Monday, July 19, 2010

5. Worse Than Myself } The Man from the Peak

This is old news.

“The Man from the Peak,” a story original to the Montana half of Worse Than Myself, was singled out by Ellen Datlow for reprint in her Best Horror of the Year (vol. 1). Often stories that appear in best-of anthologies appeared first in hard-to-find, little-known journals or in similarly obscure small press anthologies and collections (as did mine); a best-of can grant these stories a second life in front of a larger readership. That’s why they’re important. They’re better, too, than end-of-the-year lists or industry awards, because there you have it, the thing itself, the story: now you may read it and decide for yourself whether or not to look up an author, a magazine, a press, etc.

(For a brief while it looked as if horror would have an unprecedented wealth of best-ofs, but most never appeared and a couple vanished after only a volume or two; for example, and of interest to me, Horror: The Best of the Year from Prime Books. Volumes for 2007 and 2008 were edited but never appeared. I know about the 2008 edition because Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, its editor, selected “What Water Reveals” (also from Worse Than Myself) to be included.)

Best Horror of the Year (vol. 1) received a good amount of attention because it’s the first in a series more likely than most to last and because it’s pretty good. Reviewers liked it. In as many reviews as not, my story wasn’t mentioned, but in two reviews, my story was singled out. Orrin Grey, for The Innsmouth Free Press, wrote that “‘The Man from the Peak’ might be my favourite story in the book” and Michael Lambe, on his blog, wrote: “…my favorite in the collection is Adam Golaski’s ‘The Man from the Peak’…. It lulls you in, then gradually, dreamily and subtly, creeps you out, and finally brings you face-to-face with pure, unadulterated, bloody HORROR…. That one story alone is worth buying the collection for.”

Perversely, the review of the anthology I enjoy the most is a negative customer review by Vicky Stow. She found it disappointing. She did like one story (“Beach Head” by Daniel LeMoal), and she admits to giving up without reading the last two stories—which are, by the way, “The Man from the Peak” and “The Narrows” (by Simon Bestwick). I ache for Ms. Stow to weigh in on my tale!

(Bestwick’s story is among the finest in the book. LeMoal’s is excellent and unique. “Loup-garou,” by R.B. Russell, does something so fine it must be the best of the bunch. I would be proud to have written any of the three; Russell’s I don’t think I could have.)


  1. Indeed, Ellen's volume is quite good. It's varied and literate. I liked all the stories you mentioned, including your own. I did think the Bestwick floundered a bit at the end. I love Simon, I do, and I'd have been proud to write that tale, to be sure.

    Loup-Garou was fabulous. A clever, inventive, original tale.

  2. I stand by what I said then. "The Man from the Peak" was brilliant. (So was "Loup-Garou," for that matter, though I never directly singled it out in the review for some reason.)

  3. I'm certainly not going to bicker about praise, Orrin! It's tricky to know what to mention and what not to. In most best-of there's one or two bad entries--do you mention those? Do you then tack on the "It wasn't to my taste" apology? As for the Bestwick, it's at the end where his story really became exciting to me: the beginning is strong and steady, but when the tunnels do what they do, and they find what they find in the tunnels--that's when the story allowed me to start filling it with my own horrors. I've not read a lot of Bestwick, tho--perhaps there's better work to recommend?