Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales

The ten "original dark tales" in Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales (which is edited by Deborah Noyes) are as follows:

"Lungewater" – Joan Aiken
"Morgan Roehmar's Boys" – Vivian Vande Velde
"Watch and Wake" - M T Anderson
"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slave in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire" – Neil Gaiman
"The Dead and the Moonstruck" – Caitlin R Kiernan
"Have No Fear, Crumpot is Here!" – Barry Yourgrau
"Stone Tower" – Janni Lee Simner
"The Prank" – Gregory Maguire
"Writing on the Wall" – Celia Rees
"Endings" – Garth Nix

I read Neil Gaiman's and Garth Nix's first since they were the only two authors with whose works I'm familiar. Gaiman's "Forbidden..." is a tale about a flamboyant young novelist who's in search of a subject more compelling than his own eerie existence - and contains a typically Gaimanesque twist to the tale.

Garth Nix's "Endings" is a quite moving tale of sorrow and joy with alternate endings.

Gregory Maguire's very contemporary offering, "The Prank" is about a female teenage delinquent who is forced to spend a weekend with an elderly aunt who looks as mild as milk but has a sinister secret locked in the attic.

M T Anderson's "Watch and Wake", is very chilling from the moment that young Jim arrives in town, there's a feeling that something is not quite right and it's a feeling that doesn't go away even after the dreadful twist at the end.

Celia Rees' "Writing on the Wall" is about a house that holds within its peeling walls a grotesque secret. It reminded me strongly of E E Richardson's The Intruders (which I reviewed here), which is probably just the result of them both being about a haunted house - and I've so far read very little supernatural/horror fiction, so that Richardson's book has stuck in my mind like a burr !

There's also an excellent introduction by Deborah Noyes that explains the differences and similarities between Horror and Gothic tales.

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