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3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  413 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Five people are brought from London to participate in a controlled experiment studying prophetic dreaming. But the results are so ominous that the program is cut short.

Now a monstrous presence is in the subjects' lives, a creature created by their group dream eleven years ago, drawing them inexorably into its awful vortex.
Paperback, 499 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by Tor Books (first published 1983)
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The Shining by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerComplete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan PoeFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyIt by Stephen King
The Great Horror Novels
29th out of 170 books — 48 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingThe Stand by Stephen KingDracula by Bram Stoker
77th out of 277 books — 248 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,767)
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Graham P
Feb 21, 2012 Graham P rated it it was amazing
One of Campbell's finest novels. The lines of dream and reality are patiently twisted into a savage nightmare, a world where the dreamer is imprisoned in their own hallucinations. It's up to the reader to figure out what is tactile. Not many other writers can get under my skin like Campbell, and here he did without overtly painting the grotesque page after page. Surely, the brass-knuckled approach is one he avoids, however, the bruises he leaves behind linger long after closing the book. While h ...more
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Jan 30, 2015 Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym) rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels, horror
This book takes a few hundred pages to lay its groundwork. While it's well-written, nothing happens until the final 100 pages or so, and then what does happen is largely a plot device, impossible to envision or feel because even the characters themselves are scratching their heads, wondering what the heck is going on.

The central questions: how will you ever really know you're still in a dream, whose dream are you in, and what happens if dreams spill out into our waking hours? One could do a lot
Jason Bradley Thompson
Apr 28, 2015 Jason Bradley Thompson rated it it was amazing
Incredible, incredible supernatural/sci-fi horror novel. A group of college-age people meet at a sleep/dream experiment which goes disturbingly wrong. Years later, most of them are going about their mundane lives with mundane work and family problems (except for one troubled young man who has (view spoiler)) when each of them is visited by unusual strangers (a bedridden old woman, a mysterious occultist, an attractive and sexually aggressive ...more
Brian Kenny
Jul 16, 2014 Brian Kenny rated it really liked it
A book that concerns a group of people who underwent a controlled experiment in prophetic dreaming. The experiment eventually went wrong and had to be called off due the ominous nature of what was beginning to take place on those involved. The story takes place eleven years later, when a dark force as a result from the dream experiment, is driving the participants insane and their sense of reality is affected to the point that the lines between dreams and reality become one and very blurred, in ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Structurally, Incarnate most resembles early Stephen King novels that include Salem's Lot and The Stand insofar as it follows multiple third-person POVs that gradually dovetail as the novel moves to its climax. And this structure works beautifully, suspense being generated from both the narratives and the moments in which we leave one POV for another.

Superficially, Incarnate also falls into the sub-genre of horror novels in which events are set in motion by an ill-advised experiment that unleash
Boris Cesnik
Aug 07, 2014 Boris Cesnik rated it really liked it
Ramsey Campbell never disappoints. The novel is really good. I couldn't believe it, despite the length it was a page turner through and through.

Very well round characters. The story unfolds quite slowly but never was it boring or dragged too long. The writing is superb and very 'Ramsey'. Just flows beautifully, with enough descriptions and psychological details to make it worth reading more and more.

The basic idea is very original, never forced.

It's a 4.5 for me, it could have been a big ol' 5
May 10, 2010 Thee_ron_clark rated it liked it
Shelves: other-horror
11 years after an experiment in precognition leads to disastrous results, those involved slowly begin to gather through a series of unusual circumstances.

That's the basic premise, I suppose.

The over all concept was pretty imaginative and entertaining.

There are a few solid and interesting characters while others seem two-dimensional or black and white. I really felt that a number of characters could have been fleshed out more. Instead, I had to look back in the book a couple times in order to re
Aaron VanAlstine
Psychological terror with a labyrinthine plot that eventually reaches an obscure conclusion. I was quite confused most of the time as to what was actually occurring. Imagine John LeCarré if he decided to write weird fiction. Still, I didn't put it down because Ramsey Campbell is such a good writer. He is the master of short story horror, but I’m not sure if I’ll read another of his novels.
Allen Grabo
Jan 28, 2013 Allen Grabo rated it liked it
I was in the mood for some 'weird fiction' after reading a bit of HP Lovecraft the other day, and this sounded suitably Inception-esque so I gave it a shot. I should be an easy sell when it comes to dreams-within dreams, but as others have mentioned, the pacing and overall structure of the book just don't do justice to Campbell's fantastic, eerie and incredibly depressing central ideas. He writes some solid characters and places them inside a commendably dark and ominous atmosphere (definitely t ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Shamshaad rated it it was amazing

What a truly truly horrifying book!

Just imagine..if your dreams and your reality started to blend...and you couldn't tell where one ends and the other begins... And where the lines blur, a doorway opens to let something unnamed through...

This is a story that focuses on the lives of various characters 11 years after they participated in a psychological experiment based on prophetic dreaming. But science doesn't always account for the supernatural, and science was not prepared for what it h
Dec 02, 2013 Jamie rated it it was ok

This was Ok. The build-up was pretty good, then the actual event was something of a let down. Could just be me though. I'm starting to think James Herbert and Stevie ruined my scary brain area for other authors...

A group of subjects who have prophetic dreams were gathered for an experiment in Oxford, the results were so terrifying that the project was disbanded, several years later the group find themselves being drawn together again - for the biggest anti-climax I think I've ever read :)

This wa
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
A good central idea, but something of a slow-boil to the point where the damned egg just melted away when I finally cracked the shell open. Campbell definitely seems to have been padding this one out, and all too often his prose is the featureless, unobjectionable, unmemorable grey of the competent British mid-list author, plodding along when it should be racing, ambling gently when it should be soaring. Style is an important part of what I look for in effective weird fiction and unfortunately t ...more
Sabrina Barnett
Nov 17, 2014 Sabrina Barnett rated it really liked it
A great horror novel, filled with the disturbing and strange but eschewing the gratuitous gore that seems to constitute "scary" these days. This was a supremely British book (slow-moving, dry, trading more on a feeling of deep unease than outright shock), so if you like "The Turn of the Screw" and old Masterpiece Theater productions on a rainy day then this, my friend, is the book for you. If, however, you're a "Saw" enthusiast and enjoy seeing intestines, you might want to shuffle on along.
 (shan) Littlebookcove
I'm just going say it how I found it. the best bit about this book is I finally got to finish it! an absolute bore. I should of just given up. the polt wasn't scary and in honest fact. the polt was all over the place. the ending was even more boring then the whole book! I'm guessing the author wanted the book to be one you think on. I could only think to when I would finally get to finish it. :-(
Rebecca McNutt
May 29, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to make of this story... it seems like the thing in the characters' dreams was a tulpa possibly? Either way, though I'm a big fan of Campbell's work, this book was rather disappointing. It was choppy, made very little sense and the characters were incredibly boring. It's too bad, because I found the plot really fascinating. :(
Mike Driver
Jan 27, 2016 Mike Driver rated it really liked it
The first horror writer I ever read who knew the streets I knew and wrote about characters that seemed to be from my life. If anyone can be said to have inspired my belief that horror can be written around backstreets of a run down terraced block in north west England, without an American accent, it was Ramsey Campbell.
Aaron Pride
Oct 29, 2015 Aaron Pride rated it it was ok
Really interesting for the first 80%, in terms of making me, the reader, feel a little insane myself trying to figure out what was real in the book and what wasn't- really tense, oppressive horror, which was great! And the it all went completely batshit crazy for the last 20% and I ended the book without a single idea of what the hell was going on. Really disappointing. A more coherent ending would really improve this book.
Jan 31, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down. The hapless woman just gets drawn deeper and deeper into this bizarre situation, will she or nil she. Great Campbellosity in this one -- you always come away with the feeling that you spent the evening flirting with a psychosis, but never -- quite -- kissed it on the mouth.
Lucy Mason
I enjoyed the ending but it took way too long to get there.
Mar 02, 2016 Jeff rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jeff by: Discovered it on my own.

1st Read: March 11, 1997 - April 7, 1997

Initially I was into this book and after about 130 pages, I had grown bored with it and started another novel. I will attempt to get into it at a later date.

2nd Read: April 3, 2015 - May 3, 2015

Read 160 pages and 17 chapters. Never did get interesting for me at all and became boring. How the author got the reviews within the book has me question why. Filed this book under "G" for garbage!
Mar 19, 2013 Olethros rated it liked it
-Mortal, sí…-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Durante unos experimentos en Oxford sobre sueños pre-cognitivos, los cinco sujetos de prueba y los dos investigadores sufren unas experiencias que les llevan a detener la investigación y tratar de olvidar lo sucedido. Pero años después, el pasado vuelve a ellos.

¿Quiere saber más del libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
Christine Lombardo
Creeeppppyyyyyy. Might be a while before I re-visit this one.
May 25, 2015 Alissa rated it liked it
Bizarre. A lot of things seemed unfinished to me. Wasn't horrible, but I would have rather read something else by this author for the first time reading him.
Chris Bochniak windau was okay. Slow going until the last 100 pages. Probably why it took so long for me to read it.
Feb 25, 2009 Tina rated it liked it
This started off slow but is really picking up steam and moving forward. There are a lot of seemingly unrelated pieces that are tying together now. It certain holds it's own in the horror genre and definitely builds conflict and tension methodically. I definitely want to read more of his work.
Jun 13, 2015 Fatman rated it liked it
Extremely well written (as can be expected of Campbell), but entirely too drawn out and muddled. Reads more like a collection of weird scenes than a coherent whole.
Kevin Lucia
Apr 20, 2013 Kevin Lucia rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Long but worth it. There's no one who does it better than Ramsey Campbell.
Jan 15, 2009 Angie rated it it was ok
This book took forever to get anywhere. Was it worth it in the end? I'm still not sure.
Feb 13, 2012 Johannes rated it liked it
spooky but too long
Honor rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2016
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  • The Cipher
  • Naomi's Room
  • The Ceremonies
  • Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • The Elementals
  • The Ritual
  • The Wolfen
  • The Great God Pan
  • Penpal
  • In a Lonely Place
  • The Hour of the Oxrun Dead
  • The Unblemished
  • The Store
  • Piercing
  • White is for Witching
  • All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By
  • Our Lady Of Darkness
  • Carrion Comfort
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."
More about Ramsey Campbell...

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