The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea by Ellen Datlow

Stranded on a desert island, a young man yearns for objects from his past. A local from a small coastal town in England is found dead as the tide goes out. A Norwegian whaling ship is stranded in the Arctic, its crew threatened by mysterious forces. In the nineteenth century, a ship drifts in becalmed waters in the Indian Ocean, those on it haunted by their evil deeds. A surfer turned diver discovers there are things worse than drowning under the sea. Something from the sea is creating monsters on land.In The Devil and the Deep, award-winning editor Ellen Datlow shares an all-original anthology of horror that covers the depths of the deep blue sea, with brand new stories from New York Times bestsellers and award-winning authors such as Seanan McGuire, Christopher Golden, Stephen Graham Jones, and more.

Notably, the biggest stand-outs in the collection for me were What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong, Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire, and A Moment Before Breaking by A.C. Wise, with honorable mentions going to He Sings of Salt and Wormwood by Brian Hodge, and Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith.

It’s the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: they’re what we mean by ghosts.

Deadwater – Simon Bestwick
  1. Deadwater — Simon Bestwick ★★★☆☆
  2. Fodder’s Jig — Lee Thomas ★★★★★ Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas! This tale comes in two parts—the present, and the past—as our narrator regales the story of what happened to his deceased partner after the man contracted a bizarre infection, sprung from masses of bizarre and grotesque flesh washed up on the shoreline. This was probably the single most unique and creative infection story I’ve ever read, and it explains just enough to satisfy, while leaving quite a lot to the imagination. Alongside the description of the ailment, there’s a bit of a commentary on aging, love and loss, and being a homosexual senior in a small town, all of which made the narrator incredibly endearing.
  3. The Curious Allure of the Sea — Christopher Golden ★★★★★ When a woman’s father’s boat turns up empty, his body nowhere to be found, she comes across a stone with a bizarre marking on it. As an attempt to find closure, she tattoos the marking upon her forearm, but things suddenly become very strange in her life. While I enjoyed the writing itself, I can’t say I was a big fan of the story—I felt like I was being set up at great lengths for what was ultimately an incredibly disappointing ending.
  4. The Tryal Attract — Terry Dowling ★★★★☆
  5. The Whalers Song — Ray Cluley ★★★☆☆
  6. A Ship of the South Wind — Bradley Denton ★★★☆☆ This one wasn’t about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I’ve ever read about.
  7. What My Mother Left Me — Alyssa Wong ★★★★★  Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.
  8. Broken Record — Stephen Graham Jones ★★★☆☆
  9. Saudade — Steve Rasnic Tem ★★★★★
  10. A Moment Before Breaking — A.C.Wise ★★★★☆
  11. Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show to You the Sea — Seanan McGuire ★★★★★ I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.
  12. The Deep Sea Swell — John Langan ★★★★☆
  13. He Sings of Salt and Wormwood — Brian Hodge ★★★★☆  Even though they weren’t the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.
  14. Shit Happens — Michael Marshall Smith ★★★★★ I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I’ve ever read.
  15. Haunt — Siobhan Carroll ★★★★☆
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