Story 15: “Casting the Runes” by M.R. James

Most of this story I read while riding the train to and from downtown and I don’t know what it was but that significantly added to my experience.  This is the title story of the collection of M.R. James that I have and I thought I should work that in to my cycle here.  I was not disappointed.

 

Summary:  A rather arrogant man is submitting a paper to be published by a whole host of journals and when it does not get published but rejected, the man takes matters into his own sorcerous hands.  People that somehow had something to do with the rejection end up dying, which understandably has our protagonist nervous – he is the latest person to reject the academic paper from publication.  But armed with the foreknowledge of what might happen to him, he goes on the offensive and gives the paper’s author a dose of his own medicine.  The remorse he feels at doing so, balanced by knowing other people are now safe, is part of what makes this story so emotionally real.

 

Writing:  9/10

Personal Fright: 4/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness:  7/10

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