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More Deadly than the Male

Masterpieces from the Queens of Horror

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A darkly luminous new anthology collecting the most terrifying horror stories by renowned female authors, presenting anew these forgotten classics to the modern reader.

Readers are well aware that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein: few know how many other tales of terror she created. In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote some surprisingly effective horror stories. The year after Little Women appeared, Louisa May Alcott published one of the first mummy tales. These ladies weren’t alone. From the earliest days of Gothic and horror fiction, women were exploring the frontiers of fear, dreaming dark dreams that will still keep you up at night.

More Deadly than the Male includes unexpected horror tales by Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and forgotten writers like Mary Cholmondely and Charlotte Riddell, whose work deserves a modern audience. Readers will be drawn in by the familiar names and intrigued by their rare stories.

In The Beckside Boggle, Alice Rea brings a common piece of English folklore to hair-raising life, while Helene Blavatsky, best known as the founder of the spiritualist Theosophical Society, conjures up a solid and satisfying ghost story in The Cave of the Echoes. Edith Wharton’s great novel The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer prize, yet her horror stories are known only to a comparative few.

Readers will discover lost and forgotten women who wrote horror every bit as effectively as their male contemporaries. They will learn about their lives and careers, the challenges they faced as women working in a male-dominated field, the way they overcame those challenges, and the way they approached the genre—which was often subtler, more psychological, and more disturbing.

Graeme Davis has been fascinated by horror fiction since his teens, devouring late-night reruns of the classic Universal and Hammer movies on his parents’ black-and-white TV and stripping local thrift-stores of horror titles. He began writing for tabletop role-playing games in the early 1980s, and among many other credits he helped develop Games Workshop’s blockbuster Warhammer dark-fantasy franchise and the 90s Gothic hit Vampire: The Masquerade, as well as more than 40 electronic games. This is his second anthology for Pegasus, following on from the 2017 collection Colonial Horrors. He lives in Lafayette, Colorado.

"The 26 stories in this connoisseur’s compilation, all published between 1830 and 1908, are a testament to the role that women writers played in shaping early fantasy and horror fiction. Davis has done thoughtful literary excavation, and the stories he has selected are a trove of fantastic gems."

– Publishers Weekly

"A slice of women’s history, an examination of the evolution of horror, and an anthology of entertaining, creepy reads. Famous names in the collection will attract attention, like Louisa May Alcott, but it is the compelling and uneasy work of little-known authors like Eliza Lynn Linton or Mary E. Wilkins Freeman that will captivate readers."

– Booklist

"The chronologically arranged stories in the volume are of keen literary interest. They helped pave the way for the likes of Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, and Joyce Carol Oates. A fine reminder that even when literally and/or figuratively corseted, women could express themselves by putting pen to paper."

– Diabolique Magazine

"Exciting. This is an anthology that is as brilliant as it is entertaining, and will appeal to anyone with a fondness for dark fiction."

– Mystery Scene Magazine

More books from this author: Graeme Davis