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you
15-10-2016, 01:30 PM
There seems to be a lot of discussion of Horror recently. It is also coming up to Halloween. Also, as I have said before, I often feel supernatural, weird, eerie and horror stories are best in short form. So, this thread is for sharing short stories and short story collections that are apt for this spooky time of year when the moonlight bleeds the hues from the autumn forest.

I've love to hear of any modern supernatural collections. Seems most deal with pre 60's stuff.

I'll begin with a couple of my favourites.

http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348287695l/771204.jpg

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserver/image/methode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2F2b22f64c-8192-11e6-8d70-b369ed513749.jpg?crop=1000,1500,-0,-0

Wanda
16-10-2016, 12:15 AM
What a good idea!

I've always enjoyed Alvin Schwartz and in particular, 'In a Dark, Dark Room' and 'The Green Ribbon'.

Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber' too. Everything in it.

you
16-10-2016, 10:51 AM
Another collection I've found myself returning to, in the depths of night when the coals burn low and the corners of the room are deeply shadowed, is Gogol's Ukrainian Tales.

Corpsey
17-10-2016, 11:39 AM
I can't contribute to this thread but it set me to thinking which books I've read which genuinely scared me, and I can only think of Stephen King.

Mind, this was when I was a teenager, so perhaps they wouldn't work so well on me now, but at the time I read 'The Shining', 'Pet Semetary' and 'It' they all scared the living poop out of me. I'm talking almost having to force myself to carry on reading scared.

Clive Barker's short stories were gruesome but not really scary. Lovecraft I never find scary. I think they're too overwritten to be scary. M.R. James definitely can be scary.

I think for Halloween I'll read 'The Turn of the Screw'.

you
17-10-2016, 10:22 PM
I can't contribute to this thread but it set me to thinking which books I've read which genuinely scared me, and I can only think of Stephen King.

Mind, this was when I was a teenager, so perhaps they wouldn't work so well on me now, but at the time I read 'The Shining', 'Pet Semetary' and 'It' they all scared the living poop out of me. I'm talking almost having to force myself to carry on reading scared.

Clive Barker's short stories were gruesome but not really scary. Lovecraft I never find scary. I think they're too overwritten to be scary. M.R. James definitely can be scary.

I think for Halloween I'll read 'The Turn of the Screw'.

I've yet to pick up any of King's novels. I must read The Shining. I've only read a few shorts by him. The Turn of The Screw is excellent. I read it on Halloween last year traveling back from the highlands, a good book to cane in one go... bit wordy but, hey, that's James' style.

One of my favourite collections has The Monkey's Paw by Jacobs in it. Great one.

you
17-10-2016, 10:34 PM
A note on Lovecraft. I really just do not like his style at all. He has this overly effusive way of directly telling the reader X is scary. More adjectives will not make something scarier. He breaks the cardinal rule of story craft... he tells rather than shows (or alludes or conjures). Ligotti, on the other hand, is the opposite. Sure there are descriptive passages but not for the main horrors. I know some readers like HPL's baroque descriptive bent but I just find his infinitely abominable prose hideously tedious.

luka
17-10-2016, 11:08 PM
Yeah lovecraft is rubbish. Not that I have any interest in horror anyway. My mate jim keeps spruiking aickman

Wanda
18-10-2016, 02:27 AM
Zylpha Snyder's 'The Egypt Game' has nice Halloweeny vibes. All about play, ancient Egypt and a child serial killer :) It's true. And the treatment is wonderful and beautifully written. It's YA so you could easily burn through it in an afternoon too. Real treat.
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Slothrop
18-10-2016, 09:31 AM
I've always thought HP Lovecraft and MR James make nice mirror images of each other. Lovecraft has an amazing overarching cosmic vision, but the actual stories are underwhelming because of the overwrought prose. James essentially writes trite little Victorian parlour stories, but they work because his writing style is so clinically effective. MR James re-writing the Cthuhlu Mythos would be incredible.

droid
18-10-2016, 10:07 AM
Machen's 'The Terror' and Blackwood's 'The Willows' are both great and available for free. Big fan of The Barron Short collections. 'After the People Lights Have Gone Off' by Stephen Graham Jones and 'The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies' by John Langan were two of the standout collections from last year. 'Gateways to Abomination' by Matthew M. Bartlett and 'Burnt Black Suns' by Simon Strantzas were also rans.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 10:38 AM
I think I remember Slothrop's verdict on HPL and MRJ from ages ago. To my shame I've never read either of the Jameses, so I guess this autumn would be a great time to have a crack at both.

As much as I love Lovecraft, I agree that in general he isn't scary at all. However I do think he's great at creating atmosphere - read 'The Music of Erich Zann' and tell me it isn't powerfully weird (and with nary an extraterrestrial god-monster or half-caste fish-man in sight). I've been massively into Ligotti since droid kindly sent me a whole bundle of ebooks including a ton of his stuff. Pretty much the whole of Grimscribe is superb. I especially liked 'The Shadow at the Bottom of the World', which reminded me a good deal of HPL's 'The Colour out of Space' (his best story by a country mile, in my opinion as well as the author's own).

Anyone else here into Robert Chambers? His short story collection The King in Yellow, especially the first four stories, are essential reading for anyone into cosmic horror and/or fin-de-siecle decadence. They're also crucially important in the backstory to the first series of True Detective (indeed, I believe the book briefly climbed into the bestseller lists as a result of the popularity of the show).

I asked for a book called The Sleep Room by F. R. Tallis for a birthday or Christmas a few years ago pretty much on spec. The premise was hugely promising: a creepy old Victorian sanitarium in deepest darkest Suffolk is repurposed in the 1950s as a facility where a maverick (and perhaps not overly ethics-burdened) psychiatrist is trialling a radical new therapy for horribly disturbed patients that involves keeping them in almost uninterrupted sleep for weeks or months at a time. Of course, the narrator (the prof's young assistant) is left there by himself as the winter nights draw in, and, inevitably, that's when the paranormal shit starts. It builds atmosphere really well in the early part of the book and there's a nice (though not totally unguessable) twist at the end, but in between I felt it didn't quite live up to the potential of such a great premise. There's also a basically inconsequential love interest, which leads to the hilarious scene where, immediately following red-hot sex with this smokin' fine young blonde nurse, the narrator falls into a reverie about the house they're going to set up together in Hampstead, right down to the matching chintz pattern on the sofa and curtains. Um, yeah OK, whatever!

Also: Poe, of course! His stories aren't consistently brilliant but he's got plenty of great ones. A nice touch of romance to some of them (e.g. 'Ligeia'). 'The Casque of Amontillado' is a classic of the non-supernatural conte cruel (short story, often revenge-themed, characterized by gleeful cruelty and gruesome depictions of suffering). The Auguste Dupin tales are cool proto-detective stories with an immediately obvious influence on Conan Doyle.

you
18-10-2016, 10:46 AM
I ordered The King In Yellow. When it arrived I discovered it was printed upside-down and backwards. I held the strange tome in my hands and felt like I'd slipped into some Ligottian nightmarish reality. Let this be a warning to ye who resist e-readers.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 10:53 AM
I ordered The King In Yellow. When it arrived I discovered it was printed upside-down and backwards. I held the strange tome in my hands and felt like I'd slipped into some Ligottian nightmarish reality. Let this be a warning to ye who resist e-readers.

Hahaha yeah, I remember you told me about that at the time. Then, IIRC, you ordered Ito's Uzumaki and found it had been bound wrong way around TOO! And REALLY thought you were properly losing it! (Before you remembered it was a manga collection in one volume, and Japanese, and was bound like that because all Japanese books are bound like that.)

Edit: although as you say, many Japanese books reprinted for Western markets must have the pagination reversed, I suppose.

What did you think of TKiY, by the way?

you
18-10-2016, 11:22 AM
Haha, yeah, it was the first manga I got that wasn't 'flipped' and I flipped. It arrived the day after the TKiY 'happening'. During that period my nerves were particularly sensitive. So much so I was more inclined than usual to succumb to rash proclivities and impulses. To receive Ito's masterpiece, with the residues of the previous day's unease still lurking in mind, led to a somewhat irrational bureaucratic exchange with various occult enigmas at Amazon UK's customer services department. I never sorted out another TKiY.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 11:31 AM
Oh, so was the actual text reversed, too? So it was unreadable? I thought you just meant the pages were in reverse order.

droid
18-10-2016, 11:38 AM
The last Ito short collection (primarily old work) was very disappointing. I hear he might be doing some new stuff now.

Have you read Hideshi Hino?

http://67.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8nenga6Rm1rdeqnlo1_500.jpg

http://65.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8ne4huvHO1rdeqnlo1_500.jpg

you
18-10-2016, 11:46 AM
Tea, I confess I cannot completely recall the event. Particular minutiae have since eluded me. When I endeavour to recollect the episode I only sense a strange vagueness, a lacuna of experience you could say, like searching amongst a series of dusty boxes containing old possessions at the bottom of a twisted and dilapidated stairway - the type found in old houses with cellars - I know what I knew is, or was at some point, there, yet present phenomenological validation of this evades me. Striving for confirmation, seeking 'closure' becomes more doomed with perseverance. I know now to leave this thread well enough alone.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 12:12 PM
Tea, I confess I cannot completely recall the event. Particular minutiae have since eluded me. When I endeavour to recollect the episode I only sense a strange vagueness, a lacuna of experience you could say, like searching amongst a series of dusty boxes containing old possessions at the bottom of a twisted and dilapidated stairway - the type found in old houses with cellars - I know what I knew is, or was at some point, there, yet present phenomenological validation of this evades me. Striving for confirmation, seeking 'closure' becomes more doomed with perseverance. I know now to leave this thread well enough alone.

Lol, well meta!

Speaking of Ito, anyone else know his short stand-alone story, 'The Enigma of Amigara Fault'? I remember zhao posting about it years back in the comics thread. Some amazing cosmic/body-horror, including imagery that reminds me startlingly of nightmares I remember from early childhood. I wonder if Ito got the idea from the same source.

http://i.imgur.com/4rwaYz9.jpg

droid
18-10-2016, 12:20 PM
That was me. Its the best thing he's done.

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 12:25 PM
That was me. Its the best thing he's done.

Oh right, cool. I think zhao might have mentioned it too though. Is his other stuff (as) good? I gather he did something about sentient, fish-killing bacteria or somesuch that sounded a bit, well, silly. But then I guess anything that could take sashimi off the menu would be a pretty huge deal in Japan...

droid
18-10-2016, 12:31 PM
Gyo. Yeah, its great - thats where 'The enigma' comes from.

There were 2 volumes of Tomie and 'Flesh coloured horror' released in English '99 - a bit repetitive, but all worth reading and a few gems - they were re-collated in 'Museum of Terror' by Viz. His only other english works 'Black Paradox' & the comedy 'Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu' - I havent read.

droid
18-10-2016, 12:40 PM
Actually posted a link to all of 'Enigma' in that comics thread. Its still live. http://brasscockroach.com/h4ll0w33n2007/manga/Amigara-Full/Amigara-0.html

Mr. Tea
18-10-2016, 04:20 PM
Spammy McSpamface! https://dointhelambethwarp.wordpress.com/category/two-dozen-ghost-stories/

Slothrop
18-10-2016, 06:43 PM
Machen's 'The Terror' and Blackwood's 'The Willows' are both great and available for free.
Oh, cool, I've been meaning to read The Willows ever since I belatedly became a Belbury Poly fanboy...


Big fan of The Barron Short collections.
I recently read The Imago Sequence off the back of your ongoing proselytizing. Good stuff. Decent ideas written well. Although I thought a few of them would have been better if he'd held back the bit where someone "explains" what's going on via a massive expositionary monologue stuffed with eldritch horror standbys like DNA and Nikolai Tesla and cosmic rifts without adding any real depth of horror to what we've already guessed, namely that the protagonist is gradually losing his marbles and probably about to get eaten by something deeply unpleasant, most likely as an hors d'oeuvre before it gets onto the rest of humanity. On the other hand, I absolutely love the way his protagonists almost invariably operate in some menacing, hardboiled, hypermasculine world that already feels on the brink of some sort of Ballardian ultraviolence even before the weird shit starts happening, and which provides absolutely no mental or emotional relief for the protagonist when it inevitably does.

Wanda
19-10-2016, 02:34 AM
Oh right, cool. I think zhao might have mentioned it too though. Is his other stuff (as) good? I gather he did something about sentient, fish-killing bacteria or somesuch that sounded a bit, well, silly. But then I guess anything that could take sashimi off the menu would be a pretty huge deal in Japan...

After I read Enigma I jumped into his Uzumaki. The first volume was amazing, the second made me wish he had stopped at 1, and the third kinda redeemed itself. In any case, would still recommend it!

ALSO, there's a MOVIE! - https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/uzumaki/

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droid
19-10-2016, 10:14 AM
I recently read The Imago Sequence off the back of your ongoing proselytizing. Good stuff. Decent ideas written well. Although I thought a few of them would have been better if he'd held back the bit where someone "explains" what's going on via a massive expositionary monologue stuffed with eldritch horror standbys like DNA and Nikolai Tesla and cosmic rifts without adding any real depth of horror to what we've already guessed, namely that the protagonist is gradually losing his marbles and probably about to get eaten by something deeply unpleasant, most likely as an hors d'oeuvre before it gets onto the rest of humanity. On the other hand, I absolutely love the way his protagonists almost invariably operate in some menacing, hardboiled, hypermasculine world that already feels on the brink of some sort of Ballardian ultraviolence even before the weird shit starts happening, and which provides absolutely no mental or emotional relief for the protagonist when it inevitably does.

lol, I suppose I have proselytized a bit. I Think Imago is a bit of a formative work - it was the first one I read. Some of it is a bit scholcky, but then there's stuff like 'Procession of the black sloth' which is brilliantly atmospheric and obtuse - like a cross between Barker's books of blood prime and Ballard. Beautiful thing, and Occultation are both better overall I think. Looking forward to his new collection - though 'X's for eyes' was extremely disappointing.

'The Willows' is here: http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Will837.shtml though there is a copyright free epub around as well I think.

droid
19-10-2016, 10:26 AM
There was a decent little horror in the last Mieville shorts collection Säcken. Probably the best thing in the book actually.

Not shorts - but McCarthy's 'Outer Dark' I think can be read as horror, with its unrelenting nihilism, atmosphere of dread, the violence of the prose and the ambiguous, possibly supernatural aspects of some characters.



The man took hold of the child and lifted it up. It was watching the fire. Holme saw the blade wink in the light like a long cat's eye slant and malevolent and a dark smile erupted on the child's throat and went all broken down the front of it. The child made no sound. It hung there with its one eye glazing over like a wet stone and black blood pumping down its naked belly. The mute one knelt forward. He was drooling and making little whimpering noises in his throat. He knelt with his hands outstretched and his nostrils rimpling delicately. The man handed him the child and he seized it up, looked once at Holme with witless eyes, and buried his moaning face in its throat.
In fact, you could probably make a good horror case for Suttree, Outer Dark, Blood Meridian & The Road... especially seeing as how liberally his style has been borrowed by genre writers of the new weird, horror and post apocalyptic milieus.

droid
19-10-2016, 10:29 AM
And fuck it, while Im canvassing - John Langan's 'The Fisherman' is a must read. It has a Lovecraftian tale-within-a-tale, some genuinely creepy imagery, a huge unknowable supernatural force... Id say its the best horror Ive read this year.

Mr. Tea
19-10-2016, 08:55 PM
I've probably said it here before, but if Ligotti is the spiritual successor to Lovecraft, then Barron - with all the sex, violence and general air of swashbuckling derring-do in many of his stories - strikes me as a descendent of Robert E. Howard. Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed some of them, but others have just felt a little too like an adolescent fantasy to take seriously. Which is not something I've ever found with Ligotti.

I also like his distinctly warm, wet, organic take on cosmic horror, as exemplified in 'The Broadsword', which reminds me at times of Burroughs.

Edit: I heard about the movie of Uzumaki. Sounds like it got very mixed reviews, and apparently they changed the Shuichi character to make him a controlling, abusive arsehole, which I think is a huge shame because the rather pure and innocent love between him and Kirie, and the lengths he goes to to protect her, are pretty much the only think in the manga that provides any relief from the omnipresent horror.

Wanda
22-10-2016, 02:16 AM
Edit: I heard about the movie of Uzumaki. Sounds like it got very mixed reviews, and apparently they changed the Shuichi character to make him a controlling, abusive arsehole, which I think is a huge shame because the rather pure and innocent love between him and Kirie, and the lengths he goes to to protect her, are pretty much the only think in the manga that provides any relief from the omnipresent horror.

It's a fun movie and almost has a Black Moon vibe to it. Suichi didn't seem any more of an ass to me than he did in the manga. Still slightly suffocating and self-important. Keeping with tradition that even in the midst of the supernatural, gender roles remain stuck in reality. Which, for me, made it all the more horrific.

you
31-10-2016, 05:48 PM
http://thequietus.com/articles/21231-adam-nevill-bakers-dozen-short-stories-horror-some-will-not-sleep

droid
01-11-2016, 12:57 AM
Some great stuff there. That 'Lakemonsters' collection is very good.