Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Thomas Ligotti, in fact, before picking up this book, I didn't really like horror that much. All my...moreBefore picking up this book, I had never heard of Thomas Ligotti, in fact, before picking up this book, I didn't really like horror that much. All my horror encounters really comes down to a few Koontz and Clive Barker books (and also a single Lovecraft book, if I remember correctly). However, the short introduction (on the cover) just sounded too good and I had to at least read a few of these stories, to see if they were as good as I hoped.
This, then, is a review-in-progress.
The Last Feast of Harlequin (41 pages) is the story of a strange winter festival in a small town called Mirocaw, but also a story of clowns, an old professor, parallel societies and dark rituals. The language has a sort of dark beauty to it, and while the build-up is a bit... long, I did quite enjoy the slow pace in this story. We really get under the skin of the narrator and understand that urges that drive him forward. Recommended! (3.5 stars)
The Spectacles in the Drawer (13 pages) is the story of how a pair of spectacles drove a man into madness, or really... beyond. It is not as poetic as the first story and I am sure I missed some crucial points along the way, but still, not bad. (2 stars)
Flowers of the Abyss (10 pages) tells the story of how a man was forced to see the Madness of Things, and who ended... going way farther than he ever wanted. With this story, we are back to the dark and sinister poetry... good. And really, haven't we all wanted, at one point or another, to see the madness of things? I know I have... (3 stars)(less)
I remember watching the Will Smith movie and thinking... oh god no... not another standard Hollywood movie! You guessed it... I didn't really like it...moreI remember watching the Will Smith movie and thinking... oh god no... not another standard Hollywood movie! You guessed it... I didn't really like it (the movie that is). Then years later, I saw this book. It had Will Smith on the front, and yes, you guessed it... I didn't pick it up, not until one day when I took pity on the book. No one else had picked it up and it looked so sad. I never planned to read it myself, I planned to make it available to my students, that is, until I read somewhere that Robert Neville was fighting vampires... not zombies!
This was surely a sign, a sign that once again Hollywood had decided to take a good book and turn it into a bad (yet popular) movie for the masses. I was right.
A Short Review... I am legend is an exciting "new" take on the vampire legend, just add some spice in the form of an apocalypse. The vampires here act like vampires, but have none of the supernatural powers. I like this take very much, and I love the way that Robert Neville tries to make sense of what has happened. He is no scientist, and must instead try and read up on the subject. This is no easy task, and even by the end of the book, we are not much wiser than when we began reading.
Richard Matheson has written a clever novel of isolation and despair, of trying to stay sane, although every fiber in your body screams to just give up. It is captivating and I cant wait to pick up another book of Mr. Matheson... it seems like there is enough to choose from!
The Story... Robert Neville is the last man on earth, at least as far as he knows. At night, he is a prisoner within his own house, a house that is surrounded by creatures that he calls... vampires. Something has happened in the world. Robert is not really sure what (but he spends a lot of time thinking about it), it might be germs, something related to the dust storms, or it might be something related to the bombings of the last war (or perhaps something related to all of these things). What he does know, however, is that these creatures fear sunlight, garlic, crosses (some of them at least), mirrors and must be killed with a stake through the heart. Yes, this does sound awfully lot like... vampires. The vampires act a lot like zombies, and yet, are somewhat more intelligent, and even seem to retain some sort of memories (Robert's neighbour, Ben Cortman, has a habit of calling out for Robert at night).
I am not a big horror fan, but these four were actually pretty decent, even the third one that troubled me to begin with. Also, these stories are nice...moreI am not a big horror fan, but these four were actually pretty decent, even the third one that troubled me to begin with. Also, these stories are nicely tied in with eachother. If you like horror, you should definitely try this one from Dennis Jürgensen. It probably won't be translated into english any time soon, though.(less)
The Story... Blackbriar is the story of Danny, a young boy from London who has lost both his parents. Now he lives with the secretary at his school, P...moreThe Story... Blackbriar is the story of Danny, a young boy from London who has lost both his parents. Now he lives with the secretary at his school, Philippa Sibley. She wants the best for him, but is also a little protective of Danny. Quite early in the story, Philippa decides to buy a house on the countryside and forces Danny to come and live with her.
The house is called Blackbriar and is a haunted house. They find a strange door to the basement with some old names and dates. The last name, Mary Peachy, is the only name with a date. They also find a strange wooden figurine that Philippa dislikes, in fact, she asks Danny to take it outside. He doesn't, of course, instead he hides it in his room.
The big question is... who were those people with the dates and especially... who was Mary Peachy? Also, why are the locals acting so strange?
My Judgment... This story is a classic story that offers few surprises, if any. The relationship between Danny and Philippa is a strange one that I am still baffled at. She is not his guardian... so what is she? I liked the idea of Blackbriar, which has a good and detailed story.
Lastly, I've labeled this book horror, but really, it isn't that scary, even to a child. I would recommend this book to children age 9-13.(less)
This book is very well-written and therefore also very easy to read. It also seem extremely believable in how the author portrays the narrator, Stefan...moreThis book is very well-written and therefore also very easy to read. It also seem extremely believable in how the author portrays the narrator, Stefan, his school, family and relationship to Simone. The horror story is intelligent, yet not all that scary. Recommended for children age 9-13.(less)
The Story... This is the story about a boy named Howard. Howard lives alone with his mother; his father left them long ago, which has left a deep scar...moreThe Story... This is the story about a boy named Howard. Howard lives alone with his mother; his father left them long ago, which has left a deep scar in both Howard and his mother. Howard lives close to a place called Dartmoor, a place of legend, a place of a hundred stories; a place that people fear to go to.
One day, Howard and his only friend, Steve, hear a story from Dartmoor, about some evil hands that come out of the mist to take strangers wandering the moor. Howard is fascinated by this story and also by the strange gate that is supposed to stand at the highest peak. He really wants to go there and when Steve insists that they do, the two boys sets out for Dartmoor and a great adventure.
My thoughts... I was actually surprised by this book, especially by its ending. I was expecting a simple horror story, but should have been expecting a book about a boy trying to find himself, his father and the courage to enter the Wind Gate at the Dartmoor. Once Howard leaves the safety of Cali's cabin, he enters a different reality, one where he must come to terms with his view of the past and the truth, all the while learning some of the secrets of the Dartmoor. Is the Wind Gate a real place or perhaps a place that Howard has created in his mind?
This book is not a masterpiece, but definitely worth a read, whether you are young or old.(less)
There are a few stories that I remember from this book, one of which is the Ray Bradbury one, which was quite dark and scary. I bought this book, of c...moreThere are a few stories that I remember from this book, one of which is the Ray Bradbury one, which was quite dark and scary. I bought this book, of course, because it featured a Theodore Sturgeon story, which was ok.(less)
This is a review-in-progress, which means that I will post short reviews of each story as I read them. I don't tend to read a whole shortstory collect...moreThis is a review-in-progress, which means that I will post short reviews of each story as I read them. I don't tend to read a whole shortstory collection after I've begun it, I might return to it again and again, slowly digging my way through the (hopefully) wonderful stories.
It should also be known that I am a big fan of Theodore Sturgeon.
Bright Segment (27 pages) is the story about how a lonely (and simple) man finds a woman on the streets, left to die. She is in a bad shape and we, as the main character, wonders what has happened to her. This, as most TS stories, is a story with a twist. Who is the man that has found her, and why is he so bend on "fixing" her... even when she really doesn't need fixing. A dark read that takes you deep into the mind of a man...(less)