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Alone With the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction, 1961-1991

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  706 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Stephen King on Ramsey Campbell: "He is literate in a field that has attracted too many comic book intellects, cool in a field that tends toward panting melodrama by virtue of its subject matter, fluid in a field where many of the best practitioners fall prey to cant." You can't find a better introduction to Campbell's work than this attractive collection of 39 tales spann ...more
Kindle Edition, 460 pages
Published (first published 1993)
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J.G. Keely
Style is a curious thing in writing: the words we use, the tone of our voice, the images we create, the themes we love to explore. Every author has their own style, even though some don't realize it--indeed, it is those writers who are least aware of their style who will be dominated by its little vicissitudes.

We spend our whole careers cultivating our style, improving it--and yet, style is also a crutch, a limitation. As Bruce Lee observed: the best style is no style at all--to be able to move
This was a book I really wanted to like. Up to now I've had very mixed experiences with Campbell's work. I really liked Ancient Images, although more so for the subject matter than the execution. Overnight and Secret Story were just ok, never great, and the short stories of his that I read varied in quality. With this volume I think maybe now I have read enough Campbell to make up my mind. This volume was for the most part an excruciatingly tedious read. Great Short Fiction...I don't think so. T ...more
I feel somewhat redundant reviewing Ramsey Campbell. The horror field has spoken: he’s a genius, especially in his short fiction, and he excels at mixing creeping dread with the mundane. I even knew this already, since I’d read a smattering of his short stories and a handful of novels, but since I didn’t get the full effect before reading Alone with the Horrors (a thoughtful early All Hallow’s Read gift from my sister), I’ll risk a full, if obvious, review.

Firstly, this is a genuinely excellent
Not every story here is a masterpiece, but a few are, and there's enough good ones to make this one of the better horror story collections I've read.

I love Campbell's style, he's one of the few writers who still occasionally creeps me out. Some of these are really viscerally unsettling, like "The Brood" or "The Interloper" for example. Others like "The End of a Summer's Day" lingered in my mind and only hit me a little later while I was lying in bed, and kept me up for some time after. Meanwhile
Martin Mcgoey
This book was one of the longest, most tedious reads I've encountered in quite some time. It was certainly one of the worst collections of short stories I've ever read. Really it's only saving grace is that Campbell seems to have come up with an effective formula for his fiction: a guy with a sketchy and mysterious past finds himself becoming increasingly isolated throughout the story and encounters terror along the way before facing a disturbing realization. Obviously Campbell's a huge fan of L ...more
Kevin Lucia
So this, of course, was absolutely fantastic. I discovered Ramsey Campbell around the same time as T. M. Wright, Charles Grant and Al Sarrantonio, and it's not hyperbole to say these writers shaped and molded me and re-mapped my brain when it came to writing horror. What's so powerful about Ramsey's work is the subtle dread it inspires, and how achingly human his protagonists - and victims - are. Even in the stories featuring supernatural phenomena, the protagonists often fall victim to their ow ...more
Emma Audsley
One of my favourite anthologies within the horror genre. Recommended highly to fans of horror, suspense & terror!
Nov 08, 2008 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans, especially Lovecraft
Some seriously scary short stories in here, folks. Not the kind of thing you want to be reading right before bed.
Superb. A definitive collection from the best horror writer the world has ever seen.
I'm not putting this on hiatus(turns out I lied and have put it on my hiatus pile anyway), even though I've only got half way through, for the simple reason it'll be there forever. I've a tendency to do that with anthologies and collections. I'll read a few stories then put it to one side for years, and I'll happily do this with anthology after anthology and collection after collection until it comes full circle and I pick up one I put down years earlier, whereupon I'll proceed to read a few mor ...more
I've been reading this over the course of the year, sometimes two or three stories at a time. Sometimes there'd be a good four weeks between reading. Considering this collection spans Campbell's career from his early work until 1991, I thought taking some time to digest it would be a good move. There's some substantial changes alongside themes which span the covers. The majority of the stories pay their way, offering a kind of chill that is characteristic of Campbell's writing.

Ramsey Campbell s
Horror fiction works when it manages to provoke an emotional response. Something needs to jump out of the pages and affect the reader emotionally in some way. That's all. Horror fiction don't need elaborate conclusions or morals. These tales don't need elaborate characters or context. It succeeds when it evokes an atmosphere of dread.

Ramsey Campbell's Alone with the Horrors compiles some horror short fictions of the aforementioned author. It doesn't pretend to collect his best works but to orde
Nancy Oakes
Ramsey Campbell is one of my favorite horror writers, because, for the most part, he writes horror that is cerebral -- much like Lovecraft, this man has the ability to set the scene and build up the feelings of horror in the pit of your stomach, then leave it all to the reader to figure out what's just happened or is going to happen next. I bought this one because of the Lovecraft influence on some of Campbell's stories and was not at all disappointed. However, beyond Lovecraft's influence, Camp ...more
This definitive collection deserves at least three stars for it extensive retrospective of 30 years of Ramsey Campbell's short fiction. It collects 35 of his best including all of an earlier anthology titled Dark Feasts. It is the perfect collection to discover and assess Campbell's literary output.

But that's not an easy thing to do. While Campbell can be a eerie but effective writer, he is also a bit frustrating. At his best, he can evoke a form of urban unease. He may be one of the first horro
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Dan Kelly
Campbell is certainly one of the best horror writers out there, though I think I would have been more impressed by his prose when I was younger. I'm not sure why I never read him before. Stephen King's praise in Danse Macabre tip the scale for me. The earlier stuff is all right, if thin; and being heir to Lovecraft doesn't seem like such a high offic these days. Still, the stories toward the end of the book are gripping and genuinely creeptastic. "Again" made me say "Yeaggh!" out loud on the tra ...more
DeAnna Knippling
An amazing view of thirty years of short stories, and watching Mr. Ramsey's style and skills develop. I think, however, if you're looking for the monster that jumps out at you and says, "Boo!" this is not the collection for you. Almost every story is driven by the reader's slow realization of what's going on, on a fictional level, and what the author's really talking about--which means that some stories you're left with questions, and other stories feel a little flat, depending on whether you ha ...more
Tracy Walters
I am a HUGE fan of horror I was very excited to finally read this book. HOWEVER.....this book was quite the letdown. Most of the stories were so odd they were hard to grasp what Ramsey Campbell was trying to say in them. Out of the 37 stories in the book....only one was absolutely fantastic and worth reading in the book...."Heading Home". I still can't get that story out of my will haunt me for the rest of my life.....great writing.I decided not to keep this book in my ...more
This book is comprised of what is said to be some of Campbell's best short stories over the course of three decades. It was an alright right all in all. I felt some of it was a bit dated, although it might have simply been borrowed from and used in later literature and film. I also ended most of the stories with little satisfaction, almost as if I had just completed watching a dry episode of The Outer Limits or something. The first story in the book not only borrows from the mythos of H.P. Lovec ...more
Mike Driver
An excellent collection that captures the cream of his short stories, from his early 1960's Lovecraftian efforts right through the dystopian territory he made his own around the streets and urban wastelands of Liverpool. My personal favourites include; The Guy, In The Bag, the Chimney and Mackintosh Willy, but you could pretty much choose anything here and be satisfied with what you get.

No one shows the bleak streets of Britain with all their pathos, humour and deep seated fears any better than
I always enjoy Ramsey Campbell's short fiction, always a treat. Really want to find a copy of his latest, "Holes for Faces!"
Franklin Arbour
"Cold Print" - I see the resemblance to an HP Lovecraft story, but this story of a grumpy child abuser on an endless quest for porn failed to really build any sense of dread or foreboding.

The horror was very limited and over too quickly. Aside from the hand mouths, the monster worked much better when it was a headless shadow behind glass. Campbell failed to capitalize on the horror he was actually creating, and he chose instead to make the story about his protagonist's insatiable porn demands.
I thought it was a bit hit and miss - enjoyed stories like "Call First", and "Boiled Alive" but thought others like "Another World" fell flat. Though overall thought it deserved 3.5 stars. Thought it was interesting as well how you can gradually see him move away from supernatural horror to psychological horror over the years
You may also enjoy the classic horror of Ramsey Campbell. Like Bradbury, he writes character-driven novels with a strong sense of place that adds quite a bit to the creep factor of his stories. Try some of his short stories to get a taste of his writing style.
I know this guy is supposed to be a master of horror fiction, but honestly very few of these stories were that thrilling or interesting. He tries too hard to be subtle and literary. I want to feel scared not intellectually figure out whether or not I am.
Andy Heyman
One of the great practitioners of the weird tale. His short stories have always been better than his novels, that is more because weird horror is always best in an abbreviated form. This short story collection proves it.
This book was hit and miss for me. There were some pretty creepy stories but there were some duds in between and they were often enough to keep me from truly enjoying it.
Jul 26, 2008 Tara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans
This book was very dissapointing. I had to pull through it at times and almost gave up on it. The horror is subtle....not my kind of thing!
I wish this version had the same ridiculous but cool looking J.K. Potter photomontages as the british version.
These stories are all pretty good and spooky. And thank god none of that mafia nonsense he's been into lately.
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John Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today," while S. T. Joshi has said that "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."
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“Unlike the rest he had seen of the bungalow, the hall beyond the door was dark. He could see the glimmer of three doors and several framed photographs lined up along the walls. The sound of flies was louder, though they didn’t seem to be in the hall itself. Now that he was closer they sounded even more like someone groaning feebly, and the rotten smell was stronger too.” 0 likes
“He slammed the door and ran blindly down the corridor, grabbing at handles. What exactly had he seen? They had been eating with their bare hands, but somehow the only thought he could hold on to was a kind of sickened gratitude that he had been unable to see their faces.” 0 likes
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