Reading Around in Robert Arthur's Anthologies

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
Thought I'd see if anyone wanted to participate in a thread on stories found in Robert Arthur's anthologies (often not credited, I believe).

One of them was Monster Mix, aimed at "young adult" readers:

http://www.philsp.com/homeville/isfac/t104.htm#A2315

What do you think of those contents? This was almost certainly where I read my first Cthulhu Mythos story (the Bloch). It would've been the place where I found my first or anyway one of my first Lord Dunsany stories -- and of his most notable ones. It features one of Blackwood's two top stories. Perhaps here was where I read William Hope Hodgson for the first time.

tumblr_m5932v9Aeb1rvjsk3o1_500.jpg


Then, from even earlier in my reading life than the 1969 (I think) discovery above, there was Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum (1965) -- aimed at youngsters.

http://www.philsp.com/homeville/isfac/t170.htm#A3500

MonsterMuseum.jpg


This one contained what must have been one of the first horror stories that I ever read, Brennan's "Slime." Nothing would do but that I had to retell the story to my little sister!

Anyway, I thought these or other Arthur-edited books might provide some discussion possibilities, should anyone so desire.

(I wonder if Arthur was the uncredited editor of Arthur Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful, with those delectable illustrations -- http://www.universalmonsterarmy.com/forum/index.php?topic=5792.0http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomscolor/sets/72157622012620049/ )
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
The lead story in Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories That Scared Even Me ("the editor gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of Robert Arthur in the preparation of this volume" from 1967 is Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead." Two lowlife white trash-types kill an ugly recluse who has a strange bond with swampland animals, and are killed in turn by them. The story may be criticized for inviting readers to be repelled by Fishhead, who is racially "other" in his origins, and to be gratified by the nasty comeuppance meted out to his killers.

Oddly, as I read the story I was reminded not of Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth," the appearance of the city-dwellers in which may owe something to Cobb's 1913 story, but of a very old Mad magazine parody (of radio horror shows), "Outer Sanctum," drawn by Will Elder.

Mad%2B005%2BBill%2BElder%2B005.jpg
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
Margaret St. Clair's "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes" in Stories Not for the Nervous would have been well-designed for a topnotch radio drama or as a teleplay for the original Twilight Zone. From Contento, it appears that it was reprinted only in this book after its magazine appearance. I hesitate to say anything much about it for fear of decreasing the impact -- which, however, will perhaps not take everyone by surprise.

Fritz Leiber's "X Marks the Pedwalk" in Stories That Sacred Even Me didn't impress me. He has always been an uneven author so far as I'm concerned. This one is a sardonic little satire about car drivers vs. pedestrians.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
Re: "Fishhead".... I would say that Cobb could more likely be criticized for the tinge of racism in the tale... something which one encounters in other of his works ("The Unbroken Chain", for example, which HPL also mentions -- sans title -- in his SHiL). Though Fishhead is certainly repulsive in many ways, there is more than a touch of empathy for him as well. As for the nasty comeuppance... well, I'm not at all sure that deserves criticism, being rather a case of poetic -- perhaps even biblical -- justice.....

Otherwise, it certainly is an effective piece of atmospheric and regional writing....
 

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
7,448
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Margaret St. Clair's "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes" in Stories Not for the Nervous would have been well-designed for a topnotch radio drama or as a teleplay for the original Twilight Zone. From Contento, it appears that it was reprinted only in this book after its magazine appearance. I hesitate to say anything much about it for fear of decreasing the impact -- which, however, will perhaps not take everyone by surprise.

Funny you should mention that, because it was in fact adapted into an episode of Night Gallery. It's the very first episode discussed on this page:

http://nightgallery.net/night-gallery-episode-guide-season-two/
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
Re: "Fishhead".... I would say that Cobb could more likely be criticized for the tinge of racism in the tale... something which one encounters in other of his works ("The Unbroken Chain", for example, which HPL also mentions -- sans title -- in his SHiL). Though Fishhead is certainly repulsive in many ways, there is more than a touch of empathy for him as well. As for the nasty comeuppance... well, I'm not at all sure that deserves criticism, being rather a case of poetic -- perhaps even biblical -- justice.....

What I meant was that the story encourages readers to have it both ways. Readers certainly are led to feel that Fishhead is repulsive, racially other, uncanny, scary -- and then we are encouraged, as it were hypocritically, to cheer when people who saw him as repulsive, racially other, uncanny, and perhaps scary get gruesome endings.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
From Stories That Scared Even Me, Thomas M. Disch's creepy post-atomic attack short story "Casablanca": a retired American couple stranded in a place where their checks no longer are good...
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
1,992
The Mad Magazine feature reminds me less of "Fishhead" than of Theodore Sturgeon's "It."


I suspect there's some kind of game hidden here:
1st poster: This story reminds me of that story.
2nd poster: That story reminds of another story.
3rd poster: Well, your another story reminds of this movie. ...


Randy m.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
The Mad Magazine feature reminds me less of "Fishhead" than of Theodore Sturgeon's "It."

51A6BLyrblL._SS500_.jpg

"It" is a story anthologized in one of Robert Arthur's anthologies for Hitchcock, and by Groff Conklin!

(Two other stories that both Arthur and Conklin anthologized were Will F. Jenkins's "Doomsday Deferred" and Idris Seabright's "White Goddess.")
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
Joseph Payne Brennan's "Levitation" (in Stories Not for the Nervous) immediately suggests Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, with its sinister Morgan's Wonder Carnival arriving in Riverville. A stage hypnotist exacts a revenge that reveals unsuspected power!

The story appears to be reprinted from this 1958 collection:
Scan-1.jpg

The author also wrote "Slime," which I read as a boy in Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum (see picture of this book in earlier message above). I think I then retold it to my hapless little sister.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,780
Here we have Arthur's anthology Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful (1961), with eerie illustrations by Fred Banbery. A comment on "The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall" below, but first note the ghastly feminine figure, taken from the story, in the endpaper:

tumblr_n5pm0zN8sb1rtwoppo2_1280-630x449.jpg


It suggests a more dreadful apparition than what comes across in the story, which is by John Kendrick Bangs. While I don't suppose there was actual derivation, compare the creature's face and posture with that of the salt-sucking monster from Star Trek's premiere broadcast, "Man Trap":
320x240.jpg

The story concerns the ghost of a drowned woman who appears yearly and not only frightens people in a certain bedroom but also floods it. Eventually someone figures out a way to freeze the watery ghost and, by storing it in a deep freeze shed, keep it from bothering people. It seems tome the story isn't perhaps quite worthy of the story.
099387bef12dce2b1e95a0b533c8bedd.jpg
 

Similar threads


Top