Saturday, September 13, 2014

Charles Rutledge's Book of Horror Vol VI

It's the middle of September and there's just a hint of autumn in the air. That means it's time once again for my annual imaginary horror anthology. Inspired by the collection 'H.P. Lovecraft's Book of Horror' back in 2009, I decided to collect an unlucky 13 horror stories from my reading history and suggest then to folks who might be looking for some spooky reading material for the upcoming Halloween season. I always try and have the list up by the middle of September so that interested parties can track them down in time for All Hallows Eve. If you check the archive for Sept of 2009-2013 you'll find even more suggestions.
    This gets a little tougher every year because I've used up my absolute favorites, so the selections from favorite writers become more difficult. Luckily I continue to collect horror short stories, so there are always new (or new to me) stories and authors.  This year marks my first inclusion of stories by folks like Brian Lumley, William Meikle, and Gene Wolfe, and the return of old favorites Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, Karl Edward Wagner, Stephen King, and Manly Wade Wellman.
   Speaking of Wagner, this is the first time I've used a story about his hero-villain, Kane in one of my lists. I usually stick to Wagner's traditional horror yarns, but 'Undertow' is probably the most horrific of the Kane tales and I think it fits right in.
   I almost included Kealan Patrick Burke's story 'Offline', but at the last minute I replaced it with his 'Someone to Carve the Pumpkins' because of its creepy Halloween vibe.
   There's nary a whisper of the supernatural in Ed Gorman's story, 'Angie', but trust me, it's horror, and perhaps more so than some of the other because it's all too believable.
   I was a bit surprised at the sheer, out and out terror evident in William Hope Hodgson's 'A Tropical Horror' because I usually think of his horror stories as being more reserved. This one is a real shocker and would make a good movie, I think. Ditto Amelia B. Edwards' 'The Phantom Coach' which has an ending that's just plane gruesome.
   One of my favorite Ghost stories in quite some time is Chet Williamson's 'Jabbie Welsh'. Chet writes beautifully and here his horror chops really shine.
   William Meikle's 'The Keeper of the Gate' is a top notch Cthulhu Mythos story, as are most of the yarns in the collection 'Dark Rites of Cthulhu'. I highly recommend that anthology. It's often hard to find Mythos stories that manage to actually be scary these days and Dark Rites has more than its share.
   So there you have it. 13 horror tales for your Halloween reading pleasure. Hopefully you old hands will find something you missed, and for the horror newbies among you, I hope I can point the way to some new writers, even if some of them are of Victorian Vintage.

1. Manly Wade Wellman -Pithecanthropus Rejectus 
from The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein

2. Amelia B. Edwards  -The Phantom Coach
from The Phantom Coach

3. Karl Edward Wagner -Undertow
From Night Winds

4. Chet Williamson -Jabbie Welsh
From Figures in Rain

5. Brian Lumley -The Fairground Horror
From The Taint and Other Novellas

6. William Hope Hodgson -A Tropical Horror
From The Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction

7. Gene Wolfe-Lord of the Land
From Cthulhu 2000

8. H.P. Lovecraft-The Shunned House
From The Best of H.P. Lovecraft

9. William Meikle-The Keeper of the Gate
From Dark Rites of Cthulhu

10. Kealan Patrick Burke-Someone to Carve the Pumpkins
From Dead Leaves

11. Ed Gorman-Angie
From Scream Queen and other Tales of Menace

12. Stephen King-The Monkey
From Skeleton Crew

13. Ramsey Campbell-The Show Goes On
From DAW Year's Best Horror Vol XI


Eric Ladd said...

Charles, do you ever write horror short stories of your own?

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Eric, yes, I've appeared in a couple of anthologies. Most recent was in CARNACKI: THE NEW ADVENTURES.

Keith West said...

I've read a few of these and have copies of a number of the others. I need to try to fit one or two in with what I've selected for the season.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I'd like to see your list. Keith.

Keith West said...

My approach is a little different than yours in that I'm going to look at novels and anthologies as well as individual stories, as many as I can. Some will be rereads and others will be new. I hesitate to name too many names because I don't want life to happen and not get to them.

I'm going to be blogging across multiple blogs. My own, of course, will have most of the content. In a way I've already started with reviews of Lansdale's Bleeding Shadows and Priest's Maplecroft. Bradbury was a big influence on me, so I'll be focusing a lot on him. There will be some Robert E. Howard tales as well.

At Black Gate, I'll look at one or two of the Lovecraft titles in the BAF series.

Finally, I post every other week at Amazing Stories, with a focus on independent and small press publishing. There's a set of horror novels by a couple of guys named Rutledge and Moore I've been wanting to try. I'll review the first one at Amazing Stories, since the traffic is higher than on my blog. If I can work in the second before Halloween, I'll review it at Adventures Fantastic.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Great list, as always.

Also, readers can double-dip via The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein because "Undertow" appears in there, too.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I'd forgotten that, Paul. That is cool.