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Old 30th Sep 2008, 14:19   #1
bill
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Default A Month of Horror

Prologue

Okay, so, this is how this is going to work: I'm going to read a bunch of horror fiction and then write about it. If you've read my posts talking about this project, then you already knew that, but, unfortunately, that really is what this is going to be.

I say "unfortunately" because while I acknowledge that it would be nice if I could have some over-arching theme, and in fact I made -- and am even still making -- some attempt to group these stories and novels in a manner that will connect them in more specific ways than the simple fact that they all belong to the same genre, that's going to be nearly impossible, I think. This is due entirely to the fact that I haven't read any of these stories and novels before, and so I don't know what their themes are, or how they historically fit into the horror genre, or anything like that. I can read a bunch of stories written during the same basic time period (which I have done for my first group of selections), or that are part of the same horror sub-genre, or I can pair authors, one of whom has influenced the other. And I'm going to do all of that, but it'll still be a crap-shoot, because I won't really know what I'm getting into from story to story, novel to novel.

So, this might turn out to read more like a journal of my experience, and might even devolve into a rant wherein I moan about how this was a really horrible idea. Because, really, horror -- as much as I sometimes love it -- is a terribly frustrating genre. Its full artistic potential is almost never met; writers are too often influenced by bad movies they grew up with, and labor under the belief that ridiculously graphic violence is the same thing as horror.

I don't mean to sound too negative, though. After all, I did my best to pick novels and stories from my collection that I thought I had a better than fair chance of enjoying (though I did pick some less promising stuff in order to write a whole "state of the genre" thing). But I have a love-hate relationship to this stuff, and I don't really know how this is going to work out for me. So, fingers crossed, everybody, because I begin tomorrow.

-------------------------------------

NEW (thanks to Nou) TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Bill's award-winning Month of Horror

"The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
"Pickman's Model" by H. P. Lovecraft (any good Lovecraft collection)
"The Rats in the Walls" by H. P. Lovecraft (see above)

"The Yellow Sign" by Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow)
"In the Court of the Dragon" by Robert W. Chambers (see above)

"The Haunted Dolls' House" by M. R. James (the second volume of James's stories from Penguin Classics)
"The Guide" by Ramsey Campbell (Waking Nightmares)

"The Face That Must Die" by Ramsey Campbell

"The Surly Sullen Bell" by Russell Kirk (Kirk's collection of the same name)
"Off the Sand Road" by Russell Kirk (see above)

"A Life in the Cinema" by Mick Garris (Silver Scream)
"More Sinned Against" by Karl Edward Wagner (Silver Scream or Wagner's own Why Not You and I?)

"In the Black Mill" by Michael Chabon (Werewolves in Their Youth)

"Solid Geometry" by Ian McEwan (First Loves, Last Rites)

"Cleave the Vampire, or, A Gothic Pastorale" by Patrick McGrath (I Shudder at Your Touch)

"The Pram" by Roddy Doyle (The Deportees)

"Throat Sprockets" by Tim Lucas

"The Caterpillar" by Edogawa Rampo (Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination)
"The Red Chamber" by Edogawa Rampo(see above)

"Jerry's Kids Meet Wormboy" by David J. Schow (Book of the Dead)
"Calcutta, Lord of Nerves" by Poppy Z. Brite (Wormwood in the US, Swamp Foetus in the UK)

"Severini" by Thomas Ligotti (Teatro Grottesco)
"Gas Station Carnivals" by Thomas Ligotti (see above)

"The Weird Tailor" by Robert Bloch (Such Stuff as Screams are Made Of)
"Lucy Comes to Stay" by Robert Bloch (see above)

"Elsewhere"by William Peter Blatty (999)

"Man Overboard" by Winston Churchill (online for free here)
"The Queen of Sheba's Nightmare" by Bertrand Russell (supposedly free online here, though I'm having trouble using the site)

"The Box" by Jack Ketchum (Peaceable Kingdom)
"Megan's Law" by Jack Ketchum (see above)

"The Owl" by Conrad Williams (Use Once, Then Destroy)
"The Night Before" by Conrad Williams (see above)

"Muzak for Torso Murders" by Marc Laidlaw (Cutting Edge)
"The Man With the Hoe" by George Clayton Johnson (see above)

"Closing Time" by Neil Gaiman(Fragile Things)
"Feeders and Eaters" by Neil Gaiman(see above)

"The Giveaway" by Steve Rasnic Tem (100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories)
"He Kilt It With a Stick" by William F. Nolan (see above)
"The Assembly of the Dead" by Chet Williamson (see above again)

"My Poor Friend" by Robert Aickman (Painted Devils)
"The Waiting Room" by Robert Aickman (see above)

"London Revenant" by Conrad Williams

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Sardonicus" by Ray Russell (Playboy's Book of Horror and the Supernatural)

"The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood (Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories)

"Mr. Dark's Carnival" by Glen Hirshberg (The Two Sams)

"Ants" by Chet Williamson (100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories)
"Dead Call" by William F. Nolan (see above)
"At the Bureau" by Steve Rasnic Tem (see above again)

"The Hyena" by Paul Bowles (The Stories of Paul Bowles)
"The Garden" by Paul Bowles (see above)
"Allal" by Paul Bowles" (see above again)
"The Delicate Prey" by Paul Bowles (see above again again)

"The Man on the Ceiling" by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem

(Thanks to Nou a second time for actually putting this all together)
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 14:48   #2
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Hmm - break a leg, Bill. And sweet dreams . . . hope your slumbers are not disturbed by all the gore and ghouls!
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 14:59   #3
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

You know, I can only remember being able to link one of my nightmares to a horror novel I've read. The nightmare was pretty rough, so I won't recount it here, but the odd part is that the novel, The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum, isn't really all that good. Disturbing, yes, but as a novel, it's sort of weak.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:02   #4
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Bill, this is an intriguing idea. Any chance you could give us a list of what you are planning to read? I'm a big fan of horror fiction and would like to be able to discuss some of the books with you.

I see that you're reading Campbell's The Face that Must Die which is a very good start indeed.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:09   #5
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Adr., I thought about that, but I'm not sure I can say for sure what I'll be reading, or at least when. I pulled a whole boatload of stuff off my shelf, and I can't possibly read all of it this month, although that's the pile I'll be choosing from.

But yes, I am currently reading that Campbell novel, and I'll be adding two of his short stories to the mix: "I Am It and It Is I", and "The Guide" (I think that's what it's called). When I write about Campbell, I'll be pairing him with M. R. James, as James was a huge influence on Campbell, but I'm not sure which James stories I'll be reading.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:20   #6
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Campbell is an excellent short-story writer. Alone with the Horrors is an excellent overview and features many of his great stories.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:23   #7
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Adr. - it just occurred to me that you might have been asking for a list because you wanted, if possible, to read along? Is that the case? If so, I can probably give you a list of stuff I know I'm going to read, although when during the month I'll be reading it I don't know.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:46   #8
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Quote:
Adr. - it just occurred to me that you might have been asking for a list because you wanted, if possible, to read along? Is that the case?
Well, the thought had crossed my mind. Read-along-a-Bill, if you like. I couldn't guarantee to read many on your list, as my reading this year has been half-hearted at best. So yeah, let me know what you know you're going to read and I'll do my best to keep up (assuming I have the books in the first place).
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 15:53   #9
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Default Re: A Month of Horror

Okay. I'll probably PM you with the information, unless more people are interested.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 16:07   #10
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Quote:
I'll probably PM you with the information
Thanks Bill, that'd be great!
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