Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror, edited by Jordan Peele and John Joseph Adams

A cop begins seeing huge, blinking eyes where the headlights of cars should be that tell him who to pull over. Two freedom riders take a bus ride that leaves them stranded on a lonely road in Alabama where several unsettling somethingsawait them. A young girl dives into the depths of the Earth in search of the demon that killed her parents. These are just a few of the worlds of Out There Screaming, Jordan Peele’s anthology of all-new horror stories by Black writers. Featuring an introduction by Peele and an all-star roster of beloved writers and new voices, Out There Screaming is a master class in horror, and—like his spine-chilling films—its stories prey on everything we think we know about our world . . . and redefine what it means to be afraid.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Jordan Peele (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor), Erin E. Adams, Violet Allen, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, P. Djèlí Clark, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, N. K. Jemisin, Justin C. Key, L. D. Lewis, Nnedi Okorafor, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nicole D. Sconiers, Rion Amilcar Scott, Terence Taylor, Cadwell Turnbull
COVER ARTIST: Janay Nachel Frazier, Arnold J. Kemp, Kwaku Alston
PUBLISHER: Random House
YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 400 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Horror

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Minor Character(s).

OUT THERE SCREAMING is an excellent collection of horror tales from a Black lens. Most of the stories are set in some version of the United States, and many deal either explicitly or implicitly with the distinctly American flavors of racism and anti-Blackness which are deeply imbedded in this country. Many of them come at it sideways, it's the water in which they swim but it's not the focus of their story, if it's referenced at all. 

I love "Reckless Eyeballing" by N.K. Jemisin for its sharp characterization and disturbingly literal execution of a titular pun. It's a great choice for opening the anthology. The ending of "Eye & Tooth" by Rebecca Roanhorse genuinely surprised me, and was well-placed to adjust my expectations of how ideas of monstrosity might play out through the collection. I appreciate "Invasion of the Baby Snatchers" by Lesley Nneka Arimah because pregancy is a triggering topic for me and one of the few ways I can comfortably engage with it is through horror. "The Aesthete" by Justin C. Key uses the language of Art to present a different and horrific system of denial of personhood and autonomy, making an incisive social commentary without ever stepping out of the story's frame (as the best horror does). "Flicker" by L.D. Lewis is a very cool premise which uses the short story format to great effect (I love apocalyptic stories). "Your Happy Place" is brilliantly layered, topping its own baseline for horror through a recombination of slavery and capitalism, two things which are awful on their own but even worse together. 

The whole collection flows well, don't miss OUT THERE SCREAMING if you like horror. And, if horror isn't your thing, go find these excellent authors elsewhere, as many of them have published work in other genres. 

“Reckless Eyeballing” - CW for cursing, misogyny, sexism, sexual content, sexual assault, blood, violence, racism, injury detail, police brutality, murder, death. Minor CW for ableist language, domestic abuse, self harm.

“Eye & Tooth” - CW for cursing, blood, violence. Minor CW for ableist language, domestic abuse, cannibalism, murder, child death, death.

“Wandering Devil” - CW for abandonment.

“Invasion of the Baby Snatchers” - CW for pregnancy, body horror, death.

“The Other One” - CW for blood, gore, body horror, violence. Minor CW for ableist language, sexual content, mental illness, forced institutionalization, cursing, drug use, stalking, self harm, suicide, death.

“Lasirèn” - CW for kidnapping, violence. Minor CW for abandonment, pregnancy (brief mention).

“The Rider” - CW for racism, blood, violence, death. Minor CW for police brutality, bus accident, rape (brief mention).

“The Aesthete” - CW for sexual content, cursing, infertility, blood, kidnapping, medical content, medical trauma, cancer, suicide, parental death, child death, death

“Pressure” - CW for racism, homophobia, racial slurs, cursing, fatphobia, blood, injury detail, animal death.

“Dark Home” - CW for grief, cursing, sexism, misogyny, blood, parental death, death.

“Flicker” - CW for vomit, blood, violence, gun violence, death.

“The Most Strongest Obeah Woman of the World” - Graphic CW for blood, gore, body horror. CW for vomit, violence, medical trauma, animal death, child death, parental death, death.

“The Norwood Trouble” - CW for cursing, racism, violence, gun violence. Minor CW for ableism, sexual assault, drug use, alcohol, slavery, parental death, death.

“A Grief of the Dead” - CW for grief, sexual content, alcohol, blood, gore, violence, gun violence, injury detail, suicidal thoughts, slavery, murder, parental death, death.

“A Bird Sings by the Etching Tree” - CW for racism, alcohol, blood, gore, violence, injury detail, car accident, murder, death.

“An American Fable” - Graphic CW for racism, blood, violence, death. CW for injury detail, medical content. Minor CW for war.

“Your Happy Place” - CW for blood, confinement, slavery, murder, child death, death. Minor CW for sexual content, drug use, drug abuse.

“Hide & Seek” - CW for cursing, drug use, drug abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, child abuse, blood, gore, body horror, parental death, death. Minor CW for excrement.

“Origin Story” - CW for racism, sexism. Minor CW for fire, blood, gore, violence, animal death.

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