Weird Tales and Frightful Stories
With the leaves falling and the temperature dropping, it's time to think about my favorite holiday, Halloween! To get you in the mood for the season check out some of my favorite titles that evoke the dark side of autumn:
Noctuary (what the author describes as a "night diary") is the third collection of Ligotti's short horror stories issued by Subterranean Press. Ligotti is known for his powers of description, and this collection bears that out. In each tale the author creates an atmosphere thick with impending doom almost immediately, and skillfully builds tension from this setting. Secret bookstores, crumbling estates, boogiemen, and a child who conjures evil through the forbidden books of his father are all part of this wonderful collection.
From Chomû press, The Dracula papers Book I, The scholar's tale is the first in a four part series that examines the backstory of Count Vladimir Dracula. Here we see Vlad as a heroic young aristocrat madly in love, on a grand and macabre adventure that includes battles, a burning rhinoceros, and a mechanical flying turtle. Although the rollicking pace is usual to lighter stories, here author Reggie Oliver takes us on a tour of 16th century Europe that renders the occult as an expected and usual part of everyday life, with very dark overtones. Like Noctuary, the descriptive talent of the author is the major strength of this work, and makes for an extremely entertaining book perfect for the season.
Another title that takes a more charitable look at the monster from an earlier work is (the aptly titled) Monster: a novel of Frankenstein by Dave Zeltserman. Here we get an account of the famous story by Mary Shelley from the point of view of the man who came to inhabit the body of Dr. Frankenstein's creation. A young apothecaries assistant, Friedrich Hoffmann, is executed as the murderer of his fiancé. He awakes from death as the creature, and plots revenge. This entails an adventure that pits our protagonist against Dr. Frankenstein, a group of wealthy satanists, the populations of various small towns and even the Marquis De Sade. Great stuff!
Check out these titles and much more in your library's horror section! Happy Halloween!