Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto:  Message ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Good modern horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 4 September, 2016 11:57AM
Hello,

Though I am heavily into classic horror stories, sometimes I want to have a rest from Smith, Hodgson or Blackwood and read something newer. Can anybody recommend me a good modern horror book?

Thanks a lot.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 4 September, 2016 02:22PM
It depends upon your tastes in horror fiction, and how "new" you want to be. Among many books written since the '70s, I would recommend the following as starters:

Ramsey Campbell - the collections DARK COMPANIONS and ALONE WITH THE HORRORS, the novels INCARNATE and THE INFLUENCE

Thomas Ligotti - the collections SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER and GRIMSCRIBE (both collections)

Karl Edward Wagner - the collection IN A LONELY PLACE

T.E.D. Klein - the collection DARK GODS and the novella "Events at Poroth Farm"

Jonathan Carroll - the novel THE LAND OF LAUGHS

Tim Powers - the novel THE ANUBIS GATES

Michael Shea - the collections NIFFT THE LEAN and POLYPHEMUS

Dennis Etchison - the collection THE DARK COUNTRY (and onward)

Tanith Lee - the collection DREAMS OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT and any of the Flat Earth novels (NIGHT'S MASTER, etc.).

Don't overlook any of Angela Carter's collections if you are not familiar with her work.

Any of Reggie Oliver's or Richard Gavin's collections.

Patrick McGrath's BLOOD AND WATER AND OTHER TALES

Any

This could be a very long list, but I highly recommend all of the titles listed above (as well as several that will pop into my head as soon as I push "send").

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 4 September, 2016 02:29PM
My tastes in horror fiction? Definitely, I do not like ghost stories. I am fond of horror tales dealing with other dimensions, monsters created by mad science and aliens. Simply scifi horror.
As fo what I mean by "newer", let us say the last three or four decades.

Thank you very much for the tips. I will look the books up to see what they are like.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 5 September, 2016 03:38AM
Once again I must shamefully admit to my (almost) complete ignorance of modern Science Fiction (say, post 1995 or so). SF/Horror, though, is a narrower field and I do have a few suggestions there.

Feesters in the Lake & other Stories by Bob Leman, and The Autopsy and other Tales by Michael Shea.

These two collections are by authors who share a fondness for SF-style horror. They always seemed (at least to me) to be the type of writers that Weird Tales would have published had that magazine survived uninterrupted to the present.

Darkness, Mist & Shadow--The Collected Macabre Tales of Basil Copper (Vol. 1).

Not all of the contents are strictly SF/Horror, but it does contain two very powerful stories in that sub-genre: The Flabby Men and Shaft Number 247.

The Skinner and Prador Moon by Neal Asher.

Asher is the king of deadly alien lifeforms, a title previously held by the late James H. Schmitz, whose novel The Demon Breed is also recommended.

The Relic and Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

Yes, this bestselling duo write massive summer-vacation thrillers--but don't hold that against them. They have legions of fans for a good reason.

Hope these suggestions help!

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: wamartin2 (IP Logged)
Date: 5 September, 2016 10:19AM
I second the recommendation of Reggie Oliver, one of the best short story horror writers. Also of excellent quality are the several collections of Robert Aickman. His stories are not really ghost stories in the classic sense but more like "strange stories". If you want ghost stories M.R. James is the best.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 5 September, 2016 11:17AM
I am acutely embarrassed to have forgotten Bob Leman's collection on my list!

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2016 12:54AM
Dear Jim, I had forgotten that you edited Leman's collection!

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2016 01:08AM
I must have forgotten momentarily too, Ken! :-)

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2016 02:30PM
Thank you very much for the suggestions.

As for Shaft Number 247, I have got a book Cthulhu 2000 containing the story. To be honest, it made no impression on me but I remember the claustrophobic underground atmosphere and the attempt of the main character to escape reminded me of The Machine Stops by E.M.Forster (1909).

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2016 09:14PM
When I first read Copper's story (in the Arkham House anthology New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos) I remember wondering if it really belonged there since it contained none of the seemingly-requisite Mythos terminology. Also, Copper's style in that story was very terse--quite unlike most other Mythos tales. But as you noted, it does fit perfectly with the claustrophobic, subterranean setting. I appreciate this story more, now, because of its reticence.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 7 September, 2016 11:18PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have got a book Cthulhu
> 2000 ...


How did you like Michael Shea's "Fat Face" in that collection?

It is one of my favorites, together with his science fiction horror story "Polyphemus". Somewhat humorous and cartoonish in style, but in a good way. I understand that Shea also had an active interest in visual art.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 8 September, 2016 01:02PM
> How did you like Michael Shea's "Fat Face" in that collection?


Well, frankly, I have not read all the stories, only some of them. I clearly remember reading The Adder, The Picman´s Modem, On the Slab, The Barrens, Shaft No. 247, The Last Feast of Harlequin, The Unthinkable and The Faces in the Pine Dunes. I can remember what the tales were about but they did not impress me much so I put the book aside and shifted, as far as I can recollect, to China Mielville´s collection Looking for Jack which was way better than Cthulhu 2000.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 October, 2016 09:04AM
I had a period in the 1980's of reading Stephen King. The Stand (1978) was the first "real" horror book I read in my teens. I liked it very much then (with little else to compare to), but that was partly because of the vivid picture it gave of mundane American life! I can't say today if the book is inflated, or not. And I don't really remember the nature of its horror elements, ... except shocking corpses.
If I were to reread it, I would consider the unabridged version (1990). However, King chose to update all dates in the text to the 1990's and make changes to contemporary political and social issues, conceivably to increase sales. Which I think is a grave mistake, from artistic perspective and integrity. The Stand was a reflection of the times and particular social culture of the 1970s, and to blend in such updates is likely to cause discordance in harmony.

I also read Salem's Lot (1975), but remember nothing from it. I much preferred Tobe Hooper's TV adaption Salem's Lot (1979).

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: GreenMan (IP Logged)
Date: 22 October, 2016 03:55PM
Greetings to you all from a newby...

I would like to add a few authors to the above lists:

Dan Simmons: "Summer Night" (1991), "Children of the Night" (1992) and the very Lovecraftian "Fires of Eden",(1994).

Robert Holdstock: Mythogo Woods and its sequel The Hollowing (1994). Also his "Ancient Echoes" and "Unknown Regions"... (1996 and 1998 for the paperbacks).

And perhaps my favorite...Robert R. McCammon. He seems to have stopped writing fiction now, but from about 1981 with "They Thirst" to 1992 with "Gone South" he turned out over a dozen novels covering pretty much every subgenre of horror and the supernatural.
All excellent reads.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 4 November, 2016 02:35PM
How do the supernatural parts in Stephen King's Pet Sematary compare in writing quality to those in Blackwood's "The Wendigo" and Machen's "The White People"? They use similar concepts, ... the wendigo, and old ceremonial mounds.

I read Pet Sematary in my teens, and think I liked it, but remember it only vaguely. I wonder if it's worth rereading? Would it be something for an old connoisseur, who has become more and more discriminating and demanding over the years?

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Calgmoth (IP Logged)
Date: 18 November, 2016 07:11PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How do the supernatural parts in Stephen King's
> Pet Sematary compare in writing quality to those
> in Blackwood's "The Wendigo" and Machen's "The
> White People"? They use similar concepts, ... the
> wendigo, and old ceremonial mounds.
>
> I read Pet Sematary in my teens, and think I liked
> it, but remember it only vaguely. I wonder if it's
> worth rereading? Would it be something for an old
> connoisseur, who has become more and more
> discriminating and demanding over the years?


Pet Semetary has an interesting premise (death, and dealing with death) but King completely fails at making the story believable. The main character is not the usual (would-be) writer but a physician - making both his fear of death and dead people/beings completely and utterly unbelievable. There might be a (small) difference between seeing an unknown corpse and a dead person you are intimately familiar with but it is not so great a difference, especially not if you are professionally working with dead people.

In addition, there is the usual (and quite vexing) tendency of King's to include obscure details like the protagonist being visited by the good ghost of one of his dead patients trying to warn him of the evil cemetery (no idea how or why he did that).

The plot device thing is also rather poorly executed - it isn't clear what the evil cemetery is about - is it a place of temptation or a place of horror? It being both is rather weird (and not in a good sense). The fact that the magic of the cemetery is due to some other magical creature (the Wendigo thing) makes things even more confusing that if it had just been some magical place and the changes in the resurrected animals/people just the inevitable price of bodily resurrection. Now the reader has to ask oneself why the hell this Wendigo creature would want to create zombie animals/people? What's the point in all that?

The only good part of the novel is the nasty ending, quite atypical for King.

Still, in my view the attempt to reread it would be a waste of time.

Never could drag myself through The Stand. I don't like primitive good vs. evil stories anyway. Had he kept Armageddon out of the plot the book could have been pretty interesting, even with supernatural elements included. As a lot of King's novels this story does not really qualify as a horror novel. Monsters may be scary but they grow a lot less scary if you can just blow their heads off or obliterate them with the convenient A-bomb.

Salem's Lot is a pretty interesting modern version of Dracula set in an American backwater town. That one greatly profits from the extended version, by the way. The good vs. evil fight thing can be accepted in a vampire novel.

In my opinion, only It comes close to be King's only actual horror novel. In part I'm biased in favor of that novel because I'm actually terrified of clowns (thanks to having read parts of that novel as a child) but the whole concept of having an evil town is actually pretty good. Of course, the concept is in the end botched by the evil thing not only being defeated but also being promoted from some lowlife children-eating trickster following a hibernation cycle (which is how it is introduced and makes sense in the story - the idea that Satan Incarnate would haunt only one small town in Maine is just ridiculous) to some kind of Lovecraftian monster - which, despite of that fact that it is older than the universe, can be killed by the heroes rather easily. Yet despite those flaws there are sections in the book that are particularly well written, including many episodes that are scary as hell. Especially good for atmosphere are the chapters covering the history of the town and the past exploits of the monster.

Revival, a rather new King novel with explicit Lovecraft references, retains the bleak outlook on life and the universe one would expect in a novel with explicit Lovecraft references yet the premise of the story (revolving around electricity and its 'magical effects') might not be very convincing for a lot of people who actually know something about reality and science.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 19 November, 2016 08:41AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read Pet Sematary in my teens, and think I liked
> it, but remember it only vaguely. I wonder if it's
> worth rereading? Would it be something for an old
> connoisseur, who has become more and more
> discriminating and demanding over the years?

Old? If you read PET SEMATARY in your teens, the oldest you could be is 52, according to my computations.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 November, 2016 01:43PM
Thank you Calgmoth. I also did some checking earlier on the book, and decided not to reread it because the story is depressing, dealing with child death. I stay away from depressing books.

Stephen King's books seem to me to more about misery, and social issues, than about the supernatural.

Re: Good modern horror
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 November, 2016 01:51PM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Old? If you read PET SEMATARY in your teens, the
> oldest you could be is 52, according to my
> computations.


That is correct. I get out of breath more easily now, when doing heavy work. So I guess I have grown old.

And remember, Lovecraft considered himself the old gentleman, and grandpa, when he was about ... 17. A commendable role model for today's misled (75-year-old) youth!



Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
Top of Page