Ellen Datlow (editor)
Tor. Dec 2007, $25.95
Editor Ellen Datlow sets the stage for what she demanded of her twenty contributors in the Introduction to her first nonthemed new tales anthology. She directed her chosen author to shock the audience into a psychosomatic fear so that the reader sleeps fitfully with the lights on ultra bright or seek company to pretend their fright is under control. The entries for the most part provide “the reader with a frisson of shock, or a moment of dread so powerful it might cause the reader outright physical discomfort … or to linger in the reader’s consciousness…long after the final word is read.” No story is bad with most being excellent and meeting the Datlow bar using a creepy atmospheres will scare the sense of safe security out of everyone even Michael Chertoff. Fans of Elizabeth Bear will want to read “Inelastic Collisions” as she implies what may be coming in her Great Bear constellation. Others like Christopher Fowler’s homage to the 1960s “The Uninvited” and “Ghorla” by Mark Samuels will resonate with older readers. With a virtual who’s who, INFERNO is a strong short story horror collection that shows why this genre is so suited to the format, but needs a warning label that our electricity bills are going to exponentially rise.