We know you're going to need a good ghost story to get into the Halloween spirit. How about a tale of Cthulhu-worshipping trailer trash? Or a thriller where you might be a robot impostor sent to destroy the Earth? Or a genetics experiment gone awry? You’ll find these stories and more in these scifi horror anthologies.October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween: This anthology, which weighs in at a whopping 650 pages, collects works from science fiction writers such as Ray Bradbury and John Shirley and dark fantasy writers Thomas Ligotti and Poppy Z. Brite. In addition to its reference entries – “A Short History of Halloween,” “Overview of Halloween Films,” and “Reader’s Guide to Halloween Fiction” – and numerous short stories (including Jack Ketchum’s “Gone”), writers also share their own favorite Halloween memories.
13 Horrors of Halloween: Isaac Asimov’s Halloween collection includes his own short story “Halloween” and Ray Bradbury’s “The October Game.” Other literary luminaries, such as Edith Wharton, contributed to the volume, but the most famous tale of the lot may be Al Sarrantonio’s “Pumpkin Head,” the tale of a childhood Halloween party that ends in terror.
Isaac Asimov’s Halloween: Despite the title and cover, tragically none of these stories take place on Halloween in space, not does Asimov contribute his own tale to the collection. Although many of the stories deal with religious horror – a fight to the death with the devil, a train to Hell, and a man who tries to invoke the power of Mephistopheles using the Books of Moses – it also features the genetic alteration horror “Renaissance” and a pair of Lovecraftian send ups: Lawrence Watt-Evans’ “Pickman’s Modem” and Esther Friesner’s “The Shunned Trailer.”
Science Fiction Terror Tales: An all-star cast of 1950s scifi writers contribute to this volume, which republished works from genre magazines like Astounding, Other Worlds, and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Philip K. Dick’s paranoid android tale “Imposter” (the basis for the 2002 Gary Sinise flick) and Robert Heinlein’s solipsistic “They” number among the works, with stories from Richard Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, and Robert Sheckley rounding out the collection.
Dark Forces: Literary agent Kirby McCauley was inspired to collect the stories for Dark Forces by Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions. Seeking works that innovate and push the quality of the genre, authors include horror anthology regulars Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, and Theodore Campbell, but also includes such genre jumpers as Joyce Carol Oates and Edward Gorey. Its release also marks the first publication of Stephen Kings novella “The Mist.”