Cover by Matthew Jaffe
Canadian Michael Kelly is a Renaissance Man of modern Weird Fiction. He’s an accomplished author, with a novel and three story collections under his belt, including last year’s All the Things We Never See. He’s also the publisher behind Undertow Publications, one of the leading — maybe the leading — houses behind the modern Weird Fiction resurgence.
And in his spare time he’s one of the most important editors in modern horror, with over a dozen anthologies to his name, including five volumes of Year’s Best Weird Fiction and seven of his widely acclaimed Shadows & Tall Trees. In her annual summation in Best Horror of the Year, Ellen Datlow puts it succinctly: “Shadows and Tall Trees epitomizes the idea of, and is the most consistent venue for weird, usually dark fiction.”
The long-awaited eighth volume arrived last month and, like the previous installments, it’s packed with fiction by the top writers in the field, including Steve Rasnic Tem, Simon Strantzas, V.H. Leslie, Alison Littlewood, Brian Evenson, M. Rickert, and many others. It’s already gathering positive press; here’s the highlights from Matt’s review at Runalong the Shelves.
Michael Kelly has been gathering a strong reputation for assembling regular collections of authors to produce tales to do exactly this and Volume 8 of Shadows & Tall Trees has some truly delicious weird horror to pull you into [its] grip…
“The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell” by Brian Evenson… The opening tale of this collection has Hekla simply deciding to go with her sister to a guru’s workshop for a weekend – while not in any way a believer in cosmic attunement she really could do with a break. What follows is a wonderfully eerie tale where Hekla arrives alone due to her sister being ill and arrives at a strange deserted hotel and a disturbing night in room everyone seems to avoid talking about… Evenson creates a wonderfully skilled rising feeling of dread.
“Tattletale” by Carly Holmes — a weird lyrical and almost poetical tale about a young girl that no one should have been bullying as her secrets are about to be revealed. Weird and deliciously pointed.
“The Somnabulists” by Simon Strantzas — this story feels initially just surreal as a hotel inspector arrives at the new opportunity of a Hotel actually made of the dreams of others…. It powerfully uses dream logic and repetition to weave layers of truths that the reader has to unpeel. Its final stages are both tragic and haunting.
Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
Alison Littlewood – “Hungry Ghosts”
Brian Evenson – “The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell”
Carly Holmes – “Tattletale”
Charles Wilkinson – “A Coastal Quest”
C.M. Muller – “Camera Obscura”
James Everington – “The Sound of the Sea, Too Close”
Kay Chronister – “Too Lonely, Too Wild”
KL Pereira – “You, Girls Without Hands”
Kristi DeMeester – “The Quiet Forms of Belonging”
Kurt Fawver – “Workday”
M. Rickert – “The Fascist Has a Party”
Neil Williamson – “Down to the Roots”
Rebecca Campbell – “Child of Shower and Gleam”
Seán Padraic Birnie – “Dollface”
Simon Strantzas – “The Somnambulists”
Steve Rasnic Tem – “Sleepwalking With Angels”
Steve Toase – “Green Grows the Grief”
V.H. Leslie – “Lacuna”
Our previous coverage of the series includes:
A Tale of Two Covers: Shadows and Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Shadows & Tall Trees 8 was published by Undertow Publications on March 3, 2020. It is 272 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover, $17.99 in paperback, and $6.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Matthew Jaffe.
Order copies directly at the Undertow website.
See all our recent New Treasures here.