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The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  199 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Cryptic and potent languages, bizarre cults, mysteries that span the gulf between life and death, occult influences that reverberate through history like a dying echo, irresistible cosmic decay, forces of nightmare that distort reality itself, gateways to worlds where esoteric knowledge rots the future. Here, from Mark Samuels, the author of Glyphotech and Other Macabre Pr ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published March 16th 2011 by Chomu Press (first published May 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 774)
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Bill  Kerwin
Feb 27, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

Mark Samuels is a a writer of weird tales to be reckoned with. He has a fan's intimate knowledge of the masters of the genre (Poe, Machen. Lovecraft, Ligotti), a stern gift for concentration and paradox which reminds me of Kafka and Borges, and a poet's eye for choosing the images that best convey the desired tone or mood. Although he seldom plummets to the depths of horror—he is a Catholic, after all, and therefore must, like Dante, view human life as a comedy—he nevertheless does a fine job of
Oct 12, 2014 Axolotl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, chomu, reviewed
I make no claim to being an expert on the state of modern horror, but I would hazard to guess that few writers working today are producing work as consistently brilliant and dynamic as that of Mark Samuels.
Though it has been proclaimed by others more knowledgeable in such matter than myself--I'm, after all, only a new initiate into the "Cult of Samuels"--or should I say The Sodality of the Black Sun?--but I must further proclaim to all who would be contaminated:

These stories are the stuff nigh
An American outsider finds himself in a dusty, forgotten corner of Eastern Europe...a strange, unknown language begins to appear on London billboards... sleepy Mexican town holds a chestful of Arthur Machen enthusiast meets the author's biggest fan, and gets what he always wanted...and more!

Mark Samuels's The Man Who Collected Machen is an entertaining collection of weird fiction and my introduction to this author. Some of the stories have been published before in horror anthologies
Orrin Grey
Mar 07, 2013 Orrin Grey rated it it was amazing
After reading "The White Hands" in The Weird, I finally tracked down a collection by Mark Samuels, who I'd been meaning to check out for some time. I loved it. While the collection itself was maybe occasionally uneven (hence the four stars rather than five), I've rarely read other books that so accurately nailed what I'm looking for in weird fiction. My favorite piece in this volume was without a doubt "Xapalpa," but it was full of great ones, and pretty much every story had at least some elemen ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, e-books
"As he struggled to recall which of the textbooks contained the reference, Barron caught sight of something the size of a large cat moving amidst the undergrowth of weeds between the two tombs. The thing was curiously shapeless, and a mottled grey colour. Perhaps it was just Barron's fever playing tricks, but he could have sworn the thing had been crawling with more than four limbs." --"Xapalpa."

I've been wanting to read more of this guy for some time now. For some reason his White Hands collec
Grant Wamack
Jun 29, 2011 Grant Wamack rated it it was amazing
The Man who Collected Machen and Other Tales is the latest short story collection by Mark Samuels. Samuels is a cosmic horror writer who has been making a name for himself in the weird fiction scene and quickly becoming an underground legend.

I decided to point out the standout stories, even though all of them are good in their own right.

“The Mould” is darkly disturbing vision of the future overrun by a conscious mould that consumes planets and makes its way across galaxies. It sort of remind
Kristine Muslim
Mar 05, 2012 Kristine Muslim rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything like this. This is superb! The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales seethes with mysticism. Mark Samuels reminds me of Algernon Blackwood and not Arthur Machen. This has all of Blackwood's handiwork, most especially that fine touch of "implied" horror.

The story, "Glickman the Bibliophile," kept me on edge the whole way through and brought to mind a completely unrelated "The Clerks of Domesday," another excellent story by another writer. I think the true meas
Feb 01, 2013 Simon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Another fine collection from who is one of the leading lights of modern weird fiction.

Mark's style really works for me. His prose is clear and concise yet evocative. He writes very consciously of the genre and has a healthy respect for the greats authors that helped shape it. Having some experience of the classic authors yourself, while not essential, will help get the most out of some of these stories here.

Some of the stories centre around writers, such as "Losenef Express" that features a weir
Mar 20, 2011 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The New King of Bizarre Fantasy

Mark Samuels is described in the dictionary as 'a London-based writer of horror and fantastic fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft. Born in 1967 in Clapham, South London, he was first published in 1988, and his short stories often focus on detailing a shadowy modern London in which the protagonists gradually discover a dark and terrifying reality behind the mundane urban world.' Unless the reader is familiar with horror and fantastic ficti
Haralambi Markov
I had no prior knowledge of Mark Samuels or his work. Picking his collection, The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales, was the result of Samuels’ comparison to Howard P. Lovecraft, as promoted in his bio, and a very bizarre title. I admit to being frivolous in how I choose my reading materials, but so far, I have yet to see my intuition mislead me.

Mark Samuels proved to be the perfect introduction to the sort of weird horror I have been in search of these last few months. At the same
Jun 20, 2016 Fredösphere rated it really liked it
I really liked this collection of stories, but as it is psychological horror in the vein of Ligotti and, yes, Machen, I was expecting to love it. I did not; not quite.

The problem with this kind of writing is the surprise or the reveal needs to be really startling and horrifying because the setup may be dull. Sometimes, the reveal is just that, as in the stories where destruction comes by a force that, because of its dumb, impersonal nature, will not respond to reason, bribes, or pleas for mercy.
John Allen
Oct 14, 2015 John Allen rated it did not like it
Mark Samuels is an author obsessed with the horrific propensities of linguistics and it is obvious that this is a man who has spent many (or a few hours) puzzling over a word, a sentence, or a phrase, slowly coming to understand how mind rupturing it could become were it taken out of context. Or what madness can result from too prolonged meditations on consonants, vowels, phonemes...

"As he struggled to recall which of the textbooks contained the reference, Barron caught sight of something the si
Sep 16, 2012 Ronald rated it it was amazing
1. Losenef Express
2. The Man Who Collected Machen
4. The Black Mould
5. Xapalpa
6. Glickman the Bibliophile
7. A Question of Obeying Orders
8. Nor Unto Death Utterly by Edmund Bertrand
9. A Contaminated Text
10. The Age of Decayed Futurity
11. The Tower

Just like his other short story collection _The White Hands and Other Weird Tales_, the stories in this book are briskly paced and written in excellent prose.

I think contagion is a metaphor in some of these stories. For example, in
Jess M
Oct 18, 2014 Jess M rated it liked it

I'm somewhat surprised to learn this small collection of short stories received such universal praise. While the stories are good, perhaps even above average, I feel the collection falls short of a four or five star rating. Perhaps it is the author's clear influences (Ligotti, Machen and Lovecraft) that reviewers are so inclined to praise. Namely . The influence of the aforementioned are so strong that some of the stories border on impersonation. An affliction this genre has long suffered from.
Michael Wojtas
A sentient self-loathing black mould eager to end its existence grows to envelope the universe as a whole and thus destroy everything in it showing the true insignificance of all creation aside from its own; this story of cosmic horror was what initially drew me into picking up this collection by Samuels in hopes of enjoying many more truly strange tales, but in the end there was much disappointment. There are 11 total tales to be told with the majority fizzling out and becoming a rather meaning ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
This collection came as a bit of a surprise to me, I'd never heard of Mark Samuels, but when I heard someone had written a book called "The Man Who Collected *Machen* and other *Weird* Tales" I knew I had to read it. That was a good call, this was one of the better collections of short stories I've read all year. I read this book far faster than I intended, these stories were so good I had to savor another one, and another!

These stories find influence in a variety of authors: Lovecraft, Machen,
Wes shelley
Jun 23, 2014 Wes shelley rated it liked it
Some books have great stories, but the technical aspect of the writing is amateurish. Some books are written well technically, but the story is weak. This collection falls into the latter category. Read THE WHITE HANDS before this, that is a collection more noteworthy.
Bill Hsu
Oct 05, 2015 Bill Hsu rated it it was ok
Obviously I'm attracted to the obsessions with text and language. But what am I to make of sentences like

Time, experienced in its entirety, is incomprehensible.

Jul 04, 2014 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read!
May 24, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird-fiction
Reading The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales solidified Mark Samuels as one of my top two or three favorite writers of weird fiction. Every story in this superlative collection is a gem, but my personal favorites, as of this writing, are "THYXXOLQU," "Xapalpa," and the title story "The Man Who Collected Machen." Mark Samuels and his work deserve to be much better known and more widely celebrated than they are, so here I am doing my part to turn you into The Man (or Woman) Who Colle ...more
Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland
Jun 22, 2016 Leslie rated it it was ok
Could be absorbing if it wasn't written so poorly.
Franklin Ridgway
Splendid weird fiction

This is one of my favorite collections of weird fiction. One or two of the tales seem a bit rushed in their denouement (I have in mind the otherwise perfect "A Contaminated Text"), but all of them are effectively creepy and provocative. Especially good are " THYXXOLQU" and "The Tower."
John Hepple
Mar 14, 2012 John Hepple rated it really liked it
An excellent, but short, collection of stories by cosmic horror writer; Mark Samuels. I have been interested in reading his works for quite some time and when finally getting down to it was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed his literature based stories, in particular THYXXOLQU.
May 16, 2012 Robert rated it it was amazing
When I saw the title of this book, I had to try it. I like Machen, and the author had me hooked from the first story. The stories are short but pack a punch. Samuels name is on my list of authors worth following. Tales of dark horror that give you chills, and make you think.
David Marshall
Aug 06, 2013 David Marshall rated it really liked it
This is a totally absorbing book of weird and horror stories told with great intelligence.
Losenef Express - An American writer commits an impulse murder in a small town in eastern Europe. The character resembles Karl Edward Wagner.
Carma Spence
Aug 14, 2011 Carma Spence rated it liked it
You can read my review of the book here:
Iva S.
Iva S. marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
charlie marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
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Mark Samuels is a London-based writer of horror and fantastic fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft. Born in 1967 in Clapham, South London, he was first published in 1988, and his short stories often focus on detailing a shadowy modern London in which the protagonists gradually discover a dark and terrifying reality behind the mundane urban world. His works have been praise ...more
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