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Fishhead

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Irvin S. Cobb’s infamous Fishhead, first published in 1913, is a short novel set in the backwoods bayous of the American South, detailing Reelfoot Lake and its most infamous resident, an outcast freak called Fishhead. The missing link between Mark Twain and H.P. Lovecraft, with a surprise Jaws-like ending, Fishhead is wonderfully gruesome and will remind readers of EC comi ...more
Paperback, 25 pages
Published February 1st 1987 by Necronomicon Press (first published 1913)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  16 reviews


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Peter
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
A recluse man, half fish, half human, lives alone at Realfoot Lake as a fisherman. After an argument with the Baxter brothers they plot revenge and waylay him sitting armed in a boat on the lake. How will the story end up for Fishhead? What are the consequences for the villains? I really loved the influence of Lovecraft and Twain in this intriguing story. Well plotted with some eerie elements (catfish, lake and the main character). It's also interesting to see how outsiders or coloured people ar ...more
Janie C.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Two local yokels get their comeuppance. This story was published in 1913, so while it's rife with political incorrectness, it is a tale rich in atmosphere. ...more
Mir
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Cobb is really excellent at describing scenery!

No, I'm not being sarcastic. The landscape is very much the soul of the story, and Fishhead is a part of the natural world in which he exists. More so than the ignorant neighbors who deem him unnatural.
...more
Paul Hasbrouck
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
In this great horror short story, Cobb creates a great sense place and time. Reedfoot Lake is most evil thing in the story, sunk trees, lost side channels and a atmosphere that change a child into half man/fish. This is story murder and revenge, by humans and inhuman means.
After reading this story, the reader should avoid any large bodies of water in the near future.
Leothefox
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a quickie and there isn't really that much to it, but it's packed with lovely atmospheric descriptions of nature and eeriness to ensure that those descriptions are not a labor. The title character is a loner weirdo who lives on the shore of a lake full of fish that resemble him, and the lake itself is strange.

People often compare this one to “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, although much about it can be seen echoed in Lovecraft's writings in general. The descriptions of Reelfoot Lake and
...more
Kendall Moore
Nice little Southern Gothic horror story. The characterization is a bit lackluster but the setting is so good the story practically materializes with every word read.
Alan
Nov 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
An interesting ending. Pretty creepy.
Michael Sorbello
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-books
Fans of Dagon and The Shadow Over Innsmouth will feel at home with this one. The gothic-southern setting, the eerie, eldritch swamplands and pools of grotesque fish-people lurking in the depths. Classic weird fiction.
Maureen
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Fisheads, fisheads, roly poly fisheads. Fisheads, fisheads, eat them up, yum.
Merri Barnousky
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing and unintentionally amusing. This is a B movie among short stories. This random mixed-race guy (which is treated as creepy, btw) lives off alone in the swamp where he howls at the moon and communes with the fish, or something. And also he's got a fish head, because his mother was scared by a fish IDK. But he's basically minding his own business until some morons attack him and it all goes to heck. A masterpiece. Highly recommended. ...more
Eggp
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Peaceful, but ugly
those peckerwoods can't take it
thrashed by such a man.
...more
Forked Radish
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Fishsticks.
Perry
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-tales
One of the most atmospheric horror stories I've ever read. Makes me want to get lost in a swamp. ...more
Matthew Tansek
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What blew me away about this story, and other stories by Cobb is his ability to paint an amazing picture of an exotic landscape. If you spend just a moment and read the first couple of paragraphs of this story you will understand how powerful his words are, and how immersive such writing can be.

This particular story I think serves better as an interesting piece in the greater cannon of material revolving around fish people that can be found in weird fiction and supernatural pulps, than perhaps
...more
Gloria
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Outer Limits or Twilight Zone types; Chiller type stories; non-aquaphobics
This short story set up the protagonist, his murderers, and then the terrifying surprise that the murderers got after their foul deed was accomplished.
Tim
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Precursor to H.P. Lovecraft and worth a read. Short and quick. Slightly ahead of its time.
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Jan 28, 2021
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(Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb)

American author, humorist, editor and columnist from Paducah, Kentucky who relocated to New York during 1904, living there for the remainder of his life.

He wrote for the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper, as the highest paid staff reporter in the United States.

Cobb also wrote more than 60 books and 300 short stories. Some of his works were adapted for silent movie
...more

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“Reelfoot is, and has always been, a lake of mystery.

In places it is bottomless. Other places the skeletons of the cypress-trees that went down when the earth sank, still stand upright so that if the sun shines from the right quarter, and the water is less muddy than common, a man, peering face downward into its depths, sees, or thinks he sees, down below him the bare top-limbs upstretching like drowned men's fingers, all coated with the mud of years and bandaged with pennons of the green lake slime.”
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