Vintage Treasures: After Midnight edited by Charles L. Grant

Vintage Treasures: After Midnight edited by Charles L. Grant

After Midnight Charles L Grant-small After Midnight Charles L Grant-back-small

The 80s were a very fertile ground for horror anthologies. Karl Edward Wagner kicked off the decade with the first volume of the seminal The Year’s Best Horror Stories in 1980, and he produced one volume per year until 1994. Dark Harvest published nine volumes of the superb Night Visions anthology series beginning in 1984; Stuart David Schiff edited six volumes of Whispers (1977-1987); J. N. Williamson produced three volumes of Masques; and there were many others.

Charles Grant, who died in 2006, was one of the most prolific horror anthologists of the 80s. His well respected Shadows began in 1978 and ran for 11 volumes before ending in 1991. He edited four volumes of the shared world horror series Greystone Bay (1985-1993), and numerous standalone anthologies, including Night Visions 2 (1985), Horrors (1981), Terrors (1982), Gallery of Horror (1983), Fears (1983), and Midnight (1985).

After Midnight was published by Tor in 1986, and it’s fairly typical of Grant’s anthologies from this period. It’s a mix of new and reprint fiction, including reprints from Ramsey Campbell, Reginald Bretnor, R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and David Langford, and original stories by Alan Ryan, Joe R. Lansdale, Ellen Kushner, Ardath Mayhar, Joseph Payne Brennan, and even fellow Ottawa local Galad Elflandsson, who used to moonlight at The House of Speculative Fiction and recommend horror books to me.

After Midnight never kicked off a new horror anthology series, although to my speculative young eyes I thought for sure it would have. Maybe it didn’t sell well enough; maybe Grant just had too many other series on the go. Whatever the case, it’s a fine book, and still deserves a look today. Here’s the Table of Contents.

Introduction by Charles L. Grant
“Cold Spell” by David Langford (The 13th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories, 1980)
“The Devil Don’t Dance with Strangers” by Galad Elflandsson
“Our Last Nanny” by Bernard Taylor (The 8th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories, 1973)
“A Night in Possum Holler” by Ardath Mayhar
“Touring” by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois and Michael Swanwick (Penthouse, April 1981)
“Call First” by Ramsey Campbell (Night Chills, 1975)
“Lucille Would Have Known” by John Burke (New Terrors 2, 1980)
“Still Life” by Bob Booth
“Hear the Whistle Blowing” by Alan Ryan
“The Colored Transmission” by R. Chetwynd-Hayes (Terror by Night, 1974)
“Rhea” by Joseph Payne Brennan
“Marriage Vows” by Leslie Alan Horvitz
“The Glass Doorknob” by Melissa Mia Hall
“Duck Hunt” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Markham” by Reginald Bretnor (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1974)
“Night Laughter” by Ellen Kushner
“Sleep” by Terry L. Parkinson
“Forget-Me-Not” by Bernard Taylor (The Year’s Best Horror Stories: Series III, 1975)

After Midnight was one of the many (many) books I purchased for $1 at the 2019 Windy City Pulp & Paper Show in Chicago.

After Midnight was published by Tor Books in April 1986. It is 276 pages, priced at $2.95. The cover was by Jill Bauman. It has never been reprinted, and there is no digital edition.

See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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Thomas Parker

Just the other day I was looking through my Shadows volumes and thinking that I needed to hit Ebay or Abebooks and fill them out.

Thomas Parker

I only have four Shadows volumes – 3,5,6,and 9. I don’t know how long the series ran. Any of them seem fine to me; I always liked them because Grant always included a story by Steve Rasnic Tem, who was one of my favorites.


I picked up a spare copy of this recently and have dipped into it a time or two. Grant’s anthologies are on my buy when I see them list, regardless of whether I have a copy already or not.

John, I’ve not read all of the Shadows series (although I believe I have the full set; will have to check when I get home), but I think any volume would be a good place to start.

Thomas, I agree with you about Steve Rasnic Tem. I first read his work in Shadows and have been reading him ever since, which would be about [REDACTED] years now.

Todd Mason

Karl Edward Wagner’s first volume of THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR STORIES was actually the 8th volume in the series, after a fiddling around by DAW with volumes of two UK publishers’s series edited by Richard Davis for three US volumes, then four volumes edited by Gerald W. Page, the last, of course, of his published in 1979. All three did impressive work…

Todd Mason

Och, typoing “publishers'” above…

The first volume of SHADOWS leads off with “Naples” by Avram Davidson, which by itself will repay you for picking up the book…

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