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The Conception of Terror: Tales Inspired by M. R. James - Volume 1
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The Conception of Terror: Tales Inspired by M. R. James - Volume 1

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,616 ratings  ·  249 reviews
A collection of four ghostly tales inspired by M. R. James.

Casting the Runes - adapted by Stephen Gallagher

When academic Jo Harrington (Anna Maxwell Martin) is sent a paper - The Truth of Alchemy, by Anton Karswell - for peer review, she pulls no punches. It has no place in a serious academic publication, and Karswell is a half-bright fool. However,
Audible Audio, Original Recording Audiobook, 5 pages
Published February 7th 2019 by Audible Studios
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Average rating 3.38  · 
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 ·  1,616 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
One of August's Audible member's free picks, 4 short-stories, 4-hours 13-minutes. The first 3 stories were interesting and a pleasant listen, but highly predictable. Story number 4 was torture to get through, it's too bad they included it at all. Number 4 is placed last so the irritation of it lasts with you, taking away the enjoyment of the first 3. If it had been placed 1st I would have assumed they were all like that and not gone any farther.

Stories are narrated by 2 to 4 narrator
May 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, fantasy
Ohh I hated this. It's a modern retelling of classic ghost stories originally written by M.R. James and done as a radio play. I tend to avoid radio plays because although sometimes the acting is great, sometimes it's awful, as is the case with this recording. Plus making the stories more modern took away from the creepy atmosphere. Hard pass.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
I've never read any of the original stories, but I found these enjoyable! I like dramatizations -- when I'm in a rut, I love listening to The Twilight Zone's radio dramas -- so this was fun for me. The voices were great and I loved the sound effects. The only thing that didn't work, in some ways, were the stories. While they were enjoyable, I found them a bit predictable and I could see exactly where they were going very early into the stories.
Kimba Tichenor
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A bit like listening to the Twilight Zone; the first of the four short stories included in these dramatizations of the ghost stories of M. R. James (1862-1936) was by far the scariest in my estimation. The other three were a bit weaker but still quite entertaining. Perfect stories for a good scare around the campfire -- if you are into that type of thing. As an Audible freebie, this one worked for me.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible, mystery
ndividual grades I'd assign to each story, in order: A, B, C, D.

First one was fairly solid in terms of plot and acting; they should have all been more like this. Second one required a bit of suspension of disbelief for a conspiracy theory, but otherwise okay. Performance by the actors for the third story wasn't too bad, but I don't feel I understood the ending, or point of the story, as well as resenting relying on the cliche of scandal at a boys' school. Final offering was just down
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
There are four tales here that are performed by a cast of people with sound effects and music. For the most part, I enjoyed that though some of the sound effects were a bit overbearing. The acting was wonderful, and I really enjoyed that aspect.

While half of them were predictable, the predictability wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoyed both the first and the last tales. Both got my heart pumping a little bit, but the first one was my absolute favorite. I will say thes
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This collection of stories is very creepy. It made me curious to read the originals and, honestly, these reinterpretations were scarier and more entertaining. The Audible performances are outstanding. They were a little too politically correct (giving women the leading roles where James had males) and took way too many liberties with the stories but the outcome is very good.
2,8 stars. I actually enjoyed this short story collection. One of the advantages to listening to horror stories with a full cast and sound effects is that you get an immersive experience and actually feel as if you're there with the characters. For me though, the most important aspect of a horror story, besides a well crafted atmosphere, is a good backstory. And these had some decent ones:

1. Casting the Runes: Jo and Edward, an academic and her husband are literally cursed by occulti
Stephanie (Bookish Plans)
{Rated PG-13: Suicide, brief talk of sexual assault, and murder} I love listening to dramatic audio books where there are several narrators, background sounds, and loads of sound effects. I found the narrators great and the atmosphere around each short story fascinating, but the actual stories themselves were just... okay. I didn’t find them spooky and a couple of them leave you hanging just a bit to leave things up to your imagination. Which is great for some people, but for me... I have to kno ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Occult researchers, council kids, treasure hunters, bereaved parents
I haven't read any of M.R. James' original stories. I should probably rectify that. This Audible production is apparently a modernized version of several of his short stories. They work pretty well, but now I am curious what the original stories were like.

Each one basically involves an innocent stumbling into a sinister secret involving ghosts, occult practices, or devilish secret societies. The endings are grim and chilling. The radio drama format of this collection works well for c
Mahoghani 23
I started this book this afternoon & at first I was not interested. The book read like a live tv show. The characters sounded stuffy & uptight. Once the story picked up, I had to finish this story.

If you believe necromancy, occultism, or witchcraft, you will enjoy this short horror story. The plot is what captured my attention. The characters were very believable, the story was strange but full of energy & action, & the ending is just perfect.
Kenneth Geary
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh, the stories themselves aren’t terrible and have decent premises but except for the first story the endings need some work. My biggest complaint is the Audio, normally this would be separate from my general review but seeing how this is an Audible Original it’s relevant, whoever mixed this needs to check their files and maybe take some more classes the volume is all over the place randomly super high or super low, the interludes are way too long. Had I not been driving down the road I would ...more
Jeff Harris
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, audible
Felt like all of the suspense and surprise came from the background music/effects as opposed to the story. Jump scares in audiobooks don't do much for me.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
An audible original, not a fan of dramatization. I think it was a lot of noise and did little to create atmosphere. At least it was free. Four short stories.
4 ghostly tales inspired by M. R. James; Casting the Runes, Lost Hearts, The Treasure of Abbot-Thomas, A View from a Hill.

I would have rather read these without the dramatization.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
3/5 — Audible Membership included selection. There were 4 stories in a dramatized format. The first story was my favorite. I felt it succeeded in being creepy and no one doing really stupid things. I think it’s possible and enjoyable to make a good horror story that doesn’t involve main characters who freeze and just scream. Second stories had mid aged teenagers as main characters, which I usually don’t enjoy as much. Third story had an implied lesbian partner living with the main character, thi ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
One of these days, Audible is going to absolutely nail an old, radio storytelling production. Today isn’t that day, but these are getting better.

What could they do to improve this?

Well, for starters, I don’t need 90 seconds of music to introduce each story, nor do I need 90 seconds of music at the conclusion of the tale. That’s right, if you’re a patient person, you’ll listen to 3 minutes of creepy, mood-setting music between stories.

Additionally, while sound effects can be admittedly fun, I
Sarah Roehling
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It was very well done.
Michelle Dinkins
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love a good horror story. If this is Vol 1, I can't wait until Vol 2.
Ernesto I. Ramirez
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-drama, horror
Great horror stories, amazingly dramatized.
Patrick Weems
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge M. R. James fan, and I didn't know what to expect with this dramatic adaptation, but it is excellent! The actors did a terrific job, the writing is excellent, and the sound effects added to the story rather than distracting from it. Very well done!
Mike Ryan
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This Audible original is more of a radio play than it is an audiobook. It has a great cast for each of the four stories, that are "inspired by" M.R. James, but clearly re-written in play format. This is not a bad thing, as the stories are very-well produced.

As with any anthology, the first and last stories are the best. The first story is truly scary, with sound effects and acting that genuinely gave me thrills. The other three stories are okay, but they have very similar themes and
Overall, the voice acting was great, and sound effects were decently done. I'm not crazy about sound effects in an audiobook, but can take it for a short story/drama although it was a little overbearing in parts making it hard to hear the vocals sometimes.

The first story, Casting the Runes, was pretty good, I'd give it 4 stars. Predictable, but well done.

The second story, Lost Hearts, had potential, but fell flat. 3 stars.

The third story, The Treasure of Abbot
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed these scary stories. I have very little experience with the suspense/horror genre, but I thought these four stories were very well done. My one complaint on the audiobook side of things is that sometimes the sound effects went on for way to long. Sometimes it felt like I was listening to 5 minutes of scary noises before I would hear actual talking again. But aside from that, the stories were great. I liked the twists and turns and the fact that you might think one character was ...more
Yana Goldman
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was listening to it as an audio book while on a long flight. The books consists of 4 stories which have nothing to do with each other. While the first one was a little chilling (though still very predictable), the others just were... Very meh.
Well written. The sounds were great, too, although this is more about the production rather the book itself. But the stories were very lacking.
I do not recommend you read this book unless you are trapped thousands feet in the air and there are
Steve Betz
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, 2019, audio-2019
Solid collection of audioplays that are updates of of horror stories by MR James written around a century ago. Each one of the four is about an hour in length, which gives enough time to feel like the characters get a chance to develop and for the tension throughout to build. Nice work by the voice actors. This was an Audible Original and free during this month (Aug 2019).
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robyn Bowne
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Haven’t read any of his books and not sure if it would have the same effect reading them as listening but now I’m curious...but the audiobook was really good. I even jumped a couple of times while driving around! 😂
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to an audiobook of the collections of M.R. James stories earlier in the year and when I saw this come up in the free Audible books, I decided it could be a cool experience.

I really liked the modernization of the stories a lot, and having it done as an audio drama kept me interested the whole time.
Teresa Barrera
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This was free on audible and I love spooky reads or listens, so definitely jumped on this.
I found I liked some of the stories and others I was a bit bored.
Kat, lover of bears...
Note to self: Do not listen to dramatizations!

I don’t know if these stories would have been scary if read in print but it was predictable and meh.
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Montague Rhodes James, who used the publication name M.R. James, was a noted British mediaeval scholar & provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–18) & of Eton College (1918–36). He's best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. One of James' most important achievements was to redefine the ghost story for the new century by di ...more