review: ellen datlow’s ‘inferno’

Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural
Ellen Datlow, editor
Tor, December 2007
ISBN 978-0-7653-1558-8
384pp, hardcover, $24.95US

Inferno is a non-themed anthology containing twenty original short horror tales by the editor’s favorite writers. Each writer approached his task in his own unique way giving a vibrant collection creating a rare anthology with well-rounded solidly written stories containing strong themes, none of which contain any of the usual, worn horror clichés. The stories all engage the reader, keeping him engrossed from the first word to the last punctuation mark.

Opening up the pages of any book to familiar names is always fun and intriguing, but being able to explore those unfamiliar is and can be just as exciting – or in the case of Inferno, thrilling on the side of terrifying. One thing the reader notices right away about this collection is the lack of gratuitous sex, gore, and violence. The horror in Inferno is largely psychological, appealing to the emotions and often times the subconscious; the reader doesn’t realize he is afraid until he looks up at one point through his reading to find he’s somehow, at some time turned on every light in the house.

This anthology was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best science fiction / fantasy books of the year. Multiple World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Award winning editor, 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award winner Ellen Datlow maintains a website at

purchase hardcover edition

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*for purpose of reviews here at MMG, I will be using coffee cups instead of stars