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The Parasite

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  331 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
It began with a little game...

...for children to amuse and frighten each other. A seance. In a dark, empty house. Don't tell the grown-ups.

But something unexpected happened that night. Some awful evil awoke in the foul dampness, something each child sensed, and fled from...

All but one.

Poor little Rose, shrieking her terror in that attic room, as some quivering form approac
Paperback, 372 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Pocket (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jack Tripper
May 30, 2016 Jack Tripper rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, weird
After a terrifying opening in which a group of kids break into a creepy, abandoned old house and awaken something evil during a séance (which can be found as a short story in 1980's The Year's Best Horror Stories VIII), The Parasite aka To Wake the Dead drags for the next couple hundred pages as nothing much happens, and it's difficult to care for the astral-projecting protagonist at all due to Campbell's distant, confusing and obscure writing style.

Stephen King once wrote that reading Campbell
Apr 08, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This ïs another favorite of mine. When I read it, it struck me as a bit dated with its astral projection stuff. But then things started getting pretty weird. There's a stretch that takes place in Germany, which gets into the occult, Nazis, etc., that just absolutely creeped me out, and goes way beyond Raiders of the Lost Ark in its Evil (big "E") implications. Campbell at his best.
Oct 10, 2010 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is another finely crafted story of horror in which a malevolant spirit, that entered the protagonist Rose when she was a child, gradually starts to make it's presence felt although she can only wonder at first, at her new found psychic powers, but later her nightmares begin to dominate.

There is a really slow build up of unease in this book that may leave some readers impatient for the story to develop but Campbell will not be rushed. There is a most gradual transformation of Rose's characte
Steve Goble
Oct 25, 2013 Steve Goble rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
While too long and starting off rather slowly, this novel is far more focused than the Campbell book I read before it, "The Hungry Moon." The "Moon" book meandered among a large cast of characters, and there seemed to be some disjointed moments and loose ends. "Parasite" sticks with one protagonist throughout and, once it gets going, moves along quickly to resolve all its mysteries and end in a rather horrific manner.
Jul 29, 2010 Joel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only for the most forgiving horror aficionados
Recommended to Joel by: n/a
Shelves: etheral-horror
I picked this up a few years back after reading an enjoying a few of Ramsey Campbell's short stories in various horror compilations. This is strange to think back on now, as my big problem with this book is that it feels like an underdeveloped short story that was needlessly padded to novel-length. It is a shame, because there are seeds for a good story buried in the mess, but they don't really appear until about 2/3 of the way through the book. By that time, they have been smothered by poorly e ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Laurie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the slowest moving horror story I have ever read. It’s not that slow to start- the odd things begin fairly early on. But the events drag horribly- much of the book is spent in denial of what is happening. Worse, none of the characters is very likeable. Not that they are dreadful people; they are just people I couldn’t care about. Even the protagonist, who I feared for at first, is portrayed too flatly to seem real. One character, who it seems like will be important to the protagonist’s d ...more
Smiley McGrouchpants
Oddly, this book has a lot more to say about film culture, married life, New York City, Europe, and English living than you'd expect from the cover — and every character, from people on the bus to guests at various parties, are well-thought-out and have backstories, identifiable at least a glance, until wait, there's more. Meanwhile, the underpinnings of the narrative take a while to boil, concomitant with the narrator's awakening as an astral traveler, so the thesis of the whole work becomes we ...more
Ben Loory
May 08, 2015 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outside, the sunlight seemed unreal. A truck with a jointed yellow arm brandished a man at a streetlamp. A car with a propeller drove by– no, with the foot of an office chair protruding from the boot. An old woman stumbled across a pedestrian crossing; as she gestured the traffic to wait she looked as though she was swimming.
Jason Hillenburg
Aug 04, 2014 Jason Hillenburg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Verve and style carry the day here. As always with early Campbell novels, the romping energy of his prose and his frequently visceral depictions of place amply compensate for any deficiencies of plot, devices, and structure. Certainly an evolution from his first novel, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and well worth reading.
Sep 15, 2012 Fishface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can you not like this one? Combines the features of a horror novel and a bad acid trip. Brr, I hate even thinking about it and have bnever been able to bring myself to read it a second time. But I still have my copy. Make no mistake about that. I won't turn my back on it.
Graham P
May 22, 2015 Graham P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With 'The Parasite', Campbell succeeds at painting unseen dread with a dark flourish. For example, 'Now the sound was more definable. Yes, it was like someone very old or very ill fumbling about in the dark.' This novel begins with some of Campbell's finest writing as a young child is assaulted after a seance in an abandoned house goes terribly wrong. One vision is all we get, and when the chill goes under the skin, it remains there and festers. The rest of the novel has moments of pure horror b ...more
Feb 19, 2011 Ray rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, swap
I agree with several other reviewers on this one. The prologue is outstanding, and on the basis of that as a stand-alone story, I ordered the novel. Unfortunately the whole book doesn't stand up well. Too little happens for far too long to characters who never seemed interesting or engaging. Although the basic plot idea is good, it doesn't really kick in again until the end of the book, and by then it is too little too late.
Dec 28, 2012 Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author should be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Staunch man of science is challenged by a mesmerist his colleague has discovered. So interested in studying her, he doesn't realize he is under her spell. A simple premise, but horribly compelling when written by so great a pen. The end is sudden but flooring. The tension and suspense is fantastic and makes me wish he had been the author of Algernon Blackwood's "The Damned," which had a much more intriguing theme. Still, I like this book much more.
Franny Burd
This guy creeps me out SO bad!! I know, poor grammar, but there's no better way to state it. This is the one and only book I've read by him, but I also found something of his in a collection of short stories. Ewww, creepy and icky. I don't really like his stories, but no one else has ever weirded me out as much either, so I guess he's very good at this genre.
Carmilla Voiez
Apr 05, 2013 Carmilla Voiez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is the first book I remember reading which terrifed me. More than twenty years later it stands the test of time. A brilliant portrayal of evil and madness, centred around the world of the occult and astral travel. The heroine battles against many mysterious and terrifying dangers including a terrible secret from her past which never left her.
Mar 29, 2016 Gabriel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2014, novelas, español

Podría haberle dado dos estrellas porque a pesar de lo lento y repetitivo de la historia, la escritura en sí no es del todo pedestre (ojo, tampoco es buena, pero hay peores); sin embargo, la segunda mitad se me hizo mucho más lenta y pesada. Prácticamente terminé el libro en piloto automático.
Jul 16, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King recommended author and book.

Noted as "important to the genre we have been discussing" from Danse Macabre, published in 1981. Author discussed in chapter 9.
Jun 22, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
eh,not too much to say about this one.It was my discarded book choice and it wasn't terrible,just a bit predictable.The twists you could see coming a mile away and it was rather slow going.The language I didn't find very engaging and it was hard to get into.
Nov 02, 2012 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish it. I was having trouble wanting to continue with the book, and then they suggested that the story might take a turn that I was not interested in following. Ditched after I got halfway.
Aug 04, 2007 Jessi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of "Rosemary's Baby"
Shelves: horror
I found an old paperback copy of this book at a used book store in rural Alabama when I was a teenager. I thought it was a fun horror read, and I eventually "released" it through
Steven rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2012
Stephen rated it liked it
Jun 03, 2013
Joseph rated it really liked it
Mar 11, 2011
Evan Pacewicz
Evan Pacewicz rated it liked it
Jul 17, 2016
Joachim rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2014
Bookwyrm rated it did not like it
Jun 15, 2016
Mark rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2009
Imran Sayid
Imran Sayid rated it did not like it
Feb 19, 2015
Bill S.
Bill S. rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2011
Jennifer rated it it was ok
Dec 15, 2012
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect page count for ISBN 0671419056 3 16 Nov 11, 2015 10:02AM  
  • Sound of Midnight
  • Shock III: 13 Electrifying Tales
  • All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By
  • The Beast Within
  • The Dead of Night
  • The White Hands and Other Weird Tales
  • The Bridge
  • Hobgoblin
  • Dead & Buried
  • The Halloween Man
  • The Mind Parasites
  • The Shadow at the Bottom of the World
  • The Night Class
  • Strange Wine
  • The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories
  • Bethany's Sin
  • The Academy
  • The Collected Fiction, Vol. 2: The House on the Borderland and Other Mysterious Places
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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