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Reading Classic Horror > What are you reading in the classic horror vein right now?

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
What books are you reading that fall in the vein of classic horror?


message 2: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I have these right now to read:

The Return Of The Sorcerer The Best Of Clark Ashton Smith by Clark Ashton Smith

The Lurker at the Threshold by H.P. Lovecraft

And I have been re-reading:

Best Ghost Stories of J. S. Le Fanu by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Can't wait to see what you think of those, Martha.


message 4: by Phil (new)

Phil (philhappy) | 19 comments For the last year or so I've had a different collection of Classic Horror stories that I've been working through while I read other novels. At the moment I'm reading Strange Tales by Rudyard Kipling.

He's not really known for his horror stuff which is a pity, I'm only a few stories in and the Indian setting makes them very unique.

The opening story 'The Mark of the Beast' was just outstanding. In the introduction it says:

"the story found its way on to the desks of two important editors, Andrew Lang and William Sharp, who both recoiled in horror when they read the story. Lang commented, '...this [is] poisonous stuff which has left an extremely disagreeable impression on my mind." Sharp was equally perturbed...stating, "I strongly recommend you instantly burn this detestible piece of work. I would like to hazard a guess that the writer of the article in question is very young, that he will die mad before he has reached thirty".

Now that's a review!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Oh that sounds very tempting, Phil. I was able to download this for my Kindle (rubbing hands in glee)!


message 6: by Scott (new)

Scott I am reading Dracula by Bram Stoker . I have really been looking forward to reading it.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Scott, I read Dracula last year. I really enjoyed it.


message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott I'm really liking it so far.

When I was in high school German class, they took us to see the original Nosferatu movie that starred Klaus Kinski. I have wanted to read this ever since. It has only taken 25 years or so.


message 9: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I just bought Pigeons from Hell for my Kindle -- I've never read any Robert E. Howard, even the Conan stuff.

Dracula is tons of fun.


message 10: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Sep 05, 2010 03:18PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments A Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde and Casting the Runes (and Other Ghost Stories), M.R.James.

I've been meaning to read Dorian Gray for years.


message 11: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Cathy wrote: "I just bought Pigeons from Hell for my Kindle -- I've never read any Robert E. Howard, even the Conan stuff.

Dracula is tons of fun."


It's a good story. Let us know what you think!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
I'm going to read The Picture of Dorian Gray this October.


message 13: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments Wow, Pigeons is intense! I can see why it's a famous story. I'm going to flip back and read the rest of the stories now -- my impression is that Howard lays on the purple prose even thicker than Lovecraft did, but I'm OK with purple prose.

I read Dorian Gray last June -- to be honest, I was a disappointed. Wilde is So. Relentlessly. Clever. And he seems to have only one rhetorical trick, which is to create a seemingly self-contradictory aphorism that makes the reader go "Oh, how true!" This is really clever in small doses, but the real bad guy in Dorian Gray (who is not Dorian himself) does it in practically every sentence. Nothing is as dull as the relentlessly witty -- see, I can do it too!

Still, it's worth reading. The descriptive passages are lovely, and it's chockfull of intriguing gay subtext.


message 14: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Howard definitely lays the language on pretty thickly. That's ok with me most of the time, although sometimes you can kind of tell he's doing it on purpose to get the most out of a story that ran as a serial.
He's still a great writer to this day, though, quite a feat really! I just read his novella 'Skull-Face' and I was quite impressed with it.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments Actually Cathy I think Dorian "is" the real bad guy in the novel. I think Wilde used "the other guy" as a sort of red herring. (Hope I'm not going off topic here.) I just read the book and noted some of it in my review...not pushing the review, I just don't want to put anything here that might be a spoiler. You can look at it if you want.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
I had a similar experience with James in Turn of the Screw. I though he was trying to write very pretty narrative, but I just wanted him to get to the point, Cathy. :)


message 17: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I had a similar experience with James in Turn of the Screw. I though he was trying to write very pretty narrative, but I just wanted him to get to the point, Cathy. :)"

I really couldn't agree more.


message 18: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Cathy wrote: "Wow, Pigeons is intense! I can see why it's a famous story. I'm going to flip back and read the rest of the stories now -- my impression is that Howard lays on the purple prose even thicker than Lo..."

His purple prose in his fantasy,horror is the only of that i have enjoyed. His adventure,westerns other stories are more sparse,less purple prose style.

I have not read that famous,alltime great horror story you read despite i have it in a big horror collection of his. Dont want to run out of the stories yet.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
I'm reading Salem's Lot by Stephen King right now. I might consider this one classic horrorish. Maybe.


message 20: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I totally consider that classic horrorish, since it's his homage to Dracula!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
I have to agree. I think Stoker would be proud of King.


message 22: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments Phil wrote: "At the moment I'm reading Strange Tales by Rudyard Kipling."

I wonder if "The Wish House" and "The Bridge-Builders" are in that collection? The former was dramatized by BBC radio back in, I think, the late 60s/early 70s when they were doing a season of Kipling - it was an immensely creepy story, kind of a variation on "The Monkey's Paw". The latter story is a particular favorite of mind, a story about a natural disaster and yet also a story about the Hindu Gods coming to term with the British. Very cool stuff!


message 24: by Phil (new)

Phil (philhappy) | 19 comments Shawn wrote: "Phil wrote: "At the moment I'm reading Strange Tales by Rudyard Kipling."

I wonder if "The Wish House" and "The Bridge-Builders" are in that collection? The former was dramatized by BBC radio b..."


'The Wish House' is in there but 'The Bridge-Builders' unfortunately isn't (it sounds like a good story).

I just finished 'The Wish House' and I'd say that the story would work very well as a radio play. The story is told through the conversation of two women and is written in Sussex dialect, which doesn't make it the easiest to read. It's a pretty good story though, I won't go into spoilers but the central idea of what a "Wishing House" is, is pretty spooky.


message 25: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments In the radio play, when they'd go up to the mail slot you would hear this thing breathing and muttering on the other side of the door.


message 26: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Sep 20, 2010 05:55PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I've been taking my time throughCasting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories, and I just got The Complete John Silence Stories, and Selected Tales of Algernon Blackwood. Might be enough when added to the other books I'm already into...sheesh. I have no will power.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Ooh! That's a good list of reading, Mike!


message 28: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments I just got from the library Clark Ashton Smith's Emperor of Dreams. I dont know exactly what kind of stories they are but i know he has written darker stories,vampire stories.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
I know he was friends with Lovecraft. He wrote fantasy and some horror/dark fantasy. I have one of his collections to read. Let us know what you think, Mohammed.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments The 2 Blackwood books came into the library at the same time... :)


message 31: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 164 comments I just finished The Empty House and Other Stories, also by Blackwood! I'm really impressed with his work, I don't know why it took me so long to read more of it.


message 32: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I know he was friends with Lovecraft. He wrote fantasy and some horror/dark fantasy. I have one of his collections to read. Let us know what you think, Mohammed."

He is seen as the better prose writer than HPL and an important fantasy,horror writer on his own that i look forward reading.


message 33: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments Blackwood is amazing. I did a very thorough review of Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural but the great thing about Blackwood is that he's written so much, you can always find a story you've never read before!


message 34: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 333 comments I discovered that I enjoyed Clark Ashton Smith's prose much more when I heard it read, as opposed to reading it myself. His mix of decadence and dark sword & sorcery is like a fine, ripe cheese or a dark, rich wine - hearing it drip from a good narrator's lips can be a lot of fun, although I have to be in the right mood for his stuff, as I generally like my horror set in the real world (and Smith is more dark fantasy).

There's a website where readings of Smith's stories can be downloaded. It is here. I can definitely recommend "The Maze of Maâl Dweb" (which has something like a sequel in "The Flower-Women") and "The Empire of the Necromancers". "The Door To Saturn" is surprisingly funny! "The Dark Eidolon" is very outre.


message 35: by mark (new)

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 34 comments Mohammed wrote: "..."

i think you'll like him! at times there is a lot of CAS's style in one of your favorites, jack vance. if he has a weakness, it's the same as vance's - at times the prose is overly-ornate, to the degree that it can often obscure the narrative. however, also like vance, he has a barbed tongue underneath all the flowery phrasings and a very sharp sense of irony. CAS is one of my favorite classic 'weird fiction' authors.

blackwood is another. "Wendigo", "A Descent Into Egypt", "The Willows".....all so wonderful!


message 36: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Jack Vance did say CAS was an influence when he was young even if he thought he got too purple in the writing. I dont mind overly-ornate.

Speaking about Vance have you read more of his Fantasy ? His Sf is not ornate,stylised enough.

Anyway i look forward sitting down with CAS,discover his prose,his type of stories. Lets hope i like him. So far of famous 3 in Weird Tales circle REH is literary hero,HPL is the opposite and not to my taste at all.


message 37: by Simon (new)

Simon (friedegg) | 133 comments The main criticism I hear about CAS is that sometimes his stories are more about prose, mood and atmosphere than characters and plot. For me, that's not a problem. If it's great prose (and he is one of the best in this regard) and evokes a haunting atmosphere effectively then that's good enough. But when he manages to combine these qualities with a great story too he is hard to beat.

There's quite a range of stories in the Fantasy Masterworks collection but it's a real shame that it lacks some of his real greats such as "City of the Singing Flame", "Second Internment" (I really wanted you to read this one Mohammed because it is a different take on the classic Poe story "Premature Burial") and "The Demon of the Flower".

But still, should give you a good sampling of his work and you can always explore other collections if you like him enough.


message 38: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh (kurtreichenbaugh) | 54 comments I'm currently reading M.R. James stories now. Just read "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" on the plane today. I'm new to his stories but am liking them so far.

Speaking of CAS check out "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis". It's a fun one. Smith was at times asked by Farnsworth Wright at Weird Tales to tone down some of the more "disgusting" or "gruesome" scenes and to speed up the action in his stories. Much to Smith's irritation.


message 39: by mark (new)

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 34 comments Mohammed wrote: "Speaking about Vance have you read more of his Fantasy ? His Sf is not ornate,stylised enough...."

i've read a lot of both his fantasy & scifi. i think it depends on which scifi you're reading, as far as the ornateness of the prose goes. The Demon Princes and Planet of Adventure novels all had a restrained and stripped-down style, although they were also very elegantly written and ironic. but then something like The Languages of Pao or The Dragon Masters or The Last Castle or Araminta Station (which i did not care for) will have the same ornate style as his fantasy-based Lyonesse series.


message 40: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 24, 2010 04:25AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments Simon wrote: "The main criticism I hear about CAS is that sometimes his stories are more about prose, mood and atmosphere than characters and plot. For me, that's not a problem. If it's great prose (and he is on..."

Yeah i have heard alot about "City of the Singing Flame", "Second Internment" since they seem to be his greatest stories. Im a member in REH forum and CAS has alot of fans there. This Fantasy Masterworks version is the only copy in the library system and its good as sampling.

Actually nice his best stories are not in it since there are many new collections of CAS works. You have to save some stories for after sampling stage. If you enjoy a writer you want new books of his best stories and not old library copies.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Kurt, "Oh Whistle to You.." is a great story.


message 42: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh (kurtreichenbaugh) | 54 comments I did like 'Oh, Whistle...' but I see what you mean. There did seem to be a bit of sly fun poked at the Professor's expense. Apparently he'll be giving wide berth to any fields with scarecrows in them from here on.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I like the story. I think you have to "let yourself" into it, allowing yourself to feel the atmosphere. It's a different kind of terror, but the moment of "awakening" (and admittedly you need to have your head completely in the story) is really filled with terror it it's real to you. The invasion of "your living space" by the unknown... I don't know, I like it.


message 44: by Steve (new)

Steve | 31 comments I'm reading Valley So Low: Southern Mountain Stories by Manly Wade Wellman. This book is edited by Karl Edward Wagner. I think all of these stories take place in Appalachia. My wife is from this area, and I'm pretty familiar with it. Wellman's spot on when it comes to dialect. I'd like to know more about him. According to Wagner, Wellman's influence is pretty wide. I'm definitely picking up on Stephen King / The Stand vibes. The stories seem to center on this wandering character called Silver John or John the Balladeer. He's good, but there's a lot of bad things in them hills. The stories have a strong biblical feel -- so they may not be for everyone. For me, it ratchets things up. The stories sort of read like folktales, and are relatively short.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
Steve, I am a big Manly Wade Wellman fan. Love his folklore-rich stories.


message 46: by Simon (new)

Simon (friedegg) | 133 comments I've started the collection entitled The Dead of Night: The Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions. Straight into his most famous ghost story "The Beckoning Fair One".


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 1343 comments Mod
That's cool, Simon. I've been wanting to read "The Beckoning Fair One" for a while now.


message 48: by Simon (new)

Simon (friedegg) | 133 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "That's cool, Simon. I've been wanting to read "The Beckoning Fair One" for a while now."

I've just finished it and it is very good. It has that ambiguity that (I feel) every good ghostly tale should have.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 212 comments I read "The Beckoning Fair One" back in the '70s. It got to me big time. If you "settle into it" it gets (as Bertie Wooster would say) "right in among you". Very scary story big on atmosphere and pure psychological terror. i can see some reading it and coming away wondering what the big deal is. I had a sort of "sinking feeling" for a long time after I finished it.

No spoilers, maybe a few comments after you've read it.


message 50: by Mohammed (last edited Sep 27, 2010 10:37AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 122 comments I did sample Clark Ashton Smith's writing in the collection i have with the story A Rendezvous in Averoigne. He is by far the most ornate prose style i have read except Lord Dunsany. Actually his prose feels like less polished version of Lord Dunsany. Like i was reading the great Irish writer.

I have never seen writers with so similar prose style before.


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