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Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 14 March, 2020 06:01PM
This thread is for the identification and discussion of stories that have a real quality of eeriness but do not involve the fantastic. I suppose there might be stories that could have a supernatural explanation, but this would not be the inevitable explanation. I would prefer to rule out stories that are plainly accounts of telepathy or precognition.

I suggest:

Novel: The Ice Palace, by Tarjei Vesaas
Movie: Vertigo
Story: "The Hour After Westerly," by Robert M. Coates. It is reprinted in Bradbury's Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow and first appeared in The New Yorker in 1947.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 14 Mar 20 | 06:08PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2020 03:36PM
Benighted by J.B. Priestley (1927). I enjoyed this tale of suspense which has all the attributes of a good gothic story (main characters stranded in an isolated old house, with an eccentric family living inside) but there is nothing supernatural about at all.
[www.goodreads.com]

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 12:04AM
Thank you, Minicthulhu. That’s a new book for me.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 12:17PM
Maybe UNCLE SILAS, by Sheridan Le Fanu. I'm not sure it is absolutely true that it has no supernatural elements. But certainly there is nothing too overt, or which cannot be rationalized away.

I guess fantastic stories with "Scooby Doo" endings (e.g. "The Hound of the Baskervilles") don't count.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 12:36PM
Maybe "The Picture in the House" by H.P. Lovecraft, if we ignore the hints at supernatural longevity.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 01:04PM
Some of Poe's famous horror tales contain nothing that one can explicitly identify as supernatural, such as
"The Black Cat" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "A Cask of Amontillado".


Poe also has stories where the only supernatural element may be a misperception. In "The Tell-Tale Heart", the beating heart he hears is no-doubt his own. And in "The Raven", the only supernatural element is a trained bird who can only say one word.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 01:05PM
"The Shamraken Homeward-Bounder" by William Hope Hodgson.

"Sredni Vashtar", by Saki.

In "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the only "supernatural" element is the yellow wallpaper, which does indeed seem pretty supernatural by the end. However, it is commonly read as a portrait of a nervous breakdown.

Someone suggested to me THE BAT by Mary Roberts Rineheart, but I have not read it.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12 Apr 20 | 02:01PM by Platypus.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 02:35PM
"Seaton's Aunt", by Walter De La Mare. Admittedly, though, much of the eeriness comes from Seaton's terror of his aunt and his conviction that she is in league with the Devil. But there is not much in the way of actual evidence for this. IIRC, some other of De La Mare's "ghost stories" have a similarly ambiguous quality.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 02:47PM
I read "Uncle Silas" cca. a year ago so I can recall it very clearly and there is really nothing supernatural about the book.

I am sure a lot of stories by Maurice Level has "a real quality of eeriness".

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2020 03:13PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read "Uncle Silas" cca. a year ago so I can
> recall it very clearly and there is really nothing
> supernatural about the book.

Well, there is the disembodied voice that warns her to "Fly the fangs of Belisarius". But if you prefer, that warning came from her own subconscious.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2020 12:56PM
"The Interlopers," by Saki.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2020 05:02PM
William Fryer Harvey. Some of his excellent weird stories feature deliberately inconclusive endings. In "Midnight House," the reader is left wondering if the twin nightmares experienced by the weary traveler in a very old, remote inn were supernaturally induced.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: GreenFedora (IP Logged)
Date: 12 August, 2020 12:10PM
"Eerie" is, I suppose, one of those subjective terms; at any rate:

"The Colour Out of Space," HPL
"The Voice in the Night," William Hope Hodgson
"The Dance of the Dwarfs," Geoffrey Household

Those three could be considered borderline SF.

"Xelucha" and "The House of Sounds," M. P. Shiel

"Don't Look Now," Daphne du Maurier (and its film adaptation). Although it does involve some psychic visions, the real eeriness comes from a very real source.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 August, 2020 09:06PM
GreenFedora Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "The Colour Out of Space," HPL
> "The Voice in the Night," William Hope Hodgson

Eerie these are, but I would also certainly say they involve "the fantastic".

In Hodgson's case, perhaps you were thinking of a different, posthumous, story, called "The Voice in the Dawn" or "The Call in the Dawn". That one was certainly eerie as well, but I can see someone more plausibly arguing that it contains no fantastic elements. I'm still not sure I'd agree, though. It does feature a weed island torn from Hodgson's version of the "Sargasso sea" which is a fantastic element in and of itself.

Re: Eerie, for sure, but not sf or supernatural horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 15 August, 2020 03:09PM
Speaking of Hodgson, his short stories "Out Of The Storm" or "Through The Vortex Of A Cyclone" are definitely eerie without having any supernatural or fantastic elements about them.

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