I’ve read a lot of short stories this year, a lot of them for the podcast I do weekly with one, Charles Meyer, and one Mallory O’ Meara, entitled, MISKATONIC MUSINGS.
So, before I get boggled down with self aggrandizement, on to some of the best stories by women I’ve read this year! They are not ordered by enjoyment, but rather the order in which I remember them. Though, admittedly, I’m putting the more well-known authors at the bottom of this list.
The Mysteries, which I read in Nightmare Carnival, really put me into a strange state with its descriptions. Very other-worldly and ethereal. I loved the crap out of this story.
Subsequently, I read a story of hers from Nightmare Magazine, entitled It Feels Better Biting Down, which also was imbued with wonderful imagery, and a creepy character. We covered it on this episode right here.
It Feels Better Biting Down episode of MM
I can not wait to get to her collection Engines of Desire. I’ve read she gets into erotica territory, which stands to reason, since the title of the collection is as such.
Children of No One, Cushing’s first novella, was a look at a blackened maze, in which children were raised. It irked me out. Recently, I listened to a Pseudopod episode of her story The Orchard of Hanging Trees (Psuedopod episode with Nicole’s story here) which, yes, has also irked me out.
I’m almost done reading her novella, I Am the New God, which is excellent. If you want messed up characters, and a wonderfully dark atmosphere, Nicole seems to be the one to bring it.
And yes, I did interview her on my solo podcast…
Again, I read a story of Wise’s in Nightmare Carnival, entitled And the Carnival Leaves Town. Likewise, I recently covered a story of hers Where Dead Men Go to Dream on a relatively recent episode of Miskatonic Musings (linky, linky). She has a dream-like quality to her prose which is cool.
I only read one story by Files, This is Not for You, which you can read here… http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/this-is-not-for-you/ A wonderful story about women who hunt men for sport. I’d like to read more of her, and I plan to.
Another author I only read one story of, this one for Miskatonic Musings again, this one called The Mouth, Open (linky, link). The story, about a man who overeats in Croatia, is wonderfully strange, and is just a real gem.
Obviously fear is subjective, but to my mind Zombie is one of the scariest, if not the scariest book ever written. I also read her collection The Corn Maiden and Other Tales, and was summarily annihilated. The title story, about kids who kidnap a classmate and trap her in one rich girl’s basement, is heartbreaking, and terrifying. The darkness of the human heart is something Oates does not shy from. And it’s why her work scares the piss out of me.
The Haunting of Hill House is the scariest novel about ghosts I know. We talked about it on this episode of Miskatonic Musings, here (clicky, clicky). It’s a character study, and it’s a classic tale of a haunted manor. And Shirley Jackson is a fucking powerhouse. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery: both worth their weight in gold. Jesus can Jackson scare the shit out of you.