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Book Cover Smackdown! October Horror Edition: DEAD NORTH vs. THE NIGHT BOAT vs. WEIRD SHADOWS OVER INNSMOUTH

Just for you: a new round of book covers heading to bookstores next month. This time the theme is October Horror titles.

Your mission should you decide to accept it, is to tell us what you like and dislike about these covers. Which one is best?

(Art by Simon Siwak)

Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction: The Exile Book of Anthology Series, Number Eight edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Exile Editions – October 1, 2013)

An enjoyable and rollicking ride, this collection contains 20 short stories that explore a broad spectrum of the undead, from Romero-style corpses to zombies inspired by Canadian Aboriginal mythology, all shambling against the background of the Great White North. The anthology’s specific focus on Canadian settings distinguishes it from the pack, and its exploration of many types of zombies weaves a vast compendium of fiction. Strong writing and imagination are showcased in clever stories that take readers through thrills, chills, kills, carnage, horror, and havoc wreaked across the country. Tales deal with a lone human chasing zombies across an icy landscape after the apocalypse, whales returning from the depths to haunt the southern coast of Labrador, a marijuana grow-op operation in British Columbia experiencing problems when the dead begin to attack, and a corpse turned into a flesh puppet for part of a depraved sex show, among other topics. Providing a unique location and mythology that has not been tackled before, Dead North will appeal to speculative fiction, horror, and zombie fans.


(Art by Les Edwards)

The Night Boat by Robert McCammon (Subterranean; Signed, Limited edition – October 31, 2013)

The Night Boat, Robert McCammon’s third published novel, first appeared as a paperback original in 1980. Following on the heels of Baal and Bethany’s Sin, it offered further proof that a writer of great narrative power and limitless potential–a writer who would achieve a significant position in modern popular fiction–had arrived.

The story begins with a vividly written prologue in which a German U-boat–sometimes known as an ‘Iron Coffin’–attacks an unsuspecting merchant vessel, and is itself attacked by a pair of Allied sub chasers. The action then shifts to the present day and to the idyllic Caribbean island of Coquina, where life is about to change in unimaginable ways. David Moore, a young man with a tragic and haunted past, is skin-diving in the waters off Coquina, searching for the salvageable remnants of shipwrecks. He accidentally detonates a long-unexploded depth charge, uncovering and releasing a submarine that has lain beneath those waters, virtually intact, for decades. The battered vessel that rises to the surface contains a bizarre and terrifying cargo that will transform a once peaceful island into a landscape of unrelenting nightmare.

The Night Boat is a story of cannibalism, ancient voodoo curses, and shambling, undead entities filled with a bottomless rage and an equally bottomless hunger. But it is also the story of a past that refuses to die, that lies in wait just beneath the surface of the unsuspecting present. Furiously paced and viscerally frightening, this horrific early gem is both an outstanding entertainment in its own right and a harbinger of the masterpieces to come.


Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth edited by Stephen Jones (Titan Books – October 29, 2013))

Respected horror anthologist Stephen Jones edits this collection of twelve stories by some of the world’s most prominent Lovecraftian authors, including H.P Lovecraft himself, Ramsey Campbell, Kim Newman, Michael Marshall Smith, John Glasby, Paul McAuley, Steve Rasnic Tem, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brian Lumley, Basil Copper, Hugh B. Cave, and Richard Lupoff.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

12 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! October Horror Edition: DEAD NORTH vs. THE NIGHT BOAT vs. WEIRD SHADOWS OVER INNSMOUTH

  1. “Dead North” is by far the most arresting cover of the three, and definitely the freshest in terms of content, style and composition. Neither of the other two covers is “bad”, but the art and lay-out for “Dead North” is standing head and shoulders above them as the best.

  2. Melanie Goldmund // September 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm //

    All of these covers make me want to run in the other direction, but then, I’m not into zombie fiction, so I’m probably prejudiced.

  3. I agree with Melanie, but of the three, artistically or whatever, “Dead North” is the best.

  4. “Dead North” is by far the spookiest to me.

  5. Dead North is clean and jarring (arresting as the first commenter said). A high-impact cover and I hope it gets faced out everywhere it’s stocked!

    The McCammon one is super retro. I mean I know it’s an older novel, but the cover feels retro even in light of the original pub date. I do like it for that reminds-me-of-my-grandfather’s-Neville-Chute-books sort of feel, but that’s about it.

    Weird Shadows over Innsmouth is pretty good; but, it still doesn’t feel as unique and show-stopping as Dead North.

    So yep. Dead North is the clear winner in this battle.

  6. That scissor to the head just creeps me out and makes me shiver.

  7. Frances K R // October 1, 2013 at 11:54 am //

    Concurring on the Dead North; it strikes me as cleaner, chillier, and more polished than the others. (Which reminds me, I need to call the LBS and get a copy…)

  8. Dianne Grant // October 3, 2013 at 7:41 am //

    Dead North – disturbing and intriguing at the same time.

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