The 2014 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees have just been announced “for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.” These Awards “are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors,” and are widely respected for their quality benchmarks, inclusiveness and impartiality. (See, in contrast, the recent controversy over the Bram Stoker Awards.)

This year’s list includes some titles I applaud, such as Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer in the Novel category, and We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory in the Novella nominees, as well as Burnt Black Suns:  A Collection of Weird Tales by Simon Strantzas, already reviewed in Teleread, in the Single-Author Collection category. But it’s this year’s Edited Anthology category that especially shines, in my view. The full list is as follows:

Letters to Lovecraft, edited by Jesse Bullington (Stone Skin Press)
Fearful Symmetries, edited by Ellen Datlow (ChiZine Publications)
The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris (Spectral Press)
Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications/ChiZine Publications)
The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele (Word Horde)

I’ve already reviewed four out of five of those titles in Teleread, finding them uniformly excellent, and the links above are to those reviews. Also, those anthologies have contributed two titles out of the five Novelette titles on this slate, and three in the Short Fiction category.

All in all, this list is a stunning testament to the rude – nay, downright upsetting – good health of horrid, dark, and weird fiction these days. Can’t wait to see the actual winners.





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