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Books of Blood I-III
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Books of Blood I-III (Books of Blood #1-3)

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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  15,934 ratings  ·  326 reviews
With surgical precision, these stories will remove your rational defenses against terror. "What Barker does...makes the rest of us look like we've been asleep for the past ten years."--Stephen King.
Hardcover, First U.S. (and first combined) edition of Books of Blood, volumes I-III, 476 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by Scream/Press (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
based upon the evidence of Books of Blood 1-3, Clive Barker sprung into the literary horror world fully-formed, a writer all grown up, already past the awkward growing pains of an adolescent period that other writers of his stature and widespread appeal suffered through before reaching their full powers. his ability to construct and sustain an intriguing narrative, his resonant themes, his stylistic flourishes, his use of irony and dread and gore and comedy, his strength at detailing truly real ...more
Paul
One hit wonders – I usually think of such oddities as Nena (99 Red Balloons, UK No 1, 1984) or Aneka (Japanese Boy, UK No 1, 1981), or even Sir Mix-a-Lot (Baby Got Back, US No 1, 1992) – a No 1 hit and then nothing, nothing, nothing. But of course you do get one hit wonder authors – the toppermost one in that list will be Harper Lee. OMG can you imagine the advance she would have got for her second novel? And it could happen, she’s still here, 87 years old. We remember it took Henry Roth 60 year ...more
Marvin
This Scream Press edition was the first compilation of Clive Barker's Books of Blood tales under one binding (the first and original three volumes). This was the way Barker meant them to be presented and for good reason. These 16 horror tales were revolutionary in their lack of sentimentality and their gruesome realism making way for the next generation of horrors writers including the splatterpunks and the bizarro writers. Every story is a classic but special mention goes to "The Midnight Meat ...more
Jessica Lynne Gardner
Completely blew me away- the very introduction I found to be enthralling. This was a very different kind of horror, one that didn't lose its sense of identity and roots in mysticism.
Thomas
A horror classic. Clive Barker hit the ground running with this amazing collection of unique dark fiction. This was the book that made Stephen King call Barker 'the future of Horror.'

I really wish Barker would write some horror again, as his Abarat series does little for me story wise (though the paintings are beautiful) Honestly I've had my fill of sweeping fantasy from this author, especially since with each series I have to learn a whole new complex mythology.

Really I'm just dying for Barker
...more
Rade
Barker is awesome. Each one of the stories in this collection is unique in a way where you will read it and not find any similarities to the one that came before it. A lot of them start off quite innocently and make you think they might not be too special, but than the author slaps you in the face and invents some form of supernatural theme to the rest of the story. Some stories are sexual in nature, some are violent, some are dramatic, and some are all of the above. The themes are also all over ...more
Jenna
Jul 10, 2009 Jenna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
(not my review): "A friend of mine, years ago, gave me this, and I read the first two stories and was like, “I can’t handle this.” Then I read an interview with Alan Moore, and he was talking about how “Books of Blood” is one of the greatest collections of short stories ever. So I took another look, and it was so hilarious. “The Yattering and Jack” is about a demon from hell sent to make this man go mad – the demon makes his pets explode, and he just shrugs it off. So the demon says to Beelzebub ...more
Kevin Cole
When Clive Barker was introduced to America in the Eighties, he was touted as the dude so extreme that even Stephen King--Stephen F****** King, the bane of soccer moms with teenage boys--genuflected before His British Horror Majesty.
And for once, the hype was right.
I was immediately blown away by Barker's sex and violence, which shocked even my depraved sensibilities. And each story only to seemed to get crazier than the last one. Eventually, I was just worn out and haven't read Barker since.
I a
...more
Andrew
I've heard all my life that Stephen King's genius as a horror writer is making the familiar terrifying. Clive Barker's genius as a horror writer is making the terrifying familiar. This collection of short stories, tenuously held together by the precept that they are the stories carved into the flesh of a fake medium by vengeful ghosts, has no part of King's familiarity. Instead, it plunges the reader headlong into the multiple worlds of the unfamiliar and horrific, but brings the unspeakably evi ...more
Dreadlocksmile
Back in 1984, Clive Barker made his name within the deeply competitive world of horror with the publication of the first three volumes of the macabre short stories `The Books Of Blood'. Written in his spare time, he admits that he was not expecting them to sell really at all, let alone predict the public response that followed. The release exploded within the horror literature genre, hailing Barker as an exciting and imaginative newcomer. Stephen King, already known as a master in the genre, wen ...more
Evan
It pains me to say this, but this book sucked. I couldn't even finish the last batch of stories in volume 3 because I found almost everything in volumes 1 and 2 so damn intolerable. How could the guy who wrote Imajica, Weaveworld, and The Great and Secret Show have come up with some of the absolute garbage found in the Books of Blood?

Keep in mind I am a huge Clive Barker fan, but most of these stories were just terrible. The first two, Book of Blood and Midnight Meat Train were not bad. In the H
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 27, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This is an anthology of 16 horror short stories and novellas, ranging from around 4,000 to 17,000 words. Such anthologies generally sell poorly, but I'm a fan of the well-turned short story, and in fact feel there are several authors out there whose short pieces are more impressive than their novels--Stephen King for one. You have to really have talent though to make an anthology solely of one author's stories worthwhile. There has to be something that shines in terms of style, voice, or really ...more
Brenton
Aug 03, 2008 Brenton rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans and all writers of the dark arts
Product details

· Paperback: 512 pages

· Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks; New Ed edition (1 Feb 1988)

· Language English

· ISBN-10: 075151022X

· ISBN-13: 978-0751510225

Gritty would be a great single word to use in explaining this work. Barker is a hell of a writer, with an amazing imagination and a thoroughly gifted ability in using the written form of the language, but it is extremely different to what one could consider mainstream horror fiction. It is a little off centre to be considered st
...more
Midnyte Reader
This book took me a long time to get through. It is not light reading. It sucks you down into its bloody, gory depth. From the very first story, the “frame” so to speak, that explains what the Books of Blood are to the last ghostly saga.

I enjoy a good gore-fest, yet I realized I was making faces at some of the details of intricate violence and troubling images. It’s not just random blood and violence however. At the heart of it, the stories are just good stories. They are deep and well thought
...more
Patrick
After hearing critical acclaim, I finally decided to sit down and read Clive Barker’s Books of Blood 1-3. This is an omnibus of short horror stories. (If you want each story reviewed individually, you can look at my reviews for the first three books) At best, his stories are unique and quite unexpected. At worst, they are bland, predictable or too long. Like I’ve said many times before, Clive Barker has some sort of strange fixation on sex, private parts and excrement. It’s hard to pinpoint the ...more
Donovan
This is the original Clive Barker. There are 6 books in all that encompass eighteen stories. The collection is often found broken down in to two collections. This is books 1-3.

Some of the short stories have been made in to movies such as Candyman, Rawhead Rex, Midnight Meat Train, Lord of Illusions.

Not for the squeamish!!!

Plot ***Spoilers***
Volume One

The Book of Blood

This is the frame story for the entire Books of Blood series. A psychic researcher, Mary Florescu, has employed a quack medium nam
...more
Rajeev Singh
The rarity of this book, which ensures its place among the classics of the horror genre, not only lies in its astounding portrayal of the weirdest ideas but also in its language which can challenge comparison with serious high-brow literature. A comment on the book cover says, ‘Barker reads like a cross between Stephen King and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.' I haven’t read Marquez but Barker’s horror is so ‘creepily awful’ (King’s own words in praise of the book) that I was torn between the desire to ...more
Kate
So I got this movie "Dread" from Netflix, mostly because Jackson Rathbone (Jasper in the Twilight movies) was in it. And during the credits it mentioned that it was based on the short story by Clive Barker. Since I kind of spaced during the first part of the movie which I thought was a little boring but I loved the ending, I thought I might have missed something I would find in the story. A library catalog search found The Books of Blood, which also contains a few other stories made into movies, ...more
Brian Steele
No collection of Horror has had any greater influence on me than Barker's "Books Of Blood 1-3." Is it bad to say I only bought the first one at the tender age of twelve or thirteen? That I was so blown away by what I had read, that I actually stole the other two books from my local bookstore? Ah, youth...

Perhaps it is the lingering guilt from that act almost two decades ago that compels me to push this collection upon anyone and everyone who has even the slightest taste for Horror Fiction. I fin
...more
Raeden Zen
This is more of a 4.5 star book for me. Some of the short stories were terrifying, some obviously served as inspiration for horror classics (Scream, Saw and Mr. Barker's own Hellbound Heart/Hellraiser), but some were predictable and/or shifted between too many characters for short stories. Overall would highly recommend to fans of supernatural fiction.
Amber
I got this short story collection last year as a christmas gift and I finished it at the first of the year. Clive barker is a true storyteller of the macabre. I enjoyed all of the stories and if u like horror, then you will enjoy checking the books of blood out.
Lachlan
Super messed up.
Anneliese
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
A particularly cringe-worthy memory of my childhood involves Clive Barker. I took a date to see Hellraiser. Yes, Hellraiser, where Pinhead in all his infernal glory was revealed to the public. I'm surprised I wasn't reviled by my date, afterward. But in my defense, I was too paralyzed by the idea of the date in the first place to give any thought to film choice.

Since then, I've read and enjoyed other Barker books. In my late teens/early 20s I read and very much enjoyed The Great and Secret Show
...more
George Wilhite
All of Poe's work, most of Lovecraft's, Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, King's The Shining and Straub's Ghost Story--all of these books I grew up with made me want to be a writer, so I began writing as a teenager.

Then came Clive Barker and these three books, followed shortly by The Damnation Game--they made me strive to be an even better writer.

The originality and bravery of these horrifying stories--I still have memories of what it was like reading "Dread" or "The Midnight Meat Train" the
...more
Patrick Greene
This is how I discovered my favorite author as a teenager--through the brutally beautiful worlds of dark wonder Barker paints herein. "Paints" is an accurate metaphor, I think. Barker is also a painter and his prose sweeps across the page and the reader's mind like landscapes, portraits and collages of tragedy, horror and black humor with a brush/voice that is lively and surreal.

Hell's Event is rife with suspense and urgency; sure to get your blood pumping.

Midnight Meat Train, filmed under the
...more
Donald
Clive Barker has quite an imagination. This is an early collection of short stories that highlight Clive's visionary quality, and his fearless exploration of sexuality and gruesome scenes. The collection is set up in three volumes.

Of the first volume, which contains six stories, I really enjoyed the one titled: In the Hills, the Cities. In it, the residents of two towns in Yugoslavia lash themselves together to form two huge human shapes. One doesn't get very far and tumbles to the ground splash
...more
DJ TweakyClean
I actually read Books 1 and 2 last year around this time to get into the Halloween spirit, but saved Book 3 until now. I honestly wasn't sure after finishing the eleven stories in Books 1 & 2, if Barker could finish off the collection with the same audacious mix of terror, eroticism, gore and wit that made me understand how he deservedly became one of the most praised writers of horror literature (including the famously used quote from Stephen King, "I have seen the future of horror.."). It ...more
Nash
The best short story book I have ever read. No story is alike. Every story seems to be written differently, with different themes and concepts, sharing very little to each other. There are no "filler" reads — absolutely every read in this book is at the least, "great." Almost every single short story is beyond and above exceptional. I absolutely understand how Stephen King was shocked upon reading this book; it's absolutely worthy of that happening.

One of my favorite books, or omnibus, ever. If
...more
Kev
Hmm.

Positives:

Clive Barker is incredibly talented when he's on his game; if only this quality was sustainable.

IN THE HILLS, THE CITIES. (5*) It's in capitals for a reason. I don't think I will ever read anything as unique as this again. It will squeeze into a small gap in your brain, and then it will expand and explode. It's a truly extraordinary piece.

Jumble, which is not really negative or positive, so neutral, then:

I wanted to think more highly of this collection given the quite excellent fi
...more
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Which short stories would you recommend? 7 32 Jun 08, 2014 08:59AM  
Seriously? 6 83 Jan 30, 2013 01:02PM  
  • Alone With the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction, 1961-1991
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  • The Complete Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show
  • Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror
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  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
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10366
Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department. It ...more
More about Clive Barker...
The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art, #1) The Hellbound Heart The Thief of Always Abarat (Abarat, #1) Weaveworld

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“Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red.” 351 likes
“There is no delight the equal of dread” 12 likes
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