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  • Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 23:21 on 30 April 2004
    Hi, I've been browsing Amazon.co.uk for what seems like an eternity, looking for a decent horror book to read. Has anyone got any suggestions for a worthwhile horror novel that I could read?

    The search is driving me mad I tell you, mad!

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 18:43 on 01 May 2004
    Does ANYONE read horror, or am I a stranger in a strange land, standing at the bottom of an empty black void, shouting into oblivion?

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 18:57 on 01 May 2004
    The Descent, by Jeff Long is worth a read.
  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Colin-M at 19:00 on 01 May 2004
    It depends on what sort of horror you want, scary vs gory. Emotional vs Action. Old or new. Is this genre new to you. If it is, then a good selection to play with (bear in mind I don't read much horror anymore, but I used to, so this list may be out of date) might be...

    [u]Short Stories[/u]
    Night Shift by Stephen King
    Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
    HP Lovecraft Omnibus III (they are all good, but III has Pickman's Model in it - my favourite horror short story)
    The Books of Blood by Clive Barker
    Fruiting Bodies by Brian Lumley

    The Rats by James Herbert
    Necroscope by Brian Lumley
    Ghost Story by Peter Straub.
    It by Stephen King

    and if you want something different that will make your skin crawl, is a bitch to read, but well worth the effort, I would definitely recommend My Idea of Fun by Will Self.

    Hope this helps, and if you find anything decent, or you've read anything worth recommending then let me know. It's ages since I read a good horror yarn.

    Colin M


    well, I screwed up the bold and underlined text pretty well. You get the idea.

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Dee at 19:03 on 01 May 2004
    The Dark Half by Stephen King still give me the creeps even though it's years since I read it. Sadly (and very unusually) I gave the book away... otherwise I would have read it again.

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by kennyp at 19:15 on 01 May 2004

    Have you tried any Edgar Allan Poe?

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Ticonderoga at 19:31 on 01 May 2004

    All previous suggestions are too be ignored!! The most extraordinary horror/fantasy novel of all time is The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson - currently in print, accompanied by two more of his outlandishly brilliant novels. No contest. This book will alter your mind forever.......


  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Colin-M at 07:12 on 02 May 2004
    I've just read a couple of reviews of that. Certainly looks interesting. If I can wade through HP Lovecraft then I might give this one a go.

    Cheers Mike

    Colin M
  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by darkstar at 09:43 on 02 May 2004
    I would certainly second the recs for HP Lovecraft, which have to be the creepiest books I have ever read. Not to be read alone, late at night.

    If you have the stomach for more, I would recommend anything by Jonathan Aycliffe, but especially Whispers in the Dark.

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 10:30 on 02 May 2004
    Insane Bartender, The Descent sounds very interesting. I'll have a read of that one in the future. Made me think of Lovecraft when I read the review on Amazon. Cheers.

    Colin-M, scary and gory, with emotion and action. Old is best, but new will do as a second-best. I've read Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, all three H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus', all of Barker's Books of Blood [he's going to write six more!], read The Rats, Lair, and Domain. I haven't read IT, and I have an ebook of Lumley's Necroscope. I keep hearing good things about Lumley's writing, so I'll definitely check him out. I've never read a Peter Straub book, but I remember hearing that Ghost Story was supposed to be quite scary. Thanks for your recommendations. And isn't Will Self a non-horror writer? YES, THE BOLD WAS VERY DRAMATIC!

    Dee, love The Dark Half. The George A. Romero film is excellent as well, and has a spectaculuar finale that will leave you breathless. You gave it away, how could you do such a thing?!

    kennyp, yes, I've read a lot of Poe, he hated being called Edgar Allan Poe, and preferred just to be called, E.A. Poe. The Masque Of The Red Death, is one of my favourite Poe stories. The Gold Bug seriously freaked me out when I read it. Talk about twisted logic.

    Ticonderoga, as I like Lovecraft, I've often heard mentions of Hodgson. Didn't Lovecraft call The House On The Borderland, one of the best pieces of horror fiction, alongside Algernon Blackwood's, The Willows, in his horror essay? So it must be pretty damn good, and quite scary. The premise sounds very original for a book that is nearlly a century old. I'm definitely going to check this one out. There's various e-text's online, so I'll read one of those. Hodgson was killed by a rifle shell [in the face], during WWI. He originally set out to be a sailor and spent three hard years on the sea, as a ship's mate. His first voyage, he was severely beaten up and humiliated by another sailor. This affected him so bad, that when he returned, he spent all his spare time building his body to the peak of muscular physique. No one ever tried anything with him again, and he spent his short life teaching people how to defend themselves and how to work out. He sounds quite a character. After three years on the sea, he realised that he absolutely hated it with a vengeance. That's one of the reasons most of his horror work has a sea setting or many sea themes. He's supposed to have an uncanny ability at creating pure atmospheric terror that is VERY believable.
    I can't wait to read The House On The Borderland, it sounds chilling. Cheers for that.

    darkstar, I adore H.P. Lovecraft. I think he's one of the greats in modern horror fiction. He was way ahead of his time in everything he wrote. Did you know that he burnt all of his early fiction that he wrote before his twenties? As he was never really famous during his lifetime, he died thinking most of his horror was crap! Look how popular it is now, amazing. Whenever I read a story by Lovecraft, the horror seems to just creep up on me, until it comes to the point where it really gets a hold on your mind. I can't remember the name of the story, but it's one that starts off instantly scary, in the woods [where else!], focusing on a river, where the skins of an unknown demon are floating on the surface because of heavy rain. That scared the life out of me!
    I'll have to check out Whispers In The Dark.

    There's a fantastic web site, a foreign one, but all the e-text's are in English. It features 100's of Lovecraft stories. Most of them cannot be found on any other web sites, so anyone who likes him, check it out, has a lot of rare texts on it. Many of his rare collaboration stories are on there, and they are very hard to get hold of now:


    Also, the new issue of Fortean Times has a cover feature on Lovecraft's writing. Focusing on whether he believed in what he was writing. Though most sources insist that he didn't believe in his work, what inspired him to write of such unknown horrors? And where did he get the inspiration to write about the Necronomicon, which real books of horror did he read? That's what I want to know. No one writes like Lovecraft, so he must have known what he was talking about.

    Okay, I think it's time for a H.P. Lovecraft thread on WW. Who's up for discussing his writing? Everyone could read one story a week and comment on it. What do you think people?

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Milou at 11:28 on 02 May 2004
    Hi everyone, my first post here.

    I don't know whether it's strictly classed as horror, but I'd definately recommend Mark K. Danielewski's 'House of Leaves'. It's a strange and really compelling book,

    It's multi-layered fiction - a man finds a half completed book about a documentary film called The Navidson Record, which supposedly documents a family's experiences in a house which seems to have a life of it's own. He can find no evidence the film or the house ever existed, but the horror of what supposedly took place starts to haunt him.

    It's a very fractured narrative - switching between the book on the documentary, the footnotes the narrator adds, photos, lists, a page of braille amd so on. A really interesting novel and very scary too!

    And if you want scary, what about anything by M.R.James, the best writer of ghost stories ever?
  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 11:58 on 02 May 2004
    Hi Milou, I saw House Of Leaves in Waterstones a few months a go. The book was HUGE. But I have read mixed reviews about it. But I should judge for myself really, it may be very good. I'm not too keen on horror books that are in diary form. Is it laid out as a diary, or a record of collected esoterica? I still find Dracula unbearable to read in its diary form. And I've always felt that it's overrated, and quite badly written. lol, well it is! Though I love the way Stevenson concocted The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, through flashbacks, narrative fragments and letters. It made it much more frightening.

    I'm a big fan of M.R. James, though I think the criminally overlooked British horror author Algernon Blackwood beats them all. Something that has puzzled me for years about books that feature James' work, is why they always mention, ghosts, supernatural, the collected book of ghost tales by M.R. James, things like that. Most of his best horror tales have not one thing to do with ghosts. Such as Casting The Runes, one of the scariest stories I've ever had to endure. And there isn't a single ghost in it, a much more scary incantation of horrors is explored in that story. If you've never read it, check it out, it's scary as hell!

  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Account Closed at 12:35 on 02 May 2004
    The H.P. Lovecraft thread is up and running in the Favourite Writers section:


  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Milou at 12:40 on 02 May 2004
    Hi Steven,

    House of Leaves is huge - not ideal for reading on the tube! It isn't strictly in diary form, but it's certainly not a conventional narrative. Basically its central structure is a critical commentary on the documentary The Navidson Record, describing the film and the man who supposedly made it. Then there are footnotes by the guy who's trying to edit this book, which get more and more intrusive and more and more about him. If you've ever read Nabakov's 'Pale Fire', it's very like that in effect. Part of the reason for the book's size is that the text is very broken - I think there's a section of blank pages in the middle. (This sounds like a gimmick, and I suppose it is in a way, but it does actually have a good effect in the context of the story.)

    I'm sure it's not to everyone's taste - I found it a little heavy going at times, but I'd still recommend it as a fascinating and scary read.

    I love M.R.James - I've read all his short stories, and he's one of those writers that I really regret having read all there is to read - I wish he'd written more! I think my favourite is 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' - I still can't sleep in a room with another empty bed in it....
  • Re: Can anyone recommend a good horror novel?
    by Colin-M at 14:59 on 02 May 2004
    Correct, Will Self is not a 'horror' writer, but there is a certain horror element in much of his writing and an awful lot of darkestly, dark humour. The Short Story "Ward 9" (or something like that) from the collection The Quantity Theory if Insanity is a good horror yarn. As for the book I mentioned, "My Idea of Fun" - in the first page of the book the question is put to the narrator - what is your idea of fun? His answer, though he doesn't voice it, involves decapitating a tramp in a subway, then lying over the body and performing sexual acts with the gaping hole left where the head had been. It sort of builds up from there - and the section called The Land of Childrens Jokes is completely off the weirdometer.

    Colin M
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