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Authors > Robert Bloch

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message 1: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments I've read Bloch's Psycho trilogy the first time about ten years ago. Somehow, 2015 seems to be a Bloch year for me, since I've been re-reading Psycho and finally got to read his other works as well.

As most of you might know, he started his career at the tender age of 17, slaughtered off H. P. Lovecraft in his mythos story The Shambler from the Stars and got himself killed in The Haunter of the Dark, the last story the master wrote. For short, he started his career as an aficionado of the Lovecraft circle and writer of short stories. Since 1959/1960 however, with the theatralic release of Hitchcock's movie, he became simply known as "The author of Psycho" and that phrase was printed on nearly all of his book covers later on.

While his novels are quite good and some of them excellent, his short stories are masterpieces. Perhaps it is a question of preferences here, but almost all of his novels have no or little supernatural elements in them and are often rather suspense or psychological thrillers, while his shorter pieces cover a wide array of themes, from The Great Old Ones, witches, crime stories, time travelling, pacts with the devil to visionary science fiction and surreal pieces.

I have to admit I prefer Bloch as a short story writer, for his ideas and fantasies are very creative, powerful and entertaining.

What's your opinion on Robert Bloch?

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Kratky (bolorkay) | 325 comments Perhaps I am not one to be objective about Mr. Bloch as I've virtually never read anything "bad" or even "mediocre" by him, some others being Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson. His gallows type humor makes his writing quite unique among other writers.
As you mentioned, I especially enjoy his shorter fiction found in such collections as "Pleasant Dreams and Nightmares", "Bogey Men" and "The Opener of The Way".
Have you read his novel, "Psycho II" ? Very unique and unusual.
Bloch's works are always on my "To Be Re-Read" shelf. (Like visiting with an old friend.)

message 3: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments Yes, I've read the complete trilogy and plan to re-read the other two books in the near future. That was a courageous and daring approach and I really liked that book. I cannot mention too much here because of spoilers, but I can also fully understand why the movie people didn't based the sequel on Bloch, too, since he really abandoned the Bates character quite fast. I'm not sure if Norman from part one is even consistent with Norman from the sequel. Psycho House was also good, but it had too much of a regular crime novel to it.

message 4: by Lewstherin14 (new)

Lewstherin14 | 11 comments Could someone list his cthulu works I've read shambler and shadow from the steeple.

message 5: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments His mythos works are collected in the volume Mysteries of the Worm by Chaosium:


Recent editions even added more stories to the collection, so there might still mythos stories by bloch which are uncollected:

Mysteries of the Worm Twenty Cthulhu Mythos Tales by Robert Bloch (Call of Cthulhu Fiction) by Robert Bloch

In my opinion, Notebook Found in a Deserted House is his best mythos story. Beside that, Bloch also wrote an entire novel about the return of the Great Old Ones, albeit it cannot compete with his shorts or most of his other novels:

Strange Eons by Robert Bloch

message 6: by Lewstherin14 (new)

Lewstherin14 | 11 comments ah thanks I actually have notebook in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, Vol 2but haven't read it yet. the rest was helpful thanks.

message 7: by Wes (new)

Wes Brown (wesbrown) | 20 comments I've been a huge Robert Bloch fan since I was a kid. I'm in my 40's now and still enjoy his work as much as I ever have. I'm a big Stephen King fan too and Bloch's influence on him is obvious, especially in his earlier short stories. In the last couple of years I've been able to find some really good deals on some of his older and collectible books and have managed to put together a pretty good collection.

message 8: by Shawn (last edited Aug 14, 2015 04:37AM) (new)

Shawn | 1168 comments Bloch is a funny case for me - obviously, you have to respect the guy (PSYCHO, for godssakes!) but I'm also not much of a horror novel reader (although I have read STRANGE EONS, long, long ago!).

I love short fiction, so I've read a lot of anthologized Bloch shorts. My feeling on him is that when he's really *on* - say, "Enoch", "A Question of Etiquette", "The Feast In The Abbey" or "The Traveling Salesman" - he can't be beat. And even his more straightforward and familiar stuff ("Yours Truly Jack The Ripper", "The Cape") or unashamedly pulpy stuff ("Terror In Cut-Throat Cove") evidence his skill as a craftsman.

On the other hand, he has that problem that a lot of workmanlike, short-fiction-as-career writers have where he finds a formula that sells at a particular time to a particular market and so just works the hell out of it (and who can blame them - it's putting food on the table). Still, if I never again read a Robert Bloch story that ends with a punny, EC-horror TALES FROM THE CRYPT last line ("Cat got your tongue?", "he was hung by the chimney with care..."), it will be too soon! And he has a lot of these, sadly - so a checkered short fiction career, at least for me.

Those who like Bloch might want to check out R. Chetwynd-Hayes, who I kind of mentally tag as his British equivalent.

message 9: by Perry (new)

Perry Lake | 308 comments I love most of the things I've read from Robert Bloch--and he was very funny in all his TV interviews. After "Psycho" he is mostly known for his Cthulhean tales. I think "Notebook Found in a Deserted House" should win an award just for the title! However, my favorite piece by him might be the lesser known American Gothic by Robert Bloch , involving another famous serial killer. Written in staccato, short paragraphs, it's like a rollercoaster ride.

message 10: by Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited Aug 18, 2015 07:39PM) (new)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Some of his stuff misses the mark and comes across cheesy, but I must say he's always been a favorite of mine. It's not the stories that always work, it's his writing style: I love it. He has an effortless way with words that I can't stop marveling at when I'm reading his stuff. My favorite book from him is The Kidnapper, excellent book, I highly recommend it.

Last year I managed to get the hardcover collection of his three Psycho novels. I was let down by the first, Psycho, it was more of a novella and didn't seem as psychologically intensive as the film version. Will read the sequels later.

message 11: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments Erin (Paperback stash) *is juggle-reading* wrote: "My favorite book from him is The Kidnapper, excellent book, I highly recommend it. "

Read, finished it 10 minutes ago and gave it five stars. The atmosphere almost had something from Capote's In Coldblood to it.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Glad you enjoyed it!

message 13: by Cuniculus (last edited Aug 27, 2015 07:20AM) (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments I started Sneak Preview today. Robert Bloch was notorious for his strong dislike of psychiatry and psychiatrists (something what makes him even more sympathic for me), and this dystopian Sci-Fi novel is centered around a society which is ruled and planned by psychiatrists.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Ekel wrote: "I started Sneak Preview today. Robert Bloch was notorious for his strong dislike of psychiatry and psychiatrists (something what makes him even more sympathic for me), and this dyst..."

I never knew that. Psychiatrists in his day were especially....well, struggling. Never heard of this book, will have to seek it out, especially if it has a dystopian bend.

message 15: by Cuniculus (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments Just finished it. It has a similar feeling like Logan's Run and other dytopian movies of the 60ies & 70ies.

message 16: by Cuniculus (last edited Aug 27, 2015 05:14PM) (new)

Cuniculus Potterton | 2736 comments An addendum to Sneak Preview:

Beside the main story, there are two flashbacks which appear to be rather out of place, with no obvious connection to the plot. They are more like independent short stories. I assume Bloch included them to illustrate one of the main motifs of the novel, the conflict between youth and old age. However, the second flashback, if a real short story, would easily be one of Bloch's best, in my opinion.

(view spoiler)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Maxie, I read Lori, which I thought was okay. Need to read Psycho II and Psycho House sometime

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Maxie wrote: "Lori was good but not his best. I love the Psycho series a lot. Psycho II is nothing like the movie and Psycho House is so eerie. They should turn it into a movie."

Agree on Lori. I thought the plot got too confused and inconsistent toward the middle and end. I'm definitely getting more excited to check out the other Psychos now, may have to read it soon for the horror/fall reading.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments Just looked through my bookshelf to see what I've read and how I've rated his stuff -

Anthology: Fear Trembling: Rise & Shine 3 stars

Robert Bloch's Psychos 3 stars - this anthology is a collection of stories from multiple authors. need to re-read to give review and fairer rating.

The Kidnapper - Rated 4 stars years ago. Reading my review, Im not sure why I didnt give it five stars. I remember loving it so who knows.

Lori - 2 stars

Night of the Ripper - 2 stars

Psycho - 4 stars

American Gothic - 2 stars

I have left to read by him in my collection:

Psycho II
Psycho House

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