Week 227 – Weekly Horror Short Story Reviews: Matheson, Leman, Cave, and Ellison

Welcome to Week 227 of my horror short fiction review project! My favorite story of the week by a country mile was “Window” by Bob Leman. I say that in part because it’s an amazing story about what happens after scientists accidentally open a window onto another world, but also because I had been looking for a copy of this story literally since I first read it in the mid-’80s but couldn’t recall the title or author. Here it is. It was worth the wait.

Hellbound Hearts, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan (Pocket Books, 2009)

“Bulimia” by Richard Christian Matheson

A two-page vignette that I didn’t care all that much for. A woman is vomiting into a restaurant’s toilet while awaiting her date’s arrival. She imagines (or perhaps really does?) that she is vomiting up the lost souls of the damned. Not much too this one. I didn’t love it.

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer (Tor, 2012)

“Window” by Bob Leman

A few pages into this one and I realized that it was a “lost” story I had been seeking since the 1980s. I couldn’t remember the author or title and wasn’t even close to finding it until I happened upon it here in The Weird. Lots of nostalgia for this one, and I’m happy to report that it holds up very well on re-reading. Some scientists accidentally discover a “window” onto what they think is the past. There’s a delightfully bucolic cottage and a happy family and once per day for five seconds, the window allows for travel between our world as theirs. But these happy people aren’t at all what they seem, and now they pose a really horrifying existential threat to humanity. I refuse to spoil this one for you if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a remarkably chilling tale.

Weird Vampire Tales, edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, and Martin H. Greenberg, (Gramercy Books, 1992)

“Stragella” by Hugh B. Cave

Two survivors of a shipwreck take shelter in a derelict ship they find floating nearby. This derelict turns out to be inhabited by three vampires, themselves victims of a calamity aboard the ship that has left them with no more blood to access. One of the two men is saved by the grandiose and colorful tattoo of a cross he has on his chest. Not bad, certainly an evocative setting for a vampire tale.

Cthulhu 2000, edited by Jim Turner (Del Rey, 1999)

[previously reviewed] “Lord of the Land” by Gene Wolfe

[previously reviewed] “The Faces at Pine Dunes” by Ramsey Campbell

“On the Slab” by Harlan Ellison

The body of Prometheus (yes, that Prometheus) is discovered, exhibited as a circus freak, then eventually revived. The man who exhibited him then asks Prometheus if his body—a gigantic Cyclops form—is what humans used to look like. No, he is told, this is what humans would have looked like if they had been worthy. A bit of cosmic horror here, I suppose.

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

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