Good New Horror

Discussion in 'Horror' started by Fried Egg, Jul 22, 2010.

  1.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    What I'm looking for is good new horror authors/books. When I say new, I mean within the last twenty years or so.

    What I'm looking for specifically is authors who write with restraint and subtlety and not those who resort to base or visceral horror in order to shock and disgust. i.e. I'm not looking for the likes of Stephen King or Clive Barker. More the likes of Thomas Ligotti.

    So please, what should I be looking out for?
  2.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    HMMM...very good topic actually. I'm not that much up with the more contemporary horror writers, so I'll being keeping a keen eye on this thread myself.......:)

    Sorry I can't be of much help to you.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    One I would recommend is our friend W. H. Pugmire. His work is very seldom inclined to gore or violence save where the demands of the story require it, and even there tends to be brief and restrained. It is also often rather poetic in sensibility, with a strange wistfulness and pathos to it, and a dark sense of wonder and beauty.

    I would also suggest looking into Laird Barron. Though I have only read a tiny handful of his work, I must say I am quite impressed, and would recommend keeping an eye out for his work. Though I've not read the collection yet myself, all that I have heard about The Imago Sequence has been very high praise.

    Several of the writers being published by Hippocampus Press are well worth checking out, such as Jonathan Thomas, Joe Pulver, etc.:

    Fiction : Hippocampus Press

    Others come to mind, but I must dash; will try to drop in some more suggestions later....
  4.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Im looking for the same thing and wonder if anyone here has read Poppy Z Brite ?
    I thought she was an older generation writer since i have heard good things about her in this forum,others.

    I saw Lost Souls in library display counter.
  5.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm afraid I'm going to go against the majority of opinion on this, but I have tried Poppy's work several times now... and I just cannot abide it for any length of time. I find the writing to be far too florid or to flat, depending; I don't find any originality in themes, handling, or worldview; and in general I simply feel she is horrendously overrated.

    I feel rather bad about saying that, as I would like to like her work, especially given the high opinion of her by others whose work I do admire, such as Caitlin R. Kiernan (another modern "horror" writer I would highly recommend). Sadly, however, I simply can't. This may just be a true blind spot on my part, but I have yet to find anyone who can truly answer my specific complaints about her writing. Take a look at her tale, "His Mouth Shall Taste of Wormwood" to see what I mean....

    I'm going to go back a bit further than your cut-off point to recommend a couple of things, but as they are not often mentioned, and are still relatively "new", I hope I may be forgiven:

    Two pieces by Thomas Tryon: The Other (1971) and Harvest Home (1973). Tryon was a relatively minor actor -- good, but nothing outstanding -- but when he turned his hand to writing, he showed considerable talent and ability, and a surprisingly good literary style. The Other is also one of those pieces which blurs several boundaries, and is very well crafted. Harvest Home is no less finely crafted, but more of a "naturalistic" horror tale, whereas The Other can be viewed in several ways. I highly recommend both.

    Dan Simmons' Carrion Comfort (1989) has been mentioned here several times, and I would add that to the list. While an enormous book, it reads quickly, and is a very memorable experience. A few flawed spots here and there, but they are minor blemishes in a book of considerable power.
  6.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I was going to mention Mr. Pugmire and Laird Barron but only because I've heard good things about them from other members and I quite like Dan Simmons' stuff.

    The others mentioned by J.D. I have never heard of, so I'll make a note of these.......:)

    Who would have thunk it that someone who spends sooooo much of their time ensconced amongst the Spectres of the 19th Century to emerge with such useful details regarding the contemporary scene........:p
  7.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations so far. I have heard good things said about Laird Barron so I shall redouble my efforts to locate a copy of "The Imago Sequence". W. H. Pugmire's work sounds interesting too. And I will definitely pick up "Carrion Comfort" if I see it as I was very impressed with his "Song of Kali".

    I had contemplated Poppy Z Brite, in particular "Exquisite Corpse" which seems to be highly rated but I was deterred by the fact that it sounds too naturalistic for my taste and about a serial killer too (which doesn't appeal).

    What about Peter Straub? I know "Ghost Story" comes highly recommended but are any of his other works recommended? My second hand store has loads of his books...
  8.  
    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    I only have Straub's Ghost Story and it was very good. I also have a copy of KOKO, which won the World Fantasy Award and is supposed to also be excellent. I am yet to read this one though.

    No doubt others will be able to add to this.
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    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    I would second the Laird barron recommendation. His collection, The Imago Sequence, contains some first rate stories, the best of which (and one of the best I've read period) would be The Procession of the Black Sloth, perhaps in part because I have a familiarity with Hong Kong and the setting resonated with me quite strongly. It's also just damn well written and expertly developed with some genuinely creepy and horrific scenes.

    Likewise second WH Pugmire.

    Michael Cisco's work is well worth looking into. He's one of the most original horror fantasists around, I feel, with an hypnotising prose style and an incredibly fertile imagination. His short novel, The Divinity Student, is something of a classic, though his short stories (collected in Secret Hours) are equally mesmerizing, and their effect in such concentrated amounts can be almost overwhelming at times. The Ice Age of Dreams is a first-rate short story.

    Mark Samuels is a relatively new author whose collection, The White Hands, is well worth tracking down. Very similar in prose style to Ligotti, though a tad more traditional in theme. Mannequins in Aspects of Terror is a great little piece, a subtle, restrained nightmare. He's only written (to my knowledge) a single novel which, whilst good, doesn't really compare to his shorter pieces. Samuels, like Ligotti, is a writer whose work translates better to the short story form.

    I've not read as much as I'd like to by him, but Joel Lane is very good indeed. An afforable collection of his best short stories can be found in The Lost District, short sharp tales of urban alienation and moral decay.

    I know you didn't want any King-esque works but I feel that Norman Partridge's Dark Harvest deserves a mention. Written entirely in an omniscient present tense POV, this dense, fiery little crackerjack of a book set entirely in a small midwest town on the eve of Halloween is tremendously entertaining and a genuine revelation. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for how effective this type of more mainstream horror fiction can be.

    Rmasey Campbell still writes some fine work. I don't feel particularly qualified to speak on his earlier work, but I found his later novel, The Grin of the Dark, to be an eerie and disturbing piece, gradually (perhaps a little too gradually) building to a frenzied climax.
  10.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Thanks for all those suggestions nomadman. I have heard good things said abuot Michael Cisco but have never come across any of his books.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I also just began the first book in Adam Niswander's Shaman Cycle last night. I've been hearing about Niswander for some time, and had picked up the first two books a while back, but had not got around to them. I can't say that the prose itself is particularly notable (though this is his first novel; he may have become more of a prose stylist since), though it is clear, lucid, and quite serviceable; just not something which calls attention to itself in any way.

    But the novel itself (so far) is very well done: good characterization, nicely structured, and, even though using an idea which is not particularly original, it has a fine feel to it, and the tension is palpably there, without any violence in incident or diction. If the rest of his work is as good as this one is up to this point, then I would not hesitate to add his name to the list, either.

    On Cisco: I've only read one story so far and, though I felt a bit of a letdown with the ending, otherwise it was very well done indeed.
  12.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    A couple (or more) suggestions again:

    Antique Dust, by Robert Westall
    A. F. Kidd (ps. of Chico Kidd)

    Both of these should appeal mightily to those who have enjoyed M. R. James' work, as they are obviously in the same vein, though each writer is nonetheless distinctively him- or herself. Antique Dust is apparently fairly easy to come by at a low price; but Ms. Kidd's two collections are rather more pricey, having been released by Ash-Tree Press: Summoning Knells and Other Inventions, and No. 472 Cheyne Walk (subtitled Carnacki: The Untold Stories), written with Rick Kennett. However, you can take a look at some of her work here:

    Chico Home

    Just click on the icons at the top of the page, and you can read about them and see samples as well. She has also been published in various anthologies of horror and ghost stories over the years, most of which can be picked up for very little.

    And last: Sherry Austin -- Mariah of the Spirits and Other Southern Ghost Stories (2002)

    This is one which is also fairly easily available, often for very little money. And for information on her work:

    Reviews
  13.  
    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    Out of interest, what would that story be JD?
  14.  
    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    I got all of my works of his on amazon. I've never seen him in any bookshops, not even specialist ones. A shame.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Has someone read any good new horror that is more like Necrocope. Original or just good vampire mythos or very good werewolf horror.

    Those type of horror i want to read in newer horror. Not just the lame versions in urban,paranormal fantasy...
  16.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Conn: Carrion Comfort is a vampire novel -- albeit of a different kind. George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream is also on that theme, and well worth your time. If you can find it (it has been anthologized several times, which would be cheaper than going for one of his original collections) Robert Aickman's "Pages from a Young Girl's Diary" is one of the best short pieces in this... vein. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

    The Cisco was "Violence, Child of Trust", in Black Wings, an anthology of new Lovecraftian horror tales. As I said, the story itself is fine; it is just that the ending left me feeling a bit disappointed. I would still recommend the piece, though....
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    nomadman

    nomadman Sophomoric Mystic

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    Connavar, I wrote a brief review of a great little vampire story in the Bob Leman thread, The Pilgrimage of Clifford M. Unfortunately, the story to date has only been collected in the expensive and OOP Feesters in the Lake. I read it in the May 1984 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine in whcih the story first appeared.

    Thomas Tessier's The Nightwalker is an interesting take on the werewolf genre, worth looking into.
  18.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I tried finding hard that Bob Lemon collection but i can only find him in some anthologies. Shame i wanted that story badly.

    JD: Fevre Dream i plan to get, it looks too good. Is Carrion Comfort written differently than Hyperion books ? I found his writing really far from interesting.

    This is kind of horror im looking. More literary,well written than just the popular stuff.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, Carrion Comfort is written quite differently. It opens with a very gripping scene, and seldom lets up the pressure throughout... and it is (in the edition I have) an 884 page book! His Song of Kali has also been listed among the best novels in the genre.

    Though I strongly disagree with Simmons when it comes to Wilkie Collins, Simmons himself is a very skillful writer whose style and manner varies depending on the story he is telling....
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    I agree. In "Song of Kali", Simmons was excellent. Can't compare it to Hyperion though as I am yet to read it...

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