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I've tried to get into Straub, but I just don't see the appeal.  I've read Ghost Story at least twice, and wasn't remotely scared and never got the point. 

 

Since OSJ mentioned him, Arthur Machen really needs to be more popular.  For lack of a better term I'd call his work semi-Lovecraftian (they were contemporaries and peers), although he's clearly much more of the English style; there's a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson, a bit of Charles Dickens, and believe it or not even the tiniest hint of Jane Austen.  But then he goes and clobbers your soul with something like The Great God Pan, which might seem just the tiniest bit quaint today, but was considered incredibly decadent and controversial back then. 

 

EDIT: and oh yeah, great call on Blaine The Mono.  Such an amazing "character" that I didn't even mind that King immediately ended the book on a damn cliffhanger right after he introduced it.  Odetta's humanist interpretation of what Blaine did to the other train was a real kick in the nuts, so thankfully Roland's manner of defeating the villain was incredibly goddamn hilarious. 

 

To be fair, Eddie is really the one who defeated Blaine. Why did the dead baby cross the road?

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Jonathan Maberry's "Pine Deep Trilogy" (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man's Song, Bad Moon Rising) is terrific. His Joe Ledger novels are all pretty good too.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Maberry

 

Co-sign on this. I love all of his stuff. Rot & Ruin is pretty good as well even though it's more of a young adult zombie series. He has a book of short stories as well that has a Pine Deep short in it. The title of it escapes me now b/c I don't have my Kindle handy but you should be able to find it pretty easily on Amazon.

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I've tried to get into Straub, but I just don't see the appeal.  I've read Ghost Story at least twice, and wasn't remotely scared and never got the point. 

 

Since OSJ mentioned him, Arthur Machen really needs to be more popular.  For lack of a better term I'd call his work semi-Lovecraftian (they were contemporaries and peers), although he's clearly much more of the English style; there's a lot of Robert Louis Stevenson, a bit of Charles Dickens, and believe it or not even the tiniest hint of Jane Austen.  But then he goes and clobbers your soul with something like The Great God Pan, which might seem just the tiniest bit quaint today, but was considered incredibly decadent and controversial back then. 

 

EDIT: and oh yeah, great call on Blaine The Mono.  Such an amazing "character" that I didn't even mind that King immediately ended the book on a damn cliffhanger right after he introduced it.  Odetta's humanist interpretation of what Blaine did to the other train was a real kick in the nuts, so thankfully Roland's manner of defeating the villain was incredibly goddamn hilarious. 

 

Good call on The Great God Pan. Machen was actually a bit earlier than Lovecraft (he was being published in the 1890s), and makes for an interesting counterpoint as Lovecraft was an atheist and Machen was a devout Catholic and spiritual ecstasy is an underlying theme in much of his work. Machen took Catholicism to the point of mysticism and the impact on his work was profound. The Three Imposters should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the development of horror/weird fiction as should an early collection, Ornaments in Jade. Tartarus Books in the UK has done a brilliant job of reprinting much of Machen's work in affordable editions. (By "affordable", I'm talking $40 hardcovers that are beautifully made and will last forever.)

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BTW: Peter Straub is great fun to drink scotch with, but I'm not as fond of his work as some others. Probably because I don't relate well to upper-middleclass New Englanders, cause I'm not one. I think he really hit a peak with Shadowland, even though he won awards for Koko and The Throat; personally, I burned out on the whole "Blue Rose" thing and never finished all the variables. Nothing against telling the same story through different unreliable narrators, but it all became just a bit too much. I will have to say that when we were both guests at the World Horror Con (I was "Publisher GOH"), and Peter was the Toastmaster and introduced me by saying "I always think of John Pelan first and foremost as a writer..." made my fucking year.

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For those who don't know, Machen kinda helped invent the entire "human beings can use scientific methods to access the supernatural world... but oh MAN it doesn't go well, we should really never ever step outside our front doors" subgenre.  Like, Lovecraft's "From Beyond" is highly Machenesque in the way he introduces contemporary gadgets and techniques which the then-audience would have been familiar with, and using that to just barely creeeeeak open the ever-shut door between Our World and... whatever.  (And those who are determined to discover Whatever tend to come to really bad ends.)  But it's also got that RLStevenson quality where he introduces lots of real characters who feel like real people, which is a nice change from your Lovecrafts and Poes who write almost every protagonist in their stories as practically being themselves.  

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Jonathan Maberry's "Pine Deep Trilogy" (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man's Song, Bad Moon Rising) is terrific. His Joe Ledger novels are all pretty good too.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Maberry

 

Co-sign on this. I love all of his stuff. Rot & Ruin is pretty good as well even though it's more of a young adult zombie series. He has a book of short stories as well that has a Pine Deep short in it. The title of it escapes me now b/c I don't have my Kindle handy but you should be able to find it pretty easily on Amazon.

 

If you remember it will you post it here? I'd love to read some more from Pine Deep.

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Another suggestion. Joe Schreiber has written 2 Star Wars themed Horror Novels. One called Death Troopers and one called Red Harvest. Both are good, though IMO Death Troopers is the much better of the two. He may have just put out another one too.

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Jonathan Maberry's "Pine Deep Trilogy" (Ghost Road Blues, Dead Man's Song, Bad Moon Rising) is terrific. His Joe Ledger novels are all pretty good too.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Maberry

 

Co-sign on this. I love all of his stuff. Rot & Ruin is pretty good as well even though it's more of a young adult zombie series. He has a book of short stories as well that has a Pine Deep short in it. The title of it escapes me now b/c I don't have my Kindle handy but you should be able to find it pretty easily on Amazon.

 

If you remember it will you post it here? I'd love to read some more from Pine Deep.

 

 

It was in a horror anthology called Dark Visions and the story is called Mister Pockets: A Pine Deep Story.

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  • 1 month later...

Surprised no on has mentioned

 

Jack Ketchum

Edward Lee

Wraith James White

Richard Laymon

Brian Keene 

 

All are current and putting good stuff. Ketchum's chapbook Weed Species and his novel The Girl next door are two modern pieces of horror fiction that got to me.

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Surprised no on has mentioned

 

Jack Ketchum

Edward Lee

Wraith James White

Richard Laymon

Brian Keene 

 

All are current and putting good stuff. Ketchum's chapbook Weed Species and his novel The Girl next door are two modern pieces of horror fiction that got to me.

 

I like some of Keene's stuff. Was lukewarm on the City of the Dead series. It was such a hopeless scenario that it made it tough to get into. There was no way any they could defeat Ob so why even bother caring what's going on?

 

Edward Lee has some great books if you aren't squeamish. I really like the Infernal series.

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Surprised no on has mentioned

 

Jack Ketchum

Edward Lee

Wraith James White

Richard Laymon

Brian Keene 

 

All are current and putting good stuff. Ketchum's chapbook Weed Species and his novel The Girl next door are two modern pieces of horror fiction that got to me.

 

I like some of Keene's stuff. Was lukewarm on the City of the Dead series. It was such a hopeless scenario that it made it tough to get into. There was no way any they could defeat Ob so why even bother caring what's going on?

 

Edward Lee has some great books if you aren't squeamish. I really like the Infernal series.

 

One really shouldn't mention Edward Lee on a wrestling board without mentioning Goon. Yeah, so I wrote half of it, so sue me for shameless self-promotion.

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Have never read Goon but will give it a whirl once I'm done with the V-Wars Anthology.

 

Gracias. I hope you like it. It's basically two rasslin fans being as obscene as possible and just having a blast writing the story. We really need to do a sequel one of these days.

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I didn't know such a book existed!  Holy shit, yeah, I'm buying that the very instant I have a couple of nickels to rub together.  I've always wondered why there isn't more fiction set in the world of wrestling, it's such a natural habitat to tell stories about.  I've read a couple of wrestling novels, and none of them were very good.  I once dreamed up a long stupid perverted screenplay treatment about vampires in wrestling, making vampirism a metaphor for steroids, selling your soul in order to get what you want and abusing your own body in the worst ways and yadda yadda yadda.  If some half-assed "writer" like me can think of ideas like that, why haven't GOOD writers done it?  

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I didn't know such a book existed!  Holy shit, yeah, I'm buying that the very instant I have a couple of nickels to rub together.  I've always wondered why there isn't more fiction set in the world of wrestling, it's such a natural habitat to tell stories about.  I've read a couple of wrestling novels, and none of them were very good.  I once dreamed up a long stupid perverted screenplay treatment about vampires in wrestling, making vampirism a metaphor for steroids, selling your soul in order to get what you want and abusing your own body in the worst ways and yadda yadda yadda.  If some half-assed "writer" like me can think of ideas like that, why haven't GOOD writers done it?  

 

Jingus: Here's something a lot of folks aren't aware of... There are a bunch of horror writers who are wrestling fans, after all, wrestling is theatre of the extreme and horror fiction is the literature of the extreme. Among those who are die-hard fans: Me (John Pelan), Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Christa Faust, Dennis Etchison, Doug Winter, Lucy Taylor, and artist Alan M. Clarke.  I recall a convention (World Horror in Niagara Falls) where Christa, Doug and I commandeered the video room (kicking out a couple of Dr. Who geeks) and spent the night watching Manami Toyota and Akira Hokuto. Good times. Then there's the legendary pilgrimage to Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs & Chinese Food that took place during a World Horror Con in Atlanta. Participants included Alan Clarke, Lucy Taylor, the Pelans and several novice writers from Nashville. Apparently it's such a nasty part of town that cabs don't go there after dark so all twelve of us were stuck there. We got eight of the group back to the hotel when two cabbies stopped in for some grub. The other four of us, My wife, Lucy, one of the Nashville guys and me ended up getting a ride back in the Abdullah van from Mrs. Abdullah. The great man himself called us the next day and was going to come to our publishers' party with Mick Foley and Teddy Long, but they no-showed. ;-( Still, it was cool getting a phone call from the Butcher, who kept calling my wife "Sweetie".

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Some people have mentioned Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, their books aren't high grade literature but if you want something that's the equivalent of an ultra-gory slasher/survival horror flick, they're a good way to go.  Keene's book Urban Gothic is one of the most unsettling books I've read (think The Hills Have Eyes in an urban setting) in how descriptive it is.  Richard Laymon's Beast House series is in a similar vein.

 

JA Konrath writes detective/serial killer stories and horror novels under his alias Jack Kilborn and there are a few crossovers.  

 

The modern day Lovecraft moniker is something that gets thrown around a lot, but Thomas Ligotti is about the only person I can think who approaches him.  There are some graphic novels based on his short stories that are also highly recommended. 

 

Just finished Doctor Sleep at lunch today. 

 

Starts off like gangbusters but ultimately fizzles out.  A good novel to be sure, but it had a high bar to reach being billed as the sequel to The Shining.

 

Definitely suffers from quality of opposition.  The True Knot are not in the league of Barlow, Randall Flagg, Pennywise, or any of King's premier chthonic forces.

 

The two King "villains" that freaked me out the most weren't even human or even humanoid for that matter:  The Overlook Hotel and Blaine The Mono.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with Doctor Sleep.  King's recent short story anthologies have been quality, but I'd all but given up on his novels (especially after how horrid 11/23/62 was) but this was a solid read.  I agree with the unimposing antagonists and that's something that a lot of his recent output has had in common - at no point do the protagonists seem to be in any -serious- danger.

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Some people have mentioned Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, their books aren't high grade literature but if you want something that's the equivalent of an ultra-gory slasher/survival horror flick, they're a good way to go.  Keene's book Urban Gothic is one of the most unsettling books I've read (think The Hills Have Eyes in an urban setting) in how descriptive it is.  Richard Laymon's Beast House series is in a similar vein.

 

JA Konrath writes detective/serial killer stories and horror novels under his alias Jack Kilborn and there are a few crossovers.  

 

The modern day Lovecraft moniker is something that gets thrown around a lot, but Thomas Ligotti is about the only person I can think who approaches him.  There are some graphic novels based on his short stories that are also highly recommended. 

 

Just finished Doctor Sleep at lunch today. 

 

Starts off like gangbusters but ultimately fizzles out.  A good novel to be sure, but it had a high bar to reach being billed as the sequel to The Shining.

 

Definitely suffers from quality of opposition.  The True Knot are not in the league of Barlow, Randall Flagg, Pennywise, or any of King's premier chthonic forces.

 

The two King "villains" that freaked me out the most weren't even human or even humanoid for that matter:  The Overlook Hotel and Blaine The Mono.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with Doctor Sleep.  King's recent short story anthologies have been quality, but I'd all but given up on his novels (especially after how horrid 11/23/62 was) but this was a solid read.  I agree with the unimposing antagonists and that's something that a lot of his recent output has had in common - at no point do the protagonists seem to be in any -serious- danger.

 

Very good points. I thought it was a solid novel but King built the little girl and Torrance up so much that the True Knot didn't seem like they'd be any trouble for them. Plus he weakened the True Knot a ton before the final showdown even happened. He's had that problem for a while in my opinion where he makes the protagonist almost invincible and the villain just seems like a minor annoyance. Take the final Dark Tower novel for instance. When Roland goes against the Crimson King it was like a Road Warriors squash match.

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Some people have mentioned Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, their books aren't high grade literature but if you want something that's the equivalent of an ultra-gory slasher/survival horror flick, they're a good way to go.  Keene's book Urban Gothic is one of the most unsettling books I've read (think The Hills Have Eyes in an urban setting) in how descriptive it is.  Richard Laymon's Beast House series is in a similar vein.

 

JA Konrath writes detective/serial killer stories and horror novels under his alias Jack Kilborn and there are a few crossovers.  

 

The modern day Lovecraft moniker is something that gets thrown around a lot, but Thomas Ligotti is about the only person I can think who approaches him.  There are some graphic novels based on his short stories that are also highly recommended. 

 

Just finished Doctor Sleep at lunch today. 

 

Starts off like gangbusters but ultimately fizzles out.  A good novel to be sure, but it had a high bar to reach being billed as the sequel to The Shining.

 

Definitely suffers from quality of opposition.  The True Knot are not in the league of Barlow, Randall Flagg, Pennywise, or any of King's premier chthonic forces.

 

The two King "villains" that freaked me out the most weren't even human or even humanoid for that matter:  The Overlook Hotel and Blaine The Mono.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with Doctor Sleep.  King's recent short story anthologies have been quality, but I'd all but given up on his novels (especially after how horrid 11/23/62 was) but this was a solid read.  I agree with the unimposing antagonists and that's something that a lot of his recent output has had in common - at no point do the protagonists seem to be in any -serious- danger.

 

HC: Did you know that there is a Ligotti tribute antho out there now? Some of the writers in it definitely approach the master. I won't say that they are "the new Lovecraft"(because they are actually better writers), but my buds Laird Barron and Scott Nicolay are guy that you should check out. They are both masters of what I call "the New Weird". Believable, well-written characters thrust into bizarre and terrifying shifts in reality. Check it out.

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HC (among others) mentioned Dick Laymon. I'm really glad people are still reading his books. Dick was my best friend and we used to call each other every Wednesday to bs about the writing biz, South Park, rasslin, and old Gold Medal novels. I really miss him. Brian Keene is hella cool too, dude was like my little brother. Probably the most traditional old-school horror writer working today and I mean that as a huge compliment.

 

Little known factoid: Dick Laymon did the very best Eric Cartman voice I've ever heard, dude could have done voiceovers.

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HC (among others) mentioned Dick Laymon. I'm really glad people are still reading his books. Dick was my best friend and we used to call each other every Wednesday to bs about the writing biz, South Park, rasslin, and old Gold Medal novels. I really miss him. Brian Keene is hella cool too, dude was like my little brother. Probably the most traditional old-school horror writer working today and I mean that as a huge compliment.

 

Little known factoid: Dick Laymon did the very best Eric Cartman voice I've ever heard, dude could have done voiceovers.

 

Cool, I didn't realize you knew them personally.  Glad to hear they're such good guys.  I've dug most of what I've read from both of them so far.  I didn't get into Keene's zombie books so much, but that genre is really oversaturated and not something I'm all that big a fan of. 

 

Speaking of which, Joe McKinney's zombie outbreak trilogy is really good (especially the second book).  They all take place in the same universe but are totally separate self-contained stories.

 

Didn't realize there was a Ligotti tribute out there, I might have to check that out as well.  I like weird stuff as long as it's not just weird for the sake of weird.

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HC (among others) mentioned Dick Laymon. I'm really glad people are still reading his books. Dick was my best friend and we used to call each other every Wednesday to bs about the writing biz, South Park, rasslin, and old Gold Medal novels. I really miss him. Brian Keene is hella cool too, dude was like my little brother. Probably the most traditional old-school horror writer working today and I mean that as a huge compliment.

 

Little known factoid: Dick Laymon did the very best Eric Cartman voice I've ever heard, dude could have done voiceovers.

 

Cool, I didn't realize you knew them personally.  Glad to hear they're such good guys.  I've dug most of what I've read from both of them so far.  I didn't get into Keene's zombie books so much, but that genre is really oversaturated and not something I'm all that big a fan of. 

 

Speaking of which, Joe McKinney's zombie outbreak trilogy is really good (especially the second book).  They all take place in the same universe but are totally separate self-contained stories.

 

Didn't realize there was a Ligotti tribute out there, I might have to check that out as well.  I like weird stuff as long as it's not just weird for the sake of weird.

 

 

Some of it is just that, weird for the sake of weird. The good stuff makes it worthwhile. Sadly, I was sick when the deadline came and went, so I'm not in there. Actually, I should mine my near-death experience for a story, it doesn't get much weirder than moving in slow motion and realizing that you can no longer read. (That's what happens when your kidneys shut down and the poisons get into your brain... Took me two hours to make a sandwich and I couldn't figure out how to lift my leg in order to get into bed. In retrospect, it's just as well I didn't as I probably would've died in my sleep. Watching my comical attempts to get my body to do what I wanted it to was enough for my wife to decide it was high time to go to the hospital.)

 

But, enough of that... You really need to get Scott Nicolay's new book from Fedogan & Bremer. He is the real deal. He's better than I am and I don't give that up too easily.

 

Horror writers are actually a pretty small group, so most of us know each other on some level*. The Laymons were a couple of years older than us and we hit it off right away. One of my greatest memories is driving down the coast highway with the Laymons to do a reading at Borderlands in SF before the World Horror Con in Monterey.

 

*Also consider that I've done about a dozen original anthologies, each one meant interacting with about 100 people (for every story I bought, I bounced four, but unless it was just the drizzling shits, I made it a point to talk to the author and let 'em know what I wanted for the next book. The winners rose to the occasion, the losers went on message boards and bitched about what a prick I was as an editor. ;-)

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Hey y'all:

 

I just stumbled on this guy's website http://www.ruthvensattic.com/ and he has some of the very best high-end horror books that I've ever seen. I can't afford any of this stuff, but it is fun to look at. Check it out, some of this stuff like the "Creeps" and "Not at Night " series in jacket are simply impossible.

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About two years ago now, Between the Covers (a major rare book seller in NJ) bought an absolutely bonkers horror collection. Looking through their database, they have some of it still, including a bunch of really well conditioned Weird Tales. It's worth a look if you like that sort of thing. 

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