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The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales
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The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Cryptic and potent languages, bizarre cults, mysteries that span the gulf between life and death, occult influences that reverberate through history like a dying echo, irresistible cosmic decay, forces of nightmare that distort reality itself, gateways to worlds where esoteric knowledge rots the future. Here, from Mark Samuels, the author of Glyphotech and Other Macabre Pr ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published March 16th 2011 by Chomu Press
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Bill  Kerwin
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it

Mark Samuels is a a writer of weird tales to be reckoned with. He has a fan's intimate knowledge of the masters of the genre (Poe, Machen. Lovecraft, Ligotti), a stern gift for concentration and paradox which reminds me of Kafka and Borges, and a poet's eye for choosing the images that best convey the desired tone or mood. Although he seldom plummets to the depths of horror—he is a Catholic, after all, and therefore must, like Dante, view human life as a comedy—he nevertheless does a fine job of
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am becoming convinced that Mark Samuels is incapable of writing a bad story. No writer is perfect, and there are a couple of "misses" in this collection, but none of the stories are bad. And while I didn't find The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales to be as strong as The White Hands and Other Weird Tales, it is still essential reading for lovers of "weird" fiction (whatever that means).

Unfortunately, this collection got off on the wrong foot for me. Thankfully, it recovered gracef
Κωνσταντίνος Κέλλης
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: weird horror fans, cosmic horror fans
Τον Mark Samuels τον είχα διαβάσει πριν 7,8 χρόνια σε παρουσία του σε ένα best new horror με το Destination: nihil. Είναι ένα διήγημα που δεν πρόκειται να ξεχάσω ποτέ και ο δημιουργός του ανήκει σε εκείνους τους συγγραφείς που σημάδεψαν τη δική μου -τότε πρώιμη- γραφή, απλά και μόνο από μια ιστορία. Πέρα από 1-2 ακόμη αναγνώσεις εκείνου του διηγήματος μέχρι το 2013 (όπου αναγνώρισα την επιρροή της συγκεκριμένης ιστορίας σε ένα point and click adventure και ο δημιουργός του μου το επιβεβαιώσε!), ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, chomu, reviewed
I make no claim to being an expert on the state of modern horror, but I would hazard to guess that few writers working today are producing work as consistently brilliant and dynamic as that of Mark Samuels.
Though it has been proclaimed by others more knowledgeable in such matter than myself--I'm, after all, only a new initiate into the "Cult of Samuels"--or should I say The Sodality of the Black Sun?--but I must further proclaim to all who would be contaminated:

These stories are the stuff nigh
An American outsider finds himself in a dusty, forgotten corner of Eastern Europe...a strange, unknown language begins to appear on London billboards... sleepy Mexican town holds a chestful of Arthur Machen enthusiast meets the author's biggest fan, and gets what he always wanted...and more!

Mark Samuels's The Man Who Collected Machen is an entertaining collection of weird fiction and my introduction to this author. Some of the stories have been published before in horror anthologies
Orrin Grey
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After reading "The White Hands" in The Weird, I finally tracked down a collection by Mark Samuels, who I'd been meaning to check out for some time. I loved it. While the collection itself was maybe occasionally uneven (hence the four stars rather than five), I've rarely read other books that so accurately nailed what I'm looking for in weird fiction. My favorite piece in this volume was without a doubt "Xapalpa," but it was full of great ones, and pretty much every story had at least some elemen ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-fiction
The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales is the first collection I’ve read by Mark Samuels after having been recommended reading him for quite some time now. His prose is dense and to the point and yet he manages to create beautiful passages, haunting images and moments that are downright brilliant. His philosophical views and anti-materialistic thoughts were also something that resonated with me, and Samuels works these ideas well in his tales. Some stories didn’t quite have the impac ...more
Grant Wamack
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Man who Collected Machen and Other Tales is the latest short story collection by Mark Samuels. Samuels is a cosmic horror writer who has been making a name for himself in the weird fiction scene and quickly becoming an underground legend.

I decided to point out the standout stories, even though all of them are good in their own right.

“The Mould” is darkly disturbing vision of the future overrun by a conscious mould that consumes planets and makes its way across galaxies. It sort of remind
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Another fine collection from who is one of the leading lights of modern weird fiction.

Mark's style really works for me. His prose is clear and concise yet evocative. He writes very consciously of the genre and has a healthy respect for the greats authors that helped shape it. Having some experience of the classic authors yourself, while not essential, will help get the most out of some of these stories here.

Some of the stories centre around writers, such as "Losenef Express" that features a weir
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, e-books
"As he struggled to recall which of the textbooks contained the reference, Barron caught sight of something the size of a large cat moving amidst the undergrowth of weeds between the two tombs. The thing was curiously shapeless, and a mottled grey colour. Perhaps it was just Barron's fever playing tricks, but he could have sworn the thing had been crawling with more than four limbs." --"Xapalpa."

I've been wanting to read more of this guy for some time now. For some reason his White Hands collec
Kristine Muslim
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything like this. This is superb! The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales seethes with mysticism. Mark Samuels reminds me of Algernon Blackwood and not Arthur Machen. This has all of Blackwood's handiwork, most especially that fine touch of "implied" horror.

The story, "Glickman the Bibliophile," kept me on edge the whole way through and brought to mind a completely unrelated "The Clerks of Domesday," another excellent story by another writer. I think the true meas
Haralambi Markov
I had no prior knowledge of Mark Samuels or his work. Picking his collection, The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales, was the result of Samuels’ comparison to Howard P. Lovecraft, as promoted in his bio, and a very bizarre title. I admit to being frivolous in how I choose my reading materials, but so far, I have yet to see my intuition mislead me.

Mark Samuels proved to be the perfect introduction to the sort of weird horror I have been in search of these last few months. At the same
Χρυσόστομος Τσαπραΐλης
Ψάχνοντας τον τελευταίο καιρό σε λίστες και προτάσεις για μερικό μπάζωμα του κενού μου όσον αφορά την post-'00s λογοτεχνία τρόμου, συγκέντρωσα ικανό αριθμό τίτλων. Μεταξύ αυτών και μια συλλογή διηγημάτων, το όνομα της οποίας αν μη τι άλλο μου έγνεψε με πλουμιστά μανίκια, καθότι περιείχε το όνομα ενός από τους γίγαντες της χρυσής εποχής του λογοτεχνικού τρόμου, δηλαδή του Arthur Machen. Όταν είμαι πελαγωμένος εν μέσω πλειάδας λογοτεχνικών επιλογών, η πρώτη διαλογή έρχεται με τον διαχωρισμό του υλ ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The New King of Bizarre Fantasy

Mark Samuels is described in the dictionary as 'a London-based writer of horror and fantastic fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft. Born in 1967 in Clapham, South London, he was first published in 1988, and his short stories often focus on detailing a shadowy modern London in which the protagonists gradually discover a dark and terrifying reality behind the mundane urban world.' Unless the reader is familiar with horror and fantastic ficti
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
1. Losenef Express
2. The Man Who Collected Machen
4. The Black Mould
5. Xapalpa
6. Glickman the Bibliophile
7. A Question of Obeying Orders
8. Nor Unto Death Utterly by Edmund Bertrand
9. A Contaminated Text
10. The Age of Decayed Futurity
11. The Tower

Just like his other short story collection _The White Hands and Other Weird Tales_, the stories in this book are briskly paced and written in excellent prose.

I think contagion is a metaphor in some of these stories. For example, in
Jess M
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it

I'm somewhat surprised to learn this small collection of short stories received such universal praise. While the stories are good, perhaps even above average, I feel the collection falls short of a four or five star rating. Perhaps it is the author's clear influences (Ligotti, Machen and Lovecraft) that reviewers are so inclined to praise. Namely . The influence of the aforementioned are so strong that some of the stories border on impersonation. An affliction this genre has long suffered from.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fiction
Creeping horror. Truth behind superficial appearances. Digital madness. Daemonick texts. Huzzah. Prolly favoriote out ov bunch was "Thyxxolqu" in which mysterious words appear. A Language Pandemic. A Burroughs//Cronenburg//PKD cavalcade. Although enjoyed text, I wish there was bit more variety in cosmic horror. Fits hand in claw with books by Laird Barron.
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really liked this collection of stories, but as it is psychological horror in the vein of Ligotti and, yes, Machen, I was expecting to love it. I did not; not quite.

The problem with this kind of writing is the surprise or the reveal needs to be really startling and horrifying because the setup may be dull. Sometimes, the reveal is just that, as in the stories where destruction comes by a force that, because of its dumb, impersonal nature, will not respond to reason, bribes, or pleas for mercy.
John Allen
Apr 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Mark Samuels is an author obsessed with the horrific propensities of linguistics and it is obvious that this is a man who has spent many (or a few hours) puzzling over a word, a sentence, or a phrase, slowly coming to understand how mind rupturing it could become were it taken out of context. Or what madness can result from too prolonged meditations on consonants, vowels, phonemes...

"As he struggled to recall which of the textbooks contained the reference, Barron caught sight of something the si
Jim Smith
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book contains the finest of Samuels' stories I have read so far, particularly those dealing with the idea of 'language horror'. I don't think it is as consistent as his debut collection, but it makes up for it with the quality of such stories as The Age of Decayed Futurity and The Tower.
Losenef Express - An American writer commits an impulse murder in a small town in eastern Europe. The character resembles Karl Edward Wagner.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This collection came as a bit of a surprise to me, I'd never heard of Mark Samuels, but when I heard someone had written a book called "The Man Who Collected *Machen* and other *Weird* Tales" I knew I had to read it. That was a good call, this was one of the better collections of short stories I've read all year. I read this book far faster than I intended, these stories were so good I had to savor another one, and another!

These stories find influence in a variety of authors: Lovecraft, Machen,
Michael Wojtas
A sentient self-loathing black mould eager to end its existence grows to envelope the universe as a whole and thus destroy everything in it showing the true insignificance of all creation aside from its own; this story of cosmic horror was what initially drew me into picking up this collection by Samuels in hopes of enjoying many more truly strange tales, but in the end there was much disappointment. There are 11 total tales to be told with the majority fizzling out and becoming a rather meaning ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird-fiction
Reading The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales solidified Mark Samuels as one of my top two or three favorite writers of weird fiction. Every story in this superlative collection is a gem, but my personal favorites, as of this writing, are "THYXXOLQU," "Xapalpa," and the title story "The Man Who Collected Machen." Mark Samuels and his work deserve to be much better known and more widely celebrated than they are, so here I am doing my part to turn you into The Man (or Woman) Who Colle ...more
Franklin Ridgway
Splendid weird fiction

This is one of my favorite collections of weird fiction. One or two of the tales seem a bit rushed in their denouement (I have in mind the otherwise perfect "A Contaminated Text"), but all of them are effectively creepy and provocative. Especially good are " THYXXOLQU" and "The Tower."
Wes shelley
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Some books have great stories, but the technical aspect of the writing is amateurish. Some books are written well technically, but the story is weak. This collection falls into the latter category. Read THE WHITE HANDS before this, that is a collection more noteworthy.
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I saw the title of this book, I had to try it. I like Machen, and the author had me hooked from the first story. The stories are short but pack a punch. Samuels name is on my list of authors worth following. Tales of dark horror that give you chills, and make you think.
John Hepple
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent, but short, collection of stories by cosmic horror writer; Mark Samuels. I have been interested in reading his works for quite some time and when finally getting down to it was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed his literature based stories, in particular THYXXOLQU.
Bill Hsu
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Obviously I'm attracted to the obsessions with text and language. But what am I to make of sentences like

Time, experienced in its entirety, is incomprehensible.

Carma Spence
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
You can read my review of the book here:
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Mark Samuels is a British writer of weird and fantastic fiction in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft. Born in deepest Clapham, South London, he was first published in 1988, and his short stories often focus on detailing a shadowy world in which his protagonists gradually discover terrifying and rapturous vistas lurking behind modernity. His work has been highly praised by the like ...more
More about Mark Samuels
“I had long ago determined that I would devote my life to literary scholarship. Not, let me emphasise, the dry-as-dust scholarship of academe, the crushing orthodoxy to be found in universities, but rather the recondite scholarship that is a journey into the unknown. I refer, chiefly, to those dead authors whose works savour of the uncanny and the marvellous, authors whose unique perspectives are beyond the self-stultifying purview of the modern critical mania for so-called realism. For my part I chose the mysteries, and the hierophant of mystery was an obscure author called Arthur Machen.” 0 likes
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