Some 25 years ago, in what I call my “dark period,” I was deeply into horror fiction. Of course Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and others lined my shelves, but it was a British author, Ramsey Campbell that truly inspired night chills. Incarnate, his 1983 masterpiece went a long way in defining the genre, and for me, had me sleeping with the light on for a long time.
Ramsey Campbell is considered by most everyone in the horror arena to be one of the best horror writers around. He’s respected and admired by readers and fellow writers alike, with each of his new books eagerly anticipated. Peter Straub considers him to be ‘one of the few real writers in our field. In some ways. . . the best of us all.’ Clive Barker‘s opinion is that ‘Ramsey Campbell writes prose as incisive and elegant as anything the mainstream can offer.,’ His press isn’t bad either, one paper proclaiming him to be ‘generally considered the nearest thing to God’ in horror fiction. (more…)
(Publisher’s Weekly, Nov. 12, Gregory Frost)
Once Upon a Time…Horror
November 11, 2008
Once upon a time there was a thing called “horror.” This was decades and decades before a publishing category of this name came along. Respectable writers of great literature full of passion, love, desire, anger, retribution–really the whole spectrum of human emotion–did not shy away from the darkest, discomfiting elements, either, when a story called for such a thing. It was Henry James teasing out the madness of a governess in the face of ghostly manipulation of her young charges, or M.R. James (unrelated to Henry) describing how an unnatural essence inhabited a bed sheet, causing it to rise up and twist and crumple into a ghastly imitation of a face. It was Saki telling a sly story about an open window to frighten both character and reader out of their wits. It was Shirley Jackson tipping her character Eleanor off the brink of sanity in a house all but drenched in evil.
Horror was an effect. It was a writer of skill using her talent to scare the hell out of her readers. And, as I said, great writers from Elizabeth Bowen to Isak Dinesen invested now and again in the pleasures of (more…)