It was this time of year, but a long time ago. It was 1983, to be exact. I was in Evans Drug Store on West Willow in Enid with my friend Ron Simmons. Ron was off looking at something and I was browsing the limited selection of books when I came across this little paperback that would prove to have a huge influence on my life. This was the first horror book I ever bought. The opening story, “Unholy Hybrid” by William Bankier, has always been my favorite, though Ray Bradbury’s “The October Game” is a close second. (Seriously, Ray Bradbury IS Halloween, right?)
It was Bankier’s story that inspired the first short story I ever got paid for, “Unholy Womb”, a story that is now cut-and-pasted all over the freaking Internet, often uncredited and always without compensation. But that’s a rant I’ve already done. My point is that it was Asimov’s collection and Bankier’s story in particular that helped put me on the path of becoming a horror author. That led me to putting out my own little Halloween-themed collection a couple of years ago, named for my first sale.
Unfortunately, the Asimov collection isn’t available these days, and the Bankier story that was such an inspiration to me seems to have pretty much vanished (it was originally published in 1963 and, according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, its inclusion in 13 Horrors of Halloween was its final publication.) So, you know, if you want to get a taste of Halloween-themed horror fiction for even less than the $2.95 I paid in 1983, click my Unholy Womb cover photo and try five stories for only 99 cents.