The Choice


Jason Mott - 2013
    In the years after her death, he had finally moved on, gotten married, started a family. He is content with his life now—happy, even…. Until Tracy suddenly and inexplicably returns.For weeks, Peter and his wife, Samantha, have been watching mysterious reports of people's loved ones returning from beyond, the world spinning into uncertainty and chaos. But they never imagined it would happen to them. With Tracy's unusual homecoming, Peter and Samantha must decide where they can possibly go from here, and whether their family can survive….Read more stories of the Returned in The First and The Sparrow. And don't miss Jason Mott's haunting debut novel, The Returned, a story of one family given an extraordinary second chance.

Inside Job


Connie Willis - 2005
    Smart, dedicated, gorgeous, and, thanks to her last movie before she hung up on Hollywood, rich, she's a pleasure to oblige when she says Rob has to witness this channeler Ariaura's act--on her, not the Eye's, nickel--despite channelers being so last year. It's quite a show, all right, for in the midst of Ariaura's particular ancient wise guy's basso spiel, a gravelly baritone interrupts (both voices emanate from the channeler's female mouth) to berate the audience as "yaps" and the act as "claptrap." Why is Ariaura undermining herself? Or is she? After all, she angrily accuses Rob and Kildy of scheming to destroy her. Could the baritone belong to a genuine channeled spirit? Willis, one of sf's most spirited writers, rounds on the New Age; pays tribute to a great, skeptical journalist; and affectionately parodies pulp fiction at its best in this irresistible entertainment.

The City Born Great


N.K. Jemisin - 2016
    K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season, the winner of this year's Hugo Award for Best Novel, New York City is about to go through a few changes.Like all great metropolises before it, when a city gets big enough, old enough, it must be born; but there are ancient enemies who cannot tolerate new life. Thus New York will live or die by the efforts of a reluctant midwife...and how well he can learn to sing the city's mighty song.At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day


Seanan McGuire - 2017
    When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline.But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is a new standalone urban fantasy novella from New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire.

The Radleys


Matt Haig - 2010
    Except, as Peter and Helen Radley know but their children have yet to find out, the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act, her parents decide to explain a few things.

Gwendy's Button Box


Stephen King - 2017
    until now.There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat...Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December.

Many Bloody Returns


Charlaine HarrisJeanne C. Stein - 2007
     Suspenseful, surprising, sometimes dark, sometimes humorous-these all-new stories will ensure that readers never think of vampires (or birthdays) in quite the same way again. In New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris's "Dracula Night," Sookie Stackhouse is the only human at the annual commemoration of Dracula's birth. But this year, the Prince of Darkness actually shows up-and finds Sookie to be a tasty-looking present. New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher's crime-solving wizard Harry Dresden, of the Dresden Files novels, heads to a role-playing party to give his vampire brother a birthday present in "It's My Birthday Too," only to discover there are some bloodthirsty party crashers who don't share their brotherly love. In "Twilight," Cassandra DuCharme, who appeared in New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic, knows she has to kill to live as a vampire another year-but finds herself disturbingly disinterested in the hunt. Plus ten more bloody good birthday stories that take the cake.Contents xi • Preface: A Few Words (Many Bloody Returns) • (2007) • essay by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner1 • Dracula Night • [Sookie Stackhouse 4.3] • shortstory by Charlaine Harris21 • The Mournful Cry of Owls • novelette by Christopher Golden50 • I Was a Teenage Vampire • novelette by Bill Crider73 • Twilight • [Women of the Otherworld Short Fiction 7.2] • novelette by Kelley Armstrong100 • It's My Birthday, Too • [The Dresden Files 9.2] • novella by Jim Butcher146 • Grave-Robbed • [Vampire Files] • novelette by P. N. Elrod176 • The First Day of the Rest of Your Life • [The Morganville Vampires: Extras 2.5] • novelette by Rachel Caine201 • The Witch and the Wicked • novelette by Jeanne C. Stein230 • Blood Wrapped • [Henry Fitzroy] • novelette by Tanya Huff254 • The Wish • shortstory by Carolyn Haines265 • Fire Ice and Linguini for Two • [Garnet Lacey 2.5] • novelette by Lyda Morehouse [as by Tate Hallaway ]290 • Vampire Hours • novelette by Elaine Viets318 • How Stella Got Her Grave Back • novelette by Toni L. P. Kelner

Warm Up


V.E. Schwab - 2013
    His wife moved out, taking his son with her, and a devastated David hasn’t left his house since, terrified of the mysterious new power that followed him home from the ill-fated expedition.After months in seclusion, David’s ready for a fresh start, and ventures out, determined to keep his power in check. But David’s power isn’t the one he needs to worry about.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge


Paul Krueger - 2016
    But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

The New Hunger


Isaac Marion - 2013
    Then came a final blow no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more.Born into this bleak and bloody landscape, twelve-year-old Julie struggles to hold on to hope as she and her parents drive across the wastelands of America, a nightmarish road trip in search of a new home.Hungry, lost, and scared, sixteen-year-old Nora finds herself her brother’s sole guardian after her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle.And in the darkness of a forest, a dead man opens his eyes. Who is he? What is he? With no clues beyond a red tie and the letter “R,” he must unravel the grim mystery of his existence—right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly. The New Hunger is a glimpse of the past and a path to an astonishing future…

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury


Sam WellerKelly Link - 2012
    . . Bradbury?You might see rockets to Mars. Or bizarre circuses where otherworldly acts whirl in the center ring. Perhaps you travel to a dystopian future, where books are set ablaze . . . or to an out-of-the-way sideshow, where animated illustrations crawl across human skin. Or maybe, suddenly, you're returned to a simpler time in small-town America, where summer perfumes the air and life is almost perfect . . . "almost."Ray Bradbury--peerless storyteller, poet of the impossible, and one of America's most beloved authors--is a literary giant whose remarkable career has spanned seven decades. Now twenty-six of today's most diverse and celebrated authors offer new short works in honor of the master; stories of heart, intelligence, and dark wonder from a remarkable range of creative artists.TABLE OF CONTENTSSam Weller and Mort Castle - IntroductionRay Bradbury - Second HomecomingNeil Gaiman - The Man Who Forgot Ray BradburyMargaret Atwood - HeadlifeJay Bonansinga - HeavySam Weller - The Girl In The Funeral ParlorDavid Morrell - The CompanionsThomas F. Monteleone - The ExchangeLee Martin - Cat on a Bad CouchJoe Hill - By The Silver Water Of Lake ChamplainDan Chaon - Little AmericaJohn McNally - The Phone CallJoe Meno - Young PilgrimsRobert McCammon - Children Of The Bedtime MachineRamsey Campbell - The Page Mort Castle - LightAlice Hoffman - ConjureJohn Maclay - MaxJacqueline Mitchard - Two Of A KindGary Braunbeck - Fat Man And Little BoyBonnie Jo Campbell - The TattooAudrey Niffenegger - Backwards In SevilleCharles Yu - Earth: (A Gift Shop)Julia Keller - Hayleigh's DadDave Eggers - Who Knocks?Bayo Ojikutu - Reservation 2020Kelly Link - Two HousesHarlan Ellison - Weariness

The Refrigerator Monologues


Catherynne M. Valente - 2017
    A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics.A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.

The Ferryman Institute


Colin Gigl - 2016
    Having never failed a single assignment, he's acquired a reputation for success that’s as legendary as it is unwanted. It turns out that serving as a Ferryman is causing Charlie to slowly lose his mind. Deemed too valuable by the Ferryman Institute to be let go and too stubborn to just give up in his own right, Charlie’s pretty much abandoned all hope of escaping his grim existence. Or he had, anyway, until he saved Alice Spiegel. To be fair, Charlie never planned on stopping Alice from taking her own life—that sort of thing is strictly forbidden by the Institute—but he never planned on the President secretly giving him the choice to, either. Charlie’s not quite sure what to make of it, but Alice is alive, and it’s the first time he’s felt right in more than two hundred years. When word of the incident reaches Inspector Javrouche, the Ferryman Institute's resident internal affairs liaison, Charlie finds he's in a world of trouble. But Charlie’s not about to lose the only living, breathing person he’s ever saved without a fight. He’s ready to protect her from Javrouche and save Alice from herself, and he’s willing to put the entire continued existence of mankind at risk to do it. Written in the same vein as bestselling modern classics such as The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, The Ferryman Institute is a thrilling supernatural adventure packed with wit and humor.

Heroine Complex


Sarah Kuhn - 2016
    Working for one is even harder.Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Ajax Penumbra 1969


Robin Sloan - 2012
    Ajax Penumbra seeks a book--the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. Late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles across a 24-hour bookstore, and the possibilities before him expand exponentially.