“999” is an anthology of tales by some of horror’s greatest writers, edited by Al Sarrantonio.
I’m not the ideal audience for a book of short stories. I know this. It’s my shortcoming, has nothing to do with the stories themselves. I read to escape, and short stories are not generally long enough for me to escape into.
I like “Amerikanski Dead at the Moscow Morgue” by Kim Newman, because there was a lot of cleverness in both the zombies and what ends up driving them.
“The Ruins of Contracoeur” by Joyce Carol Oates was a little marvel, warping a seriously gothic sensibility with modern technology. And an ending that I won’t soon forget–it was squicky. Gave me a little shudder.
“The Owl and the Pussycat” by Thomas M. Disch is good for a few nightmares. When you finally figure out where the story is going, it’s like an asteroid rushing toward the earth in a big-budget movie–you can’t look away.
Loved “Good Friday” by F. Paul Wilson. There was enough story there to allow me to root for the characters. Well, some of them.
My very favorite was one I had read before, “Mad Dog Summer” by Joe R. Lansdale, who can do no wrong in my book. Perhaps not classic horror, but the story will chill you even while the writing has you sweating along to the east Texas summer heat.
The last story in the book was “Elsewhere” by William Peter Blatty (yeah, wrote a little book called The Exorcist, you might have heard of that.) I did not see the first twist coming until he wanted me to see it coming. And the note upon which the story actually ended had me pondering for days after reading it.
For my own sanity, I need to give myself more time to read anthologies instead of trying to read them as quickly as a novel. Great way to give myself mental whiplash. I do wish, though, that this Top 100 list had fewer anthologies on it.