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Magic Terror

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,036 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A collection of short stories from the acclaimed master of horror. Peter Straub leads us into the outer reaches of the psyche in these seven tales of living, dying and the terror that lies in between.
Unknown Binding
Published March 4th 2002 by Not Avail (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,036 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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P. Aaron Potter
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Peter Straub is one of the best authors of all time, and this anthology is evidence enough to prove it. He writes circles around Stephen King, natch', but then again, one isn't reading King because of that man's fine style (with the exception of Misery), one reads King in order to wallow in a folksy story, pure campfire horror tale. Not so with Straub, whose depictions of twisted human psychology are so internally consistent that they make me suspect that (a) he's psychic and (b) he's been hangi ...more
A curious collection of not-so-short fiction by one of my favorite authors, Magic Terror offers 7 tales where each is unique and not two are alike.

Indeed ,there is quite a diversity of "Magic Terror"."Bunny is Good Bread" is a disturbing, but fiendishly compelling story of a psychopatic killer being born, "Ashputtle" is equally disturbing tale of a schoolteacher who is not as kind as you might have thought. There's even an espionage story titled "Isn't it Romantic?" and a small flashback t
I've decided that I'm giving up on this one. Officially quitting. I've read three of the seven stories, and I can't say that I was impressed by any of them.

The first story was just... weird. Like, "Let me think of as many weird things as possible and squeeze them into 18 pages with no connecting narrative and call it a story" weird. It was like a crazy dream that gives you an odd crawly feeling without knowing why. Creepy, yes. Story, no. OK I take that back... if you're adept at putting square
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ok, I think I'm done with Straub. I've tried, but none of his work seems to come close to the glory days of his early books. This collection is only the latest amplest example of it. It's certainly not magical, although Shadowland was and it didn't help. Terror was present, intermittently and often buried under piles of unnecessary extras. This collection starts and ends with duds, and only the first of which does the reader the courtesy of brevity. In the middle it gets more interesting. There ...more
The Behrg
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
First, let it be said that I am in awe of Straub's wordsmithing abilities. The guy is a master of his craft and one of the more daring author's out there, never settling for "more of the same."

That being said, this collection of "short" stories was ... exhausting. Like reading a book you're forced to get through for some college class, I found myself dreading to come back to this one (as is obvious from the two months it took me to finish it).

A few of these stories I didn't care for
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A solid short story collection with only one dud, 'Hunger: an Introduction,' which is an unfocused rambling glimpse of a man's becoming a ghost.

This collection of 7 stories offers a series of portraits of either murderers 'in-the-making' or seasoned and happily practicing their alternative passion.

I listened to the Audiobook version. Beth MacDonald's matter-of-fact delivery of the first story was chilling. Ron McLarty's deep sonorous actorly voice brought the
Scott Rhee
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Peter Straub, in his book of short stories "Magic Terror", pushes the envelope of the horror genre beyond what is normally "safe" territory and into realms that very few writers, horror or otherwise, seldom traverse.

His stories deal with human perversity, tragedy, and atrocity. Not exactly "fun" reads, although readers (such as myself) with a twisted perspective will appreciate the dark humor of some of the stories.

Some stand-out stories: "Ashputtle" is a truly horrifying story of an elementar
Wow, it's not often you come across such an unsatisfying collection of stories from such a gifted author. A couple of them start out ok, but by the end I'd lost all interest, despite the quality of Straub's writing. From virtually every page this book screams out it's desire to be taken seriously as "literary" horror: "literary" in the sense that it's more work than fun to read. It does have its occasional enjoyable moments, but it is overall too self-aware and lacking in the seemingly effortles ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A master at work. There were a couple of tales that didn't resonate with me, but the others all blew my mind away (especially Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff). Well worth checking out if you enjoy dark explorations of the human psyche.
Jonathan Maas
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not just into Peter Straub 's style - but his talent is undeniable.

He writes long paragraphs and doesn't always get to the point right away. But even if you're not crazy about him, midway through the tale you'll encounter an awareness of what he brings.

He's great, and though he's not my cup of tea all the time, I can understand why readers love him.
Brian Schwartz
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I’m not a major fan of Peter Straub. I look at Straub as someone a little embarrassed by what he does and therefore, has to try to make his horror writing high brow literature instead of just letting the prose flow naturally. The literary flights of fancy in ASHPUTTLE made it hard to find what was otherwise a chilling story. MR. CLUB AND MR. CUFF also got bogged down in deep dictionary words that took away from the story. Straub ought to take a lesson from Stephen King and just try telling the t ...more
Alan Baxter
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seven tales from a master storyteller. They didn't all work for me, some of them being lost in the exercise of writing, victims of overwrought language. But others are absolutely shining gems of plot and character, beautifully written.

The book is worth its cover price for "Mr Clubb and Mr Cuff" alone, which is one of the best novellas I've ever read. Another high point is "Porkpie Hat", a true Halloween story. The darkly disturbing "Bunny Is Good Bread" was brutal, the reading equivalent of a j
Wendy Joyce
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Magic Terror contains 7 vividly rendered tales of horror, though the word "horror" doesn't do the book justice. Mr. Straub is a brilliant writer who states only what a reader needs to know...and not a word more than that. The result keeps you fixed to the pages--housework and yardwork and business be damned. I read the book a decade ago, and reread it last week. Must like the first read, a decade ago, the stories haunt big, sooty ashes rising from a burn pile, free-floating and dogging ...more
Horace Derwent
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the ghost village gives me sweet nightmares, his idea and concept in vamps and occult are brilliant to me

mr clubb and mr cuff is such pure evil, the dark filthy stinking corners of human's mind were very bared like normal, what an ignition!

he just sparks my will to write again

on writing, straub is not only a novelist but also a poet
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
these books are great
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I usually really enjoy horror, and have enjoyed other books by Peter Straub in the past. Some of the stories in this one just left me wondering. Maybe it's just me but I didn't get it. The "horror" was in some cases just strange and weird writing that left me scratching my head. I'm still not sure what to think of this one. If I find myself enlightened after thinking about it for a few I will write a better review.

This stories in this book were just weird...strange, and weird. I have
Zafir Ignatov
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
Rather boring collection . Two of the stories are taken from his novel " The Throat " , another one is completely out of place spy thriller . I was very disappointed until the last story came in turn " Mr. Clubb and Mr.Cuff " . Well that is hell of a story I have to give it to Straub . It is one of the most original and disturbing stories I have ever read !!! So strange , so primitively scary !
Another problem for me is the complicated prose of Mr.Straub though . It was a very very hard rea
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An amazing collection of short stories. As someone who reads in bed at night, I didn't know whether to put it down so I wouldn't have nightmares, or keep reading so the bad dreams would have endings!
Parker Avrile
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I picked this up after I read Interior Darkness so I could read the other stories in this collection. Intense. Horrific. I would defy anyone to read "Bunny is Good Bread" without nightmares.
Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horror fans, fantasy fans
Do you like the weird, the bizarre, the terrifying? Then you'll love this short story collection.
Bjørn Sørlien
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bunny is good bread, Porkpie Hat and especially Mr Clubb and Mr Cuff are so great that they more than make up for the not-so-great stories. Ashputtle was really enjoyable too
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't know how to rate this....some exceptional writing and a couple of great stories, but a couple of plonkers too.
Kat Dietrich
Magic Terror by Peter Straub is a collection of 7 short stories. I love Straub's full-length novels. His short stories often leave me hanging, confused, and irritated.

That being said, here's my brief take on each of them.

Ashputtle....wish this hadn't been first, as I wasn't that impressed. It's about a kindergarten teacher who is going nuts. 1 star

Isn't It Romantic.... could have done without this one too. Spy stories are not my favorite, no matter the writer. It left me
Pamela Scott
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: peter-straub
I thought Magic Terror was an okay collection of stories but nothing very special. I expected a lot more considering the rave reviews I’ve read and how much I l enjoyed Straub’s novels, Ghost Story and Julia. None of the stories were weak but none were particularly stunning either.

I thought this was a great story. Quite disturbing. The most disturbing aspects are what Straub leaves off the page.

I liked this story. I enjoyed the setting more than the actua
Evan Wade
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A four only because there's a pretty significant gap in quality from one story to the next. That said, they're all phenomenal in some aspect or another - they range in quality from eights to tens.

Best of the bunch is Bunny is Good Bread, which a lot of people call one of the weakest in the collection but I think is one of the best things Straub has ever written regardless of format. It doesn't necessarily stick close to a tight plot like a lot of genre shorts/novellas do, but that's not the point: In
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable collection of short fiction. I had previously read "Porkpie Hat" in a Halloween-themed short story collection by various authors and loved it so much I was compelled to purchase this book. I'm glad I did! My favorites here include "Bunny Is Good Bread" (very disturbing), "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff" (a novella), and "Porkpie Hat" (still love it, even after a second reading). My least favorites were "Ashputtle" and "Hunger, An Introduction". "Isn't It Romantic" and "The Ghost Vil ...more
Stan Shelley
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Straub is a lot like Stephen King with whom he has co-written books. He is an extremely gifted writer. Some of the stories in this book are too weird for me.

BUT the last story is an award winning classic. Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff...really a extraordinary. Get the book and read this last story.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
After a rocky start with a pair of stories that were unremarkable at best, this collection improves significantly. "Porkpie Hat" and "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff" in particular were engaging and delightful.
Superior, literate horror from one of the great writers in any field. It starts with one of the weaker stories, but the perseverant reader will be rewarded. There's a full review at Suite101
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
I actually liked the last story the best, so this collection ended on a high note for me. As for some of the others, hit and miss. I liked PORKPIE HAT too...some pretty gruesome storytelling and I liked his surprise twists. You knew there was something coming but not what it was.
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes
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