Review of Funny Horror edited by Alex Shvartsman
In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a pre-release copy of this book by the publisher for beta reading purposes. Funny Horror was a delightful success.
What is my definition of success, you may ask?
(You can skip this part if you have read any of my previous short story compilation reviews.)
To me, a short story compilation is akin to one of those giant bags of mixed candy you buy for Halloween. Some of what you get are your favorite kind, some are really good (just not your favorites), some are OK (but still candy, so pretty darn good), and some are awful because you can’t stand the flavor but you know other people love them anyway. And occasionally it includes one or two kinds of candy even the kids won’t touch.
With that in mind, I consider any short story collection to be a success if at least 3 or 4 stories fall into the first two categories of favorite or really good, and one (or better, none) fall into the even the kids won’t touch it category.
Funny Horror was a delightful success. Fifteen of the 18 stories were either favorites or really good. Seven were favorites. I think this is a record for me.
None of the stories were of the even the kids won’t touch it variety, and only two stories merited the “I can’t stand the flavor” pile.
My favorite stories were “Howl!” by Jody Lynn Nye, “Something Virtual This Way Comes” by Laura Resnick, “No Children, No Pets” by Esther Friesner, “43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako’” by Barbara A. Barnett, “Happily and Righteously” by Larry Hodges, “The Story of Emily and Control” by Scott Alexander, and “Final Corrections” by M. Bennardo.
Highly recommended. If you need a laugh, go buy this book.
I give it 5 stars.
Short thoughts on each story:
“No Children, No Pets” by Esther Friesner 5 stars
Lovely. Just lovely.
“43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako’” by Barbara A. Barnett 5 stars
A horror story in forum posts. Amazingly well done.
“Kvetchula’s Daughter” by Darrell Schweitzer 4 stars
Incredibly fun story.
“The Great VUDU Linux Teen Zombie Massacree” by Lucy A. Snyder 4 stars
I’ve known a lot of highly skilled IT wizards, and this story rings true.
“Good Neighbors” by Amanda C. Davis 4 stars
“Happily and Righteously” by Larry Hodges 5 stars
“Stalking the Zombie” by Mike Resnick 4 stars
Well written and fun.
“Restless in R’lyeh” by Oliver Buckram 4 stars
Cthulhu in psychotherapy. Truly terrifying thought.
“PR Problems” by Eric James Stone 3 stars
Ghouls get a bad rap.
“Hot Fudge and Whipped Cream” by Tarl Kudrick 4 stars
Karma is a b**ch.
“Death: A List” by Tanya Bryan 2 stars
Just didn’t enjoy this one.
“Soccer Mom Smackdown” by Julia S. Mandala 4 stars
Moms Rule! Especially supernatural ones.
“The God Whisperer” by Daniel J. Davis 4 stars
Quite amusing, especially if you have ever been owned by a pet.
“Meat and Greet” by Jamie Todd Rubin 2 stars
Not my cup of tea.
“Something Virtual This Way Comes” by Laura Resnick 5 stars
I loved this story. This is why I am always polite to machinery.
“The Story of Emily and Control” by Scott Alexander 5 stars
Truly spooky. Sticks in your head.
“Howl!” by Jody Lynn Nye 5 stars
I adored this story. This was my favorite.
“Final Corrections.” By M. Bennardo 5 stars