Al Sarrantonio

Al Sarrantonio is an American author whose work has spanned several genres over the years, including science fiction, fantasy, westerns, mystery, and horror. I discovered Sarrantonio through his short stories published in Charles Grant’s Shadows anthologies, and from there branched out to read Campbell Wood and The Worms, which led me on to his other books for further exploration.

Sarrantonio earned a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and spent the early part of his career working as an editor in New York. His first published short stories appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1979 and Heavy Metal in 1980. After a rapid-fire series of short story acceptances over the next two years, Sarrantonio quit his job as an editor to write fiction full time, back when the prospects of success in such an endeavor didn’t seem quite so improbable. His first published novels were The Worms and Totentanz, released in 1985 by Berkley and Tor, both of which were well enough received to establish his place in the genre. He later wrote what came to be known as The Orangefield Cycle, including the novels Horrorween, Hallows Eve, and Halloweenland (all published in the mid-2000s by Leisure Books), plus a number of short stories set in his fictional town of Orangefield. He went on to write two science fiction trilogies — one for Ace in the late 1990s, and one for ROC in the mid-2000s.

Despite branching out into other genres, Sarrantonio seems anchored to horror. His career followed a trajectory that led to numerous short story publications in major horror markets, including Twilight Zone magazine, its sister publication Night Cry, Cemetery Dance, and celebrated anthologies such as Shadows (appearing in five out of ten books in the series), and the more contemporary horror series Shivers. He also enjoys a career as an accomplished editor of anthologies, the most notable of which was 999, a horror anthology which won the World Fantasy Award in 2000. He has won a long list of genre awards, including the Stoker, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Shamus, the International Horror Guild Award, and the British Fantasy Award.

His Wikipedia entry is fairly comprehensive, and his website adds enough information so that anyone interested can find out more about Sarrantonio and his work. The author photo posted here was taken by Hunter Goatley during an interview with Robert McCammon at the World Fantasy Convention in 1990.

To browse the list of Al Sarrantonio titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright. The featured art for this post is by Gary Ruddell.

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