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Nightmare Carnival

By Ellen Datlow & Katherine Dunn &
Nightmare Carnival by Ellen Datlow & Katherine Dunn &  digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

Encounter the scariest clowns and freakiest curiosities under the big top, in stories by Stephen Graham Jones, Laird Barron, Priya Sharma, and others.

With an introduction from Katherine Dunn

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up for fifteen tales of terrifying rides, supernatural sideshows, and petrifying performers guaranteed to keep you up all night—with Hugo and Bram Stoker Award–winning editor Ellen Datlow as the ringmaster.

In Stephen Graham Jones’s “The Darkest Part,” three men are driven to madness by the clown that has haunted them since one misguided Tunnel of Love ride during their childhoods. The deaths of three circus performers—two brothers and a beautiful fire dancer—become the burning obsession of an author who wrote a book about the tragedy in “The Firebrand” by Priya Sharma. “Skullpocket” by Nathan Ballingrud takes you to an alternate fantasy world where a well-respected ghoul from a town near Chesapeake Bay grieves the death of his one true love, a freak show attraction known as the Orchid Girl.

Under the tent, you’ll find more chilling stories by Genevieve Valentine, Robert Shearman, N.  Lee Wood, Nick Mamatas, A. C. Wise, Terry Dowling, Joel Lane, Glen Hirshberg, Jeffrey Ford, Dennis Danvers, and Livia Llewellyn.

“To Datlow’s credit a number of her selections take the dark carnival theme into provocative new territory. . . . Ballingrud’s tale is a magnificent piece of storytelling. Accompanied by another 14 estimable acts, it makes admission into Nightmare Carnival well worth the price.” —Locus

“There’s not a bad story in the bunch.” —Horror DNA

1 Review


About Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow, an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy editor, was born and raised in New York City. She has been a short story and book editor for more than thirty years and has edited or coedited several critically acclaimed anthologies of speculative fiction, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series and Black Thorn, White Rose (1994) with Terri Windling. Datlow has received numerous honors, including multiple Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards, and Life Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association and the World Fantasy Association, to name just a few. She resides in New York.  

N. Lee Wood

Other books by N. Lee Wood

Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including The Last Weekend and I Am Providence. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, and many other anthologies and magazines. Nick’s previous anthologies include the Bram Stoker Award-winner Haunted Legends (co-edited with Ellen Datlow) and The Locus Award nominees The Future is Japanese and Hanzai Japan (both co-edited with Masumi Washington). Nick’s editorial work has also been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards. He resides in the California Bay Area.

Terry Dowling

Terry Dowling has been called “Australia’s finest writer of horror” by Locus magazine. TheYear’s Best Fantasy and Horror series featured more horror stories by Dowling in its twenty-one–year run than any other writer. Dowling is author of Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear (International Horror Guild Award for Best Collection, 2007), An Intimate Knowledge of the Night, Blackwater Days, and The Night Shop: Tales for the Lonely Hours. He can be found at www.terrydowling.com.

Joel Lane

Joel Lane was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, critic, and anthology editor. In addition to his dark fantasy and horror short fiction, Lane published two novels, From Blue to Black and The Blue Mask.

He received the World Fantasy Award in 2013 for his collection, Where Furnaces Burn, and won the British Fantasy Award twice. His short stories have been collected in seven volumes. He died in 2013.

Glen Hirshberg

Glen Hirshberg’s novels include The Snowman’s Children, Infinity Dreams, The Book of Bunk, and the Motherless Children trilogy. He is also the author of five widely praised story collections: The Two Sams, American Morons, The Janus Tree, The Ones Who Are Waving, and Tell Me When I Disappear. Hirshberg is a three-time International Horror Guild Award winner and five-time World Fantasy Award finalist. Hirshberg won the Shirley Jackson Award for the novelette, “The Janus Tree.” His Substack is at glenhirshberg.substack.com. He lives with his family and cats in the Pacific Northwest.

Jeffrey Ford

Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels Vanitas, The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, and The Shadow Year. His story collections are The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, and Crackpot Palace. Ford has published over one hundred short stories, which have appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies, from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. He is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Nebula Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Edgar Award, France’s Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and Japan’s Hayakawa’s SF Magazine Reader’s Award.
Ford’s fiction has been translated into twenty languages. In addition to writing, he has been a professor of literature and writing for thirty years and has been a guest lecturer at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, the Stone Coast MFA in Creative Writing Program, Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Ford lives in Ohio and currently teaches at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Nathan Ballingrud

Nathan Ballingrud is the author of the collections Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell, and North American Lake Monsters. He is a two-time winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards. His novella “The Visible Filth” was adapted into the movie Wounds, written and directed by Babak Anvari; North American Lake Monsters was filmed as Monsterland, an anthology series for Hulu. His first novel, The Strange, was recently published. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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