Format Hardcover
Publication Date 02/07/17
ISBN 9781681773216
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.5 in / 336

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Black Feathers

Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology

A dazzling anthology of avian-themed fiction guaranteed to frighten and delight, edited by one of the most acclaimed horror anthologists in the genre.

Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.

There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the life blood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.

Is it any wonder that with so many interpretations of the avian, that the contributors herein are eager to be transformed or influenced by them? Included in Black Feathers are those obsessed by birds of one type or another. Do they want to become birds or just take on some of the “power” of birds? The presence or absence of birds portends the future. A grieving widow takes comfort in her majestic winged neighbors, who enable her to cope with a predatory relative. An isolated society of women relies on a bird to tell their fortunes. A silent young girl and her pet bird might be the only hope a detective has of tracking down a serial killer in a tourist town. A chatty parrot makes illegal deals with the dying. A troubled man lives in isolation with only one friend for company—a jackdaw.

In each of these fictions, you will encounter the dark resonance between the human and avian. You see in yourself the savagery of a predator, the shrewd stalking of a hunter, and you are lured by birds that speak human language, that make beautiful music, that cypher numbers, and seem to have a moral center. You wade into this feathered nightmare, and brave the horror of death, trading your safety and sanity for that which we all seek—the promise of flight.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Memorable birds from fiction and film are now joined by a new flock of feathered friends. The compilation takes the reader on riveting macabre flights of fantasy that address winged victories and human fallacies.” Diabolique Magazine
“Datlow taps into the spooky and sometimes unsettling aspects of the bird kingdom. A solid selection of dark fantasy and horror pieces, many of which possess a more literary tone, opting for psychological and subtle terror over blood and gore. A thought-provoking exploration of the theme.” Publishers Weekly
“This haunting anthology presents an amazing array of writers who use avian tales to touch upon the shadows and light that exist in human lives. Aficionados of dark fantasy and horror will appreciate.” Library Journal
“The vastly different ways the terror presents itself, and the distinct storytelling styles and pacing more accurately reflect how deep seated and pervasive our fear of avians truly is. A volume to satisfy dark fantasy and horror readers alike.” Booklist
“A tightly focused collection of short stories that is perfect for those with a fascination for the disquieting aspect of the avian, as well as for readers who enjoy a few supernatural thrills with their crime. The long shadow of dark wings reaches across each page, making this anthology essential reading for the horror/crime completest.” Criminal Element
“With this anthology, Datlow has further cemented her reputation as an editor with an eye for quality and her finger on the pulse of the horror genre. Here she has assembled a stellar line-up of some of the very best writers in the field today, every one a published and accomplished master of the craft. With such contributors there is no question that the anthology would be good. But under the stewardship of Datlow, the stories take wing and fly.” This is Horror
Black Feathers is another triumph for this talented editor and highly recommended for its diverse and skilled contributors. It will definitely cause you to think twice the next time you see a flock of birds soaring through the sky or hear their songs outside your window.” Bookgasm
“With concepts as high-flying, and prose as graceful, as the birds around which it is themed, Black Feathers is a well-conceived and -executed anthology, and a showcase of some of the finest speculative and weird fiction of 2017.” New York Journal of Books
“A masterful presentation of dark avian-themed shorts. At its very worst, it is good, more often it’s great, at other times it is superb. Entertaining on numerous levels: endearing, suspenseful, beautiful, painful, incredible.” Unnerving Magazine