Christmas and Other Horrors: An Anthology of Solstice Horror

Titan. Oct. 2023. 448p. ed. by Ellen Datlow. ISBN 9781803363264. $27.99. HORROR
Editor Datlow (Screams from the Dark) returns with an anthology of holiday horrors featuring delightfully frightening and original tales of nightmares born during the solstice, by some of today’s most well-known horror writers. Josh Malerman tells the story of a man sweating out his inner demons in a Finnish sauna; Cassandra Khaw details a world where holiday traditions still matter, even at humanity’s end; Christopher Golden takes readers to Austria, where a clean home saves lives. Setting these tales during the solstice instead of Christmas or other winter holidays ensures that none of them ever devolve into a rehash of angsty celebrations past. Rather than have every story be about Santa Claus and/or a mall around Christmas, this anthology explores solstice traditions from all over, from Australia (where December marks the summer solstice) to the disturbing universe that Stephen Graham Jones creates for his protagonist. All these stories, by talented writers, stand on their own while following Datlow’s theme.
VERDICT This latest from Datlow is a consistently creepy anthology made for long, dark solstice nights (or long days, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).
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