Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan (Volume Two)

Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan (Volume Two)

Illustration By Lee Moyer

Dust jacket by Lee Moyer.

In his Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between—the first volume of The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan—Gary K. Wolfe wrote, "…it makes you wish the second volume were here now." Well, the long wait is almost over. Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume Two) completes this ambitious undertaking, collecting the finest of Kiernan's stories from 2004 to 2012, selected by the author herself. The book includes twenty-five short stories and one poem, plus the short novel Black Helicopters—over two hundred thousand words of fiction, including the World Fantasy Award-winning "The Prayer of Ninety Cats."

In his introduction, S. T. Joshi writes, "Caitlín R. Kiernan does not care to be called a 'horror writer,' and with good reason: that term is far too crude and blunt to convey even a fraction of all the diverse elements that make her work unique. Perhaps she wishes to be a writer of what Lovecraft called 'weird fiction'; or maybe she prefers Aickman’s coinage 'strange stories.' These terms seem sufficiently broad and ambiguous to encompass the multiplicity of tones, moods, manners, and motifs that make up Kiernan’s short fiction, and in this volume you will find the full range of her work amply displayed. Her output to date has already placed her at the head of her field; she has nothing more to prove. Any subsequent work can only augment her achievement."

The collection includes the first complete bibliography of Kiernan's writing (1985-2015), and the limited edition will included a new hardcover (over 25,000 words) of unpublished material, False/Starts II: Being Another Compendium of Beginnings.

Limited: 600 signed numbered copies, bound in leather, including the bonus hardcover, False Starts II
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition

From Publishers Weekly:

“[The stories] rise above other works of dark fantasy, distinguished by their creative range and the diversity of their treatments of fantastic themes. Although these tales abound with nods to Lovecraft, Lewis Carroll, and other touchstones in literature and popular culture, Kiernan’s innovative approach to fantastic ideas shows a refreshingly original synthesis of her influences. Her best stories are also some of the best fantastic fiction of the past decade.”

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by S. T. Joshi

PART ONE (Atlanta, 2004-2008)

  • Bradbury Weather
  • Pony
  • Untitled 17
  • A Child’s Guide to the Hollow Hills
  • The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)
  • A Season of Broken Dolls
  • In View of Nothing
  • The Ape’s Wife
  • The Steam Dancer (1896)
  • In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection
  • Pickman’s Other Model (1929)

PART TWO (Providence, 2008-2012)

  • Galapagos
  • The Melusine (1898)
  • As Red as Red
  • Fish Bride (1970)
  • The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean
  • The Sea Troll’s Daughter
  • Hydraguros
  • Houndwife
  • The Maltese Unicorn
  • Tidal Forces
  • And the Cloud That Took the Form
  • The Prayer of Ninety Cats
  • Daughter Dear Desmodus
  • One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm)
  • Black Helicopters
  • Epilogue: Atlantis
  • Bibliography/Publication History
  • Illustrations (Bonus in Limited)

Falses Starts II Table of Contents (Volume Exclusive to the Limited Edition)

  • Prolegomenon
  • The Path of Silence
  • Iris
  • Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars
  • The Benefactions of Demons MM. Newcoment, Watt & Boulton (1900)
  • The Diamond Friendly
  • There are Kisses for us all
  • There will be Kisses for us all
  • A Piece of the Sky
  • May 5, 2013
  • May 6, 2013
  • May 8, 2013
  • Penance to the Pool of Perversity (1917)
  • Noah’s Raven
  • Mechs Have Better Things to do with Fallen Angels
  • Words Written Backwards
  • Deep Ocean Vast Sea
  • Glove
  • (Dead) Love Among the Ruins
  • Untitled 19
  • Night in an Eye of God
  • The Seeker in the City of Stone Flowers
Lee Moyer
Caitlin R. Kiernan
United States