The Bleeding Edge is a 2009 limited-run (500 copies) horror anthology published by Cycatrix Press. Since I’m having trouble writing, and managing to read, I thought I could at least use my reading as grist for some writing:
A solid collection with one weak point and a few very good ones. There was a distinct disunity of style and format (teleplays and scripts) that was actually rather appealing.
The Bradbury story that opened the collection struck me as the weakest of the bunch, and it’s pretty hard for me to say that; I love Bradbury. It felt almost absurd, and not much else. Contrast the script/vignette by the Mathesons, “Madri-Gall”, which felt absurd in much the same way but that I also found deeply funny.
The other scripts were solid, but I found them less engaging. Nolan’s (nearly-)autobiographical piece and Robinson’s essay weren’t what I’d call horror stories, but I was glad to read them, and glad they were included.
Smith’s “Love and Magick” was interesting; while the style initially seemed almost a parody, it settled into itself, and I was getting faint echoes of Piccirilli’s Necromancer and Self stories. Smith said he was trying to write a horror story that wasn’t simply a morality tale, and I think he managed to avoid both that and the “bad things happen because bad things happen” trope very well.
On particularly good notes, I found Tem’s story “Red Light” to be the most affecting of the bunch; it did a beautiful job of painting a protagonist that I didn’t particularly like, felt sympathy for despite some of the things that came up, and was horrified for, and with, at the end. The anthology also has Goodfellow’s “At the Riding School”, which I was glad to see again; it got picked up for Datlow’s third The Best Horror of the Year and it’s a smart, dark, upsetting, sad piece. I was glad to see it again.
(Also: One of the stories made me want to throw the book at the wall, and I don’t treat books that way. I wasn’t particularly familiar with the writer’s work, and while their writing was enjoyable besides that, I won’t be going looking for more.)