In this masterful anthology, Nieto and Michel bring together 42 chilling works of flash fiction that capture terrors both supernatural and mundane. In Samantha Hunt’s “Rearview,” a single mother attempts to distance herself from her former drug abuse, even as her past self comes back to haunt her. Hilary Leichter’s “Doggy-Dog World” offers an unsettling portrait of a witch working a spell on an unassuming yuppie couple. “Lone” by Jac Jemc is a realistic and hair-raising exploration of a woman’s anxieties while camping alone. The choose-your-own-adventure-style “Marriage Variations” by Monique Laban spins scares from marital discontents. Helen McClory’s “Gabriel Metsu, Man Writing a Letter c. 1664–66” follows an eerie encounter between an art gallery docent and the “presence” within a 17th-century painting. “Downpour” by Joseph Salvatore is a truly terrifying tale about a rat on the New York City Subway, made all the more disturbing for its very real possibility. In fewer than 1,500 words, each of these vivid, visceral tales engages with horrors with striking immediacy. This carefully crafted and genuinely scary collection is sure to impress. (Oct.)
A The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Month
"An anthology of horror fiction from some of today's most innovative names in fiction. The stories are uniformly short, which means you can read the book in one spooky sitting, or spread the scares out." —O, The Oprah Magazine
"These tales might be small, but they have lasting power." —Jordan Snowden, The Seattle Times
"You’ll be impressed how quickly you can be unsettled." —John Warner, Chicago Tribune
"Tiny Nightmares is absolutely perfect if you have a hard time focusing on anything right now and if you love to be scared . . . It’s bone–chilling, timely, thought–provoking, and a lot of fun." —Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed
"A collection of bite–sized horror stories from a sprawling cast of new and veteran writers. In the book, no monster is too outlandish or too real––there is horror in vampires who mend their own broken hearts, just as there is horror in global warming and online radicalization." —Scout Brobst, Willamette Week
"Can't commit to a full novel? These short stories are scary as hell and best of all, you can finish each one while you're actually sitting on the beach. If the summer is a little too sunny, this book is a great way to get your moodiness on." —Fatherly, Best Summer Read
"An exquisite collection of short stories perfect for spooky season . . . Whether you prefer a classic ghost story, a near–future dystopia, or a far–future tale of space horror, you’ll find something to your liking here . . . An excellent treasury of short horror fiction that belongs on the shelves of every reader who enjoys a good little scare." —Doreen Sheridan, Criminal Element
"Utterly spectacular . . . How can you not be drawn into this book? . . . There are so many astonishing turns of phrases and details in these very small stories." —A. Poythress, The Rumpus
"Masterful . . . In fewer than 1,500 words, each of these vivid, visceral tales engages with horrors with striking immediacy. This carefully crafted and genuinely scary collection is sure to impress." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Outstanding . . . These flash fiction stories should be read during the day lest they lead to tiny nightmares for the readers . . . Highly recommended."—Booklist (starred review)
"These are achingly brief but exquisitely crafted fragments of horror . . . The book is delightfully unpredictable . . . Fans of innovative horror films like Get Out and Us will have a blast . . . Sick and twisted and troubling: Reading it is like stumbling on an old horror movie on TV in the middle of the night." —Kirkus Reviews
"Fascinating, compelling, and entertaining horror stories told with 1,500 words or fewer that lack for nothing in the anxiety and dread department. Each tale balances word count and terror with the accuracy of a marksman, creating characters and situations that reel readers in . . . A better entry into the world of horror as it stands today would be hard to find. The short, but never sweet, tales surprise as they unsettle and terrify." —Library Journal
"Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto prepare a healthy serving of horror to inject straight into your head, heart, blims, and viscera . . . A fusillade of fear." —Eric Ponce, BookPage
"I could gorge myself all day and night on these macabre, hellish little literary bonbons—Tiny Nightmares is an absolute treat." —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties and In the Dream House
"Like a spider on a pillow or a mass on an X–ray, the stories in this collection might be tiny, but they produce outsize fear, revulsion, and wonder. Be warned and be delighted." —Benjamin Percy, author of Suicide Woods, The Dark Net, Thrill Me, and Red Moon
Michel and Nieto present 42 fascinating, compelling, and entertaining horror stories told with 1,500 words or fewer that lack for nothing in the anxiety and dread department. Each tale balances word count and terror with the accuracy of a marksman, creating characters and situations that reel readers in, hoping this next one will turn out better, and yet knowing all along that, of course, it cannot. Broken into sections vividly titled "Heads," "Hearts," "Limbs," and "Viscera," the collection features both established authors like Jac Jemc and Stephen Graham Jones and lesser known voices such as Rachel Heng, whose "Fingers" was among the volume's best, this anthology is an evil delight. VERDICT A better entry into the world of horror as it stands today would be hard to find. The short, but never sweet, tales surprise as they unsettle and terrify. Readers will seek out more titles by the authors they discover here, or direct fans of the format to Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder.
Forty works of flash fiction guaranteed to inspire nightmares.
Michel and Nieto collaborated previously on the story collection Tiny Crimes (2018), and here they apply the same basic guidelines—stripping stories down to about 1,500 words—and transpose them to the horror genre to fantastic effect. These are achingly brief but exquisitely crafted fragments of horror, some real, some imagined, and some incomplete. Divided into four sections—heads, hearts, limbs, and viscera—the book is delightfully unpredictable. In an elegant introduction, the editors observe, “Fear is also, for better or (more often) worse, the dark force that shapes society. Whether it’s politicians spreading hatred to scare up votes or the passive fear that keeps so many of us from risking change in our lives, our communities, and our world.” The opener, Meg Elison's “Guess,” features a protagonist who knows how everyone will die. In “Jane Death Theory #13,” Rion Amilcar Scott tackles the horrifying history of people of color who have died from gunshot wounds while arrested, cuffed, and secured in the back of a police car—annotated with real-life examples. There are a plethora of creepy creatures, such as the inhuman thing in “We’ve Been in Enough Places To Know” by Corey Farrenkopf; the demon that lives in the art exhibition in “The Blue Room” by Lena Valencia; or the puppy that morphs into a human baby in Hilary Leichter's “Doggy-Dog World.” Other horrors are psychological: In "Lone," by Jac Jemc, a woman who fears men makes a horrifying discovery while camping alone while in Kevin Nguyen's “The Unhaunting,” a man desperate to be visited by his dead wife is told by an amateur ghostbuster that she doesn’t want to see him. There are plenty of iconic frights here, among them vampires and werewolves, but it's surprising how very different all of these stories are, especially given their limits. Iván Parra Garcia's "The Resplendence of Disappearing" is translated from the original Spanish by Allana C. Noyes into spare, brittle English that recalls Cormac McCarthy. "Candy Boii" by Sam J. Miller delves into the dangers of social media, with graceful passages like “The real danger is how we open ourselves up. What we let in, when we believe ourselves to be safe." There's quite a lot of body horror, too, so squeamish readers are forewarned, but fans of innovative horror films like Get Out and Us will have a blast.
Sick and twisted and troubling: Reading it is like stumbling on an old horror movie on TV in the middle of the night.