer, “Fragments from the Notes of a Dead Mycologist” (Shimmer #18)
Kali Wallace, “Water in Springtime” (Clarkesworld, Issue 91, Apr 2014)
Damien Angelica Walters, “The Floating Girls: A Documentary” (Jamais Vu Issue Three, Sept 2014)
Kaaron Warren, “The Nursery Corner” (Fearsome Magics, ed. Jonathan Strahan)
A. C. Wise, “And the Carnival Leaves Town” (Nightmare Carnival, ed. Ellen Datlow)


“In Guran’s fifth edition of eclectic nightmares, new and veteran authors blend psychological terror and supernatural wonder into disturbing hybrid tales, which confront “that which we do not know.” Many of these stories first appeared in small-press collections and other independent fiction venues that are willing to challenge convention. Steve Rasnic Tem’s ‘Wheatfield with Crows,’ a shadow-show of dark conscience, is both an emotionally searing ghost story and a commentary on the genre. David Schow’s ‘Blue Amber’ resembles a graphic and splattery Outer Limits script. Mystical scribe Laird Barron marries grim violence with supernatural ambiguity in the chilling ‘Termination Dust,’ and Neil Gaiman’s use of Greek myth evokes contemporary lust and self-destruction in ‘A Lunar Labyrinth’… this fearful feast of revelations, hauntings, and shattered realities reveals the horror genre’s enduring power and creativity.”—Publishers Weekly

“The latest in the excellent Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series, edited by Paula Guran, does a pretty good job of living up to exactly what it says on the cover, and pulling together the year’s real best achievements in the genre/genres. Some of the 32 tales will be familiar from elsewhere, especially to an avid dark sider like me… That doesn’t change the fact that if you want to get a very broad and compendious perspective on the field—at 576 pages and 32 stories— this is a very good place to begin. Paula Guran did an excellent editorial job with last year’s collection, and this one if anything improves on it… This is also a very catholic and eclectic collection, with a wide range of subjects and sub-sub-genres on show.”—Teleread

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