Monday, 7 September 2015

Horror Stories

Susan Price (ed)
Kingfisher Books

Chills, spills and empty coffins! This wide-ranging collection of twenty-four spine-tingling stories draws on the best traditions of classic horror, from powerful myths and folktales to contemporary stories of man-made terrors. With contributions by writers of the calibre of John Steinbeck, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, T. H. White, Philip K. Dick and Stephen King, this is a truly chilling anthology.

On one weird day out at a local town a few months back I found 3 books in this series of anthologies in 3 separate charity shops (and then a few weeks later another in a different shop in a different town).  I bought 2; this one and a Vampire one.

What we have here is very much the modern equivalent of the old Pan, Fontana, Puffin anthologies.  The contents selected by the author Susan Price, is a mixed bag of the famous and the less so, the old and the new, the ghastly and the funny.

There's 24 separate tales here each of which I jotted a sentence about in my handy little notebook as I read and that seemed a good enough idea for this review so here goes the most spur of the moment review I've ever written.

E. F. Benson
1. Algernon Blackwood - The Kit Bag.
- Dark and spooky story about a man terrified by a bag.

2. Stephen King - Here There Be Tygers
- Pointless tale of urine related shyness and a tiger.

3. E.F. Benson - The Room in the Tower
- Prophetic dreams of a horrid old woman and a creepy room lead to a poor ending.

4. Philip K. Dick - Beyond Lies the Wub
- Very odd sci-fi tale of the ethics of food.

5. Susan Price - Feeding the dog
- A short fun morality tale about the costs of evil.

Nicholas Fisk
6. Nicholas Fisk - Teddies Rule OK
- A thoroughly, and I do mean thoroughly, creepy girl with teddy bear story.

7. Eleanor Farjeon - Grendel the Monster
- A quick telling of the Beowolf story.

8. Leon Garfield - A Grave Misunderstanding
- A fun little ghostly tale of the differences between what a dog 'sees' and what a human does.

9. Charles Dickens - Captain Murderer
- An oddly written tale of cannibalism and revenge.

10. Joan Aiken - Something
- Enigmatic and terrifying hauntings & dreams affect the males of a family.

Guy de Maupassant
11. Guy de Maupassant - The Hand
- Spooky tale of a haunted murderous hand.

12. Ellen Emerson White - The Boy Next Door
- Psychopathy American teen style

13. Scottish folktale - The Murder Hole
- Murder on the moors

14. Terry Jones & Michael Palin - The Famous Five go Pillaging
- A deeply Pythonesque tale of the collapse of Roman Imperialism.

15. John Steinbeck - the Affair at 7 Rue de M-
- Pointless story of malevolent bubble gum.

Vivien Alcock
16. Vivien Alcock - A Change of Aunts
- A fun tale of swampy retribution.

17. Edgar Allen Poe - The Cask of Amontillado
- Poe really liked walling people up.  Someone should check his house.

18. English folktale - The Pear Drum
- Odd tale about the perils of misbehaviour.

19. Philippa Pearce - The Dog Got Them
- Dog versus the D.T.s

20. Saki - Gabriel-Ernest
- A story of lycanthropy that begins well and ends poorly.

Philippa Pearce
21. Jan Mark - Nule
- Creepy little tale of anthropomorphism .

22. Jerome K. Jerome - The Dancing Partner
- A robotic take on 'The Red Shoes'.

23. Margaret Bingley - The Ring
- Young girl buys jewellery with a hidden cost.

24. T. H. White - The Troll
- Odd little story of a man confronted by a hungry troll whilst holidaying in Norway.

I'm so pleased they still do anthologies of this type for kids especially ones with this much good stuff but do many young people read Victorian horror?  I hope so.

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