Stories 16 – 22

I fell behind in writing, not in reading, and so, just because I’m anal about such things, I’m going to catch up with my ratings, but not my summaries and comments.

Story 16: “The Dead Sexton” by J. Sheridan LeFanu

Writing: 6/10

Personal Fright: 4/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 6/10

Story 17: “The Transfer” by: Algernon Blackwood

Writing: 8/10

Personal Fright: 1/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 2/10

Story 18: “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft

Writing: 9/10

Personal Fright: 6/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 10/10

Story 19: “The Jar” by Ray Bradbury

Writing:  6/10

Personal Fright:  3/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 6/10

Story 20: “The Tutor” by John Langan

Writing: 4/10

Personal Fright: 2/10

General Horror Oppressiveness: 2/10

Story 21: “Rest Stop” by Stephen King

Writing: 10/10

Personal Fright: 3/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 5/10

Story 22: “A Warning to the Curious” by M.R. James

Writing: 10/10

Personal Fright: 6/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness: 8/10

And that does it, wraps up my October short story reading marathon.  By the end I was getting more and more familiar with the tropes and styles or each author, which, while it contributed to my overall enjoyment, reduced the level of fear and terror.  It was a heck of a lot of fun though and I am thrilled I found authors the likes of M.R. James – who write about things that actually frighten me and aren’t afraid to invoke Christianity and its tenets in their writing.  That idea has fallen away in more modern times and what is it they say about that, “the greatest trick Satan ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”


Story 13: “Mr. Gaunt” by John Langan

Much, much better, Mr. Langan.  I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of  horror!  The pacing was so much better than your last entry (here),  and the suspense was leagues better!  That being said, you still bummed me out and kind of ruined the horror of it all by “showing” the skeleton.  At that point, just show the reader the “skin” and let them imagine whatever it is that gets the boy.  Don’t show it!  That takes away from the reader’s capacity to imagine something worse!  But, all in all, so much more enjoyable than “On Skua Island!”  Could of been about 7-10 pages shorter, but, whatever.


Summary:  Boys investigates father’s forbidden room and gets what he deserves, told from the uncle’s perspective many years later.


Writing:  5/10

Personal Fright: 5/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness:  6/10

Story 6: “On Skua Island” by John Langan

Boring.  That is the best word I can come up with for this story by newcomer John Langan.  I was excited about him because he was advertised as being in the M.R. James and Co. kind of category – that antiquarian style kind of writing.  At best he mimicked it well, at worst it was a “trying way too hard” kind of attempt.  This story was a bit longer, but at less than fifty pages there is no reason it should have taken me all weekend to finish it.  I just wasn’t that into it.  I’m sorry, too, because I was looking forward to this author.  He’s got four more stories in this collection, and so I am not giving up on him yet, but he must get better.


Summary:  A team of archaeologists are sent to remote Skua Island (named after a native bird that inhabits the island) to investigate a Viking ruin found there.  They are accompanied by a crack military black-ops kind of team, seemingly because the Soviets may be using the island as an intelligence base (the story took place in the early 80’s you get the feeling).  Whatever the archaeologists disturb in the ruin gets angry and begins killing people, violently,  and is apparently impervious to bullets.  The mix of army action and Indiana Jones style adventure didn’t work at all here, and the birds, who I believe were supposed to lend some sort of creepy atmosphere couldn’t even manage that roll well.  The thing disturbed,  a mummy, comes into play way too late for any kind of suspense to have been adequately built.  A disappointment because we could use a good mummy horror story.


Writing:  3/10

Personal Fright:  1/10

General Horror/Oppressiveness:  2/10