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House on Fire

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  12 reviews
It starts out innocently enough, when reporters Tony Dumont and Robin Shepherd are sent to interview teenager Mark Elias, a scientific genius, about a scholarship he has won. But it is quickly clear that there is something very strange about the Elias family. Mark and his sister Shirley spend long hours behind closed doors conducting weird and inscrutable experiments invol ...more
192 pages
Published 1969 by Bartholomew House
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Jeffrey Canino
It's too bad radio man Arch Oboler didn't write any other novels, but hey countless hours of his vintage horror radio programs to devour isn't such a bad consolation prize. ...more
Greg Gbur
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been catching up on my huge backlog of unread fiction lately. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few horror novels rereleased by Valancourt Books, which has become an incredible source of forgotten and neglected classics. The one that I most recently finished is Arch Oboler’s House on Fire (1969).

This was the only novel by Arch Oboler (1909-1987), but not his only foray into horror fiction: he is best remembered as the most beloved writer for the radio show “Lights Out,” beginning in 1936 and ru
...more
Kimberly
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valancourt
Review to come.
Rupert
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Came to this with high expectations because I read a review where someone said they thought the movie “Hereditary” had gotten most of its ideas from it. It’s a fun creepy read, the evil children come across, but the adults feel one dimensional & dated.
The central motivating character of the dead grandmother is never fleshed out. Her evil is often spoke of as is the fear her children had for her, but we’re never shown much of her, just told of her.
The first half feels very much like it was wr
...more
CQM
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Valancourt books, they're bringing back into print some really interesting books that deserve to be rediscovered.
Arch Oboler was one of the Kings of golden age radio and his contribution to the horror show Lights Out is probably his most famous work and so it is fitting that his only novel is a horror. Unfortunately House on Fire isn't up to the standard of his work on Lights Out. It's a spooky children novel and if that is all it was then it would be brilliant but the focus is
...more
Steve Carter
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I know of Oboler's wonderful classic radio work. This his only novel, was written late in his career.
It is a story of dead grandma and her attachment to the living with disturbing results.

It's not great, it's not terrible. Rather creepy. Not a genre I usually read so I'm not really one to judge it since I'm not at all frightened by this sort of thing.

I listened to his 1970s radio drama adaptation after reading the book. Major characters were omitted in that production to fit the half-hour or
...more
Bibliophile
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Dark and very creepy, the author apparently had a pretty pessimistic view of humanity. The ending ain't happy. Didn't love that the book consists mostly of dialogue, which made it feel a bit choppy. It's a quick read, and as most Valancourt reissues, worth the read. ...more
Bridget
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fan's of Rosemary's Baby
Recommended to Bridget by: Valancourt Books
I'm loving all these slightly seamy reprints from Valancourt where the horror is more likely to be incest and disbelieving in God than a splatterfest. This was a fast fun read and the reissue cover is honestly one of the nicest I've ever seen. ...more
Courtney Tetreault
Fast read and really creepy

This was great vintage horror. Anything with creepy children and I’m in! Can’t wait for more out of this collection
Jessica
I'm still not sure what was going on in this story, but it was pretty f*cked up. ...more
Eric
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Grim, preachy, and full of get-off-my-lawn-isms, yet curiously appealing and fun.
Maxine Marsh
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Valancourt Books: House on Fire (1969) by Arch Oboler 13 42 Nov 08, 2015 02:27PM  

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Arch Oboler was born in Chicago in 1907, the son of Jewish immigrants from Latvia. He grew up a voracious reader and early turned to writing, selling his first story when he was ten.

Recognizing radio as a powerful medium for storytelling, Oboler began writing radio scripts in his twenties, selling his first, Futuristics, to NBC in 1933. His big break came in 1936 when Wyllis Cooper departed the p
...more

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