Tanuary: Ghosteria Volume I: The Stories

The book as it appears on my Kindle via the hoopla app. The cover is black with a big white moon and white text on it. My face is, appropriately, a ghostly reflection over it.

I wrap up Tanuary 2023 with a collection of ghost stories: Ghosteria Volume I. (The second volume is a novel.) I know from previous Tanuaries that collections can be mixed bags. Lee’s output was eclectic and she wrote things really fast. Not all of them are winners, but some are just plain wonderful. Rather than break down all of the tales in this collection, I would like to tell you which ones I enjoyed the most and recommend you read them, too. This book is available on Hoopla, so if you have a card to a library that subscribes, check it out for free and discover the stories for yourself.

“The Abortionist’s Horse: A Nightmare”
I read this story in an anthology years ago, at least a decade, maybe more. I didn’t remember it as anything special, but I have changed as a person in the time between readings (grown, I hope) and this tale of a woman with a surprise pregnancy who invites a nightmare, born of history and urban legend, into her life, certainly hits me differently now. I found the ending heartbreaking. The main character didn’t deserve it. But then again, bad things happening to characters who don’t deserve them (even if they have them coming) is basically the definition of horror.

“The Ghost”
Well, that’s a prosaic title, no? This is a short tale about a man who is a guest at the wedding of an old love. But all is not as it seems! Twisty little thing.

“The Sky Won’t Listen”
This is one of the longer stories in the volume and honestly, I almost didn’t finish it. It’s about a distant planet where giant whales fly in the skies and are hunted by, well, whalers. Also, there’s a ghost, and some time travel. Too much futuristic made-up vocabulary, all documented in footnotes. But I stuck with it, and found it affecting by the end. Your mileage may vary.

Short, sci-fi kind of ghost story. Extraterrestrials don’t often appear in Lee tales, so this made a nice change.

“Thuvia Made of Mars”
I admit, I almost cried at this one. The ghost is a doll, which is a little weird. I was ready for some haunted toy stuff, never my favorite genre. It didn’t go that direction at all. It’s about a woman and her beloved cat and what can I say? I have cats. This was sweet and sad and not scary, and I really liked it.

Before I go, one question: how do you pronounce this title? Ghost-eh-REE-ah? Or Ghost-AIR-ee-ah? Your thoughts?

That wraps up another Tanuary. I’d like to extend my thanks this year as in years previous to Daughter of the Night: A Tanith Lee Bibliography, where you can find all her works and pretty much every cover illustration they’ve ever worn. Thank you, my constant reader, for joining me. Click on the tag for previous entries in this blog series, and see you next year!

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