Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror, edited by Jordan Peele.

Review by Nick Jones

Author: Jordan Peele

Horror, as the old quote goes, is primarily a fear of the unknown. I make no assumptions that I understand what it’s like to not be White, which was one of the things that drew me to this anthology, aside from it having filmmaker Jordan Peele’s name prominently attached.

And, I’m happy to report, it really did scare me. Fundamentally, this is horror, and it nails the landing on that front. It’s scary, it’s creepy, it’s unnerving and it’s uncomfortable. Really, I can pay horror fiction few higher compliments, so if that’s what you’re after then read no further, just go and read a copy.

When it works, this collision of horror and new voices in Black writing really, really works. There’s horror here that draws from headlines and recent memories in a way that’s equal parts frightening, strange, and actually quite uncomfortable. Cars that grow eyes to witness incidents of police brutality is an early, disturbing standout.

Beyond that, though, there’s much to dig into. There are haunted houses, ghost, ghouls, and plenty more besides. It takes in stops along the route in places you wouldn’t expect, and talks in voices you may never have encountered before, to retell legends and folklore you won’t soon forget.

There are places where it stumbles. Occasional forays into science fiction don’t feel quite as well realised as other stories, and their ability to unsettle or scare is diminished. But, on the whole, if you’re intrigued by the premise, looking for more diverse voices, or just a fan of things that keep you up at night, there’s something for you in this collection.

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