Sunday, October 17, 2010

Part I of The Best Horror Short Stories Interview by Andrew Barger

This is part I of the ten question  interview I did for The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Horror Anthology. I hope you find it interesting

Q1: Andrew, there are many horror anthologies out there. Why did you decide to edit a book of the best horror short stories from 1800-1849?
A1: In my view, classic horror anthologies have given us a disappointing selection of stories. Many times scant background information is provided about the horror stories and their authors. This is frustrating.

Q2: So the editors were light on horror short story content?
A2: In a number of ways. So to those editors of the gigantics, the colossals, the monstrous, the huge, the huger, the bigs, the really bigs, the even biggers—these portly books of collected horror—you have made my literary waistline bloated with quantity over quality. You have hardened my literary arteries. I was full when pushing back from your table only to be hungry a few hours later. The “greatest” horror anthologies have been greatly disappointing. I have spent time with the “fantastic” and was fantastically used. I have been calmed by the “terrifying” and under-whelmed by the “incredible.” The “mammoth” books have left me feeling wooly inside. [Smiles]

Q3: Are there any other reasons you compiled The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849?
A3: I have never seen one that addresses this 50 year period by itself. This is when the horror short story genre began thanks to Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, HonorĂ© de Balzac and so many others. I felt that the best stories of these great horror writers needed to be compared and that is best accomplished when they are put shoulder-to-shoulder. And part of it was my curiosity to see just how good—how groundbreaking—Poe was in telling his horror stories. I was also frustrated reading anthologies that do not disclose what horror stories were considered when compiling them. It’s like declaring a beauty pageant winner without showing the other contestants. I want to know what literary wheat got separated from the chaff. This would answer many questions for my inquisitive mind. Rare is the short horror story anthology that has shown the world what tales were actually considered in making the compilation. In this case I have tried to stem this tide of literary attrition. All of the short horror stories are listed that I reviewed for this anthology, along with their respective author and earliest publication date, if available.

Q4: How does this compare to the best werewolf short stories of 1800-1849 that you edited?
A4: There were only a handful of werewolf short stories published in the English language from 1800-1849. With the horror short stories I had exponentially more to pick from and picking the best was much harder.

Q5: How many horror short stories from the first half of the nineteenth century did you read?
A5: I read over 300 horror short stories. Many of the obscure ones came from key periodical magazines such as Blackwood’s and Atkinson’s Casket. My horror anthology includes background information for each story and photograph of the author. Annotations are included for difficult or antiquated terms.

No comments:

Post a Comment