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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Book Review: Out There Screaming Edited By Jordan Peele

Out There Screaming
Edited By Jordan Peele
October 3, 2023
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780593243794
The visionary writer and director of Get Out, Us, and Nope, and founder of Monkeypaw Productions, curates this groundbreaking anthology of all-new stories of Black horror, exploring not only the terrors of the supernatural but the chilling reality of injustice that haunts our nation.

A cop begins seeing huge, blinking eyes where the headlights of cars should be that tell him who to pull over. Two freedom riders take a bus ride that leaves them stranded on a lonely road in Alabama where several unsettling somethings await them. A young girl dives into the depths of the Earth in search of the demon that killed her parents. These are just a few of the worlds of Out There Screaming, Jordan Peele’s anthology of all-new horror stories by Black writers. Featuring an introduction by Peele and an all-star roster of beloved writers and new voices, Out There Screaming is a master class in horror, and—like his spine-chilling films—its stories prey on everything we think we know about our world . . . and redefine what it means to be afraid.

Featuring stories by: Erin E. Adams, Violet Allen, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, P. Djèlí Clark, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, N. K. Jemisin, Justin C. Key, L. D. Lewis, Nnedi Okorafor, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nicole D. Sconiers, Rion Amilcar Scott, Terence Taylor, and Cadwell Turnbull.
The editor is Jordan Peele, director of the science fiction horror Nope and two other great horror flicks, Us and Get Out. He has brought together many great speculative fiction authors of the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres. All the stories have black protagonists and antagonists. The last story is actually a script of a white boy character is taking a class and talking about white villains and black heroes that they are supposed to be.

The stories I particularly enjoyed were “Reckless Eyeballing" by N.K. Jemisin, where an African-American cop supposedly can see eyes in headlights that lets him psychically know who to pull over.

“Eye and Tooth” by Rebecca Roanhorse is about a sister, Zelda, and her brother, Atticus, who are hunters hired to take out supernatural horrors.

“Wandering Devil” by Cadwell Turnbull is about a man who never settles down, meets a woman he falls for and might even settle with until a musician called Black Billy tells him if he leaves her like his nature always does, he will go places he never dreamed of, and he does, just not where he truly expected to.

My favorite story was “Hide and Seek” by P. Djeeli Clark. Two boys, Jacob and Jamie, live with their mother. She inherited magic from her father, who was famous for being a magician. But unlike him, their mama cannot do it and uses leftover magic like a drug addict. Their father had been an addict like her, but his last taste of magic pulled apart his insides. The boys learn to run and hide from bad people, but when Mama, after taking another piece of magic she gets from a dealer called Sugar Man, is the bad person, the magic changes.

Many are great tales, although a couple did not resonate with me.

If you enjoy any of Jordan Peele’s horror movies, enjoy horror short stories, and like to learn of new authors you may not have read before, then this anthology is a good spooky autumn read for Halloween month, with a mixed collection of horror, from personal to scary to science fiction and more.

I gave Out There Screaming 4 ½ sheep


Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney


About the Author:
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Jordan Peele is an Oscar and Emmy Award–winning writer, producer, director, and the founder of Monkeypaw Productions. His debut feature, Get Out, was released in 2017 to widespread acclaim, earning four Academy Award nominations, winning Best Original Screenplay for Peele. In 2019, Peele wrote, produced, and directed his second feature, Us, which instantly became a smash hit with audiences and critics alike, posting the largest box-office opening for an original horror movie ever. In the summer of 2022, Peele released his third feature, the sci-fi horror epic Nope, which also opened to number one at the box office. Prior to Get Out, Peele was the co-creator of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. Across five seasons, the show’s unique take on sketch comedy became a viral sensation online. In 2012, Peele formed his film and television company, Monkeypaw Productions, to champion unconventional storytelling through genre.

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