First the wish: Far too many days ago, a woman I know through the magic of Teh Intarwebs, cathica , had a birthday. And I didn't offer her birthday wishes. This is a bad thing, because she is a countrywoman - a fellow Maritimer, no less; a fellow Doctor Who fan; a phenomenally gifted writer who not only puts her gifts to use in the world of fanfic (catch her stuff at A Teaspoon and an Open Mind, and I think you'll see what I mean) but has proven herself with original fiction as well; and an all 'round interesting person. So Happy Birthday, my dear, and Happy 2009-2010. May your words flow easily, may the woodpile serve you well this winter, and may there be no bears in the backyard for the foreseeable future!
And now the recommendation: I am not much of a horror fan, largely because I crave happy endings with the wild-eyed, froth-at-the-mouth hunger of an addict. (The words Pollyanna and meth freak, while not normally found on the same page together, might adequately describe the strength of my desire for non-horrifying stories.) But the aforementioned cathica gifted me with a copy of Tesseracts Thirteen, a compilation of dark stories by Canadian writers. And it was, to my relieved surprise, completely worth the nerves and twitches I had to suppress while approaching the volume.
Why am I mentioning this? Because, while I enjoy a lot of writing out there, the fact that I could enjoy an entire book full of the kind of stories that are normally anathema to me, suggests that this book was worth mentioning to folks. The stories span numerous styles, and take on an equal number of concepts and characters. Many of them are scary, more of them are elegant, a few of them are as moving as they are chilling, and all of them are well done. Three of my particular favorite stories are "Bed of Scorpions" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, "Silence" by Stephanie Short, and "His One True Love" by Catherine MacLeod.