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The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,758 ratings  ·  198 reviews
John Langan has, in the last few years, established himself as one of the leading voices in contemporary horror literature. Gifted with a supple and mellifluous prose style, an imagination that can conjure up clutching terrors with seeming effortlessness, and a thorough knowledge of the rich heritage of weird fiction, Langan has already garnered his share of accolades. Thi ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published April 2013 by Hippocampus Press
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May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2020-shelf
Rarely will I read a short story collection that pulls me in quite as completely as this one did.

Or rather, it's a rare short story collection that not only pulls off truly excellent horror in every instance while simultaneously *deconstructing* the field, drawing in clever and wide literary techniques, WHILE also making it evocative and delicious.

Sometimes the voice breaks the fourth wall and sometimes it drenches you in a very dry sense of humor. Sometimes it's written in an immediate, deepl
T.E. Grau
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every insular creative scene has its personalities, its movers, its stars. It's like the cover of Tiger Beat magazine. Or a boy band... covered by Tiger Beat magazine. These personalities have labels: The Shy One. The Flirt. The Bad Boy. The Heartthrob.

As mainstream publishing occasionally—and grudgingly—accepts while also further insulates indie press Weird fiction (not an easy bit of cultural gymnastics), a brighter light is being shed on the personalities in this scene, as well. The boy (and
October spooky read #7!

This collection of short stories was brought to my attention by a fellow Laird Barron fan: I can’t get enough of that dark, existential, creeping dread, so I am always happy to discover new authors who have some cosmic horror stories to tell me. And with its amazing title and cover art, this book basically sold itself anyway.

I am not always fond of the short story format, because it often fees rushed and compressed, but these are perfectly developed, balanced and satisfyin
Justin Steele
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
John Langan's name has been in numerous "year's best" horror anthologies, and for good reason. The man can write, and the more he writes the better he gets. Langan's previous collection, Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters, was an astounding set of stories. I've yet to read his novel, House of Windows, although I've heard nothing but good things about it.

The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies has much to offer horror fans of all kinds. Langan enjoys playing with familiar hor
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Langan is an amazing writer. Ever since reading the story "Technicolor" a few years ago, I've been excited whenever I see his name in the table of contents of an anthology. I was overjoyed to get the chance to read the story again in this collection. It still had the same mesmerizing effect on me, very fitting considering the subject matter of the story. I'm always worried about re-reading a piece of literature I remember adoring, thinking that maybe I'll be disappointed the second time aro ...more
Orrin Grey
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Some books get booted to the front of the to-read list as soon as I get my hands on them. This was such a book. John Langan is one of my favorite living writers. There are people whose writing I love, and people who write about things that I love, in ways that I love. Then there are people who combine all of that. John's one of that latter group.

His first collection and his novel were both pretty great, but it's in the stories that comprise The Wide Carnivorous Sky & Other Monsterous Geographies
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪

I found this collection of stories, both short and average length, very different and interesting; the reason being that the author chose to deliver traditional horror tropes in a very original, multimedia kind of way. Some of them felt like reading a script for an old pulp movie, some like a first-person interactive novel, some like a fantasy or a dream. Techniques like the use of the second person or certain stylistic choices, made to involve the reader on a deeper level, worked very well for
Adam Nevill
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I spent two weeks reading John Langan's two short story collections - MR GAUNT AND OTHER UNEASY ENCOUNTERS & THE WIDE CARNIVOROUS SKY AND OTHER MONSTROUS GEOGRAPHIES - and they made the last hour of the day something to really look forward to. Always inventive and intelligent and both collections were a constant reminder of what can be done with a horror story. 'Technicolour', 'The Wide Carnivorous Sky' and 'June, 1987. Hitchhiking. Mr Norris' were my personal faves amongst the shorts, but my w ...more
Heidi Ward
This book opens with one of the coolest stories I've read in awhile: the short, brutal, and kind of hilarious "Kids." Within just a few paragraphs, Langan had me both howling with uneasy laughter and wondering if he was plundering my mind for its deepest fears, and that's very much the way to my heart. (Other than through my chest, natch.)

The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies has been on my TBR list ever since it came out last spring. I can only say I wish I'd gotten to it so
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Lots of lengthy, meaty stories with exquisite sentences and paragraphs that stopped me in my tracks.

I had only read one story before ("The Shallows" in Ross Lockhart's BOOK OF CTHULHU) and while happy to read it again, it was a couple of other stories that really knocked my on my ass. "Technicolor" is an ingenious riff on/response to Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," and originally appeared in Ellen Datlow's anthology of Poe-inspired stories. The final story is original to
Ben Loory
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
really just loved this book so much. sank into it like a million dollar couch. great voice, just so masterful and certain, so sure. will read everything this guy writes forever.
M Griffin
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I certainly knew Langan’s work before this, from many anthologies and “year’s best” lists, but this new collection demonstrates Langan deserves to be considered at the highest level of modern horror writers. “Technicolor” is the narrative of a teacher telling his class about Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” both clever and gripping. The collection ends with a new novella “Mother of Stone,” less experimental than some of Langan’s ‘other work here (though it’s told in second person perspective ...more
Seregil of Rhiminee
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Before I begin to analyze the contents of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, I'll mention that a lot has already been written about it and several critics and readers have praised it. That's why writing a review about this collection is a bit difficult, but I'll try to think of something new to say.

John Langan is an author who probably needs no introduction to horror readers. Just in case somebody doesn't know him, I can say that he's
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I often liked these stories, not always for the horror because the storytelling alone is very impressive. Langan was at his best when he was building characters, which isn't always my favorite part of writing, but I love it here. In stories like "The Shallows" and "City of the Dog" I liked the characterization most, but in a story like "Technicolor" he hits exactly the right balance between characterization and creating horror that's quite original.

I do have to say this collection is a bit uneve
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The seed may have been planted in my head reading Adam Nevill's review, but this collection really gave me something to look forward to each evening. Most of the stories are the perfect length to read in a sitting and they are all excellent. The more Langan I read the more I like him and I certainly have a soft spot for the Hudson Valley setting. I'm even picking up on some of the connections between stories. ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I recommend starting Langan’s collection on page fifty-five. “Kids”, the opening story, is Langan’s amuse bouche: freshly zombified preteens eat their teacher in four pages. When a character bold-faced as STAGE MANAGER opens “How the Day Runs Down,” we are clearly in the world of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, only Grover’s Corners, and the rest of the world, has been taken over by zombies. Langan can excel with this sort of literary allusion and game-playing, but the long scenes that follow have n ...more
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
This collection started slowly for me, the first story did nothing and the second was a zombie tale which isn't on my personal favorite list. Langan did make it interesting by using the voice of the Stage Manager from Our Town. Then we start to pick up speed.

The title story is a very cool take on the vampire legend where the beast makes his presence known to soldiers in the middle of battle on the streets of Fallujah.

City of the Dog is a very good lycan story There was something about the way
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, horror
I've been reading Langan in anthologies for some time now and have always counted seeing his name in the table of contents as a positive sign, so I was thrilled when my sister gave me this collection for All Hallow's Read. Taken together, the stories in The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies are unsurprisingly terrific, with muscular prose, high literary brio, stylistic experimentation, and strong evocation of dread. Langan likes to pick--or sometimes borrow--old monsters and ...more
C. Varn
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
John Langan’s collection, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, is a broader abyss than Ogawa’s Revenge (as the title suggest). Langan’s prose shifts and deliberately incorporates modernist twists and variations that do not allow one kind of voice to sink in. Langan does have a formula: take on a literary trope, be it some modernist style meta-fictive, overlaying of different genres, etc., and then add in a genre limitation such as the vampire story or the werewolf story or ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Apparently John Langan is not an author for me. A few years back I read his novel House of Windows and was bored to tears, but when I came across the fabulous "Technicolor" in a Year's Best collection, I thought that maybe he was a better short story writer than novelist. (Many authors are.) I was wrong. Most of the stories here are in the same tiresome, rambling style that made his novel such a chore. They don't even have any payoff at the end that makes you feel that it was kind of worth perse ...more
Aksel Dadswell
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading Langan’s stories is like settling into an old comfortable armchair, and then realising that it only seemed like an armchair, only looked and felt like one. In fact, you realise, as the limbs of the thing that isn’t an armchair unfold to embrace you with a delicacy that belies the pants-soiling danger of your situation, you’re not in your comfort zone at all, and you can’t predict what’s going to happen next. You just know that you won’t get out of here, and whatever you experience will b ...more
Paul Roberts
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Laird Barron’s arm wrestling partner is the master of reinventing overused horror tropes (zombies, werewolves and vampires). Langan’s tale, “The Revel” is IMHO the greatest werewolf story put to print. John is simply the most entertaining horror writer working today. One of my reading highlights of 2013, was to re-read Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”, down a glass of Jameson and consume “Technicolor” in all its insidious glory. Langan is a true heavyweight. I ran out and bought his previous ...more
Jul 31, 2014 marked it as to-read
This edition is signed by Langan with a small drawing by him on the title page.

9 - Introduction - Jeffrey Ford
13 - Kids
17 - How The Day Runs Down
55 - Technicolor
85 - The Wide Carnivorous Sky
137 - City Of The Dog
173 - The Shallows
195 - The Revel
225 - June 1987, Hitchhiking. Mr. Noris
231 - Mother Of Stone
301 - Story Notes
315 - Afterword By Laird Barron
321 - Acknowledgements
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Langan is absurdly talented and has more cards up his sleeve than you can begin to imagine. However, I do you a disservice to stop there with my praise of “Wide Carnivorous Sky,” because it’s not just that literary horror & a professor with his black belt in a few things including but not limited to writing the weird parts of fiction that don’t just scare you - they straight up shatter your innermost core, (he’s literally all of those things but here I conflated them into one amalgamation - no, ...more
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies is (another) excellent collection of short horror stories written by someone of whom you have never heard. And compared to any "collection of best new horror 20xx" it's a very strong anthology indeed.

Langans interest seems to be in how the story is told, rather than what the story concerns. Which is pretty sensible; horror is horror, you'll always get a zombie one, a vampire one, a Cthulhu/cosmic one, a Poestiche and etc but what sets the
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book today, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It makes an excellent complement to Gaiman and Aickman, particularly as the near apotheosis of the "strange story" one occasionally finds in some literary corner and quietly adds to one's personal library of puzzlements.

Others have detailed the contents, but for me the standouts were "City of the Dog" and his zombies-filtered-through-Thorton-Wilder tale, "How the Day Runs Down." Also great are "Technicolor" and, of course, the epon
I give this 5 stars on the strength of the best stories and my general John Langan fandom.

"Technicolor" is a fascinating faux-lecture on Poe's "Masque of the Red Death," so convincing that I assumed its fictional history was true (and I'm apparently not the only one). "How the Day Runs Down" is an utterly unique story told as a spoof on Wilder's "Our Town", but it's far from a joke. I didn't care so much for the too-long novella at the end, "Mother of Stone", which resorts to telling too much a
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After reading John Langan's novel THE FISHERMAN, I knew I had to read more of his work. So I literally mouth-wateringly devoured this collection of his shorter works. Not since I first read T.E.D Klein back when he was still in print have I been so affected by horror fiction. Truth is, Langan is even better, deeper, scarier--and scary in a way that makes you almost believe this stuff could really be true. This is horror fiction at its best, both literary and visceral. A dark joy to read.

I unders
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was an engaging, challenging read. I think the only disappointment I had was that many of the very best stories had already appeared in other anthologies... which only pays testament to the originality and quality of John Langan's writing. In fact, the book had a rather wide gamut of weird fiction - everything from a new take on the somewhat tired vampire trope to a really strange and beautiful ode to Poe.

Stories that I really enjoyed, in no particular order: City of the Dog, Technicolor, T
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the first story in this called Kids and the last story called Mother of Stone. The rest were kind of meh for me. The writing was good; but the style was just not my cup of tea.
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John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman (Word Horde 2016) and House of Windows (Night Shade 2009), and two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (Hippocampus 2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Prime 2008). With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters (Prime 2011). He's one of the founders of the Shirle ...more

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