I don't know if everyone knows, but Litreactor's own Bob Pastorella writes a wicked horror fiction blog that you should be reading.
The latest post has his usual sharp eye squarely on the literate side of horror literature - 10 books horror authors should read if they want to know their craft.
So, unless your idea begins and ends with Laurell K Hamilton, you may want to check out Obscuradrome.
Thanks for the shout out. And if you visit my website, be sure to 'Like' it. My website likes the likes.
Excellent. I've only read Rosemary's Baby (I love Levin). I just bought Seeng Red. I want Ceremonies!
Seeing Red is awesome. I lost my original paperback in Hurricane Rita, along with a ton of other books near and dear to my heart, but losing that one hurt me bad.
The Amazon link should get you to some used book sellers that have The Ceremonies, that's how I purchased my copy, think it cost me about $6-$10. Love that book, so awesome. My copy is starting to fall apart, so I will probably be performing plastic tape surgury on it before long.
I bought Seeing Red as well - $2.99 for a David Schow book is a godamned steal, even if it's a kindle copy.
Cool article. I read the Clive Barker, and I have the Straub on my shelf for future reading at some point.
The Ceremonies, used in good condition, 3.99 with free shipping. Thank you, Amazon Prime.
@ howie--please tell me what you think of The Ceremonies when you finish it.
The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell may very well the most difficult of those books to read. Campbell is undeniably British and writes that way. Not that writing British is a bad thing. I learned of the book from Stephen King's Danse Macabre, which if you haven't read yet, you should, if you plan on writing Horror. I remember distinctly starting and stopping on The Parasite several times before finally buckling up and finishing the fucking thing. King said it was good, so it had to be good, right? And it is good, but not as a pleasurable reading experience.
One can learn tons from that book. Campbell's sense of description is haunting. He is the master of making you wonder what it was you thought you saw. He started by imitating Lovecraft, adding his own stories to the massive, continuously growing Cthulhu Mythos, so he's not big on dialogue. Heavy on mood and atmosphere. I think the book is important because it gently takes you down this path where everything is normal at first, then you sense the haunted world closing in around you, then you realize that it is you that is haunted.
I just can't stop saying good things about Straub's Floating Dragon. A novella I've been playing around with for a couple of months about an artist features scenes of Floating Dragon book being made into a film. The artist gets his big break drawing set pieces for the film, and draws one of the actors in 'The Mirror'. (Read the book, I'm not spoiling shit here, hahaha.) It would make an awesome movie, but for my story purposes, the film is never completed. I wanted to incorporate one of Straub's novels into my story, which is basically a novella for Horror/Science Fiction fans, and the only one that would work for my story was the Dragon.
Thomas Harris' Red Dragon almost made the list, but I felt The Keep needed to be there because what starts off as a Vampire story turns out to be much much more, and yet it still cranks up the scare factor.
Anyway, glad you guys and gals checked out my list, mucho appreciated.
Sorry for the double post.
God, I fucking loved Red Dragon. I remember being thoroughly freaked by the wheelchair scene. As far as I can remember, it was the second horror novel I'd ever read. The first was Cujo, which I enjoyed tremendously - but Red Dragon probably gave me nightmares - I must have been all of 11 or twelve when I read it, because I remember my mother telling me not to read it. By the time I was a teenager she'd given up on trying to distract me from bad influences from the book world.
Despite my deep and abiding love for UK authors (well, a few of them), I cannot stand Ramsey Campbell. Just bores me to tears. Maybe I'll have to give it another try one day.
Danse Macabre I read many years ago, it's about time to revisit it.
@Bob, Will do. Looking forward to it.
The first 5 pages (the prologue) of The Cermonies is pretty incredible. It is one of those things I could never write - an overview of thousands of years passing. It is ethereal, yet it has setting. A strange combination. It's very Lovecraftian for a moment, then like the excavation scene from The Exorcist, and then it gets into the story of a boy finding the dark place in the forest.
In other words, it's awesome.
Very cool Howie, so glad you're enjoying it. It's rather sad that Klein hasn't put out more work other than this novel and a very good collection of novellas. It's like he put everything he had into one book, and that's it.
The Ceremonies is also a very erotic book. Amidst the horror and folklore, there's sexual under and overtones. Lots to like there. I love the way he ties Machen's work into the story, weaving a tale that you soon won't forget.
Bob, have you read any Dan Simmons? Just got into him after watching a documentary on Harlan Ellison, who was sort of a mentor. Really enjoyed Carrion Comfort (though, admittedly, I'm not sure how many black people Simmons has actually met).
Also, you're twitter has been hacked. You've been tweeting about weight loss and private messaged me with a link to "twitner" ha ha.
I've changed my password and deleted all 503 messages the hack sent yesterday. When did you receive this message, because if it was yesterday, I deleted the message like Twitter says to do? I just checked and I have no messages, and no new tweets since last night.
I've been wanting to read Carrion Comfort...one day. Dan Simmons is a pretty good writer in both Horror and Science-Fiction/Fantasy.
Dan Simmons is amazing! The hyperion series - jesus what a story. Also, his horror novels (especially Summer of Night and A Winter Haunting, and of course Carrion Comfort) are wonderful. I also really enjoyed his Joe Kurtz crime novels. Maybe not neo-noir enough for the hardcases on litreactor, but VERY solid crime fiction.
A final recommendation for Simmons is The Terror. Very dense, dark book - also very long and a somewhat challenging read.
I read A Winter Haunting not knowing it was the sequel to Summer Of Night. It was still a really good book without reading the first part. I need to read Carrion Comfort. I've heard his crime novel The Crime Factory, The Crook Factory? I forget what it's called, is suppose to be good too.
I just finished Song of Kali- starts slow but once it gets going, really great stuff. Simmons sneaks up on you when it comes to horror. Planning on Hyperion after another book I'm reading now.
China Meiville is another one that really blew me away. Perdido Street Station was the kind of book that made me almost give up writing and just take up something more my speed, like mowing the lawn.
Though I'd say with Simmons... he has a simplicity to his narrative style that I really like. I never like to overwrite very much and Simmons keeps things pretty simple (though he can go on and on). I won't say he's "brilliant" cause there were things about Carrion Comfort that bothered me. Namely, his portrayal of black characters became a little heavy handed at times. It wasn't awful, but I live in Philadelphia and there was something about it that just felt very much like a white guy writing black characters, ha ha. But it wasn't to the piont where I felt annoyed, because there were also moments where he got those characters right.
Huge fan of Hellbound Heart. Def one of my favorites.
PS- I think Stephen King called Carrion Comfort the War and Peace of horror, or something along those lines. I'd def say its a must for horror written in the last twenty years.
I think Clive Barker's Books of Blood are great horror short stories. Dread is my favorite. They made an interesting movie on that one.
Speaking of Dan Simmons, he is about to finish a novel set in the Himalayas called The Abominable. Wonder what that could be about? Hmmmm.
I'm going to guess, a scary snowman of some sort. Ha ha.
He's a long winded mother fucker. How long is the Terror? like 700 pages? I'll probably tackle it the next time I have the flu.
I got a copy of The Ceremonies in a grab bag with a bunch of other books. The box was 10 dollars for about 20 books. I lucked out. Between The Ceremonies and a few other books, it was well worth it.
Favorite FB community page, Horror Reads, and their list of 113 Great Horror Reads....
Finished The Ceremonies. Really strong book. Great build-up. It's slow story that took me a while (I usually devour a book in two days, this one took me a long while). The ending was a bit abrupt for me and (SPOILER) I really was rooting for the bad guy in the end.
The lore that was included in the fiction about the other writers was really fun to read. I'd read a whole book about Klien just talking about the connections between different authors and mythologies. He's got a great voice for it and for the rituals of religion.
Now I have to figure out where I put my copy of Seeing Red. Did that thing ever show up? Damn it.
Oh, I bought it on the Kindle. No wonder I couldn't find it!
I've read 'The Damnation Game', though I didn't like it as much as most other people seem to. May have to give it a second go.
'Rosemary's Baby' was great. I loved the psychological build-up.
@Americantypo: Out of the four Simmons novels I've read so far, I think 'Carrion Comfort' is actually my least favorite. I enjoyed 'The Terror', even though it's pretty dense and ccan be slow-going at times. "Summer of Night' is probably the best I have read as of yet.
Feel like I abandoned this thread, sorry. Howie, so glad you enjoyed The Ceremonies. Klein is definitely a scholar, knows his stuff. If he ever wrote a nonfiction book about Horror, I'd be on that like white on rice. Did you ever finish Seeing Red?
The Barker and Straub for sure.
I don't know if I ever started Seeing Red. Damn it, I buy too many books.
I checked out 'Son of the Endless Night' and liked it mostly. I'm not sure what the hell he was thinking when he wrote the ending to Part Two, but it doesn't take away from the story too much. There are also some metaphors and descriptions in the book that really made me scratch my head as well. Overall, a pretty good book though.
I like a lot of the stories that are related to Straub's Blue Rose sequence. 'Fee,' which is in one of the editions of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, is one of my favorites. I also really liked 'Mr. Club and Mr. Cuff' )which isn't in the Blue Rose sequence). Good stuff.