The Reading Canary: Read By Dawn – The Shocking Downfall

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

About a year back I found myself favourably impressed by the Read By Dawn series of horror anthologies, which focus on stories submitted by new authors who have not been published widely previously. Although I liked both of the volumes I read, I thought the second one was a great improvement over the first – Read By Dawn 1 had too many over-short mini-stories, too many stories which relied on gimmicks and cheap shots, an over-reliance on serial killers and torturers as antagonists (perhaps a result of Adele Hartley, editor of the series, also being the curator of the Dead By Dawn horror film festival, and the cinematic horror genre’s current over-reliance on Saw-style serial killers and Hostel-style torture), some toe-curlingly bad poetry, and in general not enough stories that were proud to be unabashedly rooted in horror.

All of these things were problems which, by and large, were solved in Read By Dawn 2, so I find it kind of depressing that they’ve all come back in Read By Dawn 3, the latest book in the series. In fact, let’s go through these issues one by one, because this anthology is such a comprehensive failure that I think it is worth tearing it apart sloooooowly.

Continue reading “The Reading Canary: Read By Dawn – The Shocking Downfall”

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The Reading Canary: Read By Dawn

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

The Reading Canary: A Reminder

Series of novels – especially in fantasy and SF fiction, but distressingly frequently on other genres as well – have a nasty tendency to turn sour partway through. The Reading Canary is your guide to precisely how far into a particular sequence you should read, and which side-passages you should explore, before the noxious gases become too much and you should turn back.

Read By Dawn: Is There Life In Horror?

Longtime FB readers may remember that a while ago I lamented the state of the horror genre, at least in its print form. My main problem was that I have little to know idea of who’s actually good in the field these days – oh, there’s your big names, like Dean Koontz or Stephen King or James Herbert or Anne Rice, but let’s face it, their work his horribly hit-and-miss at the best of times. Aside from Ramsey Campbell, I can’t name a single horror author currently writing whose novels I regularly search for in book shops. Like I keep saying every time I review a horror novel, I lament the lack of a Horror Masterworks series acting as a counterpart to SF/Crime/Fantasy Masterworks – a selection of reprints of important contemporary horror novels which can act as a roadmap through this dark and unfamiliar territory.

So, imagine my delight to find the Read By Dawn collection. Produced by Adele Hartley, curator of the Dead By Dawn horror movie festival (and published, as far as I can tell, at around the same time as the film festival), this is a series dedicated to bringing to light the best in new horror writing. Is this the ray of hope I had been praying for?

Continue reading “The Reading Canary: Read By Dawn”