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Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  33 reviews
John Langan, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel The Fisherman, returns with a new book of stories.

An aspiring actress goes to an audition with a mysterious director. An editor receives the last manuscript of his murdered friend. A young lawyer learns the terrible connection between her grandfather and an ancient race of creatures. A bodyguard drives her employer
Paperback, 378 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Word Horde
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Sadie Hartmann
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
First things first, the introduction to this book, written by Stephen Graham Jones, is so choice. Bonus points right away for mentioning one of my favorite childhood stories ever: The Monster at the End of This Book (narrated by your lovable ol’ pal, Grover).

Dr. Jones goes on to say, “John Langan, both delivering us some compelling horror but at the same time interrogating the basic form of horror.”

That’s how this collection feels to me too: On its face, twenty-one stories of horror. Underneath
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
That John's new collection CHILDREN OF THE FANG would be brilliant (and freakin' scary) wasn't a question. But, jesus, the audacity, range, scope, and humanity of his imagination within his continued interrogation of genre and literary influence is, frankly, awe-inspiring. The only question for me was how many stories would employ a cactus. (answer: one). I love John's big terrible brain and look forward to eating it one day. ...more
Becky Spratford
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review Appeared in the August 2020 Issue of Booklist and on the blog:

Three Words That Describe This Book: immersive, atmospheric lyrical

You can suggest this collection to fans of an emerging class of stellar horror writers who have been inspired by Langan himself such as Usman Malik, Rachel Eve Moulton, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Alex Wolfgang
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh man, what an epic, diverse, and mostly fantastic collection. This is my third Langan book, and I'm convinced the man is a literary genius, even if he gets a bit carried away by his own indulgences sometimes.

When he's on point, Langan writes some of the best short horror in the business. He pulls off some of the most insane story concepts I've ever encountered. "Irezumi" explores Lovecraftian Cyberpunk through tattoos. "Communion of Saints" tells a strangely character driven mystery while feat
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
John Langan is almost certainly my favorite living author. But if you are new to his writing I would not recommend starting here. He shines best in the longer form short stories and novel length writings and the short and clippy stories that, for the most part, make up this collection do not do his prodigious talents the full justice that the three other collections he has released do.

That being said, the longest story in here, 'Children of the Fang', from which the collection takes its collect
Orrin Grey
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
The latest collection from John Langan, who remains one of my favorite living horror writers, is audacious and anomalous for a number of reasons. For one, most of Langan's previous collections have consisted of a handful of longer narratives, often novellas that sometimes rubbed up against short novels. While Children of the Fang has a few of those, including the title story, they're far from the rule, here, where they stand as outliers in a field of sometimes markedly short tales that verge of ...more
M Griffin
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So much great stuff here! Another essential collection from one of the top few horror writers we've got. I also really enjoyed the story notes at the end, and wish more collections included them. Highly recommended. ...more
Neil McRobert
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a bumper crop of short fiction. In the substantial story notes (which I always enjoy) the author mentions the feeling of cracking open a big collection - King's Skeleton Crew, or Barker's Books of Blood, for example, and Children of the Fang does have that vibe. Indeed, it has a LOT of vibes - with each story seeming to pay homage to at least one horror luminary. This isn;t to say that they don't have their own voice - they most definitely do - but that the tradition, or 'genealogy' as L ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, weird-fiction
Excellent collection. Part of the joy of reading this lay in the sheer variety of stories included here. I’ll certainly be checking out Langan’s other collections after this.
Justin Lewis
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think the best way to start this is with a comment I made on Twitter a couple weeks ago- I've never read a book so inhabited by worlds. Almost every single story made me want more time with them, more time in those settings, and more time with these characters. I've never read world-building like this before and it blew me away. And not just one world, but over 20 of them, some with ancient histories that go back and some that go beyond.

This collection is mostly comprised of stories Langan wro
Wow. Langan is one of those authors I can be completely certain I'll be drawn into his work, and his latest collection is no exception. My biggest conflict is deciding whether his short stories or his longer fiction is better, and to that I've finally just decided, both.
Children of the Fang is a widely varied collection, spanning tone, subject matter, and levels of horror. The recurring theme is a distinct and imitable ability to get under the skin of the reader, unsettle you in every way. It's
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
John Langan, man. This guy knows what he's doing. The stories within this collection are from a variety of sources, with one original to the collection. The plots and styles are, not surprisingly, varied as a result. Most of the stories here were great; personal favorites include "Sweetums" and the stretch of stories from "With Max Barry in the Nearer Precincts" to "Ymir". The story notes at the end list what authors, directors, etc. he was inspired by while writing them, and it's a solid list o ...more
David Samuels
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
These were pretty good! Although it opened with some weak stories, there's also a few gems in here as well. I found the incorrect usage of hyphens a little distracting, though. ...more
Logan Noble
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Longer review incoming!
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-books
John Langan is an absolute genius and treasure that we are not worthy of. This collection of stories is a mind bending, reality questioning, seep into your skin, horror injection that will stick with you. When I had to do things like work, eat, bathe, be normal, I decided instead to read this. And when I finished it I had a tough time not going back and rereading it. There are things in here that you haven't seen and probably shouldn't see, but let's be honest, you'll want to see them because it ...more
Ian Grochowsky
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Multiple stories left me aghast. None left me cold. You will enjoy this even more if you have knowledge of weird fiction/horror authors and tropes
Corey Farrenkopf
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent collection of Horror stories. Definitely don't miss out on it if you love Weird Fiction and Meta Horror!!! ...more
Michael Hicks
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, bought
Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies, John Langan's fourth collection, comprises twenty-one short stories thematically bound by the author's influences and responses to other writers, particularly given that several of the shorts reproduced here were originally written for homage anthologies to the likes of Robert W. Chambers and Thomas Ligotti or were written with a particular author (and even a few film directors, like David Lynch and Dario Argento) in mind who acted as a compass and ins ...more
Philip Haagensen
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Children of the Fang is a hodgepodge of short stories generally intended for other, specifically themed collections but brought together here in one place. Langan offered these stories to be inclusions in Lovecraftian, weird fiction anthologies, in some cases with very specific themes and threads.

In this particular collection, Langan emphasizes the fact that most if not all have some connection to a specific author who has influenced Langan’s writing, and the stories are written with that in min
I think John Langan is one of the best weird fiction authors working today or really ever, and it's amazing that he's able to churn out so much work at such a calibre. After dabbling in a couple unsatisfying/less competent weird collections, it was nice to go back to someone who's just rock solid at the craft. But the longer I read, the less excited I felt, until I was kind of dragging myself through the end. I've expressed my annoyance with Langan's previous short story collections for his pred ...more
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever found yourself staring down from a great height, or gazing into a bright light for too long, only to step back from the edge or turn the light off - and find that you can't quite shake that dizzying feeling of unease? Like some sort of liminal threshold has been crossed, and you need a bit of time to readjust to your surroundings?

That was what reading this short story collection was like for me.

After only having read The Fisherman (one of my top 5 favourite books), I wanted to di
A.G.  Hilton
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Ever since reading Langan’s The Fisherman a year ago, he has become one of my favorite contemporary authors of weird fiction and cosmic horror. So when I saw a new collection was dropping, I was keen to get a taste of his short fiction as I hadn’t read any of his prior collections yet. I’m happy to say that this collection has solidified my opinion of his work.

What strikes me about these stories is Langan’s ability to pack big concepts into sleek tales. None over stay their welcome, and yet seve
Ross Macpherson
Sep 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Most of the included stories are bloated, far longer than they need to be to achieve their effect. The writing is mixed: some striking and precise but almost every story contains at least one sloppy phrase that needed another draft. Most demonstrate the clear amount of research Langan puts into his work, but often to the detriment of a story; too often it feels like he has included everything he has learned, like a diligent but not gifted student, who throws down everything on the page without a ...more
Apr 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, horror
This was...fine. as with any anthology the stories are of variable quality, some super engaging and others flat. Unfortunately for me, more fell on the side of flat and I found the book overall a slog. I was prepared, after The Fisherman, for Langan's dense prose, but just didn't find the character connection in many of these tales. I also had this disappointing moment about halfway through where i realised that for at least three stories in a row, the entire narrative had been laid out in huge ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Anything new from John Langan is worthwhile, and this collection is no exception. Like most anthologies, there's going to be repeat readings (if you're a fan), but there's a bunch of stories here that were new to me (and one new to this collection - "Vista" - that's one of my favorites). For those that have an appreciation for backgrounds on stories, there's an entry at the end of the book for each one, along with a reference to the author(s) Langan writes were "foremost in my mind as I was writ ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Good Collection of Horror Short Stories by a Fave Author

I still recommend “The Fisherman” as a great horror novel with Lovecraftian themes, like many of the stories here. Fans of cosmic horror will find a rich feast here, but should know many stories are even shorter and more open ended than previous collections. Whether that’s a boon to your imagination or a frustrating ambiguity is up to you.
Recommend for horror fans.
Jeremiah Dylan Dylan
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I may do a longer review at some point, but for now I will say that I particularly enjoyed the collection's namesake, Sweetums, Ymir, The Horn of the World's Ending, and The Communion of Saints. As always, Mr. Langan delivers many spooky, entertaining, and thought-provoking tales. I can't wait to read whatever he puts out next. ...more
Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I always admire Langan's writing, and he knows how to create chilling, surreal moments of wrongness. I did feel like this particular collection had some pieces that seemed fragmentary, and very specific to the other projects they were written for. But it was still effective, and I appreciated the story notes at the end, explaining the genesis of each story. ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing way to spend some time during the pandemic. Langan writes with such ease—there’s an elasticity to his prose that I greatly admire. I also dig his sense of humor...and the author’s notes! I will keep buying his books....he’s a great voice.
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was it awesome? Um, yeah, that would be a rhetorical question. No weak points here, discounting Langan's perennial spelling problem. That, though, I blame on indifferent editors. Otherwise, Langan brings to the table all the good stuff we love him for. Creepy goodness galore. ...more
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John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman (Word Horde 2016) and House of Windows (Night Shade 2009), and two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (Hippocampus 2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Prime 2008). With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters (Prime 2011). He's one of the founders of the Shirle ...more

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