Horror Recommendations for the Unenlightened

Discussion in 'Horror' started by j d worthington, Oct 13, 2007.

  1.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, as Connavar brought it up, and there doesn't seem to be such a thread for horror, may as well start the thing.

    The problem with horror is: how far back do you want to go, as this branch of literature stretches back a very long way. So, to eliminate that particular problem, I'll begin by including two links: one to H. P. Lovecraft's essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature, which remains the best historical guide to the field even today, and the second to an index for the essay with links to no few of the pieces mentioned there:

    Supernatural Horror In Literature by H. P. Lovecraft

    Works Referenced in Supernatural Horror In Literature by H. P. Lovecraft

    I'll also add a few recommendations of my own that he either overlooked or didn't particularly care for....

    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu -- especially his ghost stories, but also some of his mystery novels, which have horrific, supernatural, and gruesome elements to many of them, such as Uncle Silas, Wylder's Hand, and The Wyvern Mystery.

    Oliver Onions -- Back O' the Moon, Widdershins, Ghosts in Daylight, The Painted Face; or (though incomplete) The Collected Ghost Stories or Ghost Stories (the most recent edition of this last has a previously unknown story, "Tragic Casements")... especially recommended (in fact, it may remain the single greatest ghost story in the English language, for sheer artistry) is "The Beckoning Fair One"

    Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q") -- most of his ghostly tales are scattered throughout various collections, such as Corporal Sam; The White Wolf; News from the Duchy; Two Sides of the Face; Merry-Garden; Noughts and Crosses; The Wandering Heath; Old Fires, Profitable Ghosts; I Saw Three Ships; and The Laird's Luck, though several were brought together by S. T. Joshi in The Horror on the Stair.

    Russell Kirk -- A follower of M. R. James, and certainly one of the greatest tellers of the traditional ghost story: The Surly Sullen Bell, The Princess of All Lands, and Watchers at the Strait Gate; more recent editions of his complete ghost stories are: Off the Sand Road and What Shadows We Pursue.

    Vernon Lee (Violet Paget) -- particularly Supernatural Tales

    Charlotte (Mrs. J. H.) Riddell -- Weird Stories, or the more recent Collected Ghost Stories

    Amyas Northcote -- In Ghostly Company

    and for more modern writers:

    Ramsey Campbell -- numerous collections and novels; I'd recommend The Height of the Scream, Demons by Daylight, Dark Companions, Scared Stiff, Alone with the Horrors, Strange Things and Stranger Places, The Nameless, Incarnate, Needing Ghosts, The Face that Must Die....

    T. E. D. Klein -- The Ceremonies (novel) and Dark Gods (story collection), with the addition of the original story that was the germ of the novel, "The Events at Poroth Farm"
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice one JD, I've decided to sticky this one to go along with the SF and Fantasy threads.
  3.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I'd added one heck of a lot more stuff, but it wouldn't let me save the darned thing.... grrrrrrrrrrrrrr:mad:
  4.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Older writers:

    W. C. Morrow: The Ape, the Idiot, and Other People, or the more recent The Monster-Maker

    Henry S. Whitehead -- Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales and West India Lights

    Donald Wandrei -- Don't Dream, several of the pieces in his sf collection Colossus, and his short novel, The Web of Easter Island

    and, of course, H. P. Lovecraft himself (I'd add Clark Ashton Smith, but he's included in HPL's essay... however, I'd suggest reading the new 5-volume edition of his collected fantasies, or The Emperor of Dreams, for a wide selection of his work, as well as trying some of his fantastic poetry... I'd also recommend The Thirst of Satan, by George Sterling, for fantastic poetry, as well....)

    More modern writers:

    Robert Aickman -- We Are for the Dark: Six Ghost Stories (with Elizabeth Jane Howard); Cold Hand in Mine; Painted Devils; The Wine Dark Sea; The Unsettled Dust; or the more recent (but scarce) two-volume Collected Strange Stories

    Richard Matheson -- Hell House, I Am Legend, The Shrinking Man, Earthbound, 7 Steps to Midnight, Shock! (through Shock 4)

    Charles L. Grant -- a writer of "quiet" horror, and creator of the (extremely) haunted locale, Oxrun Station:

    Oxrun Universe - Series Bibliography

    Dan Simmons -- especially Carrion Comfort and Lovedeath

    Thomas Ligotti -- Songs of a Dead Dreamer; Grimscribe: His Lives and Works; The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales; The Nightmare Factory; The Shadow at the Bottom of the World

    Thomas Tryon -- The Other and Harvest Home

    and some anthologies I'd suggest:

    Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, ed. by Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Herbert Wise

    The Haunted Omnibus, ed. by Alexander Laing

    The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, ed. by Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert

    The Mammoth Book of Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories, ed. by Richard Dalby

    Wolf's Complete Book of Terror, ed. by Leonard Wolf (I'd especially recommend the 1979 Crown edition, which is lavishly illustrated to enhance the tales, using classical, iconographic, and particularly eerie illustrations quite fitting his tracing of these themes through history -- from the story of Jael in the Bible to Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")

    and any of the Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories that were edited by Robert Aickman...
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
  5.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Great work JD it will help alot.


    I dont really care how old the works are. I had no issues reading and enjoying Le Fanu and he was born in 1814. I just read wiki says he was the premier ghost writer of 19th century, thats like wow i didnt know he was that big.


    You saw in that what horror you like thread what kind of horror i liked. Any of these fit that discription? That would be a good place to start and get me going and get to know this huge genre.


    Its alittle shocking how few of these name i knew of before this thread. HP,CAS are the huge ones everyone knows about and Matheson cause I am Legend. Simmons cause of his SF and Le Fanu cause you recommended him not so long ago to me.
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    ravenus

    ravenus Heretic

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    Pretty much all the good stuff listed there.

    If people don't mind high-voltage adventure and lots of densely packed prose with their horror I'd recommend China Mieville's Perdido Street Station and The Scar.

    Arthur Conan Doyle's Tales of Terror and Mystery has some champion horror/suspense stories.


    If not mentioned already, Tales of Terror and Darkness by Algernon Blackwood and Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James are nice additions for supernatural fiction junkies.

    If you have the stomach for dense and repetitive prose, there are some definite charms to The House on The Borderland and Other Stories (Fantasy Masterworks) by William Hope Hodgson.
  7.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Ravenus hit it on the head. There are some I'd add (and will, as I go along) from the Victorian/Edwardian era, whose works were difficult to find when HPL wrote his piece, or whom he was not aware of for one reason or another -- for instance, there was a recent collection of the supernatural fiction of Sarah Orne Jewett, Lady Ferry & Other Uncanny People, and Jewett is generally known for quite a different sort of writing; or Edith Wharton, Rhoda Broughton (the niece of Le Fanu, by the way), etc....

    However, I'll add this note specifically for you, Con: I don't think you'd probably care for most of the actual Gothics or a fair amount of the early nineteenth-century novels, but if you'd like to try some of the best, give Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth, the Wanderer a try (there's a really nice recent edition from Penguin I'd suggest), as well as William Harrison Ainsworth's The Lancashire Witches. (The dialect in the latter may be a bit thick at first, but I find that the music of that dialect quickly captures me, and adds to the feel of the story.) I personally would recommend Bulwer-Lytton, but that's because I'm not put off by his mysticism, which takes up a great deal of text (he was very much into the Rosicrucian ideas of the day, and they inform his work -- also, some find his work quite windy; I don't, particularly); you ought to try the full text version of "The Haunted and the Haunters; or, the House and the Brain" first, as if the latter portion of that one doesn't put you off, you'll probably enjoy Zanoni and A Strange Story as well. If that part of the shorter tale gets on your nerves, avoid his novels.

    And, if you like Le Fanu, I highly recommend the following:

    The Supernatural Short Stories of Charles Dickens, ed. Michael Hayes

    The Woman in White, The Moonstone, and Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, by Wilkie Collins (the last edited by Herbert Van Thal)

    "The Adventure of the German Student", by Washington Irving

    And I'll give some suggestions below on books/editions where you can find a lot of the things suggested in the essay, too (though a great deal of this is available on the web at various sites).
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, though not mentioned in the essay, Sabine Baring-Gould's Book of Were-Wolves is available at Project Gutenberg, and is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history and legendry concerning lycanthropy:

    The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Book of Were-Wolfes, by Sabine Baring-Gould

    His Curious Myths of the Middle Ages is available here:

    Internet Archive: Details: Curious myths of the Middle Ages

    I recommend looking up the latter here, as most editions of the 20th century are highly abridged.

    Pliny's letter to Sura can be found in any edition of his letters, but is also available here:

    Pliny Book 7, Letter 27 (English)

    The selections from Phlegon's On Wonderful Events, etc., were largely from Lacy Collison-Morley's Greek and Roman Ghost Stories, which can be found here:

    http://www.horrormasters.com/Collections/SS_Col_Collison-Morley.htm

    Defoe's "Apparition of Mrs. Veal" can be found numerous places, such as this:

    Defoe, Apparation of Mrs. Veal
  9.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite a few of the later works are easily available in modern editions, but some aren't that easy to find, so here are a few links that might help:

    The Poems of Ossian:

    James MacPherson's "Ossian" (E-text Index)

    "Kilmenny":

    http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a_211.pdf

    (This site also has quite a few other poems and tales by Hogg in the supernatural vein.)

    "The Wild Huntsman" (as translated by Scott) and "Lenore" (as translated by Rossetti):

    http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a_299.pdf

    Lenore

    Thomas Moore's "The Ring":

    The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore eBook

    His The Epicurean and Alciphron have been reprinted in a 2003 paperback edition by University Press of the Pacific, still available I believe -- though these are not supernatural tales themselves, they do have some very striking eerie passages.

    "Sir Bertrand", complete with Ms. Aiken's introductory essay, is here:

    Aikin, from Misc. Pieces in Prose (1773)

    while the tale itself is available in several anthologies.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2007
  10.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Wow so many writers, it will take time to decide what to read first :p


    I think i will try one old work and a more modern work.
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    Storm Centurion

    Storm Centurion New Member

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    I can't see adding China Meiville to a list of great horror writers, Ravenus. I thought him more weird and steam-punkish. I also found his stuff pretty unappealling in general but definitely not horror.

    I would recommend Richard Laymon to people that want a good twisted and depraved horror story. He can writes scenes that might actually make you jump. For Laymon I would recommend:

    The Traveling Vampire Show
    The Island
    Night in the Lonesome October
    In the Dark
    One Rainy Night

    He has a ton of stuff out there but that was the strongest of what I've read.
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    derek gunn

    derek gunn Derek Gunn, author

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    Jonathon Maberry's "Ghost Road Blues" - a great read - he won a Bram Stoker award for this one -

    Derek
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    Snow

    Snow New Member

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    I recommend looking up the latter here, as most editions of the 20th century are highly abridged.
  14.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry... I may be a bit dense (not enough sleep lately), but I'm not sure to who you're referring here....:confused:
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    Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    I've just finished reading this and it's a very well put together collection if you like pulp fiction and vampires.

    I've always loved horror and many have already been posted here. Am just going to add this for now. It contains a wide range of styles and a huge variety of vampires.


    Wierd Vampire Tales edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H Greenberg. It contains vampire tales from the various pulps ans has been fascinating reading thus far. Here's a list of the stories:

    The Man Who Cast No Shadow by Seabury Quinn (Wierd Tales 1927)
    The Wolf Woman by Bassett Morgan (Wierd Tales 1927)
    The Canal by Everil Worrell (Wierd Tales 1927)
    A Rendezvous In Averoigne by Clark Ashton Smith (Wierd Tales 1931)
    Placide's Wife by Kirk Mashburn (Wierd Tales 1931)
    The Horror From The Mound by Robert E Howard (Wierd Tales 1932)
    Vampire Village by Edmond Hamilton/Hugh Davidson (Wierd Tales 1932)
    Revelations In Black by Carl Jacobi (Wierd Tales 1933)
    Shambleau by C.L. Moore (Wierd Tales 1933)
    Return To Death by J. Wesley Rosenquist (1936)
    Isle Of The Undead by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (1936)
    Doom Of The House Of Duryea by Eart Pierce, Jr (1936)
    I, The Vampire by Henry Kuttner (Wierd Tales 1937)
    The Silver Coffin by Robert Barbour Johnson (Wierd Tales 1939)
    Cross Of Fire by Lester Del Rey (Wierd Tales 1939)
    Return Of The Undead by Frank Belknap Long & Otis Adelbert Kline (1943)
    The Antimacassar by Greye La Spina (Wierd Tales 1949)
    Asylum by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction 1942)
    The Dark Castle by Marion Brandon (Strange Tales 1931)
    Stragella by Hugh B. Cave (Strange Tales 1932)
    The Thirsty Dead by Raymond Whetstone (1935)
    Murder Brides by Arthur J. Burks (Horror Stories 1935)
    The Cloak by Robert Bloch (Unknown Worlds 1939)
    When It Was Moonlight by Manly Wade Wellman (Unknown Worlds 1940)
    "Who Shall I Say Is Calling?" by August Derleth (1952)
    She Only Goes Out At Night by William Tenn (Fantastic Universe 1956)
    The Mindworm by Cyril M. Kornbluth (Worlds Beyond 1950)
    Share Alike by Jerome Bixby & Joe E. Dean (Beyond Fantasy Fiction 1953)
    And Not Quite Human by Joe L. Hensley (1953)
    Place Of Meeting by Charles Beaumont (1953)
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    Cayal

    Cayal The Immortal Prince

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    Can anyone recommend psychological type horror novels, kinda Silent Hill-esque.

    Thanks.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I would recommend Salem's Lot by Stephen King.

    I havent read alot of horror but i liked that one.

    It is what you are looking for. A small town story and the horror is very psychological.

    Im sure J.D and co know alot other good psychological horror.
  18.  
    Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    Salem's Lot is good and so is Stephen King's Cycle Of The Werewolf. Again in a small town and psychological.

    I also liked James Herbert's Haunted, which is a very different horror tale.

    For an older book there is Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House. That's is very, very good.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    It depends on what you mean by "Silent Hill-esque". Are you looking for something set in a small town/rural area where things are not what they seem, or something much closer to Silent Hill (which I will admit I've not seen)? If the former, I'd suggest Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home, for one. Some of Charles L. Grant's "Oxrun Station" novels might also fit the bill. There are plenty that might fit, but without more of an idea what you're looking for, I'm afraid the choices are too broad to know what to suggest....
  20.  
    Cayal

    Cayal The Immortal Prince

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    Psychological type. It kinda plays on your mind. I suppose it is harder with books against Games and Movies.

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