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Book Recommendations > "Bad Place" stories

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited May 08, 2018 08:44AM) (new)

Does anyone know of any stories using the "Bad Place" archetype (for example: "The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood, "N" by Stephen King, "The Shadowy Street" by Jean Ray, "The House On The Borderland" by William Hope Hodgson, etc.). I am quite a fan of this type of story and would like to know more to find. If it is a short story, I would like to know which anthology or collection it can be found in, as well.


message 2: by M.E. (last edited May 02, 2018 03:58PM) (new)

M.E. | 409 comments I rather liked The Ruins


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, "The Fisherman" looks particularly interesting and "Annihilation" was already on my to-read list. I think I saw a copy of "The Ruins" at the local thrift store a while back, so I'll probably pick that up next time I go there (usually all they have are 4 shelves of Dean Koontz and John Saul and one of later day Anne Rice).


message 5: by Anne (w/ an E) (new)

Anne (w/ an E) (mzcatnthehat) | 801 comments I just picked up The Ruins at the second-hand bookstore yesterday.


message 6: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Here are 10 stories off the top of my head that more or less fit the bill, I think. I don’t have info on the volumes that contain them at my fingertips, but a peek at ISFDB should quickly produce the needed data. Most are fairly well known and I suspect many have already read at least some.

“The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster”, H. R. Wakefield (1928)
“Far Below”, Robert Barbour Johnson (1939)
“New Corner”, L. T. C. Rolt (1939]
“The Lonesome Place”, August Derleth (1948)
“Crouch End”, Stephen King (1980)
“The Smell of Cherries”, Jeffrey Goddin (1982)
“Fish Night”, Joe R. Lansdale (1982)
“Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity”, David Morrell (1989)
“Not Stopping at Mabb’s End”, Michael Chislett (2003)
“Northwest Passage”, Barbara Roden (2004)


message 7: by M.E. (new)

M.E. | 409 comments Anne (w/ an E) wrote: "I just picked up The Ruins at the second-hand bookstore yesterday."

Awesome, I hope you like as much as I did!


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul (modquokka) | 6 comments I've just finished reading Vandermeer's Annihilation trilogy - loved his writing.

Some may disagree with me, but you might want to check out some of Daphne Du Maurier's writing. She was kinda weird and on the edge even if some wouldn't call it horror; and place always played a big part in her writing - especially some of her short stories.

Other books (not already mentioned)

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaimon
Monte Verità short by Du Maurier (you can find this in the anthology The Birds and Other Stories

I'm sorry and I hate doing self-promotion, but I also think the 'bad place' archetype is used in my own writing a lot.

Short story - Magpie
(Review by online book club: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/vie... so you don't have to take my word)

New Novel - Nightjar
(eBook at the mo, but coming out in paperback in a week or two)


message 9: by Paul (last edited May 04, 2018 11:26AM) (new)

Paul (modquokka) | 6 comments Oh ... and Duma Key by Stephen King.


message 10: by M.E. (last edited May 04, 2018 06:52PM) (new)

M.E. | 409 comments At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

Short story: The Abominations of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith (also available to read online at: http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/...).

Many of Lovecraft and Smith's other stories fall into this category as well.

For those that liked Annihilation you may also like Clark Ashton Smith's work although I should say it can get VERY dark at times. He was one of the major contributors to pulp era weird fiction and a master of the written word. His writing can seem "thick" by today's standards, but is very visual and poetic.

A paragraph from "The Abominations of Yondo":
"So far, I had not thought of turning back, for all the horror of those rotting cacti, or the evil things that dwelt among them. Now, I paused knowing the abominable legend of the land to which I had come; for Yondo is a place where few have ventured wittingly and of their own accord. Fewer still have returned - babbling of unknown horrors and strange treasure; and the life-long palsy which shakes their withered limbs, together with the mad gleam in their staring eyes beneath whitened brows and lashes, is not an incentive for others to follow. So it was that I hesitated on the verge of those ashen sands, and felt the tremor of a new fear in my wrenched vitals. It was dreadful to go on, and dreadful to go back, for I felt sure that the priests had made provision against the latter contingency. So after a little I went forward, singing at each step in loathly softness, and followed by certain long-legged insects that I had met among the cacti. These insects were the color of a week-old corpse and were as large as tarantulas; but when I turned and trod upon the foremost, a mephitic stench arose that was more nauseous even than their color. So, for the nonce, I ignored them as much as possible."


message 11: by Paul (new)

Paul (modquokka) | 6 comments Oooh - I like the look of 'The Abominations of Yondo'. I will have to try some of Ashton Smith's work.

Thanks for that :)


message 12: by Alan (new)

Alan | 5542 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "I've just finished reading Vandermeer's Annihilation trilogy - loved his writing.

Some may disagree with me, but you might want to check out some of Daphne Du Maurier's writing. Sh..."


VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy was awesome.
And du Maurier definitely can be considered horror. Some of here stuff is outright like "The Birds", while others are more psychological, but she is very good at atmosphere and tension.


message 13: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa O The Devil on May Street by Steve Harris... Rare but if you can find it, it's amazing.


message 14: by Nicos (new)

Nicos | 123 comments Maybe somebody in this thread can help me track down the novel I have been trying to remember. It is a haunted house story, but the twist is that the house is brand new being built in the 60's or 70's when the book was written. It is just like the place it was built in was a bad place. I think it parallels the disintegration of the main characters marriage and it was written like Shirley Jackson's The Haunting in that we never really get an explanation for the events.


message 15: by Nicos (new)

Nicos | 123 comments Nicos wrote: "Maybe somebody in this thread can help me track down the novel I have been trying to remember. It is a haunted house story, but the twist is that the house is brand new being built in the 60's or 7..."

I dug around and I think it is The House Next Door


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Canavan wrote: "Here are 10 stories off the top of my head that more or less fit the bill, I think. I don’t have info on the volumes that contain them at my fingertips, but a peek at ISFDB should quickly produce t..."

"Fish Night", "New Corner", "Far Below", and "Northwest Passage" are all favourites of mine, and I have “Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity” and “The Lonesome Place” sitting around unread at home. I've been meaning to read more H R Wakefield, so I'll probably start with “The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster” once I can find it.


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited May 11, 2018 07:22AM) (new)

Paul wrote: "Oh ... and Duma Key by Stephen King."

"Duma Key" is one of Stephen King's most underrated books. One of his best this century (alongside "Revival).

Also, I consider Du Maurier to be horror. If Robert Aickman and Shirley Jackson are horror (which I think is the case) than Du Maurier certainly counts.


message 18: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Thefiendfromdimensionx said:

"Fish Night", "New Corner", "Far Below", and "Northwest Passage" are all favourites of mine, and I have “Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity” and “The Lonesome Place” sitting around unread at home. I've been meaning to read more H R Wakefield, so I'll probably start with “The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster” once I can find it.

In looking at the ISFDB web site, I’m a little surprised at how infrequently “Duncaster” has been anthologized. For my money, it’s one of Wakefield’s more memorable tales. It originally appeared in the author’s 1928 collection, They Return at Evening . (That book also marks the initial appearance of “The Red Lodge”, which might conceivably be classified as another “bad place” story.) Print copies of They Return at Evening are scarce and typically expensive. Your best bet might be the electronic edition published by Ash-Tree Press some years back. If you get around to reading “Duncaster”, I’d be interested in your reaction; without getting spoilery, I’ll just say that there are links between it and another story you’ve already read.

On the subject of Wakefield in general, I’ve found him to be a problematic writer. He’s written a number of stories rightfully regarded as classics in the genre, but his portrayal of women (especially in his later stories) is disturbing and difficult to overlook.


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited May 09, 2018 07:55AM) (new)

Canavan wrote: "Thefiendfromdimensionx said:


"Fish Night", "New Corner", "Far Below", and "Northwest Passage" are all favourites of mine, and I have “Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity” and “The Lonesome..."


I`ve only read "The Red Lodge" and "Blind Man's Buff", and thus I don't really have a lot of experience with Wakefield's work, so thanks for the warning.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I recall reading a story in an anthology of modern ghost stories that falls into this category, but I can't remember the title. It was the one about the restaurant in 60s Brittain where people would sometimes dissapear, among other things. Does anyone know which one this is?


message 21: by Stevan (new)

Stevan Stanojlović "The Valley of Beasts", "The Trod", "The Wendigo", "A Descent into Egypt" by Algernon Blackwood;
"Night School", "The Last Feast of Harlequin" by Thomas Ligotti;
"The Hospice" by Robert Aickman;
"Squire Toby's Will" by Sheridan Le Fanu.


message 22: by Nicos (new)

Nicos | 123 comments Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote:

"Duma Key" is one of Stephen Kings most underrated books. One of his best this century (alongside "Revival). ."


Oh yes, it kind of goes off the rails too much at the end with all the happenings on the island... I think the intent was "nightmare" but it came off as just plain goofy, but everything else is fantastic.


message 23: by Benjamin (last edited May 11, 2018 07:56AM) (new)

Benjamin Appleby-Dean (benjaminappleby-dean) HR Wakefield is one of those authors especially difficult to get hold of in print - I now have the majority of his stories, but it took several years to find them without paying ridiculous prices.

"The First Sheaf" is one of his I don't think gets enough attention.


message 24: by John (new)


message 25: by [deleted user] (last edited May 11, 2018 07:26AM) (new)

Stevan wrote: ""The Valley of Beasts", "The Trod", "The Wendigo", "A Descent into Egypt" by Algernon Blackwood;
"Night School", "The Last Feast of Harlequin" by Thomas Ligotti;
"The Hospice" by Robert Aickman;
"S..."


I would also suggest Ligotti's "The Glamour" and Aickman's "Into The Wood" and "Niemandswasser" for these authors

Also, looking back I would say almost all L T C Rolt's stories are bad place stories. As well as the aforementioned "New Corner" he also wrote "Agony Of Flame", "The Garside Fell Disaster", "Cwm Garon" and "The House Of Vengance" which all fit this category; and arguments could be made for "The Mine" and "Hawley Bank Foundry" being examples as well.


message 26: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote (in part):

Also, looking back I would say almost all L T C Rolt's stories are bad place stories. As well as the aforementioned "New Corner" he also wrote "Agony Of Flame", "The Garside Fell Disaster", "Cwm Garon" and "The House Of Vengance" which all fit this category; and arguments could be made for "The Mine" and "Hawley Bank Foundry" being examples as well.

In my first post I had been tempted to mention my favorite of Rolt’s stories, “Bosworth Summit Pound”, but wasn’t 100% sure how or if it fit into the category under discussion. In further pondering the notion of “bad places”, I think that there is a perhaps subtle, but real, distinction to be made between (a) places that are bad merely as a consequence of the presence of bad “things” and (b) places that are for whatever reason inherently bad and as a result of their badness attract bad things. The second of these two subcategories is the narrower and less inclusive of the two and is more what I thought you might have in mind in your original post. It often finds explicit form in Lovecraftian and Machenesque tales where authors make reference to “thin boundaries” separating different planes of existance.


message 27: by [deleted user] (last edited May 14, 2018 07:48AM) (new)

Canavan wrote: "Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote (in part):


Also, looking back I would say almost all L T C Rolt's stories are bad place stories. As well as the aforementioned "New Corner" he also wrote "Agony Of ..."


I've been thinking about a similar distinction. Type A would be much broader, and might include stories such as Lovecraft's "The Colour Out Of Space", Campbell's "Mackintosh Willy" (some may debate this one, but I would consider the bike shelter to be one after the title character's death), Rolt's "Cwm Garon" and James's "Number 13", all stories where a malevolent being inhabits a place and makes it hostile to visitors; while type B would include Blackwood's "The Willows", Ligotti's "The Red Tower", and Rolt's "New Corner" and "The Dead Valley" (possibly the first example of such a story, but I can't remember the author). Interestingly, there are some borderline cases (e.g. King's "1408", some portions of Machen's "The White People", Barron's "-30-") that could be fit into either catecory, depending on your interpretation. Ultimately, I have no preference for either type of story.


message 28: by Marie (new)

Marie | 3720 comments This book gave me the willies last year and you might want to try it out: The Demonic by Lee Mountford. Very scary!


message 29: by Bob (new)

Bob (ilovepie) | 147 comments The Events at the Poroth Farm.

It is a novelette by T.E.D Klein. The area in the tale doesn't start off as bad, but due to a very foolish decision by the narrator it steadily becomes terrifyingly bad.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Bob wrote: "The Events at the Poroth Farm.

It is a novelette by T.E.D Klein. The area in the tale doesn't start off as bad, but due to a very foolish decision by the narrator it steadily becomes terrifyingly..."


Actually, I just read that last week. Very good atmosphere.


message 31: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote:

Actually, I just read that [“The Events at Poroth Farm”] last week. Very good atmosphere.

Maybe the best thing Klein ever wrote. It formed the basis for what I think was the author’s only novel, The Ceremonies .


message 32: by Randy (new)

Randy Money | 332 comments I read "The Dead Valley" for the first time just a few months ago and it's a good suggestion; it was written by Ralph Adams Cram. I'd also add "The Transfer" by Algernon Blackwood, "Three Miles Up" by Elizabeth Jane Howard, "How Fear Departed the Long Gallery" by E. F. Benson, and "The Hungry House" by Robert Bloch.

I think you could make a case for several Fritz Leiber stories: "Smoke Ghost"; "The Hill and the Hole"; "Spider Mansion"; "A Bit of the Dark World"; "Black Glass"; and his novel, Our Lady Of Darkness by Fritz Leiber ; at least the concept of cities as the nexus of energies, some dark, fits the idea of "bad place".

The suggestion of Daphne du Maurier is interesting. Certainly Manderley in Rebecca has inimical vibes for the newest resident. I've seen the novel described as a ghost story without a ghost.

Then there's
The Ritual by Adam Nevill by Adam Nevill
House of Windows by John Langan by John Langan
and, of course,
Hell House by Richard Matheson by Richard Matheson
and
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson by Shirley Jackson.


message 33: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Randy wrote (in part):

I read "The Dead Valley" for the first time just a few months ago and it's a good suggestion; it was written by Ralph Adams Cram. I'd also add "The Transfer" by Algernon Blackwood, "Three Miles Up" by Elizabeth Jane Howard, "How Fear Departed the Long Gallery" by E. F. Benson, and "The Hungry House" by Robert Bloch.

Although it’s admired by many, I’ve always been luke warm at best about Cram’s “The Dead Valley”, but it certainly fits the bill. At the other end of the continuum is Howard’s “Three Miles Up”, also appropriate to the category under consideration, and one of my very favorite stories.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Canavan wrote: "Randy wrote (in part):


I read "The Dead Valley" for the first time just a few months ago and it's a good suggestion; it was written by Ralph Adams Cram. I'd also add "The Transfer" by Algernon ..."


"Three Miles Up" is an excellent story. I have always considered Howard to be one of horror's most underrated writers.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Another one I forgot to mention: "The Redfield Girls" by Laird Barron.


message 36: by Canavan (new)

Canavan | 572 comments Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote:

Another one I forgot to mention: "The Redfield Girls" by Laird Barron.

One of my favorite stories by this author.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Canavan wrote: "Thefiendfromdimensionx wrote:


Another one I forgot to mention: "The Redfield Girls" by Laird Barron.


One of my favorite stories by this author."


I would say that Barron is one of the best writers in the field today. I would even call him the modern-day Blackwood.


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