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Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:55 am UTC
by whitelightwhiteheat
Well i do, I've read lovecraft and think its great. I have also read Stephen king but find his writing style so average it kinda ruins the books.
So to get to the point do you or don't you like horror books? if so some of your favorites would be good as i 'm finding it hard to find any good ones.
Oh yeah i loved Lunar park too, that was amazing.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 1:35 pm UTC
by thatguy
I've read some of Lovecraft's short stories and liked them, although he can get a little dense.

I've read Stephen King's The Dark Tower Series and really enjoyed it, did you read those?

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 6:39 pm UTC
by Scarletina
Yay, Lovecraft! I usually prefer older horor stuff, like M.R. James' stories and The Haunting of Hill House.

For something totally different, try some of Poppy Z. Brite's earlier books: Lost Souls, Drawing Blood, and Wormwood. She does really good modern horror. (I will warn you though, you probably won't be able to get into her writing if you're bothered by descriptions of gay sex.)

Oh, and also The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. It's the book Hellraiser is based on, and I loved it.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:52 pm UTC
by BMW787
I love horror books. Im a huge fan of Stephen King. I read World War Z not too long ago and I found it to be very unsettleing... Damn zombies

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:56 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
I maintain that zombies are the most sublime story telling device.

Huge fan of Stephen King, find him to be far more brilliant then the location of his book sales suggests. The dearly departed Mikey C.'s Sphere was one of the scariest books I think I've ever read, as was Stir of Echos (can't remember author).

I suggest Song of Kali by Dan Simmons.

I like Lovecraft in theory more then in execution. I find most of his telling to be stuffy and poorly communicated, as well as not very creepy. "It was so scary I can't even tell you about it. Also, you should be scared, because I was" does not jive well with me.

Edgar Allen Poe did it better.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:30 pm UTC
by whitelightwhiteheat
noticing a lot of stephen king fans, i like his stories but am just put off by his writing. I did enjoy Carrie though

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:47 pm UTC
by Mighty Jalapeno
Scarletina wrote:For something totally different, try some of Poppy Z. Brite's earlier books: Lost Souls, Drawing Blood, and Wormwood. She does really good modern horror. (I will warn you though, you probably won't be able to get into her writing if you're bothered by descriptions of gay sex.)

Or are bothered by horror books that have absolutely nothing horror-ish or even remotely scary in them. Seriously, it was like reading the book version of "American Pie - With Vampires!" Unfortunately, we will have a very hard time convincing my daughter that she WASN'T named after Poppy Z Brite, given the fact that my wife has about 10 Poppy Z books, and she's on our Facebooks.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:48 pm UTC
by Chuff
Yeah, I go outside and read Lovecraft with milk and nachos late at night regularly.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:36 pm UTC
by mrob65
You wanna read some good horror? Try Richard Matheson, the guy who wrote I Am Legend. The book was much different from the movie.

Oh and btw, this guy was Stephen King's inspiration for becoming a horror writer.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 2:34 pm UTC
by thatguy
Izawwlgood wrote:Huge fan of Stephen King, find him to be far more brilliant than the location of his book sales suggests.

Fix'd.

Sorry, pet peeve.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:01 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
I think that's the third vaguely ironic spell check you've nailed me on thatguy.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:19 am UTC
by Gentlelady
Izawwlgood wrote:I maintain that zombies are the most sublime story telling device.

Huge fan of Stephen King, find him to be far more brilliant then the location of his book sales suggests. The dearly departed Mikey C.'s Sphere was one of the scariest books I think I've ever read, as was Stir of Echos (can't remember author).


Edgar Allen Poe did it better.



I agree with you. I was upset when I learned Michael Crichton died. He was one of my favorite authors.

And I have the entire collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories some where on my bookshelf. I love to go back and re-read Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:27 am UTC
by novax6
I used to be a huge fan of Stephen King until I realized I liked his story ideas much much more then his actual story. I would always start out really liking a book of his and by the end just wanting it to be over. I still can't believe the direction he went with the dark tower series. I guess I just don't find him to be a very good writer, although he has a brilliant imagination and some of his books are classics for that. He should be someone giving screen writers and other authors ideas.

H.P. Lovecraft is another one I love his style and mythology more then his actual writing. He can definitely shine sometimes but usually his stories are way to formulaic and static. You gotta love the whole Cthulhu mythology and universe though, best horror inspired alternate reality ever.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:32 pm UTC
by BMW787
Gentlelady wrote:
And I have the entire collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories some where on my bookshelf. I love to go back and re-read Murders in the Rue Morgue.


I think my favourite Edgar Allen Poe story was The Pit and the Pendulum. I loved it. Also the Cask of Amontillado. Just brilliant

"For the love of God, Montresor!"

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:01 pm UTC
by Teres
whitelightwhiteheat wrote:Well i do, I've read lovecraft and think its great. I have also read Stephen king but find his writing style so average it kinda ruins the books.
So to get to the point do you or don't you like horror books? if so some of your favorites would be good as i 'm finding it hard to find any good ones.
Oh yeah i loved Lunar park too, that was amazing.

I love H.P. Lovecraft. He's one of my all-time favourite authors. It's not so much the stories themselves, but his way of describing things that really get to me. One good example of this would be the opening paragraph from The Colour out of Space:

H.P. Lovecraft wrote:West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. On the gentle slopes there are farms, ancient and rocky, with squat, moss-coated cottages brooding eternally over old New England secrets in the lee of great ledges; but these are all vacant now, the wide chimneys crumbling and the shingled sides bulging perilously beneath low gambrel roofs. The old folk have gone away, and foreigners do not like to live there. French-Canadians have tried it, Italians have tried it, and the Poles have come and departed. It is not because of anything that can be seen or heard or handled, but because of something that is imagined. The place is not good for imagination, and does not bring restful dreams at night.


I grant you that his stories tend to be repetitive, but they never fail to captivate me. I can re-read them over and over again, especially The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. It doesn't matter at all whether its plot is a little shaky; it's the adventures and discoveries that make it such a joy to read.

If you like H.P. Lovecraft, I recommend Clark Ashton Smith. He and Lovecraft were good friends and exchanged a lot of letters which are fascinating reads in themselves. They would occasionally borrow each others inventions, e.g. Necronomicon, Book of Eibon etc for their stories. Smith wrote quite a few stories in the so-called Cthulhu Mythos as well. You can find most of his stories online at Eldritch Dark.

I also recommend The Dark Chamber by Leonard Cline. It's a forgotten masterpiece that probably shouldn't be called 'horror' because it features no monsters or blood or similar horror cornerstones. It has, however, a very delicately crafted oppressive atmosphere of fear and anticipation and Cline was a master at writing beautiful sentences that are treasures on their own.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 12:24 am UTC
by Gentlelady
BMW787 wrote:
I loved it. Also the Cask of Amontillado. Just brilliant

"For the love of God, Montresor!"



That is my second favorite.

In pace requiescat!

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:04 pm UTC
by Bradpiece
I like "The Damnation Game" by Clive Barker.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 1:07 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
I also agree on Poe. He could really give you a good mindfuck more than any other horror writer I know. Two of my favorite stories by him are "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "Masque Of The Red Death." His poem "The Raven" always sends chills down my spine.

Stephen King is OK, but the only books I really liked by him were "The Shining" and "It". For both of these, you have to pretty much forget the movie when you read the books. Especially "The Shining", if the only version you've seen is the one directed by Kubrick.

The best horror I've read, though, is that which is based on allegedly true events. My mom had bought a book called "The Uninvited" written by a guy who moved himself and his kids into a home that was for rent. After they experienced some freaky shit, they moved out, and another family moved in. When that family experienced some of the same stuff, things got a bit weird.

If you want some good true horror stories, go here. Some of the stories there will make the stuff by Poe, Lovecraft, or King seem like children's bedtime stories.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:57 am UTC
by Gaz
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a must read for anyone who even looks at this thread.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:12 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
Gaz wrote:Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a must read for anyone who even looks at this thread.


A lot of the classics are a lot scarier than anything cooked up during the later half of the last century, or up to today. "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" are two good examples. Same with "Fu Man Chu".

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Fri May 22, 2009 1:40 am UTC
by Surgery
I will third Clive Barker, particularly The Hellbound Heart, The Damnation Game, Coldheart Canyon, and for the young-ens The Thief of Always. You have to be careful though, pretty much anything other than The Thief of Always and Abarat will have graphic depictions of various kinds of sex.

Also, Mort Castle's Moon on the Water is full of wonderful terrible little short stories. Definitely recommended. I also recommend an anthology of short stories called Great Tales of Madness and the Macabre.

Did anyone read those Northern Frights books as a kid? Those covers always creeped me the hell out and I loved the stories.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2009 9:31 pm UTC
by ssbookyu123
I would have to say that death's domain is really good but it is kinda in the sci fi range so what can you do. Fan of steven king though.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 7:23 am UTC
by whitelightwhiteheat
I bought a couple of Richard Laymon books yesterday and so far the one i've read is pretty good.
I'm really picky when it comes to horror stuff though. Like the only thing thats really scared me was silent hill 2 (on ps2)
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining creeped me out though.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:44 pm UTC
by Shinobi
I agree with some of the others here: Lovecraft's stories are brilliant but I find that sometimes it takes a while to get into his style of writing and being able to read it easily. Stephen King is good to read when you want just a good story, but sometimes his books have quite pathetic endings that ruin them for me, for instance I wasn't too keen on the ending of The Stand. Now, Edgar Allen Poe: his are some seriously great tales. I remember reading kid's versions of some of his stories when I was younger, that was pretty much what got me into horror and made me want to read the proper versions. And you can see so much of his stories in more modern horror books and films too.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:04 pm UTC
by Narsil
Surgery wrote:I will third Clive Barker, particularly The Hellbound Heart, The Damnation Game, Coldheart Canyon, and for the young-ens The Thief of Always. You have to be careful though, pretty much anything other than The Thief of Always and Abarat will have graphic depictions of various kinds of sex.


Warning: Coldheart Canyon is complete trash. I love Clive Barker's work, but this is far from his best. The as-of-yet unfinished Books of the Art trilogy are some of his strongest books; The two that are out now are The Great and Secret Show and Everville. Weaveworld is my personal favorite book by him, with Imajica coming in at a close second. All should scratch the horror itch.

Also, I just finished Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons, and that's entirely worthy, Provided you can stomach all 900 pages.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:33 pm UTC
by Pseudoku
I just finished reading Koji Suzuki's "The Ring," and it got me thinking about the difference between horror movies and books.
A lot of the adaptations I've seen have great scare factors, unforgettable moments, but they're at the cost of a lot of information. Maybe this isn't always a bad thing, since horror's often about what you don't know, but novels often seem much better at taking the time to immerse you in just what the hell is going on, rather than just using it to scare you as often as possible.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:51 am UTC
by whitelightwhiteheat
You do get more info from books but i haven't been anywhere near as scared or creeped out by books as i have by movies, thats kind of why i started this thread. I'm looking for stuff thats closer to psychological horror.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:27 am UTC
by Sir-Taco
Hark! Did I hear Lovecraft? As horror yes, if you liked the whole mythological/surreal aspect, House of Leaves led me to HPL. Stephen King I never really took fancy to, I'm more of the whole sci-fi/mythos part of Lovecraft stories, but still do enjoy the horror. Its just without any sort of background or Cthulhu Mythos style of writing, and the absence of Lovecrafts amazing narratives and illustrations (even if you did have to read them over a few times), it feels not as deep. All I know is that I got hooked to Lovecraftian horror after "At the Mountains of Madness", when by the end the snowstorm of whirling descriptions cleared away to reveal such a dark and evil truth. (Insert Neo's "Woah" here)

Teres wrote:I grant you that his stories tend to be repetitive, but they never fail to captivate me.
Well they're based around the idea of this, man in insignificant in the scope of things, and to illustrate this, here is a nobody of the universe that can wipe man off the map and destroy our sanity despite how highly we think of ourselves.

Great Horror Novels

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:44 am UTC
by WaterSnake
I came here to consult you're infinite expertise on books. I've been reading a lot of horror lately (TONS of Stephen king, love him or hate him, read everything by Lovecraft. Frankenstein, All of Richard Matheson's work) and I've been wanting more. What's a really good, frightening horror fiction novel? I'm really up for anything, so shoot off suggestions any way you find 'em.

Re: Great Horror Novels

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:00 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
I really enjoyed Stir of Echos. Oh, and Sphere!

Re: Great Horror Novels

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:40 pm UTC
by TheAmazingRando
If you haven't already, I suggest you check out King's short stories. They're a lot better than his novels, in my opinion.

Also, House of Leaves. I'm not the fan of it that some people are, and I didn't find it especially terrifying or disturbing or anything, but it's still a bit of a mindfuck and a very interesting read regardless. Also, at times, it looks like this:
Spoiler:
Image

which was enough to get me out of my chair and into the car headed for the bookstore like 5 minutes after I read about it.

Re: Great Horror Novels

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:53 pm UTC
by justaman
Edgar Allan Poe!

Also good, but more of a disturbing world, is the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake.

Also try here.

Re: Great Horror Novels

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:48 pm UTC
by WaterSnake
Izawwlgood wrote:I really enjoyed Stir of Echos. Oh, and Sphere!


Sphere is by Michael Crichton, right? I love him, so I'll be sure to pick that up.


TheAmazingRando wrote:If you haven't already, I suggest you check out King's short stories. They're a lot better than his novels, in my opinion.

Also, House of Leaves. I'm not the fan of it that some people are, and I didn't find it especially terrifying or disturbing or anything, but it's still a bit of a mindfuck and a very interesting read regardless. Also, at times, it looks like this:
Spoiler:
Image

which was enough to get me out of my chair and into the car headed for the bookstore like 5 minutes after I read about it.


I have Four Past Midnight, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Skeleton Crew, but still haven't read them yet. I'll start right away!

Also, House of Leaves looks really cool, I'm going to get that as soon as possible.


Thank you all very much for your responses.

Re: Great Horror Novels

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:22 am UTC
by TheAmazingRando
WaterSnake wrote:I have Four Past Midnight, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Skeleton Crew, but still haven't read them yet.
The Jaunt, which is in Skeleton Crew, is probably the only story I've ever read that left me legitimately unsettled for a while afterwards, and what turned me on the the fact that Steven King was actually an author worth reading. So I'd start with that. Also, it isn't very long.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:09 pm UTC
by Cytoplasm
When I was in middle school I read a lot of the Goosebumps series and then the series by R.L. Stein that focused around high schoolers or college kids... Steven King became a little too much for me.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:40 pm UTC
by Ended
Someone mentioned M. R. James; many of his (excellent) ghost stories are available on wikisource.

Also The Yellow Wallpaper, although perhaps not a horror story in the traditional sense, is one of the most disturbing short stories I have read.


justaman wrote:Also good, but more of a disturbing world, is the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake.

See also Boy In Darkness by the same author, which is utterly nightmarish.

Re: Anyone else like horror books?

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:55 am UTC
by Malice
Izawwlgood wrote:Huge fan of Stephen King, find him to be far more brilliant then the location of his book sales suggests. The dearly departed Mikey C.'s Sphere was one of the scariest books I think I've ever read, as was Stir of Echos (can't remember author).


Stir of Echoes is by Richard Matheson.

Incidentally, Matheson had a son, Richard Christian Matheson, and the son wrote some very scary short stories.

TheAmazingRando wrote:
WaterSnake wrote:I have Four Past Midnight, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Skeleton Crew, but still haven't read them yet.
The Jaunt, which is in Skeleton Crew, is probably the only story I've ever read that left me legitimately unsettled for a while afterwards, and what turned me on the the fact that Steven King was actually an author worth reading. So I'd start with that. Also, it isn't very long.


Skeleton Crew is extremely good (The Jaunt and The Mist probably being the scariest there); Night Shift, his first collection, is cool because the stories are all strongly influenced by classic horror writers (like Jerusalem's Lot, which is really really Lovecraft); but his best short stories are in Everything's Eventual. In my opinion 1408 is the scariest thing he's ever written, and "That Feeling, You can Only Say What It is in French", "The Death of Jack Hamilton", "The Man in the Black Suit", "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away", and "L.T.'s Theory of Pets" are all motherfucking fantastic (although they're not all horror stories).

King's novels rarely really scare me, although there are moments... The climax of The Shining ("and the red death held sway over all"), the part in The Tommyknockers where the kid zaps his brother off to another dimension, bits of It (particularly what gets Patrick Hockstetter), a few others.

Clive Barker's short stories, collected in the Books of Blood, are far better than his (overplotted) novels.

Peter Straub manages a good deal of English-flavored horror from time to time--Julia is suffused with dread, and there are several of his short stories in Houses Without Doors that really get you below the belt, especially Blue Rose and "A Short Guide to the City".

Shirley Jackson's "House on Haunted Hill" is one of the finest horror novels ever written, deeply involving although not necessarily the scariest thing around.

Other recommended horror authors: Robert Bloch (Psycho and other serial killer books), Ramsey Campbell (dreamlike, nightmarish horror, often, like Barker, with a uneasy sexual tinge), Roald Dahl (the streak of darkness in his children's books is fully on display in his short stories, many of them iconic classic examples of the chilly O'Henry turn, such as "Man From the South"), Ira Levin (The Stepford Wives, Rosemary's Baby, etc.), and Thomas Harris (the Lector trilogy, but skip the "young hannibal" one).

Finally, there are plenty of good suggestions (and ideas) in King's nonfiction exploration of the genre, "Danse Macabre".