View Single Post
Old November 11 2007, 10:49 PM   #42
Brendan Moody
Vice Admiral
Brendan Moody's Avatar
Location: Maine
Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

I'm trying to branch out a bit into lesser-known (to me, anyway) writers of post-Lovecraft horror. First on the list are T.E.D. Klein and Ramsey Campbell.

Klein has quite a following despite a tiny oeuvre, his entire output over thirty-plus years consisting of ten (very) short stories, five novels, and one novel. I have the novel and a collection of the four of the novellas coming in the mail sometime soon. Last week I read his short fiction collection Reassuring Tales, which includes nine of the short stories and the other novella. I posted a review of it at my LiveJournal here. In brief: a slim but highly readable collection.

Ramsey Campbell is far more prolific, with nearly thirty novels and about a dozen short story collections over a four-decade career that's still going strong. Lovecraft expert S.T. Joshi considers Campbell the best writer of weird fiction in the modern era. Right now I'm working my way through his collection Alone with the Horrors, covering his short stories from 1961 to 1991. So far what comes through most is his talent for integrating psychological and social problems into his fiction without seeming crass or destroying the mood of haunting uncertainty that his delicate prose creates. I also have Campbell's novel The House on Nazareth Hill, and am considering picking up the recent Millipede Press reprint of his serial killer novel The Face That Must Die.

Speaking of Millipede Press, fans of off-beat, extremely psychological horror might want to have a look at their recent reprint of Roland Topor's The Tenant. Topor blends social anxiety and gradual supernaturalism in a genuinely unsettling short novel. This edition also includes four of Topor's short stories, some of his rather creepy artwork (that's one of his own pieces on the cover), and an introduction by Thomas Ligotti.

I'm still working at H.P. Lovecraft's Favorite Weird Tales. Last night I read M.P. Shiel's "The House of Sounds," an excellent story of a decaying family and their unusual dwelling-place. As that plot outline would suggest, it's reminiscent of Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher," but it's got weird narrative conceits of its own and a particular florid style that simultaneously disturbs and hypnotizes the reader with its tangled syntax and flashes of poetic alliteration. Difficult to get into, but a classic once you're caught up in the flow.

Finally, there's New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, edited by Ramsey Campbell. I haven't started it yet, though I've previously read Stephen King's "Crouch End," about a couple who get lost in a suburb of London and find their way into another world entirely.
Egg, I dreamed I was old.
Brendan Moody is offline   Reply With Quote