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The Language of Fear

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  221 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A collection of fifteen short stories that explore the dark side of the human experience, including that of a heavy metal star locked in a war with his TV set, and a married man about to murder his wife at the behest of a dial-a-porn hooker.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Dell
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  221 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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I enjoyed a few of the stories, but it wasn't what I expected and painful to read at times...
Horace Derwent
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
just feel like reading SK's Nightshift when i get tipsy but am still capable of the apprehension of knowing letters

that's just what cult stories should do to me

the usage and writing style is just what i fancy, to me, the stories of his can heal

(to be continued)
Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: headbangers and batcavers
Shelves: 2009
A Tale of Two Heroines: A prostitute shoots her way into a heroin den to rescue her daughter - !

Adult Nature Material: A racist, alcoholic porn theater usher exacts Biblical vengeance upon a customer - but the universe has its own cruel fate in store for him!


Down and dirty tales of the dangerous L.A. underworld that throb with the muscular rhythms of Sunset Strip rock and roll and oldtime pulp.


Oh. God. I wanted to be a fanboy and get a visceral horrorthrill out of these stories. Del Jam
Kind of disappointed in this one. I remember Del James from back when he was the editor of RIP magazine and was looking forward to Cemetery Dance's limited edition of The Language of Fear. The stories themselves were okay - James seemed a bit formulaic in the way he would set up/describe his characters at the beginning of his tales of murder, ghosts, zombies, depravity, drugs and all sorts of other fun stuff - although when he delved into stories about the world of Rock and Heavy Metal things se ...more
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
A collection of short stories that I really enjoyed. Excellent stuff. I don't know what happened to Del James. I'd like to have seen books from him.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Oh my God, this is the worst book I've ever read. And I've read Son of Rosemary!

The prose to these stories is flat and unemotional. The characters aren't even one-dimensional, if that's even possible. Every story is nothing but telling and cliches, reduced to nothing but excuses to shock with the most depraved ideas James could imagine.

I mean, one of the stories is about a guy who trades a baby for drugs, but there's no examination of the characters there to make it worthwhile. In the end, the m
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like most readers, I was curious about this book because it contains the story "Without You" that was the inspiration for Guns N' Roses's "November Rain" video. What a pleasant surprise it was to find the the entire collection is excellent.

Del James was mostly known to me for working with GN'R and contributing lyrics to other bands such as Testament. His fiction seems to be almost a secret, but it is so well crafted and consistently great that it makes me sad that this is his only collection. Ma
Stephen King endorsed the entire Dell Abyss Horror line. Here is his blurb:

"Thank you for introducing me to the remarkable line of novels currently being issued under Dell's Abyss imprint. I have given a great many blurbs over the last twelve years or so, but this one marks two firsts: first unsolicited blurb (I called you) and the first time I have blurbed a whole line of books. In terms of quality, production, and plain old story-telling reliability (that's the bottom line, isn't it), Dell's
Miranda Rae Carter
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is not a book I reccomend to anyone who scares easily, or would not like to read about violence. It's a horror book that has some very suggestive material. I have only read one story in this collection, and that is "Without You". I am a die-hard G&R fan, and I have always been touched by the song "November Rain". "Without You" is the background story and I had to read it. To say the very least, my review of this book is based on one of the short stories, and like the song, it personally tou ...more
Nov 22, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is a signed copy of 750 produced.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked half of the stories, the themes, and the messages but I didn't quite enjoy the author's style of writing. At times, it felt cheap and amateurish. I listened to November Rain and Don't Cry a lot as a teen and GN'R have a special place in my heart. The music videos of the songs have fascinated me as a child growing up and this is how I stumbled upon this book. I love reading books that have inspired other artists to create. Now that I have finally managed to finish reading this book, here ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories of various quality and genre, The Language of Fear focuses mainly on the period of time it was written (late 80s-very early 90s). Most of the stories are reasonably engaging, ending with "Without You", the story that inspired the GnR video for "November Rain".
One thing that I found distracting was repeated referrals to brand names as status symbols, like Ellis and McInerney did in their books about contemptible yuppies. It always just seems like a forced device to g
Greg Kerestan
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The idea of a horror and suspense short story collection written by a Guns 'n Roses songwriter is probably better than the book itself. Del James isn't a bad writer, but there's something less than polished and complete about most of his stories. Like a second-rate Robert McCammon, his tales of decadence and depravity and moments of childlike wonder have strong ideas but rarely feel fully formed. In fact, many of them do not end as much as just... stop when James seems to have grown tired of the ...more
Martin Young
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A painfully real picture of what appears to be a collection of the weirdest nightmares. And yet, the daring lack of mercy for the reader makes you respect this bold writer, who is capable of killing the protagonist in just half a sentence without even hinting of his intentions. Very vivid, raw, mind-blowing and last but not least, a fearful bunch of stories. Thank you, Del, for this journey, and thank you for "Without you" - you made a lot more than it seems!
May 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
I came to read this book because finally, literally decades later, I wanted to find out what was behind Guns N’Roses’ “November Rain”. Now that I read it, I am none the wiser, except that I was very disappointed. The music video is actually more interesting than the story that it is based on. All in all, I read three more short stories, and leafed through two others before I gave up. I don’t even remember when I last came across such utter drivel.

Apparently the writer is friends with Axl Rose,
Octavio Villalpando
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
¡Este es un libro muy pero muy malo! Si lo enfocamos meramente desde el punto de vista literario, y no hablando de la litaratura en general, sino ciñéndonos específicamente a la literatura de horror, la verdad es que es muy plano. Del James es muy limitado en recursos y eso se nota, conformándose con apiñar cliché tras cliché en historias que no trascienden más allá de una simple exposición de hechos.

Sin embargo, ¡también debo decir que es muy entretenido!, a ver, básicamente si usted es un fan
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: FREAKS
This book is a slap in the face of horror enthusiasts that hits so hard it makes your eyes water. The evil doesn't come from an ancient creature deep in a cave, or from a silly space pod, instead it comes from the neighborhood you live in (or at least the street you should have been smart enough to move away from). This is hard horror without the splatter punk nonsense. Fine prose, decent characterization, and a very distinct voice -- what more could you ask for? This is an overall fine collecti ...more
C. Miller
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When readers speak about this book, they always use the Guns N Roses line. Yes, a short story contained in this collection inspired the 'November Rain' music video...but this collection is so much more than that. I read this again for the sake of this review but I read this for the first time late one night in 2004 and woke up writing short stories. I was first published in 2007. It's 2017 and I now have a wall covered in posters of my own various book covers. I've spent a ton of time in Hollywo ...more
Alex Budris
A collection of brutal, razor-sharp stories from a writer who is not only well-versed in the macabre, but is also obviously quite well acquainted with the underbelly of L.A. It might just be me, but behind all the grit and violence that permeate this book there is something of a moralist about the author; a very tough man with a very big heart. One of the better collections of horror stories I've read in awhile.

(Note: If possible get the Cemetery Dance hardcover edition. Not only is it a great
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the sick and twisted
Recommended to Talyah by: my love for GN'R
Well first off, I paid WAY too much for this book! (like $120 too much!) Which I suppose now gives you an idea of just how completely obsessed I am with Guns N' Roses.

ABOUT THE STORIES: I actually really liked them! Of course "Without You" was my favorite (because it gives the background to the song November Rain). But the other stories were pretty good too, pretty gnarly, sick, and wicked, but hey I'm all about that. So if you're into that sorta all means check it out, because n
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
I don't know what prompted me to pick this book up. It's been on my bookshelf for years and I'm not entirely certain where it came from. It's not my normal genera that I like to read. I guess I was just looking for a change. I wasn't really super impressed. This book is a collection of small stories...some of which were okay, others were just down right weird and boring. Glad to get this one out of the way to move on to much more enthralling books!
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is terrible. More like budget pornographic 'literature' than horror or thriller material. Although the stories are violent and unpleasant, there is no intelligent concept or twists to these stories which means I was left feeling disappointed and with little sympathy for the characters at the end of every story. Gave up half way through. Would rather have a bit of Palahniuk any day.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
i finally tracked this book down to read the short story that Guns & Roses video for November Rain in based upon, Without You. oh my god is the story boring. i've had the book almost 2 years and i still can't finish the story. it's good if i can't fall asleep though. ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Very disappointing. I was thinking I would love this set of short stories due to the November Rain of GN'R and Estranged...Just not all that great.
Anna Marie
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Not your normal blood and guts horror, instead it's the scary things from people's mind, which is really much more scary.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This book features the short story "Without You" which Guns N' Roses videos "Don't Cry", "November Rain", and "Estranged" are based off. The original print this book is quite valuable.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Do not read on an empty stomach and definitely do not read before going to bed.
Angel León
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Without You #GN'R
Azael Márquez
The stories themselves are okay. But just okay. I guess this isn't my genre or something. It isn't bad, it just didn't interested me.
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Simply... WOW a moving, touching, revealing and frenetic trip through the men's mind, really worth reading it.
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Del James is the author of The Language of Fear, a collection of short horror stories.

Del James, is an American musician, writer, journalist and artist best known for writing the short story that reportedly inspired the "November Rain" video by hard rock band Guns N' Roses. He is a close friend to Axl Rose and is the road manager for Guns N' Roses.

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“The whiskey’s aroma was his equivalent of fresh brewed coffee. 'Here’s looking at you, love,' Mayne said aloud, raising the bottle to his lips.
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