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Selected Stories: Horror and Dark Fantasy

Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Though best-known for his science fiction novels, #1 bestseller Kevin J. Anderson has also written dozens of darker stories, ranging from eerie suspense, to surprise shockers, to monster encounters, to atmospheric Bradbury-esque tales, ranging in length from flash fiction to novellas.

In these 29 stories, you will listen about a nightmarish Wisconsin small town, rock stars raised from the dead, vampires, werewolves, zombies, murderers and sorcerers…and the heroes who battle them.

©2018 WordFire, Inc. (P)2019 WordFire, Inc.

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  • timj26
  • ontario canada
  • 05-21-19

Great collection

A great mix of dark and lighthearted story’s
Some standouts for me were the two stories written with Neil Peart and the story of how victor Frankenstein got the parts to make his monster
The narrators and production are top notch highly recommended
I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • S A
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 07-09-19

A Bit Uneven

These stories feel like early efforts and are a bit rough and unpolished.
They were OK but nothing really stood out.
Narration wasn't good and certainly didn't help the stories.
I was given this free audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Selected Stories: Horror and Dark Fantasy

OK, I am having a difficult time figuring out what to say about this one. I liked most of the tales, I never expect to like them all when reading a bunch of short stories. There were a bunch that had me glued to the headset. I didn't like the narration and that is where I got stuck. I tried speeding it up and slowing it down, nothing helped. It was just not my style of reading. The way some of the legendary creatures were portrayed and retold was nice. I find myself smiling more when characters have an unusual end or revelation in a short story than in longer novels or novellas. That happened here, but I think I need to revisit it on my own so that I can focus more on the narrative than the narration.

This story was given to me for free at my request for my voluntary and unbiased review.

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Selected Stories: Horror and Dark Fantasy

This is an interesting collection of short stories. They are fast and easy listens that center around horror and fantasy. I enjoyed some stories more than others but as a whole this was an engaging collection. The stories vary in subject matter and fright. They are not as dark as I thought the stories would be, but they are engaging and there is just about something for everyone. Some of the stories have humor and some make you think while others are just meant to scare. A few of them even had me wanting more from their world. While I enjoyed the male narration, the female narrator was a bit off and irritating for me.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Shorts that will astound amaze and entertain

I must say that collections of stories can be a bit daunting sometimes. One always worries if the lemons out weigh the gems. I can confidently say that everything here sparkles as much as a Twilight Vampire at noon in the Bahamas on the beach. There’s something for everyone of the horror bones that you have. Looking for vampire? Werewolf? Zombie? Sexy? Christmas? And it’s all able to get the blood racing and the other machination hitting overdrive. Some of my favorites were the zombie PI, the kids who feared Santa, the legion variant of Frankenstein. above all you will also be able to enjoy an introduction to each story and how it came into being. Really awesome. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher

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3.5* - wide mix of horror/dark fantasy stories

This is a mixed bag of short stories, in two ways. First, the stories vary based on sub-genre: some are humorous, some are dark, some are about supernatural creatures such as vampires, some are about psychopaths, some are based on characters/settings that the author has written about in other published works, some are collaborations with other people, and so on. So, it's a mixed bag that way. Which means that if you're only in the mood for dark humour-style horror, for example, some of these stories will be more satisfying than others. If you're in the mood for vampires and werewolves and Frankenstein, then (again) you'll be more happy with some stories over others. The other way that these stories vary are by length. Some of these stories are very ,very brief (less than five minutes) while others are much lengthier (over an hour in duration). As we know, the longer the story, the more opportunity we have to learn about characters, motives, settings, and so on. Perhaps less charitable reviewers might consider all of this to mean 'inconsistent', more charitable reviewers might consider all of this to mean 'diverse and eclectic'. I would simply suggest that readers be ready for the stories to bounce around a bit, in terms of tone, theme, and duration.

I enjoyed how the author introduced each story, because it gave some insights about how each story originated. He included a few 'flash fiction' stories that were very, very brief and written for course assignments. These were the stories that I enjoyed the least, because they were a wee bit too brief for my preferences; each of them ended before I had the chance to get into the groove of the story. Having said that, there were several stories that I particularly enjoyed. My favourite five or six stories included: Solitude, Last Stand, New Recruits, Redmond's Private Screening, Sum of His Parts, and Drumbeats.

I'm not quite sure how I felt about the narration. I agree with other reviewers here, who felt that having a second (female) narrator didn't add to the listening experience. The other observation I would make, and this might sound weird, is that the narrators were good readers but I don't think I'd characterize them as good storytellers. For me, the narrators didn't enhance the stories; I enjoyed certain stories in this collection (as mentioned above) because I liked the way the author wrote the story. In comparison, some of my all-time favourite audiobooks are ones where the narrator and author together create a synergy, where the narrator elevates the story and makes it immensely more compelling to me as a listener. (For example, on Youtube, someone uploaded an audiobook of 'The Day of the Triffids', narrated by Samuel West. It's well worth listening to. *That* is what I'm talking about when I talk about synergy...). So, the narration for this collection of short stories is good, it's not bad at all...but I didn't feel the synergy between the story and the narration. I suspect that I'd give this narrator a higher rating if he were reading non-fiction instead of horror.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

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Worth a credit

This was pretty good as far as short stories go, I would say worth a credit. It has lots of different stories tho the ones I liked best were about the wolves. I would love to see him write one long story following their story line about the town and history maybe starting with back when the town was settled as in this book through to modern times. The other stories were ok as well.i would definitely recommend it to a friend. With that being said I did receive this book for free in exchange for honest review. Which I must say I have. That did not change my opinion whatsoever and I look forward to reading more from this author in future.

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  • Brian
  • ANN ARBOR, MI
  • 06-15-19

Solid Collection

This is not the first introduction I've had to Kevin J. Anderson's writing, but it definitely is the longest. What I've come to realize is everything he writes is good or solid. These horror tales are no different as he goes from straight forward horror to horror comedy to quieter horror. But as someone whose a fan of more horrific horror it does feel like he pulls his punches a little. There are some terrible things that happened in these stories but I didn't get super visceral responses which for some people is a boon, and that's why I don't see it as a negative, rather a stylistic difference.

The narration is ok and while it doesn't add a whole lot to the experience it doesn't distract from the stories so no problems there.

I received the review code for this audiobook at my request and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.

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Zombies, Vampires, and Creepy Towns, OH MY!

“Selected Stories: Horror and Dark Fantasy”
Author: Kevin J. Anderson
Publisher: WordFire Press, August 23, 2018

Narrator: Bryan Anderson and Sonya Anderson
Audio Book Release: May 2, 2019
Length: 12 hours and 55 minutes (Unabridged)

Anderson’s book containing 29 short stories and clocking a whopping 13 hours is downright awesome and will appeal to anyone looking for eerie, scary, and odd short stories; there is something for everyone. Do not mistake quantity for quality because this author can weave a tale bar-none. I also enjoy the commentary at the start of each story because Anderson has some serious co-author friends ranging from rock-stars and A-List authors. A hack, he is not.

The narration is great with professional production values, which the narrator deftly crafts each story with the same care and life-giving qualities as the creator has done with his stories and characters. The main narrator is Bryan Anderson with Sonya Anderson peppering the stories with female voices when the story calls for it. I really enjoy Bryan’s approach and style making the story and characters his own. His dry delivery is perfect for Anderson’s more sarcastic and morbidly humorous stories.

I strongly suggest that this Audio Book come with a printed table of contents with story length because stories range from 7 to 60+ minutes. However, this is only a minor annoyance that does not detract from the overall listening experience, nor warrants a score deficiency.

For your convenience is a brief description for each story with a short opinion. Please note that my observations are not cumulative to the final score and the times are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Key- * great, ** amazing, *** essential.

1. Bringing the Family: * A novella taken place in Tucker’s Grove, WI regarding the living dead and those who pursue them. (35 minutes).

2. Church Services- ** A psychotic Elmer Gantry-type who invites demons to visit Tucker’s Grove. (26 minutes).

3. Dark Carbuncle- *** A sardonic look at a real life living dead Rockstar whose heaven could be hell. Note: This story pairs well with King’s “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band”. (25 minutes)

4. Solitude- *** A personal favorite of mine focusing on a former soldier living life Post-War Afghanistan fighting creatures that go bump in the night. This character and setting have strong TV series potential (27 minutes).

5. Bad Water- * A drink that brings horrific visions of the future Pre-Industrial Revolution (15 minutes).

6. A Glimpse of the Ankou- ** An ancient artifact that requires a life for eternal life and weeding out the population of Tucker’s Grove (39 minutes).

7. Age Rings- *** A short/flash story, which my 12-year-old son replied, “Dad, this is horrific. I love it.” (2 minutes).

8. Cupid’s Arrow- * A short/flash story that reveals the underbelly of love. Note: This story pairs well with “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. (5 minutes)

9. Royal Wedding- *** A servant and her friends exacts revenge during a wedding (7 minutes).

10. We Get What We Deserve: The Pickpocket’s Tale- ** A dark-fantasy focusing on a father and son stick-up team that meet their demise with a grim reality (30 minutes).

11. Family Portrait- ** A camera that takes more than what it gives. The story is well written, however probably a better experience in print form and not narrated due to the ambitious story-telling and multiple flashbacks. (45 minutes).

12. Baggage Check- * A suitcase containing a dark secret with an even weirder owner (15 minutes).

13. Hunter’s Moon- ** Another Tucker’s Grove based story revealing some of the back history. In this story, lycanthropes are haunting and hunting a relative within the charter family of the Grove (36 minutes).

14. Rude Awakening- *** Life as a vampire from his perspective! (15 minutes).

15. 1. The Fate Worse Than Death- ** A fun vampire story that addresses the increase of hacks within the vampire hunting community because of social media. The author pokes fun at a famous, but despised vampire trilogy, and briefly mentions the use of a smart watch in a fresh and unique way. This story reveals the author’s clever writing style and thought process (20 minutes).

16. The Circus- ** The circus comes to Tucker’s Grove and horror ensues (6 minutes).

17. Last Stand- *** A revenge story where one simple but violent act changes the lives of many Union Soldiers, but this story has a twist ending that will surprise even the more experienced reader (40 minutes).

18. Leatherworks- ** A Tarantinesque interaction between a shoe-maker and a possible Nazi (9 minutes).

19. New Recruits- * Historical Horror Fiction regarding an obscure Russian Work Camp whose populace will meet more than just personal demons (50 minutes).

20. Role Model- *** A fun “who-dunit?” romp focusing on Dan Shamble, a zombie PI, and his friend who will need to find the person, or thing, who killed a vampire at a cos-play (68 minutes).

21. Notches- *** A titillating and sexy revenge story that reminds us that lust kills when unchecked (5 minutes).

22. Redmonďs Private Screening- *** The creation of a snuff-film for the more discriminate “nickelodeon” viewer with a penchant for violence. The author does a detailed analysis of East and West culture, which makes this story more understandable and relatable (28 minutes).

23. Special Makeup- *** A funny story about a C Rate actor in “Creature Features” who suddenly grows into his role in more ways than one (27 minutes).

24. Much at Stake- *** A great retelling of Vlad “The Impaler” Dracul and Bela Lugosi, which reveals the author’s ingenuity for making the classics feel fresh again (37 minutes).

25. Santa Claus Is Coming to Get You- *** A short story of the repercussions when parents go too far with the Santa “naughty and nice” mythos. In this case, scared children are afraid of Santa and concoct a plan. Hilarity ensues. Another story where my 12 year old son responds, “Oh…..no. That is awesome” (10 minutes)

26. Scarecrow Season- ** Scarecrows. I will never look at scarecrows again the same. (25 minutes).

27. The Sum of His Parts- * The back stories of all the various parts of Frankenstein. I think this is a story better read than listened because of the various shifts in time periods. Again, reveals the creativity and cleverness of the author (49 minutes).

28. Torn Stitches, Shattered Glass- * A Frankenstein-like story that takes place right before and during the Night of Broken Glass (27 minutes).

29. Drumbeats- *** A favorite of mine that focuses on a professional drummer in Africa that purchases a drum with a perfect sound that comes with a grave side-effect (42 minutes).

Note: I was provided a free audiobook copy at my request and voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great variety of stories!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This has a great variety of stories included! There is something included I think for all tastes. I enjoyed this collection alot. Some stories more than others, but the variety was terrific!

The back stories on where and how some of the ideas came from was interesting. Narration was very good. overall 5 stars. Great job!


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  • Selina ryles
  • 05-25-19

an absolute mixed bag of entertaining stories

Sometimes I dont have the time to sit and listen to a very long story and this is one of the reasons why I love this book . There are so many short stories that you can literally listen to a chapter a time and come back to it later in the day.
There are so many tales on there some that grabbed my attention and kept me gripped but others that I wasn't so fussed about due to coming out of the horror / paranormal into more of a comedy genre. This is why I rated the book a little lower. This book will be hit and miss with everybody I'm sure some people will adore these stories and vice versa. Overall I think there is a tale that will suit everybody. There are definitely some that will stick in my mind for time to come . I was given this audiobook at my request to the author / narrator and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • IOI-655321
  • 05-22-19

A good mix of different tales

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The Book

This collection was a good rounded one, it may not appeal to all as some of the stories were definitely a bit of dark humour or downright silly in some cases. There was some very good chilling stories too and of such varying subject matter that you certainly won't get bored by them, I enjoyed 'Age Rings' most of all and there were some good monster tales with werewolves and even Dracula.

The introduction was interesting as I've only ever known his sci-fi and Star Wars work previously. Not all of the stories are amazing but overall the quality is good enough to keep you listening and being a collection you dont have to listen to it all at once.

The Production

The narration was clear and easy to listen to and fit the stories well, characters generally had a recognisable voice and suitable emotion was put into different scenes.