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Author Topic: Starter Books for a Horror Noobie  (Read 8569 times)
Leon Kensington
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« on: July 06, 2007, 11:55:21 AM »

Hi guys,

I just recently (being since PP started) got into horror and was wondering on what some movies and books that I should watch/read.

Here is what I know so far:

Lovecraft
Stephen King (Gunslinger series/Cell/Carrie/Buick 8/I will never read It EVER)
...and thats about it.
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DKT
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2007, 01:27:26 PM »

What is it that turns you off about Stephen King, Leon?  It might give me a better idea of what to recommend.  And what kind of horror do you tend to like?

Are you interested in Lovecraft or do you feel the same way about him that you do King? 

Neil Gaiman is kind of borderline horror/fantasy.  Neverwhere is a lot of fun and it's got its share of dark fantasy/horror moments in it.  It's also very fun to read.  China Mieville also crosses the genres, although his stuff tends to be a bit more disturbing and overall his novels have far less of a sense of humor than Gaiman.  If you like short stories though, Mieville's "Looking for Jake" collection is top-notch. 

If you like zombie stuff, I've heard World War Z is great but I haven't actually read it yet.
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Leon Kensington
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2007, 02:23:22 PM »

No, I ment the story 'It' not the other stuff (should have been clearer)

I love Lovecraft and zombies are always great.

David Wellington is one of my favorite authors as is Jim Butcher.

So really for me the darker it is, the better!
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DKT
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 11:02:43 AM »

Since this is "starter" books, have you read Bram Stoker's Dracula?  I read it in college and loved it -- it's pretty different from Coppola's cinematic take on it. 
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Leon Kensington
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 11:25:53 AM »

Yes, I read it in the 8th grade.  I really didn't find it all that frightening, but I guess that just brings up what is the definition of horror.  Maybe I have already read a good start and haven't even realized it, despite the fact I could count the books of the genre that I have read on one hand.
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DKT
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 01:32:42 PM »

It's funny, I was browsing the horror bookshelf at Borders yesterday and I noticed there were really 3 authors represented there: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Laurell K. Hamilton.  There were a few other books, including classics like Dracula, but for the most part, that was it. 

I found a lot of books I might consider horror in the SF/F section, though.  I think it goes back to the horror stigma and how around in the 90s, most horror got translated into "Dark Fantasy."
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Leon Kensington
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2007, 01:45:13 PM »

Thats right, I remember Mur Lafferty having an essay on that in her "Lessons of a Geek Fu Master".  Which makes me now wonder if Dresden Files isn't horror or even some of the military SF that I have read.
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2007, 02:08:50 PM »

It's funny, I was browsing the horror bookshelf at Borders yesterday and I noticed there were really 3 authors represented there: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Laurell K. Hamilton.  There were a few other books, including classics like Dracula, but for the most part, that was it. 

I found a lot of books I might consider horror in the SF/F section, though.  I think it goes back to the horror stigma and how around in the 90s, most horror got translated into "Dark Fantasy."

I think this is one of tha big advantages of Amazon.  They can put a book in five different catagories if they want.
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Anarkey
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2007, 02:19:44 PM »

I think this is one of tha big advantages of Amazon.  They can put a book in five different catagories if they want.

Yes! Tags >> Marketing Genre Classification the way Subject Headings >> Call numbers.
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2007, 03:15:26 AM »

Check out Dangerous Visions (ISBN 0-425-06176-0) anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, 1967.
More like speculative fiction with a dark edge, than regular horror.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangerous_Visions
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2007, 10:41:43 AM »

Reading Planish's post in the other thread reminded me of "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson.  It's about vampires but I think you'll find it in the SF/F section.  Wink
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Leon Kensington
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2007, 12:08:47 PM »

I saw that at Borders last week and it was in the horror section there, didn't pick it up though.  Wish I had now.
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Listener
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2007, 03:53:06 PM »

The scariest thing I ever read was the novella "The Sun Dog" by Stephen King.  I CANNOT read it through to the end anymore.  It's in "Four Past Midnight".
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Anarkey
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2007, 04:51:04 PM »

The scariest thing I ever read was the novella "The Sun Dog" by Stephen King.  I CANNOT read it through to the end anymore.  It's in "Four Past Midnight".

Huh.  I know I must have read it, because I read that whole book, but I cannot for the life of me recollect a single thing about that story.  Maybe I ought to re-read it.

OTOH, my indelible "Four Past Midnight" moment is in "The Langoliers"...I come back to that section where they land in the airport over and over and over again in my mind.  It's not scary, per se, but it's deeply unsettling, and it comes around to my mind frequently, always unbidden.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2007, 12:31:54 PM »

The scariest thing I ever read was the novella "The Sun Dog" by Stephen King.  I CANNOT read it through to the end anymore.  It's in "Four Past Midnight".

Huh.  I know I must have read it, because I read that whole book, but I cannot for the life of me recollect a single thing about that story.  Maybe I ought to re-read it.

OTOH, my indelible "Four Past Midnight" moment is in "The Langoliers"...I come back to that section where they land in the airport over and over and over again in my mind.  It's not scary, per se, but it's deeply unsettling, and it comes around to my mind frequently, always unbidden.

The TV movie version conveyed the unsettlingness very well.

"The Sun Dog" is about, among other things, a guy who gets into debt with the town loan shark (who maintains a persona as a good ol' boy) and a kid who has a Polaroid Sun camera that, no matter what he shoots, just takes pictures of a dog... that is gradually moving...

In terms of sinister shorts, "More Tomorrow" by Michael Marshall Smith is a love story between a guy and a girl.  The guy starts finding pictures of the girl on the 'net, and they keep getting more and more disturbing.  The last line of the story is chilling and disgusting at the same time.
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2007, 05:45:55 PM »

If you're into classics, there's "The Turn of the Screw", (1898) by Henry James. Sort of a ghost story, but it's not absolutely clear whether or not there are any ghosts. More of a Gothic novel. It's mild enough that I had it as part of a high school reading assignment, but enjoyable enough.
Plain old vanilla text at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/209

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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2007, 10:25:59 AM »

Carmilla by J Sheridan Lefanu was good, and iirc was an influence on Bram Stoker's Dracula.  Lefanu also wrote some other gothic novels but Carmilla is probably his mostly widely known and readily available. 
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Alasdair5000
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2007, 11:21:45 AM »

Hi guys,

I just recently (being since PP started) got into horror and was wondering on what some movies and books that I should watch/read.

Here is what I know so far:

Lovecraft
Stephen King (Gunslinger series/Cell/Carrie/Buick 8/I will never read It EVER)
...and thats about it.

   For what it's worth, here's another vote for I Am Legend.  Incredibly somber, almost epic book.  Really good.  Also, The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker is a fascinating read, if nothing else to see what got left on the cutting room floor.  It's not an easy read at all, but it's weirdly...romantic.  The last page is one of the most unforced and poignant bits of writing I've ever seen.  Good time to pick it up too as the 20th Anniversary hardback has a ton of extras in there.
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Listener
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2007, 11:43:20 AM »

The only horror story that scared me so much that I couldn't read it a second time was "The Sun Dog" by Stephen King.  (It's really more of a novella than a story.)  It's not awesome, but it scared the living crap out of me.
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Planish
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2007, 04:29:02 AM »

Possibly more "Suspense" than "Horror" (because there is no supernatural element), but I really enjoyed David Lynch's movie "Blue Velvet", particularly Dennis Hopper's scary psycho character.
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