Gabriel's Reviews > The Dark Descent

The Dark Descent by David G. Hartwell
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Apr 01, 09

Read in March, 2009

I am SO looking forward to this tome. I found it in a outlet store for $6 and grabbed it as fast as I could. Stories from some of my favorites (Harlan Ellison's "Whimper of Whipped Dogs" plus a couple from Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, HP Lovecraft and one from Philip K. Dick) as well as from people who I need to read/read more of (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Clive Barker, I think Robert Bloch is also in here). If this is as good as it claims to be, I will be using it when I teach my Horror Short Fiction class again.
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What a collection! Definitely worth any price you find it for (it's only $20 off of Amazon). What makes this so wonderful are not the stories from the well-known authors (although King's third entry in here, "Crouch End" is one of his best works period) bur rather from those who aren't normally recognized. Karl E. Wagner's "Sticks" is easily one of the best short stories I've ever read and "If Damon Comes" actually truly scared a bunch of hardened students (people who looked at lots of random horror movies and thought nothing of them).

Sure, there are some clunkers in here (the choice for Henry James does not fit in the order that it was put in, for instance). There are also some that most readers will not admit into the horror genre ("The Yellow Wallpaper," "The Beautiful Stranger" by Shirley Jackson, and "Something For Us Tempanauts" by Philip K. Dick), but in the context of the section, they can allow for a great discussion on how the themes of horror stories are found in other types of writing.

Overall, something that everyone should at least look at if not read. A great introduction to a deep genre and the type of book that will make those interested look for even more.
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message 1: by Steve (last edited Aug 08, 2008 03:57AM) (new)

Steve Dark Descent is the gold standard. Hartwell did a great job.


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