Author: Scott Smith,Nathan Ballingrud ,Tim Curran,Brian Hodge,Ryan Harding,Bracken MacLeod,Matt Shaw,Annie Neugebauer,Randy Chandler
Publisher: Red Room Press
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Comet Press is extremely proud to present its third annual anthology featuring this year's hardcore corps of authors with the best extreme horror fiction of 2017 that breaks boundaries and trashes taboos. It was a killer year for horror fiction of the harder kind. Authors, editors and publishers presented readers with some startling works of horrific imagination, stories graphic in the extreme yet with subtleties suggesting larger meanings, tales that explore humanity by plumbing depths of soulless inhumanity and, in some cases, outright depravity. The stories here represent the best of them, disturbing tales that dig deep and take you into the dark heart of horror itself, unrelenting and unapologetic. “So Sings The Siren” by Annie Neugebauer takes us onto a Dark Fantasy stage for a one-night-only performance of mythological torture. Then Ryan Harding’s “Junk” gets right to the hardcore stuff with the ultimate dick-pic horror tale. Robert Levy’s “The Cenacle” is a literary cemetery feast you may have a hard time stomaching (Tums won’t save you). Nathan Ballingrud’s “The Maw” treads surefootedly on Sci-Fi ground, right up to the edge of the Maw itself in a tale of stunning originality. Luciano Marano made his first pro sell when he sold “Burnt” to DOA III, certainly one of the year’s best anthologies, and the tale has it own fiery fetishistic twist. “The Better Part of Drowning” by Octavia Cade treads waters of both science fiction and fantasy but it’s pure horror at its biting depths. Tim Waggoner’s “Til Death” is Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse horror at its absolute best. “Letter From Hell” comes with that special delivery you only get from Matt Shaw. Dani Brown gets down and very dirty in her “Theatrum Mortuum,” which may be the most extreme thing you read all year. Glenn Gray’s “Break” is a hard-to-take anatomy lesson given to a man weary of doing hard time. In “Bernadette” Ramiro Perez de Pereda gets medieval in his tale of a djinn summoned by a desperate priest. Brian Hodge takes you on a trip to Mexico you will never forget in “West of Matamoros, North of Hell.” This story is a masterpiece of suspense, a grueling experience that may well leave you exhausted by the end. You might even feel like a vacation afterward, but we’re betting it won’t be to Matamoros. Bracken MacLeod’s “Reprising Her Role” takes us behind the scenes of a porno snuff film for a gut-wrenching reprisal and unexpected bonus footage. A real-life death threat inspired Doug Ford’s “The Watcher” and we think it shows. “Scratching From The Outer Darkness” showcases Tim Curran’s descriptive prowess and gives you a tale of hardcore Cthulhu Mythos. Brace yourself when Adam Howe’s “Foreign Bodies” takes you deep into the bowels of a nasty abyss—which might make a good echo chamber for the laughter Adam’s patented black humor is likely to elicit. Sean Patrick Hazlett introduces us to “Adramelech,” an ancient demon with a taste for broiled children. Daniel Marc Chant’s “ULTRA” jacks into a popular VR game called Slut Slayer. But what if it’s more than a game? Nathan Robinson takes us into the trees with a group of militant environmentalists who will discover a tree hugger of the deadly sort, entirely alien to their experience. Scott Smith (A Simple Plan and The Ruins) wraps up this year’s fat package of the hard stuff in a big bloody bow with “The Dogs.” The canines in this tale are not Man’s Best Friend variety, nor are they Woman’s Besties, as you will see. Thanks for coming along into this year’s heart of hardcore darkness. We hope to see you on the other side.