When the first New Fears arrived last year, editor Mark Morris clearly stated its aim was to herald the start of a new series of horror short story collections that didn’t have a theme. Contributing authors would be allowed to write about anything they wanted - all-new tales specifically for this collection, meaning readers would have no inkling of what to expect from one to the next. This second volume holds true to that directive, showcasing twenty one brand new stories from some of the best writers that horror has to offer - given that Morris has gathered authors that didn’t appear in the first collection, the genre appears to be in very good health.
It’s difficult to pick a favourite as the quality is so high; there isn’t a bad story among them, no weak link just making up the numbers. All aspects of the genre are covered from eerie folk horror and strange creatures from other dimensions to the discomfort of a normal situation turned on its head - enough to keep all fans of horror fiction satisfied, and quite possibly find a new author they’ve never read before. The lack of a theme means readers can be taken on unexpected paths that lead to surprises, shocks and even laughter. Each tale is engrossing, drawing in from the first line and never letting go. They’re all shining examples of the short story form, tight with tension and populated by compelling characters, as well as providing a showcase for the versatility of the horror genre as a whole.
Mark Morris has done another cracking job as editor, cementing this anthology as an essential purchase, an addictive and highly recommended read that deserves a place on the shelf of every horror fan. He’s achieved his goal of emulating the Pan and Fontana collections of old and, given the high standards on show here and in the previous volume, we’re sure that the New Fears series will run and run, and rightly be regarded with the same critical and commercial success as its forebears.
NEW FEARS 2 / AUTHOR: MARK MORRIS, VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW