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What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2020 01:52PM
Without going into any sort of nominations, I would be interested in hearing forum commentators explain their choices for the one (no "ties" please) all-time finest macabre/weird short story or novelette ever written. I think it's "The Death of Halpin Frayser" by Ambrose Bierce. More than any other author's masterpiece one might select, Bierce's can be endlessly reread with undiminished appreciation. It has the strongest opening, a masterfully descriptive treatment of landscape and weather, a shifting psychological narrative technique, and stark physical horror, with the greater horror left to the reader's imagination as in the best of Arthur Machen. --"I would say that he who has any traffic with the affairs of the imagination has found out all the wisdom that he will ever know, in this life at all events, by the age of eighteen or thereabouts"-- Machen, "Far Off Things"

jkh

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2020 02:08PM
Machen's "The White People" is my choice for the greatest weird tale in English. It is one of the very few weird tales that really has "creeped me out." Its lonely landscapes have permanently affected my imagination. Its folkloric and antiquarian aspect is haunting. I don't entirely like it.

I don't have time for a thorough commentary on it. I think it is susceptible of a Christian interpretation. It reminds me of Tolkien's late story of about the same length, Smith of Wootton Major. It is an eerie story; then a shocking one; finally, a sad and sobering one.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 27 Oct 20 | 02:18PM by Dale Nelson.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2020 05:49PM
"The Shadow Over Innsmouth". Not consistently, but at its best moments it gets me completely convinced in its vision. And it has the greatest and most beautiful ending of any story I have read, with a complete surrender to the weird.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 29 October, 2020 01:03PM
I have tried to ask myself the question several times before but the answer is it is absolutely impossible for me to name just one story. There is a bunch of tales I have a soft spot for ("Horla", "At The Mountains of Madness", "The Derelict", "The People of The Pit", "The Willows", "The Novel of The Black Seal", "The House of Sounds", "The Wind In The Portico", "Genius Loci", "All Hallows", "The Spider" etc, etc.) but I am unable to say if this one is better than that one.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 October, 2020 02:10PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have tried to ask myself the question several
> times before but the answer is it is absolutely
> impossible for me to name just one story. There is
> a bunch of tales I have a soft spot for but I am unable
> to say if this one is better than that one.

How about favorite one, rather than best one? That is probably easier. The story that most frequently comes back in memory, and persistently knocks on the inner door of exalted curiosity.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Geoffrey (IP Logged)
Date: 31 October, 2020 12:28PM
"The White People" by Arthur Machen is my favorite.

While other stories tell the reader about the weird, "The White People" is itself an artifact of the weird. It's as though the reader is holding in his hands a thing that should not exist in a sane world.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: The Sojourner of Worlds (IP Logged)
Date: 2 November, 2020 01:27PM
Quote:
The Last of All Suns by John C. Wright

We are lost in endless and titanic halls of windowless metal. Some of the things pursuing us are so large that, to them, even these halls are cramped, and the miters of the crawling sphinxes scrape flakes of debris from the expanse of black plate above.

I say we are aboard a ship. The other men resurrected from the Archive disagree. Some think we are in hell, or in a fairy-mound, or suffering the hallucinations imposed by the thinking-machines of futuristic science.

Of all of us, the man from the latest period of humanity was from AD 29,000,000, some twenty-nine million years after my death. He came from an age long after the sun had died, a terror-haunted world of eternal darkness. His home was a titanic fortress called the Last Redoubt, a structure hulled against the infinite cold of a sunless sky, nursing its life on the last few embers of dying geothermal and geomagnetic heat. His name is Ydmos of Utter-Tower. Ydmos thinks this vessel is a redoubt like his, one long ago captured by the enemy, and that we are all buried far underground.

Even his era is uncountable years lost, compared to this present one.

Re: What is the single greatest weird tale?
Posted by: Ashurabani (IP Logged)
Date: 18 November, 2020 02:46PM
"The Last Generation" by James Elroy Flecker, hands down.



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