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Night Visions #3

Night Visions 3

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Introduction / George R.R. Martin --
In the trees / Ramsey Campbell --
This time / Ramsey Campbell --
Missed connection / Ramsey Campbell --
Root cause / Ramsey Campbell --
Looking out / Ramsey Campbell --
Bedtime story / Ramsey Campbell --
Beyond words / Ramsey Campbell --
Riding the nightmare / Lisa Tuttle --
From another country / Lisa Tuttle --
The dragon's bride / Lisa Tuttle --
The hellbound heart / Clive Barker.

First published January 1, 1986

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About the author

George R.R. Martin

1,161 books106k followers
George Raymond Richard "R.R." Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin's first professional sale was made in 1970 at age 21: The Hero, sold to Galaxy, published in February, 1971 issue. Other sales followed.

In 1970 Martin received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to complete a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern.

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. He also directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association from 1973-1976, and was a Journalism instructor at Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa, from 1976-1978. He wrote part-time throughout the 1970s while working as a VISTA Volunteer, chess director, and teacher.

In 1975 he married Gale Burnick. They divorced in 1979, with no children. Martin became a full-time writer in 1979. He was writer-in-residence at Clarke College from 1978-79.

Moving on to Hollywood, Martin signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986. In 1987 Martin became an Executive Story Consultant for Beauty and the Beast at CBS. In 1988 he became a Producer for Beauty and the Beast, then in 1989 moved up to Co-Supervising Producer. He was Executive Producer for Doorways, a pilot which he wrote for Columbia Pictures Television, which was filmed during 1992-93.

Martin's present home is Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (he was South-Central Regional Director 1977-1979, and Vice President 1996-1998), and of Writers' Guild of America, West.


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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
757 reviews120 followers
October 30, 2022
In moments they would be here—the ones Kircher had called the Cenobites, theologians of the Order of the Gash. Summoned from their experiments in the higher reaches of pleasure, to bring their ageless heads into a world of rain and failure.

He had worked ceaselessly in the preceding week to prepare the room for them. The bare boards had been meticulously scrubbed and strewn with petals. Upon the west wall he had set up a kind of altar to them, decorated with the kind of placatory offerings Kircher had assured him would nurture their good offices: bones, bonbons, needles. A jug of his urine—the product of seven days' collection—stood on the left of the altar, should they require some spontaneous gesture of self-defilement. On the right, a plate of doves' heads, which Kircher had also advised him to have on hand.

I'm not sure those doves' heads are going to cut it, Frank!

Let's be honest: you're coming to this book for one reason: The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker's novella which he himself turned into Hellraiser, currently enjoying a reboot and always one of my favorite horror movies. No one's seeking this out for its few Ramsey Campbell stories, nor likely have they heard of Lisa Tuttle. But should they?

The introduction by George R.R. Martin illuminates the form and purpose of the Night Vision series while demonstrating that he was doing something other than producing original fiction as far back as 1986. Originally published by Dark Harvest Press, each volume gave three horror writers 30,000 words each to fill as they liked with original fiction. If it was entirely their choice, I don't know what job was left to each volume's guest editor other than penning the introduction. Maybe they picked the writers to invite to contribute. Anyway, George's contribution was to praise all three in a short essay that simultaneously praises and denigrates the horror genre. Horror is great, see, when it's literate and aims high; so much better than all that lowbrow horror stuff cluttering up the shelves with its die-cut covers and titles dripping blood.

In any case, it's a great format because it lets you sink your teeth into the featured writers' work without great investment; a perfect trial run, if new to you, letting you judge them on more than a single short story. Let's see how they hold up.

Ramsey Campbell

My limited experience of Campbell's work consists of the seven stories included here (making them each the shortest in the book; Tuttle split her 30K into three, and Barker only one) and his 2004 novel The Overnight, plus a forgotten short or three from here and there. This is enough to conclude that I don't enjoy his work. His stories are all the same: depressing, subdued, mired in the bleakness of work and economic downturn, with characters that detest each other; horror that often hints at ancient Roman or Druidic cults, and is always muted, never explicit, never directly confronted. He does "subtle" extremely well, but it feels like the same thing every time. His stories only have one note: dreary. Grouped together, I was unable to enjoy them. As a group here, they were of uneven quality. Even just the story titles put me off, all of them generic two-word jobs (fine, one was three) that gave me the impression that he didn't care enough about his own stories to name them well, although perhaps that is part of the intention to underplay the horror.

Multiple stories in his cluster mention books that don't sell or failing authors; poor man.

Lisa Tuttle

Three stories, each longer and meatier and more enjoyable than Campbell's opening salvo. Had I heard of Tuttle before? Not in memory, but I recall the cover of A Nest of Nightmares from Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction. That story collection garners high praise, was published the same year as this book and was recently re-issued by Vallancourt Press after a long period of unaffordability. I enjoyed her stories here in Night Visions so much that I might seek out that full collection. They were a breath of fresh air after Campbell's section, with terrific twists and well-conceived characters. I came for the Cenobites, but I'll happily stay for the Tuttlers. (That's what I just now decided to call her stories.)

Clive Barker

The star of this show, The Hellbound Heart got top billing on all subsequent editions of this book. It floored me at the outset (see the pull quote that opens this review), but sadly it didn't sustain its opening intensity and energy. Familiarity with the original film may have both helped and hurt me here; it enhanced the thrill of the early parts, but then removed the possibility of surprise later on.

Still, Barker is in fine form here, and with his Books of Blood I know where to go when I want an original, electric, demoniac horror fix.

For this volume:
Ramsey Campbell's stories: 2 stars
Lisa Tuttle's stories: 5 stars
Clive Barker's story: 4 stars
Profile Image for Andrew.
2,115 reviews
February 7, 2015
This book is part of a series of horror and dark fantasy anthologies. Strangely though here in the UK the books make no reference to their place in the series.
This book contains work from Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Tuttle and Clive Barker. Its an interesting mix of work reflecting to me their strengths in these genres. (I will admit I am no expert in the work of Lisa Tuttle but it is most certainly true for Campbell and Barker). In this volume the horror is subtle and close to home often taking on aspects I certainly for one can recognise in the places I visit and see on a daily basis. I think for me this makes them even more disturbing even though often the elements of horror are quite subdued.
I must comment though in the entry from Clive Barker. The book contains only one pieces - the Hell Bound Heart - but for pages it takes up nearly a 1/3 of the book. The novella is the basis of the film hell raiser and as such is widely known and recognised. The story does not pull any punches and for me reading it all those years ago it still has not lost any of its pull.
This is a very much under appreciated series with some real gems in it - shame it was not really promoted as such here in the UK
Profile Image for Sheena Forsberg.
367 reviews56 followers
July 6, 2021
While it’s not entirely obvious to me how these stories belong together in an anthology (aside from being a solid collection composed of stories by clearly talented writers), I enjoyed these reads a lot. I have read (and loved) stories by both Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker before, but this was my first, but definitely not my last, encounter with Lisa Tuttle. The book begins with an eloquent intro by George RR Martin before we arrive at the main event and stories:

-As I often do, I’ve marked the ones that I really enjoyed with ‘*’

1) In the Trees *
A man finds a wood-carved face carved along a forest road that has been tossed there by school children. He makes the mistake of returning it to where it came from and finds that leaving might be harder than he thought.

2)This Time:
An illustrator comes out from the dentist in something of a haze and sketches a face that seems oddly familiar and disturbing. Things gradually get more unhinged as he starts seeing someone (thing) keeping an eye on him from the trees & he starts having nightmares that bleed into reality.

3)Missed Connection*
A man making his way home via a cramped and uncomfortable train ride starts seeing trains that seem
unreal and with passengers who seem wrong and distorted. All takes place whilst he has a sinking feeling that something has happened before and he can’t remember something he should. Tension builds as the man feels like the train is racing towards a destination he has no wish to arrive at although he can’t say why.

4)Root Cause*
A man finds himself working in a library in a town where things are not quite right, namely an overpass that seems to have a negative effect on the people driving along it. Mix in some choice characters doing some sketchy things, ancient blood practices, the odd (possible) hallucination, and you’re in for a trip.

5)Looking Out
An embittered old man dodges his landlord and the story becomes increasingly unhinged and paranoid as he starts seeing figures in the window (that leave no sign of having been there- not even tracks in coal).

6)Bedtime Story*
Jimmy and his parents are staying at his domineering and highly critical grandmother’s. His bedroom has a mirror that he initially appreciates. During their stay, he catches snippets of the adults’ conversations about ‘what he really is’. His mother claims it is solely related to her already having been pregnant with him when they got married, but Jimmy can’t help but wonder if there’s something more. As tensions rise, he becomes increasingly unsettled by (presumably) his own reflection in the mirror which now seems to be working by its own volition more than not.

7)Beyond Words:
Struggling author develops tinnitus and goes downhill between the pressure of that and the opportunity of a lifetime to get published.

8)Riding the Nightmare*
Tess had a recurring childhood nightmare about a mare. The nightmare seemed fueled by her emotions (fear, desire) and would be followed by real-life tragedies. She’s now an adult finding herself in a love triangle and feeling insecure when the dream starts happening again, with disastrous results.

9)From Another Country*
Alida sees Death at work as a man in black, foils his work twice and then becomes completely obsessed with Death and goes looking for it.

10)The Dragon’s Bride:
A dark fairytale of sorts, featuring dragons, although not quite in the usual way.
Isobel, a young woman with a dragon ring she’s unable to remember the origin of (and unable to take off) & Fitz make their way to the house her aunt left her in the UK in the hopes of discovering Isobel’s missing childhood memories/trauma.

11)The Hellbound Heart:*
A much welcome re-read for me (the only story I recognized when I picked up this book) and one I knew for a fact I would like. I’m glad to see that the story has held up well since the first time I read it. The story that would kick off the Hellraiser franchise first appeared in this short story collection and it seemed fitting that I’d be able to read it from the original source. The story follows the disillusioned hedonist Frank who has gotten his fingers on a puzzle box/portal opener, the Lemarchand configuration, in the hopes of gaining access to beings of another dimension said to provide extreme pleasure. Things don’t go according to plan and Frank gets dragged into a dimension very different from the one he imagined (we’re talking eternal torture). Frank’s brother Rory & his wife Julia move into Frank’s house not knowing that Frank is desperately trying to escape and make his way back into our world. He’s going to need a little bit of help, though.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Laura Leilani.
260 reviews10 followers
December 19, 2018
Not scary and most of the time not even interesting. Stories include a man with tinnitus; a woman who hallucinates that a horse is in her apartment; and a man who hates his job.
Profile Image for Mark R..
Author 1 book15 followers
January 13, 2014
My favorite thing about used book stores is the possibility of randomly stumbling across something like "Night Visions 3: the Hellbound Heart." I've read Clive Barker's novella "The Hellbound Heart" several times, but never in its original incarnation, as the last third of this horror anthology.

The books begins with an eloquent introduction by editor George R. R. Martin, defending the genre from snobby literary types who thumb their nose at such gory drivel. Then begins the first third of the book, seven brief stories by Ramsey Campbell. The stories are mostly amusing, moderately creepy. My only familiarity with Campbell before this book is his novel, "The Count of Eleven," which I wasn't totally thrilled with. These short stories are clever, however, and I can see myself reading more by him in the future. The works in this collection mostly feature a paranoid man or woman whose sanity is being attacked by mysterious forces invisible to others.

Next up are three stories by Lisa Tuttle, an author completely unfamiliar to me. These are all solid horror tales, the best being "The Dragon's Bride," about a woman contemplating a trip back to England, where her aunt once lived. Her aunt may or may not have had some kind of involvement with a dragon. An actual, medieval-style dragon, or a dragon-size metaphor? (This is actually only the second story I've ever read that dealt with the possibility of a real dragon lurking about in modern times, the other being Frank Peretti's "The Oath," whose 500 or so pages aren't nearly as satisfying as Tuttle's twenty.)

Finishing up the volume is the main course, Clive Barker's classic novella of desire and pain, "The Hellbound Heart." The basis for the film "Hellraiser," this story concerns Frank Cotton, a man whose search for fulfillment of his extreme carnal desires leads him to the Cenobites, a religious order from beyond who excel at combining pleasure and hurt.

"The Hellbound Heart" is easily the best section of this book, and indeed deserved its eventual reprinting, in its own book. Like many other fans of literary horror, I am highly anticipating Barker's upcoming "Scarlet Gospels," which purports to take lead Cenobite Pinhead and pit him against Harry D'Amour, protagonist of several Barker works.
Profile Image for Gary Langston.
9 reviews3 followers
December 30, 2010
Really the only story in this I enjoyed was the Hellbound Heart. I mistakenly thought the entire book was the Hellbound Heart. This story was what led to the movie Hellraiser. The rest of the stories were ehh. I do enjoy Clive Barker though so will get more of him.
4 reviews
June 29, 2015
Didn't enjoy the Ramsay Cambell short stories, but the Lisa Tuttle stories and the brilliant The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (made into the great movie Hellraiser) was worth the entrance fee as they say
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 65 books146 followers
September 5, 2011
Plenty to enjoy in this collection and the first place I read "The Hellbound Heart"
Profile Image for Sander Hendriks.
71 reviews11 followers
September 17, 2018
Where to begin with this book. I loved some of it, but struggled with a third of it. Night Visions: The Hellbound Heart is a collection of 11 stories by three different horror writers : Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell and Lisa Tuttle.

Barker's third of the book is taken up by his novella the Hellbound Heart, which was the basis for the Hellraiser movies. It's just as visceral, creepy and exciting as you would expect. I was actually surprised by how much they adapted into the first movie, which I watched upon finishing the book. It shows that Barker wrote and directed this movie, the only big difference is Kristy, daughter in the movie but close friend to Larry in the book. The Cenobites are in it in all their glory, maybe even more so, the female cenobite on her throne was definitely a misses opportunity, and the one we now know as Pinhead isn't the leader in the book.

Ramsey Campbell's stories I did not enjoy at all. I am sure the man is skilled in his craft but it didn't show in these stories in my opinion, maybe the Dutch translation I read was just terrible, but all the stories were drawn out, boring and had the punch line (that often made very little sense to me) in the last paragraph of the story. The reason I took a bit longer finishing this book was because I got burned out after the first two stories and had to force myself to read the rest.

Lisa Tuttle was a pleasant surprise after Campbell's. While her stories were in the same vein as Campbell's they actually worked for me. They were the right amount of creepy, fantastical and while these too had the big reveal in the final paragraph the build-up to these was way better. I might check out more of her work eventually.

The introduction by George R.R. Martin was well written and showed the sincerity of the collection it didn't really mesh with my feelings towards this book. None of Campbell's or Tuttle's stories will haunt my dreams. Barker's novella just might though...
Profile Image for Mike Jennings.
246 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2020
I've fancied reading "The Hellbound Heart" for years now but never been willing to pay the huge prices being asked for it in a hardcover edition. So, after a little research I found that it was originally written to go in a showcase volume of short stories - this one.

The Hellbound Heart is the outstanding story here, Clive Barker is very good when he's on form and this was shortly after the Books of Blood. But ... some of the other stories are also good. I don't warm to Ramsay Campbell's style at all and his tales left me unmoved. Lisa Tuttle, though, is a great storyteller and I enjoyed hers very much.

Overall, for me, it's The Hellbound Heart with bonus tracks.
Profile Image for Linda.
87 reviews13 followers
January 21, 2019
The Hellbound Heart was actually 5 stars but the other stories brought the total books stars down to 4. Of the 7 stories by Ramsey Campbell I felt 6 were worthy of 4 stars and 1 only 3 stars. Of Lisa Tuttle's 3 stories I rate 2 as 4 stars and 1 as 3 stars. So overall I did enjoy this book although some of the stories were better than others. Getting The Hellbound Heart and the other stories in one book was a nice bonus. I recommend this book, especially if you haven't read The Hellbound Heart. That is one horror story that all horror fans should read.
Profile Image for Drewby Doo.
51 reviews1 follower
November 6, 2019
Just skip to Lisa Tuttle and Clive Barker. Everything else was honestly hard to get through. The Hellbound Heart hooked me immediately did not disappoint.
533 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2016
Some really spooky stories. Good collection with poor copy editing.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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