Memento Mori

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day which was originally begun as a remembrance day for the veterans of the Union. The North and the South each had their own remembrance days until they were combined in the 20th century. Now Veterans Day is for the living veterans and Memorial Day is to remember the dead.

I recently did a post on horror and World War II. However, while World War II is a popular war for horror fiction I wanted to make this post a little more general. With all due respect to active members of the service at this time, I’d like to focus on those past writers who have used their war experiences to shape their future writings. I will focus on more recently active members and their works on Veteran’s Day.

Contrary to my plans to make this a more general post and to my surprise, many authors who were called into service for World War II focused more on Science Fiction than the Horror genre. It could be that after witnessing so many real-life horrors it was harder to produce fictional horror. Perhaps they wanted to focus on what the future could be. Whether it be a grim future or hopeful one it is still an interesting genre to bring up many of the themes and psychology of war. Names like Robert Heinlen, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and L. Sprague de Camp are just a few of the Science Fiction pioneers that served in world War II.


There were, however, horror authors that also wrote fiction afterwards. Ambrose Bierce was one such author. Bierce served in the American Civil War. He was a journalist and a lot of his stories reflect that. They have an air of ‘reporting the facts’ to them coupled with a satirical and dark sense of humour. For example, in regards to his story “The Damned Thing” the first chapter is titled “One Does Not Always Eat What is on the Table”, referencing a body laid out on the table for burial. A later chapter is also entitled “A Man Though Naked May Be In Rags”, referencing the state of the body, having been mauled by an unseen predator. He disappeared after travelling to Mexico to cover the revolution there from a first-hand perspective.

 

 

 


Dennis Wheatley served during World War I and World War II. He wrote a series of occult thrillers, the two most well-known of which were The Devil Rides Out and The Duke de Richleau series, the first of which was The Prisoner in the Mask. His books show a wide range of the historical and the occult. He also edited several collections and supervised a series called The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult in which he selected the titles and wrote introductions for the books chosen. He also created several board games. The series mentioned below would be really awesome to have the originals of because they sound really cool and if someone did this now I’d be the first in line to buy them (thriller writers take note!).

“During the 1930s, he conceived a series of mysteries, presented as case files, with testimonies, letters, and pieces of evidence such as hairs or pills. The reader had to inspect this evidence to solve the mystery before unsealing the last pages of the file, which gave the answer. Four of these ‘Crime Dossiers’ were published: Murder Off Miami, Who Killed Robert Prentice, The Malinsay Massacre, and Herewith The Clues!.”  – Wikia – Fandom

Certainly a man of many talents.


Before being killed in action at the age of 40 during World War I, William Hope Hodgson led a very full life. He ran away from boarding school at the age of 13, hoping to become a sailor. After being caught and sent back to his family he eventually gained his father’s permission to become an apprentice. While at sea,Hodgson quickly developed a regimen of physical conditioning, a result of being on the receiving end of some vicious bullying while at sea. The theme of older sailors bullying their subordinates is a theme in many of his works. While at sea he also practiced another hobby of his. Photography. he also picked up the hobby of stamp collecting, practiced marksmanship during hunting parties while on land and kept journals of his time at sea. In 1898 he received the Royal Humane Society medal for heroism for rescuing another sailor who had fallen overboard into shark infested waters.

After returning home at the age of 22 he opened  W. H. Hodgson’s School of Physical Culture in Blackburn, England. The Blackburn Police force was among it’s members. After he closed the school he began writing newspaper articles (articles of physical health culture and pieces exposing the deplorable conditions under which apprentices in the Mercantile Navy were treated, giving facts and figures to support his claims), along with a few fiction pieces (inspired by Edgar Allan Poe) and some poetry. Much of the poetry was published posthumously.

What does all of this have to do with horror you might ask? His most well-known works are The Boats of the Glen Carrig, The House on the Borderland, and The Ghost Pirates. He considered these three to be a loose trilogy. During that time he also wrote short horror pieces. Inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s ‘John Silence’ occult detective stories he wrote a loose collection of short stories under the title Carnacki, the Ghost Finder. The title may be rather clunky but I personally loved them. As do others, going by the resurgence in ‘Carnacki’ pastiches.His last full length novel was The Night Land, which received critical praise.

As World War I was raging he received a commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. In 1916 he was thrown from is horse and received a broken jaw and head injuries. For these injuries he received a mandatory discharge. After recovering enough to re-enlist he was killed by the direct impact of an artillery shell at the Fourth Battle of Ypres in April 1918.


Edith Wharton was born near the end of the American Civil War and was 3 years old when it ended. This was not the end of her involvement with war, though. Wanting more education and choices than the time offered she was not encouraged by her family nor her social circle. She eventually married but divorced her husband after 28 years of marriage. While living in Paris when World War I broke out, many Americans fled home. She, however, stayed in France and became a supporter of the French war effort. She opened a work-room for unemployed women in which they were fed and paid for their work. What began with thirty women soon grew to sixty. When the Germans invaded Belgium France was flooded with Belgium refugees. She helped set up American Hostels for Refugees which helped feed, clothe, shelter and helped to find employment. The next year she organized the Children of Flanders rescue Committee which gave shelter to nearly 900 displaced Belgians. Some of her efforts included the previously mentioned workrooms for the unemployed, charitable concerts to employ unemployed musicians, raising money for the war effort and opening tuberculosis hospitals. She also edited a book titled The Book of the Homeless which included essays, poetry, art and musical scores in an effort to raise more funds. She not only edited it but handled the business arrangements, lined up the contributors and translated the French pieces into English.

While she is best known for her novels The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth and Custom of the Country, she also wrote two collections of ghost stories: Tales of Men and Ghosts and Ghosts. She also referred to those who could sense spirits as Ghost-Feelers and believed that she herself was sensitive to them. They were later collected in a book titled The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. The two most well-known and most anthologized are Afterward and Kerfol.


Thank you for bearing with my rather long post. What I was hoping to reveal was that while war can bring out the worst in people it can also bring out the best. How many great works in Science Fiction and Horror might we be missing out on if not for the inspiration these authors gained? On the flip side how much more might some authors have written if not for their careers having been cut short? If I have missed any authors that you think should have been mentioned please do let me know in the comments below.  All of the author’s images link to their Goodreads author page.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #20

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

05/20/2017 – 05/26/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

The days are getting longer now. That’s good. You never know what’s lurking in the dark.
Continue reading “Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #20”

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (Horror Anthology)

Title: Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror | Author: Various – edited by Ellen Datlow | Publisher: Tachyon Publications | Pub. Date: 10/17/2016 | Pages: 132 | ASIN: B01G5V6FNS | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Incest, abuse, murder | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Netgalley | Purchase on Amazon


Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

From horror’s most acclaimed editor comes the most groundbreaking horror of the new millennium. In Nightmares, editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow has skillfully reprised her classic anthology Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror.

In these twenty-four chilling tales, you will find iconic authors—including Richard Kadrey, Garth Nix, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Gene Wolfe—reminding us that evil will simply not go away. Two inexperienced thieves discover a residence that makes Home Alone seem like a playground romp. Concerned parents struggle with morality while their cruel child courts fairy revenge. The Ash Mouth Man might be just a legend to girls who wish to waste away—but is he worth just one kiss? – Goodreads

 

Typically I try to do anthologies by rating them on a story by story basis. For shorter collections/anthologies I will still do that but some are a bit too story-packed to go story by story. So I’m going to try something a little different with this one.

Generally Ellen Datlow’s anthologies are themed. This one is a follow up to her Darkness: Two Decades of Horror anthology. They don’t really have a ‘theme’ exactly. Just a general collection of horror stories. So! Let’s get started.

First off, I love the cover. Even though I read the e-book this would be one I would want for the cover. Now, I’ll move on to the stories.

Stories I Loved:  Our Turn Too Will Come One Day (Brian Hodge), Spectral Evidence (Gemma Files), Hushabye (Simon Bestwick), The Clay Party (Steve Duffy), Mr. Pigsny (Reggie Oliver), Was She Wicked? Was She Good? (M. Rickert), Ambitious Boys Like You (Richard Kadrey)

Stories I Liked: Dead Sea Fruit (Kaaron Warren), Very Low-Flying Aircraft (Nicholas Royle), Lonegan’s Luck (Stephen Graham Jones), The Shallows (John Langan), The Atlas of Hell (Nathan Ballingrud), Closet Dreams (Lisa Tuttle)

Stories That Made Me Go “Meh” (meaning I generally liked them but thought they could have been better): Sob in the Silence (Gene Wolfe), Strappado (Laird Barron), Little Pig (Anna Taborska)

Stories I Did Not Like. At All: Shallaballah (Mark Samuels), The Goosle (Margo Lanagan), How We Escaped Our Certain Fate (Dan Chaon), Interstate Love Song: Murder Ballad 8 (Caitlin R. Kiernan)

 

There were a few that I teetered back and forth on. The writing was great, nothing to complain about there. It was the subject matter that I didn’t like. No fault of the authors, it just didn’t agree with me. Other people might not have problems with them.

The Iffy Category: Omphalos – Livia Llewellyn (I thought it was disturbing and I really wasn’t sure what the ending was all about), The Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love – Robert Shearman, Shay Corsham Worsted – Garth Nix (I really liked it but it needed to be longer. It just seemed like a snippet with no real background or conclusion. I was definitely interested in it but there needed to be more.)


The stand-outs for me were Spectral Evidence by Gemma Files, Mr. Pigsny by Reggie Oliver and Ambitious People Like You by Richard Kadry. Spectral Evidence because I am a total sucker when it comes to document-type or epistolary type stories and books. And this was a good one. I loved Mr. Pigsny because it had an interesting demonic story and a creepy painting. Horror gold for me. Ambitious Boys Like You interested me because it starts with the often used ‘robbing the mysterious old man’ theme (which we all know does not end well for the would-be robbers, usually) and I was interested in seeing which way this one would go.


4 out of 5 Skulls

    

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Elegy

Elegy

Season One – Episode 20 Elegy

Serling:
The time is the day after tomorrow; the place- A far corner of the universe; The cast of characters – 3 men lost amongst the stars 3 men sharing the common urgency of all men lost – they’re looking for home. And in a moment, they’ll find home. Not a home that is a place to be seen but a strange, unexplainable experience to be felt.

 

We get more rocket shots and the guys sitting around a table doing important, rocket scienc-y stuff. They figure out they’re going through atmosphere and hope “this is it”. What ‘it’ they’re hoping it is has yet to be explained. They get on their landing love seat together for the landing. It doesn’t seem much safer than the chairs they were sitting in, there’s no straps or anything.

They land and check the gauges. The air quality is remarkably similar to Earth even though they’re 655 million miles away from Earth. Pete goes to pop on out but the captain stops him, saying the instruments could be wrong. Pee doesn’t care because they’re low on fuel and not going anywhere anyways. The Captain agrees with him. Uh, you may not be able to go anywhere but I’d still be hesitant to go to a horrible death if the instruments were wrong. Pete crosses his fingers for luck and they head out. Pete pokes his head out and asks again how far they are from Earth. The Captain answers again and then we get to see what Pete sees. It looks like they’re on Earth.

Pete thinks thy’re back on Earth because it looks like Earth. There’s a farm and a dog. Pete tries calling the dog but it doesn’t move. And I can’t stop giggling at their spacesuits. They’re like coveralls with weird band thingies around the arms, legs and neck. And bright silver moon boots. Pete says it’s a farm, ergo, it must be Earth. Apparently Pete’s not the shiniest of light bulbs. Pete looks at a tractor and asks what it is. Dark Haired Space Man says that it’s a tractor. He tells Pete that they were in use on Earth before the Total War. So, if Pete doesn’t know what a tractor is how on Earth (pardon the pun) does he know that this is what Earth looks like.

They see a gentleman dressed like a farmer and go over to introduce themselves. The Captain is Webber and the dark haired guy is Kurt. The farmer seems to be frozen in place (despite the fact that he’s swaying a bit). I can’t knock him too badly though, it’s hard to stand perfectly still. The little old farmer man scares the crap out of our brave, intrepid astronauts and they haul ass out of there.

After they’re done running like the big heroes they are they find a bridge. As they’re walking over Pete spots a guy fishing from the bank. Pete hops down and asks how the fish are biting. He gets much the same response from the fisherman that he got from the farmer. Pete shakes the fisherman and accidentally tips him over.

Pete hears a band start up in the distance and starts freaking out that somebody must be there! He hears a band! I’m shaking my head over the fact that they actually expect to find people there. They run toward the noise and find a band (who, again, haven’t stopped moving before the camera was on them) with the music being piped in from somewhere. They go into a house where they see a frozen crowd and a frozen Mayor accepting a win.

Kurt suggests that it could be an illusion and Webber chimes in with someone could be making them see the sights and sounds of home that they want to see. Then Webber says no, that doesn’t fit because the sights they are seeing are 200 years before their time. Then they throw around a couple of more theories including a time warp. They figure out that since the people are real (or at least feel real) then someone real must be there. That’s…a big leap in logic but ok. They decide to separate and have a look around. Ah, the start of many a good horror movie. Or Scooby Doo episode.

Webber wanders through a club and checks out a frozen high stakes poker game. Kurt wanders through a hotel called The Royal Crest. Now, if it were me it’d probably have some NSFW poses in there but that’s just me. Also for some reason I just noticed Kurt is the only thing with shiny cuffs on his wrists. Weird. He knocks on a door and then opens it. He quickly turns his head away quickly like there is something sexy going on. But to my dismay it’s just a romantic dinner and two people dancing. I will say that using real people instead of mannequins was a stroke of genius (or cheapness). They are freaking creepy. Pete fares a little better. He wanders into a beauty pageant. After creepily eyeballing all of the women in their bathing suits he starts freaking out and yelling at the audience and the ‘contestants’. Which (sorry but I have to point this out) the women are swaying like crazy. But, again, I give them props for even staying somewhat still as they’re all on heels. As Pete runs out, one of the audience members turns to watch, giving an uber-creepy smile.

They regroup and go walking down the sidewalk. Kurt chats a bit about how everything is the way it used to be. Pete can’t believe that he likes it and Kurt responds that he would if it were real. Pete says it’s a nice place to visit but he wouldn’t want to stay. Webber says tough because for now it’s home. They walk up the sidewalk of a very nice house thinking it’s going to be theirs.There’s a figure on the porch but they pay it no mind, assuming it’s just another frozen peoplesicle. Pete mockingly asks the gentleman on the rocker if he minds that they look around.

He surprises them and says, “Not at all”. They all look at him in googly eyed surprise. While they’re speechless in surprise he introduces himself as Mr. Jeremy Wickwire. He tells them there’s nothing to be afraid of and Pete makes the brilliant deduction, “You’re real!”

Wickwire agrees that he’s real and invites them inside. He asks them if they like the house and says it was originally built for a Mr. Peterson but at the last minute Mr. Peterson decided he wanted to be a knight so he’s in the medieval section, slaying a dragon. They’re surprised that there are other sections. Wickwire says that there are Roman, Egyptian and Wild Western areas but the fifties section is the most popular. Ok. I think I’d go for riding a dragon but that’s just me.

Anywho, he says this is the most popular because it represents the height of creature comforts and before peace became impossible on Earth. Hmm, I think I hear a little Serling sneaking in there. Also, this was before video games so the height of creature comforts is a little presumptuous.

Webber tells Wickwire that they’re from Earth on a geological mission. Webber tells him that they ran into a meteor storm that knocked out their electronic space stuff and they’ve been lost for 6 months. They landed there, they have no gas so they’re staying there. Wickwire says he understands now that they’re not from the Glades. They don’t get what he means now. Wickwire wants to know if they ever had that Atomic War on Earth. Kurt says that yes, they did in 1985. Wow, the writer wasn’t too hopeful for humanity there was he? Most of the Earth’s surface was destroyed and it’s taken them 200 years to get back to where they are now. So, 200 years after atomic war we’ve mastered space travel but not love seats?

The crew wants some answers about the asteroid they’re on and Wickwire says he’ll answer all of their questions but why not eat a bite of lunch first? Pete wants to know exactly where they are. Wickwire says, “Why, you’re in a cemetery! Didn’t you know?” As they looked a bit stunned Wickwire chuckles to himself and goes off to make lunch.

Wickwire brings back a tray with some glasses and proposes a toast, to peace. Everlasting, eternal peace. I don’t know about you guys but that’s a bit of a creepy toast. Ever the helpful one, Kurt takes the glasses and passes them around. They want to know exactly what Wickwire meant when he said it’s a cemetery. Wickwire says it’s exactly that. A cemetery. Before he answers any questions, Wickwire wants some information from them. He asks them what their dearest wish would be. Where they would rather be, right now? Webber says they’d like to be on the ship, heading home. Pete and Kurt agree. Wickwire wants to know what the date was when they left. Webber replies that it was September of 2185.

Wickwire tells them that at first he thought they were the men from Happy Glades. They want to know what that is and he replies that it’s the best mortuary on Earth. Or at least used to be. The manager of Happy Glades came up with the plan to offer this particular service to those who could afford it. The service being to recreate the situations under which the dearly departed would be happiest. Again, I would go for riding a dragon or something cool like that. The rest of the ‘people’ there are imitations to fill out the crowd. Pete asks if Wickwire expects them to believe that. Wickwire honestly never thought of that. Webber says he buys it but why a million miles from Earth. Why didn’t they do it on Earth, in a piece of desert or something? Webber would like to know why. Wickwire says that since Happy Glades promised Everlasting Peace (hmmm, why does that sound familiar?) and that would be quite impossible on Earth.

Petewants to know what Wickwire has to do with it. Wickwire says that he is the caretaker. Pete wants to know when Happy Glades was created and Wickwire replies that it was started in 1973. So now they’re wondering how old he is. Wickwire tells them he’s something like a machine. When people are there he turns on but as soon as they’re gone he’ll go back off again. He  says he must have been off for about 200 years. For some reason this ticks Pete off and he starts charging toward Wickwire. Kurt holds him back though.

Webber tells Wickwire that they’re staying right there. Wickwire replies that he knows. Webber, Pete and Kurt are looking a little dizzy. Pete wants to know what he meant by ‘after they’re gone’ he’ll go back to sleep again. Wickwire tells them it was a figure of speech. Pete freaks out, saying that he told them they shouldn’t trust Wickwire. Which, I’ll point out, he never did. They start stumbling around and dropping. Kurt wants to know why, that they meant him no harm. Wickwire says he knows that and he’s really, really sorry. Webber begs Wickwire for the antidote. Wickwire says that there is no cure, the ‘Eternifying Fluid’ is already going to work. He promises them that it won’t be painful. Kurt wants to know why, why them? Wickwire says that “Because you are here and you are men and while there are men, there can be no peace.”

I get the (heavy-handed) point they’re trying to make but dude, it’s three guys on a deserted asteroid. Men who will grow old and die without procreating. So I really don’t think the murders were necessary. And yeah, I consider them murders since it was unprovoked and the ‘Eternifying’ solution technically kills them.

Our next shot is Wickwire dusting the spaceship and the men inside, frozen in their accustomed places. So, now I’m curious. Did they tell Wickwire where they usually sit or did he just place them randomly? And just happen to place them correctly?

 

Serling:
Kirby, Webber and Meyers, 3 men lost. They shared a common wish, a simple one, really – They wanted to be aboard their ship, headed for home. And fate, a laughing fate, a practical jokester with a smile that stretched across the stars saw to it that they got their wish with just one reservation – the wish came true, but only in the Twilight Zone.


Not one of the best. Mostly because the ‘moral’ makes no sense. Three guys, no women around. Wickwire could have just let them live out their lives. I also wondered why there was food there at all? Of course, it never does show Wickwire serving them actual food, just the Eternifying liquid.


Thanks for joining us and come again next week for another episode: Mirror Image (it’s a good one).

The Horror Begins – Horror’s Roots

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”— H.P. Lovecraft (Supernatural Horror in Literature)

When people think of the word ‘Romance’ in regards to book genres they picture something a bit like this:

Ok, maybe not exactly that. What can I say? Fabio was everywhere when I was growing up. What some people don’t know, however, is that back when novels started becoming popular the term ‘Romance’ had a very different connotation. It referred to a book being fantasy and not a book grounded in everyday, typical life. To understand how horror has evolved over the centuries we’ve got to go back in time. Way back.

Horror, fear and the tale of terror have been with us for a very long time. Ever since people told stories you could always find hints of terror and horror. From these, poems and ballads emerged and, finally, the Gothic Romance. Where instead of Fabio and rippling pectorals there are castles, skulls and tombstones.

The first in a long line was a book called The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. While it wasn’t the best written piece of literature it did open the door for more intricate and well-written novels. To be fair, Walpole wrote it because he had a love of the medieval and wrote it for fun. It became more popular than he had anticipated. And, yes, it is a hot mess in terms of plot and coherence but it still gave birth to one of the largest forms of literature today, horror.

Walpole’s novel spawned the genre of the Gothic Romance and inspired many other authors to follow suit in crafting atmospheres of dread, terror and the ghastly. The most popular of which was  Ann Radcliffe. She wrote many Gothic Romances. Her most popular of which was The Mysteries of Udolpho. Ann Radcliffe expanded the boundaries of the Gothic Romance. She wrote sweeping vistas of the Italian countryside. It mattered little that she hadn’t traveled to any of them, neither had most of her intended audience. Then she peopled it with extremely sensitive people. Like the kind of people who cry at sunsets and faint at the drop of a hat. They are also hampered thus further by all of the poems stuffed into it and her insipid heroines. Each can be exchanged for another. They gasp, they cry, they faint and are self-absorbed. It’s pretty much a late 18th century version of Twilight. She also had the unfortunate tendency to shoot her supernatural spectres in the ghostly foot by creating non-supernatural explanations for them all.

The popularity of Mrs. Radcliffe’s first book, The Italian, and The Mysteries of Udolpho spurred a lot of imitators. Some would adhere to her strict non-supernatural policy while others would expand the field a bit. Some to greater and lesser effect.

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey rightly lampoons all of the common tropes and cliches of the genre. Although someone could read her book as an attack on the genre itself, it definitely is not. She mentions the books fondly in letters and such. She would also have to have read them frequently in order to riff on them so well. What she does lampoon in it, however, was the tendency of the time to view novels as a lesser form of entertainment and a commentary (through the characters of Isabella Thorpe and her brother John) about consuming entertainment responsibly. Which really surprised me. It seems the argument about entertainment’s influence on morals and judgement has been going on a lot longer than television and video games.

She first sold Northanger Abbey to a publisher in 1803 but the publisher chose not to publish it. After a while Austen’s brother bought it back and it was eventually published posthumously in 1817. Although the publisher wouldn’t give a reason for not publishing it after it was purchased I have a theory that since it was written during the Gothic Romance boom they didn’t want to take the chance of publishing a spoof and tanking the popularity of the Gothic Romances.

A few years after the publication of The Mysteries of Udolpho another book came on the scene: The Monk by Matthew Lewis which threw a whole new spin on the genre. Heavily influenced by German ghost stories The Monk became so popular that the author became known as Matthew “The Monk” Lewis. The Monk featured pregnant nuns, rape, murder, demons and an appearance by The Devil himself. While most of it is pretty tame by our standards it caused quite the uproar when it first came out. It was also highly criticized at the time but even amongst the criticism was also praise. He would go on to write more, mainly translations from German ghost stories.

From Matthew “The Monk” Lewis we go on to Charles Robert Maturin and his book Melmoth the Wanderer. It’s a tale about an Irish gentleman who trades his soul for a preternaturally extended life span. He can get out of the deal, however, if he can convince someone else to take the deal. It’s a long book that weaves together several narratives into one. Honore Balzac wrote an unofficial sequel/reimagining of the Melmoth tale named Melmoth Reconciled, in which the titular character is able to exchange with another person, thus freeing himself of the Devil’s bargain.

These were the biggies of the Gothic Romance era but other authors weren’t just resting on their butts. The market was flooded with Gothic Romances for the brief period that it was popular. Some of them can be found in the book The Northanger Horrid Novels which includes the ‘horrid’ mysteries mentioned in Northanger Abbey. For a long time these books were thought to have been made up but since the advent of e-books and The Guttenberg Project many older books that were thought to be lost have now been ‘rediscovered’. You can find all of the Romances mentioned in Northanger Abbey in this book: The Complete Northanger Horrid Novel Collection put together by M. Mataev.

The Gothic genre has never really died out but it has been expanded to include a wider variety of novels and themes. Since today is Goth Day I suggest you get out your black eyeliner, nail polish and spiky dog collar (if you don’t have one you can borrow mine) and curl up with a few old-school horror tales. You’ll probably laugh over the fact that these were the horror novels of their day. Don’t laugh too hard though, you might smear your makeup.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Gothic Romance and Horror through the years these four books are a great place to start. They’re highly recommended (Stephen King’s kind of skims over some of the early horrors, including Weird Tales, though): The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction by Dorothy Scarborough, Supernatural Horror in Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, The Tale of Terror: A Study of the Gothic Romance by Edith Birkhead, and Danse Macabre by Stephen King.


All covers link to Goodreads

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #19

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

05/13/2017 – 05/19/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

It’s raining here so light a fire, get a warm beverage and curl up with some good stories ahead.

 

 

Continue reading “Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #19”

The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)

Title: The Fourth Monkey | Author: J.D. Barker | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Pub. Date: 06/27/17 | Pages: 416 | ISBN13: 9780544968844 | Genre: Thriller | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Triggers: Torture, death | Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review

Continue reading “The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)”

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Purple Testament

The Purple Testament

Lt. William Fitzgerald – William Reynolds
Capt. Phil Riker – Dick York
Capt. Gunther – Barney Phillips
Smitty – Michael Vandever

Continue reading “Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Purple Testament”

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror – #18

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror
4/29/2017 – 5/12/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

This week’s post will be a little longer as I’m covering two weeks since last week was Lilyn’s awesome post for Cinco de Mayo.

So settle in, buckle up and hang on for the ride!

Continue reading “Horrors! A Full Year of Horror – #18”

The Conversationalist (Horror Novella)

THE CONVERSATIONALIST: Horrorstruck, Novella One

BEGIN A CONVERSATION WITH PATRICK, IF YOU DARE . . .

On Patrick’s Pacific Northwest Island home, people whisper about his family’s sad history. Some feel sorry for him. Most want to help Patrick, as if he’s a song-less bird, make him their next project, and even set him up on a date with a best friend . . .

On one such date, Wendy sits across from Patrick and confesses she’s afraid to die, and says: “My mother died a year ago . . . horribly.” Patrick listens and pretends to care. He keeps his own dark secret safe that way.

There’s something wrong with the way Patrick treats the women he dates, his friends, his family . . . no one ever gets close to Patrick. He won’t allow that.

Included within: an original dark tale, THE NIGHT, and a bonus short story from the award-winning suspense collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories, ON THE BACK STAIRCASE.

Continue reading “The Conversationalist (Horror Novella)”