Excerpt from the introduction:
Editors Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax put the call out to horror writers and editors of extreme stories, the hardcore stuff that breaks boundaries and trashes taboos, the transgressive tales you can't "unread" (as Chuck Palahniuk says). We staked out our territory and nailed this to the wall to guide us:
Year's Best Hardest Horror
Not your mama's best-of horror annual.
This stuff comes from the edge of the abyss,
stories you read at your own risk
because you feel the abyss looking right back into you
through the tainted lens of each twisted tale.
Some of the stories you'll find here are loaded with very graphic descriptions of violence, sex, and depravities, while others may contain only one shocking moment of brutality. In others, the hardcore aspect may be less graphic and subtler than you might expect. Some of these quieter tales offer the listener some time to recover from the more disturbing ones preceding.
Most of the stories collected here are from small and specialty press anthologies, with a few from periodicals, like the prestigious Splatterpunk Zine in the UK and Thuglit here in the US. Bizarro is also represented with a couple of tales from the unlikely anthology Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin from Weirdpunk Books. (If you're not familiar with the late GG Allin, you can find snippets from some of his outrageous and obscene punk shows online, which will increase your appreciation of those two tales.)
So for now, forget about that neighbor you suspect is a serial killer, don't worry about the drunk driver that could take you out on your next trip to the store, push those troubling news stories to the back of your mind, and immerse yourself in the imaginary horrors at hand.
But don't be surprised if you sense something dark staring back at you from between the lines. That is to be expected when you enter these forbidding realms. With any luck, you may find something useful to help you survive the approaching Apocalypse.
©2016 Comet Press (P)2016 Comet Press
I love audiobooks!!!
I'm a big fan of extreme horror, and these are some of the most vile and disgusting stories I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. I actually had to space this out over several days because some of the conjured imagery was so nasty. Super happy with the narration. A lot of times,anthologies have different narrators for each story, and sometimes it's appropriate, but in this case, I'm glad they stuck with just one.
STORIES: 3 stars
PERFORMANCE: 5 stars
OVERALL: 4 stars
*WHY I GAVE THE STORIES IN THIS ANTHOLOGY 3 STARS*
The majority of the stories in this anthology were exceptionally well written. Most contained eloquence and graphic detail that led to a sense of believability despite how unrealistic the paranormal entity and it's bizarre behaviors were. For totally fantastical tales of things that can and will never happen in real life to be written so well that they were somewhat believable says a lot about the talented authors who contributed to this collection. I was entertained most of the time, often finding myself squirming and saying, "ewe" and, "gross" while listening to this audiobook (which I received free from the narrator in exchange for an honest review). If only the endings of the stories were as great...
*WHY I DIDN'T GIVE THIS ANTHOLOGY MORE THAN 3 STARS*
I don't care much for anthologies and this compilation is the perfect example of why that is true. The majority of the stories contained in this audiobook were captivating and entertaining.....until they reached their end. I became totally immersed in almost every story in this audiobook only to be shocked (and very frustrated) when the story ended in a totally anti-climactic way. More often than not, I would be on the edge of my seat, loving the story one moment then unexpectedly crestfallen upon realizing that the story had ended. I kept listening to one story after another, experiencing the same disappointment over and over.
I felt that the editors could've done a better job as far as where they placed each of the stories. One time I had to doublecheck to see if a new story had begun; apparently the editors didn't think it would be problematic to place two different stories about GG Allen back to back??? The editors also chose to place two different stories referring to hiding glass in food back to back. Perhaps they didn't realize they'd done this or maybe they did do it intentionally; regardless of why they placed these stories after one another, it was annoying and confusing.
Mr. Hempel is a +++++5 star performer! Despite having to read multiple stories comprised of various characters and scenarios, he rose to the challenge and thoroughly succeeded! Regardless of the story he was reading, Hempel was consistently able to adjust his tone, volume, etc., always finding just the right level to suit each situation. He spoke with a smooth, even keeled tone of voice when needed and wasn't afraid to get creative when appropriate. I loved how he occasionally used a more theatrical voice or and accent, improving the level of entertainment while also helping us listeners differentiate between characters. Whatever voice he used, it always sounded believable and flowed seamlessly regardless of whether he was reading mellow narrative or squealing like a psychotic female character! Hempel is truly an outstanding narrator! If you're new to recording audiobooks, he's who I'd recommend emulating!
As anthologies go for hardcore horror, this is one of the better ones. Because of the intense subject matter, it's best if digested in small, bite-sized (body) parts! Are all the stories killers? No, but the ratio of "OMG!" reactions to "meh" or "yawn" is very high. If you don't like taboo-breaking defilement of bodies (not dead, near-dead, or dead) and graphic, in-your-face descriptions of oozing or spewing bodily fluids in all forms, you best avoid this book. The narration is fine and never detracts from the stories. I look forward to Volume 2.
This audiobook was given to me for free by AudiobookBoom in exchange for an honest review. Bile [sic] the way, the gift did not effluence [sic] my opinions here in any way.
High among favorites.
The Downtown Dixonville Dismemberer.
The same answer to the previous question.
Enjoyable and exciting to listen to.
Dedicated Audible reader - love the average apocalyptic dystopian horror story!
All in all this was a very well done collection of short story horror. The narration was well done too. For me, the strong sexual narratives were a bit over the top, but each story appealed to me in some way. That in itself is not common. I enjoyed the fresh perspective brought out by these writers. Some stories completely original, others had excellent twist on existing themes such as zombie apocalypse. I would recommend this collection to anyone who likes this genre especially in short story. Well done.
The variety of stories. Some were definitely better than others. The standouts are Jeff Strands Awakening, Jason Parent's Elanore and What You Wish For by Lillith Morgan
I have listened to a few recently, and enjoy each one.
It's a hit or miss collection, 50/50 I would think. The strong stories definitely carry the the lack luster ones though and will leave you with an impression.
Joe Hempel's narration. Even the stories I didn't care for so much were pleasant to listen to with his narration. His voice was smooth and easy, the characters he acted out vivid.
This collection is a must for horror fans. Joe's narration was spot on and amazing for each story... and there were a LOT of stories! I'm a huge fan of horror shorts, and this was a fantastic collection. Now, granted, there were a couple of the stories I didn't particularly care for, but that is usually the case in any anthology short story book. The first story was definitely the strongest, and I think the editors did a great job placing it first, really setting the tone for the rest of the book. King Sh*** was probably my least favorite. This is not to say it was bad; it was just my least favorite. I would highly recommend this audio book to any horror fan out there even though I gave the "story" part 4 stars. Most of the shorts were very fine to interesting, and even my least favorite one had some brilliant moments of writing. However, I think that the editors could have worked a little harder on some of the stories to edit the passive voice out ("he could see" " she was sitting", etc) as on a handful of the stories the passive voice distracted me, and frankly, a couple of the offerings weren't as strong as the others. Overall, this was a fantastic nine plus hours!
Wow, when the title says "hardcore horror" they are not joking. If you are going to get this book make sure you are braced and ready. I made the mistake of listening to "Bored with Brutality" on the train, and I must have been making some interesting faces at the exceptionally vivid descriptions, because I got some concerned looks. After that I listened while curled up in my bed with the covers over my head, delightfully frightened and disgusted.
I absolutely loved this anthology, but I had to listen to the short stories as individual chapters, and not all in one go. I was introduced to some really exceptional new authors, and I will be running off to track down more of their works.
The sound quality was excellent, and the narration was proficient and did not detract from the stories at all. Good diction and pacing.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
I have been an avid reader all my life. Everything from True Crime to Time Travel. Now that I am retired, I read even more.
OK, They warn you in the beginning, I wasn't listening! Hardcore is Hardcore no matter the format. 90% of the stories were enjoyable, scary, funny or just good Horror. The other 10% were SO out of my league. I finally just skipped a few when the violence, language or disgusting sexual portrayal was too much. My review is based on the majority of the stories - the 90% I read. Some of these stories were really, really good! The book is worth reading, just be prepared. The narrator, Joe Hempel, did a great job. I was gifted this book via Audiobook Boom in exchange for an unbiased review.
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