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Tuesday
Sep252012

Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural

There was a winter when I was in a mansion on the beach in North Carolina's outer banks.  During the off season there you can rent spectactular houses for a pitance, as the whole area is just about dead.  I was on a vacation with about 10 friends, and very quickly and painfully realized I had forgotten to bring any kind of readery.  Oh to be on vaction without a book, my nightmare come alive!  Or so I thought… There was a shelf of books there, but they were all trash.  Political biographies and pulpy romance that I didn't have any interest in.  Despair.  It was of course in this darkest hour that I found the chest of gold, hidden among the fluff.  I found a book of stories long and short which has since changed my life so fundamentally I sometimes shudder to consider my existence without it. That being said I also shudder thinking about the book itself, as the terror within those pages is like nothing I have experienced since.

 

What I found was 650 pages of the most bone chilling horror stories that I have so far come across.  Not the typical faire, each story in here is a treaure in itself.  Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural is a collection of stories which would best be read in a nightgown sipping brandy by a roaring fire. These stories avoid the gore and surprise aspect of fear, and dig at the core of your soul. These are the kinds of stories that plant little seeds of fear, where days later you'll still be ruminating about some line or image. An all-star cast of authors, but many not the ones you'd expect given the subject matter. Orson Scott Card, a 16 year old Tennessee Williams, Walt Whitman, Isaac Asimov, Robert Louis Stevenson to name just a few. The handful of lesser known authors are no less talented, and the stories from the veteran spooksters are as magnificent as their more well known works. You can really tell that this collection comes from a lifetime devotion to what Kaye wryly suggests to be "a dying art form".  

 

I did not come close to finishing the book while I was vacationing, and reluctantly left it for another wayward travellor.  I have since bought 3 copies in my time, and do not plan on ever living anywhere without it.  The stories in this book are so good and subtely horrifying that it doesn't seem even possible.

 

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