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The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  360 ratings  ·  48 reviews
There are Things - terrifying Things - whispered of in darkened forests beyond the safe comfort of firelight: The Black Guide, the Broken Ouroboros, the Pageant, Belphegor, Old Leech... These Things have always been here. They predate you. They will outlast you. This book pays tribute to those Things. For We are the Children of Old Leech... and we love you.
Paperback, 344 pages
Published December 15th 2014 by Word Horde (first published July 15th 2014)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  360 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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C.M. Muller
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This multifaceted grimoire, and the talent associated with it, is staggering to behold. Its co-editor, Justin Steele, sets the tone in a highly entertaining introduction, one which pits his fictional self against the very “carnivorous cosmos” he so innocently sought to collect. In many like anthologies that focus on the oeuvre of a specific writer, the works themselves rarely rise above pastiche—but this seems to be exactly what the editors wished to avoid when fashioning their tribute to Laird ...more
October spooky read #11!

Getting a copy of this book was basically admitting to myself that Laird Barron has joined Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Becky Chambers, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Catherynne M. Valente and a handful of other writers I fangirl about shamelessly. Obviously, I am not the only one who feels this way, or such a collection would never have been put together! It was the perfect conclusion to my October spooky reads marathon. You see, I sometimes feel like a jaded husk of a human being b
Heidi Ward
This is a smashing collection. I want to say many things about it -- how each story is well chosen, each completely different from one another, yet all live in that terrifying, unique universe Laird Barron has birthed -- but no time for thoughtful gushing today. Just wanted to give The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron a big fat 5 star rating immediately. I will better review in a couple of days.
Benito Corral
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I've recently stated, I've been trying to catch up and read all of Laird Barron's works. The man's writing is magnificent; it draws you in and doesn't let you go easily. I've found myself more than once reading the last page, closing the book and then simply laying there, absorbing what I'd just read. Embracing the weird. Relishing the dread.

Apparently I wasn't the only one so transfixed. Ross Lockhart, editor extraordinaire from Word Horde, and Justin Steele, author of the wonderful blog The
Lou Columbus
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read lots and lots of weird fiction and horror. Anthologies are something I especially gravitate towards, because they allow you to sample the work of different authors. They also typically are centered around a particular theme or subject. The subject of THIS anthology of course, is the literary world created by author Laird Barron. While I wouldn't say it's imperative that you've read any of Mr. Barron's work prior to reading this anthology, I would suggest it. Without at least a minimal fam ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
*Full disclosure: I have one story in the anthology*

I have to admit, I was a little worried the stories would be one-note or pastiche (like mine!, but they are not. The anthology is a creepy and at times flat-out-fun array of horror stories written in the spirit of a Laird Barron's cosmic horror universe.

And the physical book itself is a beauty.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Frances by:
Just started reading, but as an aside, may I note: this is an exceedingly lovely book. There's a weight to the covers, the images of distressing are lovely, and the endpapers are thick enough to slice a finger if you caught them the wrong way.

I realize this does not technically add to the stories--which are excellent so far--but it's nice to see them given appropriate presentation.

(Finished, but having worked 33+ hours so far this week and commuted 12+ hours, I am going to have to put a pin in t
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection and fitting tribute to a man who is changing the face of genre fiction with every release.

Full review can be found here:

Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
The Children of Old Leech was an easy sell for me: a tribute anthology to an author whose writing consistently amazes me, a set of editors whose taste I trust in, and a table of contents full of recognizable and exciting names. It's safe to say that my expectations were high going in. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I closed the book with a list of authors whose books I'd have to track down immediately (a list that would include any future Lockhart/Steele anthologies, if they're thinking of coll ...more
Ohhh!!! WOW!!!

This was ONE of the BEST Horror Anthology EVER!!!!

Only with the last story it was hard to get into, but the rest were...Mind Blowing!!! to speak...

The Horrors, the Unknown, the Unspeakable, the Foreign Thing, the Witchcraft, you`ll find it all here. Don`t search anywhere else.

Atomic stuff! And I was more amazed when I found out that all the stories are originals to this Anthology!...Yes,definitely I have to read more Laird Barron.

And also the the vast majority of the texts a
M Griffin
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
DISCLAIMER: My story "Firedancing" appears in this book. My rating is for the rest of the book, not including my own story.

This Laird Barron tribute anthology is strong all the way through, with not a single weak or out of place contribution, and seems to me one of the best few anthologies of the last five years. The various writers have taken many different approaches to paying tribute to Barron's work, borrowing themes, settings or just "feel." I think this book will end up being a strong cont
David Bjorne
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic collection of stories written in tribute to Laird Barron.
Orrin Grey
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-me
Full Disclosure: This volume contains my story "Walpurgisnacht."

For the second anthology from Ross Lockhart's Word Horde imprint, he and co-editor Justin Steele choose to honor the "carnivorous cosmos" of one of the finest living practitioners of the weird tale, Laird Barron. It's perhaps a ballsy move, but also a logical one, the kind that seems so obvious the minute it's mentioned to you.

Like with Tales of Jack the Ripper, they'e assembled a truly stellar cast of bright lights of the weird fic
Jon Carroll  Thomas
I now have read more stories in tribute to Laird Barron than by him. I am currently trying to correct that balance.

Beautiful hardcover, great authors, a few surprises. I still think that a Laird Barron tribute now is a little premature. This anthology probably would have functioned just as well without Barron's name on the cover. And I don't mean to say that Laird doesn't deserve recognition; he certainly does. I just felt too much like a horror hipster when friends and relatives would ask what
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usually I'm happy if I like half of the stories in an anthology. This is not a casting of aspersion on the editors - you can't make everyone happy with every choice. I typically give a good anthology 3 stars. This anthology is really strong. The stories are all well-written (even if not all of them are to my taste). The standouts for me were those by Orrin Grey, Richard Gavin, Joe Pulver, John Langan, Cody Goodfellow, and Scott Nicolay and Jesse Douthit-Nicolay. I could imagine Laird Barron writ ...more
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like several of the books I read this year, I read this one "wrong" [if by "right" you mean "in a way that enables you to review it, later"]. I read a portion of it, the first five stories, in June, and of that portion, I only recall two really well: Gemma Files "Harrow"—which I liked even though I felt the ending needed a tad bit of resculpting—and Molly Tanzer's "Good Lord, Show Me The Way"—which I liked more thoroughly, though I admit that the epistolary style might throw some. Of the other t ...more
So I actually haven't read anything by Laird Barron, and didn't really know who he was until I'd read the first bit of this and went to look him up. I picked this collection up on the strength of the title (which is great) and the inclusion of stories by Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer. I had only vaguely heard of a couple of other authors.

It's interesting to imagine what Barron's writing is like from this tribute; despite the wide range of stories, there's a fairly clear MO. One of the revie
Jorge Palacios Kindelan
really wonderful tribute collection that range from funny to scary. I hope Mr. Barron feels proud, this was a fine tribute.
My personal favorite stories were the ones by Molly Tanzer, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan and Jeffrey Thomas.
Props to Ross Lockhart for an amazing editing job, as usual.
Shawn C. Baker
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Children of Old Leech is a fantastic anthology that plays with/pays homage to the man who is - for my money - the king of modern "weird" fiction. Laird Barron's work - over the course of three anthologies, one novella and one novel - has wormed its way into my heart and my brain more severly than any other writer of weird or phantasmagorical fiction. There's something so pragmatic about Barron's writing that it feels as though it effortlessly taps some archetypal, primal thoroughfare of huma ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I'll be giving a full review on soon; but let me say here that this is one of the best weird/horror anthologies I've ever read!

H. P. Lovecraft was known to encourage other authors to write in his fictional world. It's cool to see this sort of thing happening around Laird Barron's fictional world as well. But the authors in this anthology did more than just write stories set in Barron's universe, most of them really nailed the feel and bite of it as well.

I hope we'll be seeing more
C. Varn
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uneven but enjoyable.

Uneven but largely enjoyable. Lockhart's afterward makes it clear with a Laird Barron story is as Barron has a muscular realism to his language and a grit to his protagonists more than any unified mythos--although certain tales have consistency. Different authors focus on different elements of this to some great effect. John Langan's story is particularly memorable.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest and say that I bought this book because of the cover and of course because I like Laird Barron. I'm a sucker for a pretty face and often I find myself feeling buyers remorse when the content does not reflect the cover. Not in this case. I was only familiar with one of the contributors, Gemma Files. As expected, Gemma did not disappoint with her story called "The Harrow." My favorite tale in this collection was called "Good Lord, Show Me The Way," by Molly Tanzer. It is offered u ...more
Ian Welke
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Children Of Old Leech is an anthology of short stories written by a collection of different authors in tribute to one of my favorite authors, Laird Barron.

I have a rule about not reading Laird Barron before going to bed, which is my favorite rule to break. It’s not that his stories are terrifying to the point that I can’t sleep; it’s that his stories are dream enabling, and the strangest, most fantastic dreams at that. I wouldn’t call them happy dreams, nor do they make for a particularly r
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my world, anything Laird Barron-related or -adjacent is aces. "The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron" is no exception. Whether building on Barron's current mythos, putting a new spin on it, or blowing it wide open, the stories in this anthology strike a perfect chord with what Barron has already created.

Standout stories for me were:

"Walpurgisnacht" - if there is one thing I love more than horror stories about witches, it is a horror story about witche
Paul Roberts
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editors Lockhart & Steele have produced a very strong collection of terrors inspired by the Barron mythos.

Standouts from a first reading:
"The Harrow" Gemma Files
"Good Lord, Show Me the Way" Molly Tanzer
"Firedancing" Michael Griffin
"Of a Thousand Cuts" Cody Goodfellow
"Tenebrionidae" Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
Brian O'Connell
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, weird
Excellent anthology featuring tales inspired by Barron's signature brand of cosmic horror. I particularly enjoyed Richard Gavin's "The Old Pageant", which eschewed some of the more Lovecraftian conceits for a purely terrifying story, and Orrin Grey's "Walpurgisnacht", which draws on European witch-lore to craft an intense and claustrophobic story.
Jody Rose
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Children of Old Leech is an outstanding anthology of original fiction written by some of the best talent in the horror genre. Edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele. I hope there will be a CoOL II and III and IV!

Highly recommended!
Bruce Baugh
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laird Barron's work is among the very best in contemporary horror. But any one author can only write so fast. The next best thing to more Barron stories is a volume full of work by other talented writers who show his influence on them in a bunch of ways. I liked some of these stories more than others, but there isn't a single one I thought wasn't worth my time, and as anthology readers know, that's not something you always get to say.

One of the stories, John Langan's "Ymir", actually uses specif
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, signed
A more thoughtful review will perhaps follow, but for now I will resort to the lazy expedient of highlighting what I feel are the best of the seventeen tales in this homage volume with a few notes:

-"The Harrow" by Gemma Files--a nice opening to an anthology about burrowing and descending downwards

-"Walpurgisnacht" by Orrin Grey --a pleasant surprise or an unpleasant one, depending on whether I mean it textually or extratextually

-"Learn to Kill" by Michael Cisco (I will add that I consistently e
Chad Pilcher
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, favorite
I tend to approach anthologies like I approach trail mix: warily, obliquely, loins tightly girded against the jarring disparities in tone and quality that are sure to present. For The Children of Old Leech, I can report that my loins remained blessedly ungirded throughout.

Laird Barron is a legend in his own goddamned time. In this era of Cthulhu plushies and prepackaged HBO nihilism, Barron stands apart. His Pacific Northwest mythos blends gritty noir, bleak naturalism, and cosmic horror, distil
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Ross E. Lockhart is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of Word Horde. A lifelong fan of supernatural, fantastic, speculative, and weird fiction, Lockhart holds degrees in English from Sonoma State University (BA) and SFSU (MA). He is a veteran of small-press publishing, having edited scores of well-regarded novels of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Lockhart edited the acclaimed Lovecraftian antho ...more
“One part pulp, one part noir, two parts pure cosmic terror, blended smooth and seasoned with a literary skill that few possessed.” 0 likes
“You are a dream your brain has always dreamt, a story it tells itself. But a tale once told does not belong to the teller, but to the reader, the world. Compose your story, and you may not only withstand the pain and the darkness, but you may escape your body altogether…” 0 likes
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