FORGOTTEN BOOKS #278: HORROR: 100 BEST BOOKS Edited by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

horror 100 best books
Horror: 100 Best Books was published in 1988. The attraction of the book for me is the commentary on the choices by writers like Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Suzy McKee Charnas, Joe R. Lansdale, and dozens of other authors you’ll instantly recognize. Just check out the Table of Contents below for both the 100 selections but also the writers commenting on the selection. It doesn’t get much better than this. There was a sequel to Horror: 100 Best Books but friends tell me it is far inferior to the original. How many of these horror books have you read?
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword By Ramsey Campbell
Introduction by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman
1. Clive Barker on Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe (c. 1952)
2. John Blackburn on The Tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare (1606)
3. Diana Wynne Jones on The White Devil, by John Webster (1612)
4. Scott Bradfield on Caleb Williams, by William Godwin (1794)
5. Les Daniels on The Monk, by Matthew Gregory Lewis (1796)
6. John Sladek on The Best Tales of Hoffman (1814-1816)
7. David Pirie on Northhanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (1817)
8. John Yolen on Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1818)
9. Peter Tremayne on Melmoth the Wanderer, by Charles Maturin (1820)
10. Garry Kilworht on The Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg (1824)
11. John M. Ford on Tales of Mysery and Imagination, by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
12. Edgar Allan Poe on Twice-Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1838)
13. Thomas Tessier on The Black Spider, by Jeremias Gotthelf (1842)
14. Thomas M. Disch on The Wandering Jew, by Eugene Sue (1844-1845)
15. Michael McDowell on The Confidence Man, by Herman Melville (1857)
16. M. R. James on Uncle Silas, by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1864)
17. Jack Williamson on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
18. Tim Stout on She, by H. Rider Haggard (1887)
19. H. P. Lovecraft on The King in Yellow, by Robert W. Chambers (1895)
20. Gene Wolfe on The Island of Doctor Mareau, by H. G. Wells (1896)
21. Colin Wilson on Dracula, by Bram Stoker (1897)
22. R. Chetwynd-Hayes on The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (1898)
23. Douglas E. Winter on Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad (1902)
24. Richard Dalby on Jewel of the Seven Stars, by Bram Stoker (1903)
25. Geoff Ryman on Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M. R. James (1904)
26. T. E. D. Klein on The House of Souls, by Arthur Machen (1906)
27. Hilaire Belloc on John Silence, by Algernon Blackwood (1908)
28. David Langford on The Man Who Was Thursday, by G. K. Chesterton (1908)
29. Terry Pratchett on The House on the Borderland, by William Hope Hodgson (1908)
30. Milton Subotsky on The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1909)
31. Mike Ashley on Widdershins, by Oliver Onions (1911)
32. Basil Copper on The Horror Horn, by E. F. Benson (1912-1934)
33. George Hay on A Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay (1920)
34. Steve Rasnic Tem on The Trial, by Franz Kafka (1925)
35. Robert E. Howard on Something About Eve, by James Branch Cabell (1929)
36. Karl Edward Wagner on Medusa, by E. H. Visiak (1929)
37. Marvin Kaye on The Werewolf of Paris, by Guy Endore (1933)
38. Jessica Amanda Salmonson on The Last Bouquet, by Marjorie Bowen (1933)
39. Robert Bloch on The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck, by Alexander Laing (1934)
40. Hugh Lamb on A Second Century of Creepy Stories, ed. Hugh Walpole (1937)
41. Lionel Fanthorpe on The Dark Tower, by C. S. Lewis (1938)
42. Denis Etchison on Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo (1939)
43. Donlad A. Wollheim on The Outsider and Others, by H. P. Lovecraft (1939)
44. Harlan Ellison on Out of Space and Time, by Clark Aston Smith (1942)
45. Gerald W. Page on Conjure Wife, by Fritz Leiber (1943)
46. Maxim Jakubowski on Night Has a Thousand Eyes, by Cornell Woolrich (1945)
47. Graham Masterton on The Lurker at the Threshold, by H. P. Lovecraft (1945)
48. Forrest J. Ackerman on Deliver Me from Eva, by Paul Bailey (1946)
49. David G. Hartwell on And Darkness Falls, edited by Boris Karloff (1946)
50. Peter Haining on The Sleeping and the Dead, edited by August Derleth (1947)
51. Robert R. McCammon on Track of the Cat, by Walter van Tilburg Clark (1949)
52. Suzy McKee Charnas on The Sound of His Horn, by Sarban (1952)
53. Joe Haldeman on Lord of the Flies, by William Golding (1954)
54. Richard Christian Matheson on I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (1954)
55. Joe R. Landsdale on The October Country, by Ray Bradbury
56. Stephen Gallagher on Nine Horrors and a Dream, by Joseph Payne Brennan (1958)
57. Hugh B. Cave on Psycho, by Robert Bloch (1959)
58. Stephen Laws on Quatermass and the Pit, by Nigel Kneale (1959)
59. Michel Parry on Cry Horror!, by H. P. Lovecraft (1959)
60. Lisa Tuttle on The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (1959)
61. Tad Williams on The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick (1964)
62. Jack Dann on The Painted Bird, by Jerzy Kosinski (1965)
63. Craig Shaw Garner on The Crystal World, by J. G. Ballard (1966)
64. Colin Greenland on Sub Rosa, Robert Aickman (1968)
65. Brian Aldiss on The Green Man, by Kingsley Amis (1969)
66. Neil Gaiman on The Complete Werewolf, by Anthony Boucher (1969)
67. Dan Simmons on Grendel, by John Gardner (1971)
68. F. Paul Wilson on The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty (1971)
69. John Skipp on The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner (1972)
70. Frances Garfield on Worse Things Waiting, Manly Wade Wellman (1973)
71. Stephen King on Burnt Offerings, by Robert Marasco (1973)
72. Al Sarrantonio on ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King (1975)
73. Craig Spector on Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison (1975)
74. Brian Lumley on Murgunstrumm and Others, by Hugh B. Cave (1977)
75. Charles L. Grant on Sweetheart, Sweetheart, by Bernard Taylor (1977)
76. David J. Schow on All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, by John Farris 91977)
77. Peter Straub on The Shining, by Stephen King (1977)
78. William F. Nolan on Falling Angel, by William Hjortsberg (1978)
79. Charles de Lint on The Wolfen, by Whitley Strieber (1978)
80. Shaun Hutson on The Totem, by David Morrell (1979)
81. Peter Nicholls on Ghost Story, by Peter Straub (1979)
82. Christopher Evans on The Land of Laughs, by Johnathan Carroll (1980)
83. David S. Garnett on The Cellar, by Richard Laymon (1980)
84. Chet Williamson on Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris (1981)
85. J. N. Williamson on The Keep, by F. Paul Wilson (1981)
86. Samantha Lee on The Dark Country, by Dennis Etchison (1982)
87. Ramsey Campbell on In a Lonely Place, by Karl Edward Wagner (1983)
88. John Clute on The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers (1983)
89. Brian Stableford on The Arabian Nightmare, Robert Irwin (1983)
90. Malcolm Edwards on The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks (1984)
91. Thomas F. Monteleone on The Ceremonies, by T. E. D. Klein (1984)
92. Michael Moorcock on Mythago Wood, by Robert Holdstock (1984)
93. Ian Watson on Who Made Stevie Crye?, by Michael Bishop (1984)
94. Edward Bryant on Song of Kali, by Dan Simmons (1985)
95. Adrian Cole on The Damnation Game, by Clive Barker (1985)
96. R. S. Hadji on Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd (1985)
97. Robert Holdstock on A Nest of Nightmares, by Lisa Tuttle (1986)
98. Guy N. Smith on The Pet, by Charles L. Grant (1986)
99. Eddy c. Bertin on Swan Song, by Robert McCammon (1987)
100. Jack Sullivan on Dark Forces, by Ramsey Campbell (1987)
Notes on Contributors
List of Recommended Reading
Acknowledgements

ON THE STEEL BREEZE By Alastair Reynolds

on the steel breeze
On the Steel Breeze is the second book in Alastair Reynolds’ space opera trilogy, “Poseidon’s Children.” The events of On the Steel Breeze take place 200 years after the events of Blue Remembered Earth, the first book in the trilogy. The ocean-dwelling transhumans of the United Aquatic Nations grow in power while hundreds of “holoships,” basically generational colonizing asteroids, head for new Earth-like planets. In another subplot, Chiku Akinya–who has cloned herself–finds herself the target of an evil artificial intelligence called Arachne. Being the middle book in a trilogy is always awkward. The story needs to progress, but not too much and not spoil the big build-up in the final volume. I flew through On Steel Breeze and now I’m impatient for the third and final volume to wrap all of these complicated plots up! GRADE: B+

THE BRIDGE, SEASON TWO [FX]

the bridge2
Tonight I’ll be watching the third episode of The Bridge. The Bridge had its Second Season debut a couple weeks ago on FX. I enjoyed the First Season with all of the quirky plots and characters. Mexican actor Demián Bichir returns as the emotional police detective Marco and German actress Diane Kruger reprises her role as the autistic El Paso police detective Sonya. But my favorite character is Matthew Lillard as Daniel Frye, an El Paso Times investigative reporter with a substance abuse problem. Drugs factor into the plots as a common demonstrator of life on the Mexican border. There’s also a serial killer loose, a conspiracy among the corrupt Mexican police to kill Marco, and a hunt for a girl who is living in the U.S. illegally to escape the drug cartels. If you’re looking for high quality drama to fill your Summer, consider The Bridge. You can easily catch up on episodes that are available On Demand.

LIFE ITSELF

LIFE ITSELF
Watching this documentary about Roger Ebert was an uncomfortable experience for me. Yes, I laughed at parts of the movie. After all, Roger Ebert was a funny guy. But watching the nurses suctioning out Roger’s air tube was unsettling. Steve James, the director, shows Roger in pain. He shows Roger being “difficult.” Life Itself is as much about Roger’s wife Chaz as it is about Roger. You can see Chaz’s strength empowering Roger. But Steve James also shows the exasperation that all care givers experience when their loved ones are resistant. This is an honest and revealing movie, just what Roger wanted when he started this project. Life Itself moved me, saddened me, and inspired me. It’s a great documentary. I expect Life Itself to win an Oscar next year. GRADE: A

OLD MARS Edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

old mars
Reading Old Mars inspired me to plan for a whole week about Mars. Bill Crider encouraged me so August 4 through August 10 will be MARS WEEK on this blog. I had dozens of books to choose from so it was fun coming up with titles you might not be familiar with. Enough of this hype, let’s get back to Old Mars. Martin and Dozois projected a Mars that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote for: a Mars with canals and a breathable atmosphere (things we know don’t exist since we sent satellites to Mars). If you’re a fan of “traditional” (not scientific) Mars stories, you’ll find a lot to like in Old Mars. I liked “In the Tombs of the Martian Kings” by Mike Resnick the best. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
‘Martian Blood’ (Allen M. Steele)
‘The Ugly Duckling’ (Matthew Hughes)
‘The Wreck Of The Mars Adventure’ (David D. Levine)
‘Swords of Zar-tu-kan’ (S.M. Stirling)
‘Shoals’ (Mary Rosenblum)
‘In The Tombs of the Martian Kings’ (Mike Resnick)
‘Out Of Scarlight’ (Liz Williams)
‘The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls’ (Howard Waldrop)
‘A Man Without Honor’ (James S.A. Corey)
‘Written In Dust’ (Melinda Snodgrass)
‘The Lost Canal’ (Michael Moorcock)
‘The Sunstone’ (Phyllis Eisenstein)
‘King Of The Cheap Romance’ (Joe R. Lansdale)
‘Mariner’ (Chris Roberson)
‘The Queen Of Night’s Aria’ (Ian Mcdonald)

PUSS N BOOTS: NO FOOLS, NO FUN

puss-n-boots-1404935962
Puss n Boots consists of Sasha Dobson, Norah Jones, and Catherine Popper. If you’re a fan of three-part harmony, you’ll love No Fools, No Fun. At times, the songs sound like they’re being song by a female version of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The marketing hype calls Puss n Boots an “alternative country band.” Take a listen to the sample below to see if their sound appeals to you. GRADE: C+
TRACK LISTING:
1 Leaving London
2 Bull Rider
3 Twilight
4 Sex Degrees Of Separation
5 Don’t Know What It Means
6 Down By the River
7 Tarnished Angel
8 Jesus, Etc.
9 Always
10 GTO
11 Pines
12 You’ll Forget Me
BONUS TRACKS:
13. Cry, Cry, Cry
14. In a Shanty In Old Shanty Town

ACOLYTES OF CTHULHU Edited by Robert M. Price

ACOLYTES OF CTHULHU
I’m a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and one of my guilty pleasures is to read stories by authors inspired by Lovecraft. ACOLYTES OF CTHULHU presents a chronological anthology of stories inspired by Lovecraft’s creepy world. My favorite stories in ACOLYTES OF CTHULHU are Manley Wade Wellman’s “The Letters of Cold Fire,” and Neil Gaiman’s “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar.” This anthology is 468 pages and there’s something here for just about every taste: adventures, psychological suspense, noir, etc. I have a half dozen more Lovecraft-inspired anthologies on my shelf, most of them with stories by contemporary writers. This historical anthology includes plenty of old stories I wasn’t familiar with. A great value for $10! GRADE: B+
Introduction”, by Robert M. Price
“Doom of the House of Duryea”, by Earl Pierce, Jr. (1936)
“The Seventh Incantation”, by Joseph Payne Brennan (1963)
“From the Pits of Elder Blasphemy,” by Hugh B. Cave & Robert M. Price (2014)
“Black Noon”, by C. M. Eddy, Jr. (1967)
“The Jewels of Charlotte”, by Duane Rimel (1935)
“The Letters of Cold Fire”, by Manly Wade Wellman (1944)
“Horror at Vecra”, by Henry Hasse (1943)
“Out of the Jar”, by Charles R. Tanner (1940)
“The Earth-Brain”, by Edmond Hamilton (1932)
“Through the Alien Angle”, by Elwin G. Powers (1941)
“Legacy in Crystal”, by James Causey (1943)
“The Will of Claude Ashur”, by C. Hall Thompson (1947)
“The Final War”, by David H. Keller, M.D. (1949)
“The Dunstable Horror”, by Arthur Pendragon (1964)
“The Crib of Hell”, by Arthur Pendragon (1965)
“The Last Work of Pietro of Apono”, by Steffan B. Aletti (1969)
“The Eye of Horus”, by Steffan B. Aletti (1968)
“The Cellar Room”, by Steffan B. Aletti ((1969)
“Mythos”, by John Glasby (1961)
“There Are More Things”, by Jorge Luis Borges (1975)
“The Horror Out of Time”, by Randall Garrett (1978)
“The Recurring Doom”, by S. T. Joshi (1980)
“Necrotic Knowledge”, by Dirk W. Mosig (1976)
“Night Bus”, by Donald R. Burleson (1985)
“The Pewter Ring”, by Peter Cannon (1989)
“John Lehmann Alone”, by David Kaufman (1987)
“The Purple Death”, by Gustav Meyrink, translated by Kathleen Houlihan & Robert M. Price (1997)
“Mists of Death”, by Richard F. & Franklyn Searight (1999)
“Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar”, by Neil Gaiman (1998)

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #277: WYCLIFFE AND THE THREE-TOED PUSSY By W. J. Burley

WYCLIFFE AND THE THREE-TOED PUSSY
WYCLIFFE AND THE THREE-TOED PUSSY appeared in 1968. It launched a mystery series that lasted over 30 years and over 20 books. The mystery is set in the village of Kergwyns in Cornwall. The bizarre murder of a beautiful young woman puzzles Detective Superintendent Wycliffe because the only thing taken from the crime scene is the shoe and stocking from her left leg – exposing the murdered woman’s deformed foot. Wycliffe finds the victim sexually manipulated the men in her life. Wycliffe reminds me of Miss Marple who could dissect small town life. If you enjoy traditional detection, I highly recommend WYCLIFFE AND THE THREE-TOED PUSSY.

PROOF: THE SCIENCE OF BOOZE By Adam Rogers

proof the science of booze
Whiskey is basically distilled beer. That’s just one of the facts I learned from Adam Rogers’ informative Proof: The Science of Booze. Rogers provides scientific and historical insights on the production and refinement of liquor. It’s obvious Adam Rogers is obsessed with his subject. If you’re interested in how those libations we enjoy are made and tweaked, take a look at Proof. You’ll discover plenty of fun facts. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. Yeast
2. Sugar
3. Fermentation
4. Distillation
5. Aging
6. Smell and Taste
7. Body and Brain
8. Hangover
Conclusion
Acknowledgements
Notes
Bibliography
Index

THE SHELF: ADVENTURES IN EXTREME READING By Phyllis Rose

the shelf
Phyllis Rose embarks on a great reading experiment. She chooses a shelf at the New York Public Library at random and reads all the books on it. In the end, Rose reads 23 books by 11 authors: William Le Queux, Rhoda Lerman, Mikhail Lermontov, Lisa Lerner, Alexander Lernet-Holenia, Etienne Leroux, Gaston Leroux, James LeRossignol, Margaret Leroy, Alain-Rene Le Sale, and John Lescroart. Phyllis Rose honestly admits when some of the books she reads are “weak.” And, I was amused when she took a “break” from reading the random books to binge on Alan Furst’s spy novels. I found Phyllis Rose to be a perceptive critic. Her experiment is one I’m unlikely to replicate (I’m way too focused), but I admire Rose’s spirit. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. The Experiment Begins
2. The Myth of the Book: A Hero of Our Time
3. Literary Evolution: The Phantom of the Opera
4. The Universe Provides: Rhoda Lerman
5. Women and Fiction: A Question of Privilege
6. Domesticities: Margaret Leroy and Lisa Lerner
7. The Nightingale and the Lark: Lernet-Holenia and LeRossignol
8. Libraries: Making Space
9. Life and Adventures: Gil Blas
10. Serial Killers: Detective Fiction
11. Immortality