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Occultation and Other Stories

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,458 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Laird Barron has emerged as one of the strongest voices in modern horror and dark fantasy fiction, building on the eldritch tradition pioneered by writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, and Thomas Ligotti. His stories have garnered critical acclaim and been reprinted in numerous year's best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, ...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Night Shade Books (first published May 11th 2010)
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The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird BarronOccultation and Other Stories by Laird BarronThe Croning by Laird BarronThe Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird BarronThe Light Is the Darkness by Laird Barron
The Best of Laird Barron
2nd out of 7 books — 12 voters
NOS4A2 by Joe HillWorld War Z by Max BrooksHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiHorns by Joe HillHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Best Horror Books of the 21st Century
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bill  Kerwin
Sep 17, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

Laird Barron is not just a "horror writer," he is a “writer,” someone whose gifts extend beyond the customary limits of the genre. As a consequence, he must be held to a higher standard, and, when he is, I believe he falls short of the mark.

Although Barron’s style is filled with memorable images, the sonority and rhythms of his prose are severely limited--surprising for a poet!--and particularly impoverished in their musical effects. His characters, no matter how painstakingly fashioned, have l
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Laird Barron clearly knows how to unsettle his readers. If there was a universal theme of the various stories in this book, it would be that every single story was unsettling, albeit in different ways.

Mr. Barron evokes memories of reading Caitlín R. Kiernan, HP Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and even Algernon Blackwood in his tales in this volume. He finds the fearsome in such diverse subjects as the entities from beyond, the power of guilt, the overwhelming and uncomprehensible enormity of the natur
Adam Nevill
Nov 12, 2015 Adam Nevill rated it really liked it
I've never forgotten my first encounters with certain horror collections, at different times in my life, that resonated with me - Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood, Barker, T.E.D Klein, Ramsey Campbell, M John Harrison, Ligotti, Robert Aickman, among others. But they were books that transported me and made me want to write. I've come to Laird Barron relatively late, but I'm adding him to my pantheon of greats (and I don't use that word lightly). Just finished his first two single author works - THE ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Bill rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what it is about Laird Barron’s work that I enjoy so much. Yes, the dude can write. Yes, his characterizations are really good in short formats and his monsters are crazy cool. He also uses a lot of big “old-timey” words and that would usually turn me off, but LB makes it work and gives his stories their own voice and flavor. Dark, brooding and bleak. I realize he may not be for everyone, but I have enjoyed everything that I have ever read by him. This guy is fuckin’ good, man. Real ...more
Ben Loory
May 04, 2013 Ben Loory rated it liked it
barron is a masterful writer with a distinctively flowing and hallucinatory style and i really loved this collection in the beginning. after a while, though, the hopelessness of the universe became not just overpowering but sort of silly. well, let's see how these poor schmucks get fucked over i started to say at the beginning of each story. which, okay, maybe i should've spaced them apart... but every single one was just "bad to worse." i need a little hope to feel the horror of hope's ruin.

Nancy Oakes
Jan 30, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nancy by: cosmic horror enthusiasts looking to go beyond Lovecraft and the usual fare
Shelves: horror, weird
If you want the longer version, it's here; otherwise, read on.

Laird Barron is probably the only recent author I've read who can put together a compilation of his stories and keep me totally involved, off balance and maximally creeped out through the entire book without any exceptions. He's also one of the few horror writers in my experience who writes his stories with prose to equal pretty much any literary author, and he does not rely on cheap thrills, hack-em/slash-em gratuitous gore or gross
Pearce Hansen
Feb 12, 2012 Pearce Hansen rated it it was amazing
The first thing that struck me about Occultation was that, after having read it and the Imago Sequence – Laird’s debut anthology – for the first time, I immediately turned around and read them both all over again. That’s never happened to me before with any other book – not sure what it means, just taking note.

Laird is often spoken of in the same breath with Thomas Ligotti, but they could not be more different. While I am in awe of Ligotti’s work, his universe is one of futility – of clockwork h
Jul 22, 2014 Karl rated it it was amazing
This book contains some of the best writing I have had the pleasure of partaking in for quite some time.

It amazes me as to Mr. Barron's ability to keep me off guard.A story can begin at point A, and with the lush and vibrant story telling take you to point B and before you are cognitive of the event occurring you have been deposited into somewhere really really strange with no possible means of re-orienting yourself. And the stories stick with you long after you have finished them.

The stories ar
11811 (Eleven)
Feb 06, 2015 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing
No one writes like this guy does.
Heidi Ward
Barron’s second book of short stories absolutely delivers on the promise of The Imago Sequence, and is in fact an even more accomplished and various collection, one in which his writerly scope, symbols, thematic preoccupations and chilling mythos all find room to grow. It's also deeply, deeply disturbing.

In my review of TIS I noted that, in keeping with the noir vibe of the collection, most of Barron’s protagonists were “tough-guy” types. Occultation , in contrast, offers a number of stories whi
Matt Garcia
Apr 17, 2014 Matt Garcia rated it really liked it
Interesting and thought provoking collection of short stories. This novel was a definite break from the normalcy of horror fiction. The cosmic, chaotic horror and alternate reality present in these stories signify a new addition into the various sub genres of horror. Exquisite details and descriptions are where this collection shines. However, I found the recurring theme and plot of black magic/occult to be a bit redundant after a while and I was left wishing Barron would comprise a story with ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Wow, what a bleak, horrific universe that Barron presents in this collection. An array of veiled glimpses into the crawling chaos are collected here with these superbly well written stories.

There seems to be a strong if somewhat nebulous theme running through his work not too dissimilar from Lovecraft's in that there is a harsh, terrifying universe out there lying just beyond the bounds of our everyday perception but that occasionally people stray beyond that veil of ignorance and find out more
Jun 28, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
Another wonderful collection filled with horror and dread.

If you love speculative fiction you have to read Laird's work now.
Orrin Grey
Jun 23, 2011 Orrin Grey rated it it was amazing
OK, I doubt if anyone following my reviews is a stranger to Laird Barron. The Imago Sequence and Other Stories established him as one of the most major new forces in weird horror, and Occultation is, in my opinion, the delivery of that book's promise. Not that Imago Sequence wasn't great--it was--this one's just that much better.

There's not a bad story to be found in Occultation, though there are ones I like more than others. I think my favorites are probably the title story, "Catch Hell," "Myst
Jul 22, 2010 Laurie rated it it was amazing
It takes a lot to creep me out. Horror so frequently disappoints me- that hyena laughing two rows behind you at the horror movie showing? That’s me, I’m afraid. That makes me sad, because I love that delicious chill of a well crafted horror story, and it’s just so rare.

Barron managed to raise the hair on the back of my neck several times with these stories. Sure, there were some predictable moments – those times when you want to scream “Don’t go in there!!!!” because you know there is a monster
Aug 10, 2012 Katrina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie McMahan
Apr 01, 2014 Jamie McMahan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy breathes new life into the short story as a literary form...period, regardless of genre. His use of the language is simply masterful and his plots are nothing short of intricate and devious, a worthy latter-day successor to Poe and as good as King at the height of his writing. I highly recommend this book not only to fans of darker, horror and mystery fiction, but to anyone who appreciates a well written story.
Apr 23, 2015 Kristy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2015
Wow!!! A few of these stories are slithery in my mind. Creepy, excellent stuff. Just the right note of wrong.

How is it that Laird Barron always makes me feel like I'm being watched?
Nov 21, 2016 Pavlovsky rated it it was ok
Tady je fakt chyba na mém přijímači. Tohle je lovecraftovská, náznaková, jemná až krajková hororová záležitost, variace na střetnutí s neznámém. A já před krajkam dávám přednost kladivu. (A ne, tohle neměla být sebepropagační slovní hříčka.) Ve sborníku je asi jedenáct ozdobných povídek, ve kterých ani tak nejde o příběh (většinou je hodně minimalistický) jako spíš o atmosféru a především styl. Jelikož je u všech povídek stejná krajková atmosféra, se stejnými krajkovými hrdiny, kteří jsou od ...more
Jun 11, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing
I would put this collection above "The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All" but below "The Imago Sequence." All three are excellent collections of course, this is just my personal preference.
I'm hesitant to give a lot of books 5 stars, and in this case certainly there's a few stories that are rather so-so. But it's the really GOOD ones here that make this collection shine. So many times when I was reading these I could tell I was reading a masterpiece, not just a great horror story, but something
Larry Vossler
Oct 13, 2014 Larry Vossler rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Larry by:
If someone wanted an example of Weird fiction, without any thought I would hand them Barron’s Occultation and Other Stories. Within this collection contains some of the best modern Weird fiction stories I’ve ever read.

We start off with The Forest. Richard Partridge, a famous cinematographer and someone interested in “untangling the enigmas of evolutionary origins and ultimate destination.” Partridge will get a chance to see that and what he sees will drastically alter him. As cliche as that soun
Daniel Powell
Jun 25, 2011 Daniel Powell rated it it was amazing
Occultation is a downright frightening collection of short stories. It's not often that I get to write that, and I haven't read a collection that was this vibrantly unsettling since Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts.

Barron's prose style is crisp and keenly observational, guiding the reader through landscapes rich with horrific imagery. He introduces us to three-dimensional characters--some courageous and some filled with treachery, but always believable. He dabbles with form a little here, writing
Oct 20, 2014 Clint rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Laird Barron doing it again. I don't know how to sing this dude's praises enough. He's brainy, he's dark, he's insanely creative but working largely within his own mythology, and not one single story in this collection was boring. A few times I couldn't tell what was happening, and there was still some of that hallucinatory stuff I don't like a lot, like a guy is out wandering alone in the desert and hears a woman's voice and a skin and bone hand falls on his shoulder... then he's walking around ...more
Oct 05, 2013 S.A. rated it it was amazing
If I was tied to a chair and repeatedly hit in the mouth with a chain mail glove, I might feel how I did after reading these stories. Barron has a real feel for Despair R Us, served with a side of pain and hopelessness.

If you want to wallow in despair, seriously, this is the book for you. I wondered why I was in a foul mood for the past few days; I blame these stories.

The thing is, they are kick-ass stories. No lie; I didn't want to read them before I turned out the lights for sleepy time. The s
May 30, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every one of these 9 stories/novellas is well-written, full of character depth and excellent imagery. However, the effectiveness of the horror varies.

Satanic stuff is nowhere near as scary as cosmic horror, which is why stories like "Six Six Six" and "Catch Hell" just left me rather blasé at the end (despite having good build-ups).

The cosmic horror tales such as "The Broadsword" and "Mysterium Tremendum" were far more effective. "Mysterium Tremendum" was possibly one of my favourites because not
Mark Barrett
Mar 08, 2016 Mark Barrett rated it really liked it
My first time with Laird Barron, and it won't be my last. If you like cosmic horror, and I love it, this guy does it very well indeed. You feel a weight of intellect behind these tales, whether it is real or otherwise, it works. The writing is sharp and original and brutal in places, but he leads you to the horror slowly, like an uncle you're not quite sure of, leading you down his long, ramshackle garden until you feel the thorns on the encroaching bushes catch at your cheek and you realise it ...more
Aksel Dadswell
Sep 13, 2015 Aksel Dadswell rated it it was amazing
I don't think I've ever been so terrified of a piece of fiction, let alone multiple works, let alone enjoyed sinking into the dark gloop of these beautifully crafted nightmares quite so much.

Every piece in this collection is magnificent - all nauseating and thrilling in equal measure - but for me the real standouts here were "Mysterium Tremendum" and "The Broadsword". They've got to be at the top of my list of all-time favourite short fiction. They are pants-shittingly good.

The written word very
May 27, 2012 Kim rated it it was ok
Since I actually DID finish the book, I'm redoing my review. I originally put this book down three stories in. I wasn't impressed with the "horror" or creepiness of what I had read so far. After some soul searching, and re-reading all the reviews that say what a fantastic master of horror the author is, I picked it back up again in the hopes that it would get better.

Several of the stories deal with the same theme, the same- oh, creatures if you will- who give the tales their creepy edge. These
Brian Steele
Dec 20, 2012 Brian Steele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, dark-fantasy
This review was written for The Imago Sequence AND Occulations, as they were read back to back.

I write dark things and dream darker. I feel like I'd been immersed in the horror culture for a decade now, and that I'd grown immune to anything presented to me. Simply put, the short stories of Laird Barron are the first thing IN YEARS to have sufficiently creeped me out.

Barron is the missing link between Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft, his cosmic nightmares still visceral and intimate, his unknown
James Brown
Mar 10, 2014 James Brown rated it really liked it
I haven't read any other reviews of this book, so you tell me ... is the comparison to Lovecraft old at this point? I'll bet it is.

This is a very solid set of short stories, the kind of "collection" that I believe is meant to be taken as a whole. There are lots of thematic and stylistic links between stories as well as enough echoes and references between tales to suggest the makings of a full-blown mythos. So ... the comparison to Lovecraft makes sense, and there's a timeless sense to the stor
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I spent my youth in Alaska where I worked in the fishing and construction industries and raced sled dogs. I retired from racing around 1995, moved to Washington State, and dedicated myself to writing.

Gordon Van Gelder gave me my professional fiction debut when he published "Shiva, Open Your Eye" in the September issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. My debut collection, The Imago
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