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Tales to Chill Your Blood Reads > Smee by AM Burrage Group Read and Discussion (Spoilers)

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message 1: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Smee is our next Tales to Chill Your Blood read. Here is the link, thanks to Martha:

http://e-book.webpark.cz/level_5/ghos...


message 2: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Will check it out at home. Thanks for providing the link.


message 3: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
No problem. :)


message 4: by Hazel (last edited Jan 18, 2011 11:18AM) (new)

Hazel Benson | 10 comments I really like it. I love how there was a time when playing games at parties wasn't just for children. I did jump to the conclusion that the girl that died at the beginning of the story was a young girl and not grown up, so had to check back later and confirm it wasn't a child. It somehow took away a bit of the tragedy and I was a bit relieved. Is that wrong?? Also, Say adult party games now and it means a whole different thing. I've never heard of the game "Smee" tho, is this an actual game??


message 5: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Hmm, didn't really care for this one. Very predictable. I've been familiar with this plot ever since hearing the urban legend about the man who picked up the silent girl and dropped her off...at her own grave.

The game sounds fun, though. This sounds gruesome, but when I was a kid we'd turn off the lights and my dad, brother, sister, and I would play a game of hide-and-seek where someone would have an empty BB gun and "shoot" the person they found. LOL. Didn't seem morbid back then.


message 6: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) I agree with Tressa on this one, it's a used story, the communication/ interaction with a person that we later find out is deceased. It had a little bit of suspense for me , I did wonder for a bit what the outcome was going to be. I guess I was hoping it was going to be something new.


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I read this story before. It wasn't quite scary, but I imagine when it was written it probably was. The idea, that you have contact with a dead person so inadvertently is a bit chilling.


message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
The story is also at this site:

http://www.scaryforkids.com/smee/


message 9: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) One should read any story with the mindset of the era the story was written. We're inured to subtle horrors for the most part, and I'm sure this was very chilling when it was written. Truth be told, the game itself was more frightening to me than the fact that a ghost was playing along: hiding in a big house, speaking the odd "smee" when discovered, congregating as a quiet group until the game plays out.


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
I have to agree. I expect playing "Smee" in an unfamiliar home would add a layer of eerie to the situation.


message 11: by Martha (new)

Martha (hellocthulhu) | 325 comments Mod
I thought this was a great example of a traditional ghost story. I thought the idea of a mysterious someone beside you in the dark was creepy. I do agree that we as readers have become jaded when it comes to more subtle horror, but I do rather like this one.


message 12: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Martha, I freely admit I like reading the classic stories and rediscovering that innocence and the appreciation of the subtle.


message 13: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I have always been creeped out by "The Yellow Wallpaper," and that was written in the late 1800s. So I'm not too jaded to enjoy and old chiller. "Smee" must just be too simplistic overall for me to get too worked up over. It's not a bad story, and a nice one to read if you're craving some of the old stuff.


message 14: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
A story has to work for you. I know certain styles of writing float my boat and others done. The really cool thing is we are discovering which old gems meet our fancy as we read. I don't think I'm a Henry James fan, based on reading Turn of the Screw, but I know a lot of folks love him.


message 15: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I'm enjoying reading these old stories, too. I loved Turn of the Screw, but can't remember if I've read any of his other books. I just looked, and no I haven't, but I do want to one day read Daisy Miller, The Golden Bowl, and The Wings of the Dove. For me he's like the male version of Edith Wharton, who's a marvelous writer.


message 16: by Werner (last edited Jan 25, 2011 06:29AM) (new)

Werner Personally, I did like "Smee" as a story, but I can't say it struck me as scary per se. But that's true of most ghost stories I read in anthologies of them: I know what sort of story it is, and what to expect. You have to realize that for it to have the full intended effect, the reader (like the original ones) can't fully know where Burrage is going with it, so that the ending is a surprise. For me, a lot of the pleasure in a story of this type is savoring the ambiance of it, and appreciating how well an author handles the story elements (which I think Burrage does well, in the stories I've read).


message 17: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) These are the kind of stories I started reading when I was a kid back in the seventies, long before there was R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike. I had to make due with old ghost stories and tales like Kathryn Tucker Windham's.


message 18: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
That's a good point about the ambience, Werner. You are so erudite with words, and I think that was the term I was reaching for, but couldn't visualize.

I used to read all the horror/ghost stories/supernatural fiction at the library. I cut my teeth on the many short story anthologies in this genre I got my hands on. To this day, I still love horror/creepy story anthologies.

I think Henry James beats around the bush too much for me. I like a more direct style of writing.


message 19: by Werner (new)

Werner Thanks, Lady Danielle! Like you, I love to read short story anthologies in this field --and there are a lot of them out there, because at one time, when the U.S. publishing industry wasn't interested in speculative fiction novels, the main market for writers in this genre was the pulp magazines. So, the short story became the characteristic format for the weird. I need to buy any more books about like I need a hole in the head, but I still snap up anthologies of this kind when I see one at a yard sale or the flea market. Somebody, stop me.... :-)

Henry James, even at his best (and some of his ghost stories are his best short fiction, IMO), could be slow-paced, with so little outward action you want to scream, and heavy with obscurity, ambiguity and strong reliance on Intuitive Moments. What his worst can be like is best left to the imagination!


message 20: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Jamesian Enthusiast (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 1347 comments Mod
Again you said it well, Werner. It's just personal tastes, but I find that kind of writing tedious and painful.


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