The Autopsy: Best Weird Stories of Michael Shea by S.T. Joshi

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From as early as the 1970s, Michael Shea (1946–2014) distinguished himself as one of the most compelling writers of weird fiction of his generation. Now that his classic story “The Autopsy” has been adapted for television for Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, the time is right for a full-scale assessment of Shea’s work as a writer of tales of terror and the supernatural.

“The Autopsy” is one of several tales that mingles gruesomeness and science fiction. Others include “Polyphemus,” where the members of a spaceship encounter the titanic eye of some unthinkably vast and hostile entity. “The Angel of Death” exhibits the battle of two alien entities as they successively inhabit hapless human beings in their quest for supremacy.

Shea’s sensitivity to the downtrodden is exhibited in such tales as “The Horror on the #33,” “Water of Life,” and “Tollbooth,” populated by homeless people, prostitutes, drug dealers, and other disdained members of society. Shea’s affinity for California is shown in “Fill it with Regular,” “Upscale,” and other tales that bring his native state to life. As a bonus, two unpublished stories are included: “Feeding Spiders,” evoking the work of a writer who adopted California as his home—Ray Bradbury; and “Ghost,” where a vengeful ghost stalks the tough streets of South Boston.

Michael Shea was the author of dozens of novels and tales of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. This volume shows why his vibrant work deserves to live in the hearts and minds of weird fiction devotees.

The Color Out Of Time by Michael Shea

Set in a beautiful New England vacation spot, a lake surrounded by wooded farmlands, the narrator and his professorial colleague discover eerie and sinister features about this area. The lake shimmers with a disturbing, unnatural color; tourists disappear; an evil presence sickens or twists the thoughts of the park rangers and vacationers alike. Seeking to discover the nature of this horror and prevent further deaths, the narrator and his friend suspect that the lake hosts an alien monstrosity. Together with a long-time resident and sister of one of the area’s past victims, they muster all their strengths and skills to combat a terrifying opponent. Shea’s literary skills and insight into character and group behavior are as skillful as his ability to create fantastic and nightmarish scenarios.

An homage to H.P. Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space”, Shea’s haunting, fast-paced novel continues that narrative. A new Introduction by the author is included.

“Michael Shea may not be the only writer hybridizing science fiction and horror, but he is certainly among the best.”
– Publishers Weekly

“Michael Shea puts his people in the damnedest nightmares.”
– Stuart Gordon, writer/director of Re-Animator

“Michael Shea has long been one of the most vital writers of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. The imaginative scope of his work is exceeded only by the gripping and evocative vibrancy of his prose.”
– S. T. Joshi, award-winning author of H.P. Lovecraft: A Life

“Michael Shea has graced the field of the fantastic for more than thirty years… His prose is as rich and inventive as his considerable imagination…”
– Ramsey Campbell, multiple World Fantasy Award-winning author.