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Chris Dodson
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 07:42 pm:   

I want to plug up some gaps in my horror reading and am trying to get some idea of what the all-time classics in the field are. I'd like to hear from you guys and gals about your personal favorites, and I'd also like to know if there are any published lists I should take a look at (anything along the lines of Jones and Newman's 100 BEST BOOKS or Guran's A CENTURY OF HORROR, but for short stories instead of books.) Thanks!
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 08:33 pm:   

The Pedersen Kid by William Gass
I Am Legend by Richard Mathesen
The Return of Imray by Rudyard Kipling
The Mark of the Beast by Rudyard Kipling
The Phantom Rickshaw by Rudyard Kipling
The Troll by T.H. White
The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe
William Wilson by Poe
Green Tea by Sheridan LeFanu
The Freinds of the Freinds by Henry James
The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Man Upstairs by Ray Bradbury
The Cafeteria by Isaac Bashevis singer
The Double by Dostoyevsky

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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 06:30 am:   

Check out The Dark Descent anthology Chris.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 09:18 am:   

At the mention by Jeff Ford of William Wilson, by Poe, I'd also recommend (if you feel like pursuing a theme) Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg.

The unfortunate thing about Jekyll and Hyde is that everyone already knows the story. However, it's brilliantly written, and such a pity that we're so aware of the fact that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. Best way to read it is to imagine yourself as one of the first people to read the story when it was first published, where you would never have known what was going on.

Confession by Hogg I have found the most frightening novel I've ever read, mostly towards the end, but it is consistently scary.

Chris, are you looking for more modern horror or the more historic stuff? I can give you some good historic tips if you like, but I'm way down on the contemporary scene.

Anyway, The Merry Men by R L Stevenson is another cracker, and Thrawn Janet by him is a wonderful grim horror tale but, because it's written in the Scots vernacular, might be difficult to follow. Not much, however.

A couple of stories by Lovercraft are among the most horrifying I've read (for me, usually the longer stories), but you're probably familiar with him already.

A nice historic tip would be Arthur Conan Doyle. Some of the Sherlock Holmes stories are very effective as regards the sensationalist effect, perhaps Hound of the Baskervilles above all, but if you look at a non-Holmes story like The Poison Belt it's very very chilling. I actually felt that The Fog by James Herbert owes a hell of a lot to Conan Doyle's Posion Belt, but I'm just speculating.

I'm also keen to learn about some good horror to get stuck into. I'm especially wanting to get some recommendations about contemporary horror. I think there are one or two threads elsewhere that deal with this, but if anyone feels like offering a couple of suggestions here, please do!

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Luke H.
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 09:19 am:   

Foet by F. Paul Wilson.
Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury
Berenice by Edgar Allen Poe
Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub

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Alistair
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 09:24 am:   

By the way, Chris, if you're looking for lists etc. of classic horror, you could do no worse than take a look at the essay by Lovercraft called (I think) "Supernatural Horror in Literature", which lists some important works and, from the point of view of horror, is one hell of an interesting essay.

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Chris Dodson
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 11:41 am:   

Thanks for the recs, guys! This was exactly what I was looking for. I see a lot of familiar stories here, but I also see a lot of stuff I've never even heard of ("The Pedersen Kid," "Foet," "Thrawn Janet," and others.) And Alistair, thanks especially for the rec of Lovecraft's essay. I found a copy online and it looks excellent after a cursory glance.
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AT
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 01:40 am:   

Beautiful list that others have given. Here are a few more stories, most of which you can read online.

Hell Screen by Akutagawa Ryunosuke
see: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1568860617/104-8034537-5547951?v=g lance
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper.html
Twenty-six Men and a Girl by Maxim Gorky
http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/g/gorky/maksim/g66cr/g66cr.html
The Old Man's Chair by R H Mottram
Sredni Vashtar by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)
http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/sid.6/bookid.1850/
The Image of the Lost Soul by Saki
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/ImagLost.shtml
The Hounds of Fate by Saki
http://www.users.bigpond.com/burnside/hounds.htm
The Destructors by Graham Greene
Cannibalism in the Cars by Mark Twain
http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1288/
The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number by Gertrude Atherton
http://www.classichorrorstories.com/texts/greatest.txt
A Traveller's Story of a Terribly Strange Bed by Wilkie Collins
http://www.classichorrorstories.com/texts/terribly.txt
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Charlie Finlay
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 07:55 am:   

"The Autopsy" by Michael Shea creeped me out as much as any story I've ever read, so I'd add it to the list.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 09:55 am:   

"A Little Place off the Edgware Road" by Graham Greene and "The New Mother" by Lucy Clifford. (latter in The Dark Descent.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 07:51 am:   

Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Sturgeon's "Bright Segment." "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson. Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life." "Born of Man and Woman," by Richard Matheson, and Charles Beaumont's "Miss Gentilbelle."
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des
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:31 am:   

Without question - this should (and hasn't as far as I know) be published as a story in its own right - the second chapter of THE BEETLE by Richard Marsh (Robert Aickman's grandfather) which is readable out of its context in the novel.
des
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des
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 09:39 am:   

Another great horror story is "THE FLYING WORM" by 'Simon' from the nineteen thirties, which I've posted up here:
http://www.geocities.com/bfitzworth/
des
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Trial Member Jeff
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 08:18 am:   

Fav short stories:

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
Sticks by Karl Edward Wagner
In the Hills, the Cities by Clive Barker
The White People by Arthur Machen
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des
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 08:34 am:   

I'd put 'The Willows' as a *great* weird or ghost story, like 'The Upper Berth' by F Marion Crawford etc. Yes, horrific in the sense of spiritually terrifying/eerie.
But should not a 'horror story' have at least an element of the visceral or monsterish (as my two examples have).

des
http://www.augusthog.esmartguy.com/
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:20 am:   

Des,
I don't see it that way--horrific horrifies, and/or disturbs on a very deep level. I don't feel the visceral or monsters must be involved.
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des
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:23 am:   

I think I agree with you, Ellen. So what is a horror story, what is a weird story and what is a ghost story?
This thread is specifically headed 'horror story' which I've always assumed to be either visceral or monsterish.
des
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 10:42 am:   

"The Professor's Teddy Bear" by Theodore Sturgeon.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 11:16 am:   

Des,
I think all three can overlap. Not all ghost stories are horror stories, it depends on their tone. Same with a weird story. It depends how dark each is. At least that's how I differentiate.
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des
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 12:50 pm:   

Yes, but I still say the thread was headed 'Horror story', hence my choice. If it had been headed 'ghost story' or 'weird story' that would have meant two quite other sets of choices.
des
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 02:32 pm:   

And I say that ghost stories and weird stories are a subset of "horror" stories. As are psychological horror, conte cruelles,terror tales, etc.
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des
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 02:57 pm:   

Indeed, Ellen.
And furthermore, I think most if not all *stories* are 'horror' stories, partaking of the 'the ominous imagination'.

However, if someone *specifies* 'horror stories', one needs to assess the intention of the specifier, and to answer his query according to that interpretation. All a matter of opinion, though, I agree.
des
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anonymous
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 05:48 pm:   

"Window" by Bob Leman
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Bruce
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 06:47 pm:   

I actually preferred 'Feesters in the Lake' and 'Instructions', though 'Window' is pretty chilly. Haven't picked up his collection yet but likely will do this quarter.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 12:34 am:   

Des said: "However, if someone *specifies* 'horror stories', one needs to assess the intention of the specifier, and to answer his query according to that interpretation."

I like weird stories and ghost stories, too. Feel free to list 'em. :-)
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des
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 02:51 am:   

One of the greatest stories in the world is MYSTERIOUS KOR by Elizabeth Bowen, but I wouldn't call it a horror story, more just a story. It will appeal, however, I believe, to those who enjoy 'horror stories' (which, I see, for the purposes of this thread, includes weird and ghost stories). I do however believe there are some readers I know who, when they specify 'horror stories', intend to mean only those stories containing at least some element of viscerality or monsterishness. May the demons haunt your dreams. :-)
des
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des
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 03:19 am:   

Incidentally, perhaps things have changed since I used to collect two distinct series of anthologies from the same publisher:
FONTANA BOOKS OF GREAT GHOST STORIES.
FONTANA BOOKS OF GREAT HORROR STORIES.

However, I do think it is a good thing that genres are blending: and great *stories* are what we are all interested in.
des
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 08:04 am:   

Genres have been blending for years, hence the term "slipstream." "Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell is a wonderful example of sf horror. --Which by the way I'd recommend.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 08:06 am:   

One of my favorite horror stories is Gahan Wilson's "The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be," originally published in Playboy. It's on the SCIFICTION website now.
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des
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 08:30 am:   

Yes, I agree genres have been blending for some years, but the problem has been they splinter off into sub-genres, such as 'Slipstream' mentioned above, which began to have its own 'style'. Interstiality was a brave attempt to counter this.
I think the only real answer is 'stories' or 'fiction'.
des
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2005 - 05:49 pm:   

"One of my favorite horror stories is Gahan Wilson's "The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be," originally published in Playboy. It's on the SCIFICTION website now."

Just read it. Wow!
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jpaulhaines
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 12:04 pm:   

Gotta add my two cents in with "Pin," by Robert McCammon. It pushes to the edge, then does a little jig right past it. Just when you think he's got to end the torture, he keeps going. Wonderful little story, that one.
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Laird
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 12:22 pm:   

I recall you reading that at Norwescon. Fine job.

Laird
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MTC
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:00 pm:   

"The Dead Valley" - Ralph Adams Cram

"The Night Wire" - H.F. Arnold

anyone remember who wrote "August Heat"?

"The Great God Pan" - M. John Harrison

"The Voice in the Night" - William Hope Hodgson

"Vaila" / "The House of Sounds" - M.P. Shiel

"The School Friend" - Robert Aickman

"Boiled Alive" - Ramsey Campbell

"The Signalman" - Charles Dickens

"Podolo"
"A Visitor from Down Under" - L.P. Hartley

"The Mines of Falun" - E.T.A. Hoffmann

"Sir Edmund Orme" - Henry James

"Dream of a Mannikin" - Thomas Ligotti

"The Great Nocturnal One" - Jean Ray

"The Autopsy" - Georg Heym

"The Beckoning Fair One" - Oliver Onions

"The Desolate Presence" - Thomas Owen

"The Candy" - Virgilio Pinera

"The Doll Maker" - Sarban

"Nightmare" - Donald Wandrei

"The Kiss of the Stone Woman" - Franz Theodor Czokor

"The Head" - Karl Hans Strobl

and so on and so on and ...
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MCisco
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:04 pm:   

oh and I almost forgot! -

"Nyarlathotep" - H.P. Lovecraft (the prose poem)
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:40 pm:   

>>anyone remember who wrote "August Heat"?

Yeah, WF Harvey. Good story.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:47 pm:   

Jeff Ford had said something about "The Hell Screen" in a thread on his board some time ago but it was AT's handy link that finally led me to a version (found in the library). I've read about halfway through, and I can safely say this story is a classic and undeservedly obscure. I was too tired to finish it last night but by falling asleep halfway through I ended up with some great nightmares.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 02:48 pm:   

Oh, and another old one, widely reprinted: "ABO" by Walter De La Mare. I've reread this countless times and still haven't exorcised it.

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jpaulhaines
Posted on Monday, July 25, 2005 - 03:08 pm:   

Thank you, Laird. It's a fun story to read. :-)
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Carl A.
Posted on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 12:19 am:   

Here are some of my favorites, Chris:

Something Had to Be Done -- David Drake

Warp --- Ralph Norton (From Richard Davis' Year's Best Horror Stories, Series 1 (DAW Books) )

There's A Long, Long Trail A-Winding
Lex Talionis
Saviourgate
--Russell Kirk

The Call of Cthulhu
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Whisperer in Darkness --- H.P. Lovecraft

A Visitor from Down Under
The Island ---- L.P. Hartley

The Picnickers --- Brian Lumley

Niemandswasser --- Robert Aickman

The Events of Poroth Farm --- T.E.D. Klein

The Ghastly Priest Doth Reign
O Ugly Bird! ---- Manly Wade Wellman

The Kraken Wakes -- John Wyndham (SF Horror Novel)

And My Favorite Over-the-Top Fantasy Horror
Humor Story:
They Saved Rockwell's Brain -- Robert M. Price (From Risque Stories #6, and unreprinted since, as far as I know).

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