Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fishhead” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.83  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  13 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 ...more
Paperback, 25 pages
Published February 1st 1987 by Necronomicon Press (first published 1913)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fishhead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fishhead

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  53 ratings  ·  13 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Fishhead
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 ...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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Michael Sorbello
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Fisheads, fisheads, roly poly fisheads. Fisheads, fisheads, eat them up, yum.
Steven Middaugh
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Tales to tell

Irvin Cobb was a journalist, and a humorist like Mark Twain, Jerome K. Jerome, and Barry Pain. And like those he wrote a handful, tales of the fantastic. But unlike those writers, he wrote subtly the supernatural. Most were purely psychological, but the ironies are not lost on the reader, especially when bad guys think they can get away with the crime committed. However, one story stands out at the beginning of this collection, Fishhead, was well before Lovecraft's
Tony Smith
Colorful language and a good feel for local vernacular, but the stories were all too formulaic and dependent on fantastic coincidences for my liking. I suspect I would enjoy the humorous stories 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
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.
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.
Lyle Erickson
rated it liked it
May 04, 2013
Jeff Hobbs
rated it it was ok
Aug 04, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jun 16, 2015
Margaret McGoverne
rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2017
Lesa Loves Books
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2019
Ida Berg
rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2018
rated it liked it
Oct 28, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2017
Kevin Christensen
rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2019
Nathan Lynn
rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2013
Osiris Oliphant
rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2016
Lonely Tree
rated it really liked it
May 02, 2016
rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2015
Anastasia Kvitkova
rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2017
rated it liked it
May 15, 2014
rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2019
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • الغرفة الحمراء
  • The Yellow Sign
  • Dreizehn bei Tisch
  • Ligeia
  • Lovecraft Country
  • The Outsider
  • The Great God Pan
  • What Was It?
  • The Whisperer in Darkness
  • El horror de Dunwich
  • The Shadow Out of Time
  • The Waxwork
  • The Monkey's Paw
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth
  • The Damned Thing
  • Apathetic Flesh
  • The Shadows on The Wall
  • The Willows
See similar books…
(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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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.”
More quotes…