CHARACTERS ¸ Weird Shadows From Beyond An Anthology Of Strange Stories

Weird Shadows From Beyond An Anthology Of Strange Stories

John Carnell Õ 1 CHARACTERS

D iron shark tooth; a witch and a were leopardThese are but a few of the ingredients of this nightmarish collection of weird stories back cover copyContentsDanse Macabre by Mervyn PeakeBlood Offering by John KippaxSame Time Same Place by Mervyn Pea

CHARACTERS Weird Shadows From Beyond An Anthology Of Strange Stories

KeMaster of Chaos by Michael MoorcockWednesday's Child by William TennDial 'O' For Operator by Robert PresslieThe Flowers Of The Forest by Brian W AldissFresh Guy by EC TubbThe Garden Of Paris by Eric WilliamsThe Graveyard Reader by Theodore Sturge


Ten Nightmares A freshly turned grave with one mourner filled with hate; a telephone kiosk at night with something outside trying to get in; a ghoul playing knucklebones on a tombstone; a bodiless evening dress suit dancing in a moonlight glade; an

About the Author: John Carnell

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2 thoughts on “Weird Shadows From Beyond An Anthology Of Strange Stories

  1. says:

    A collection drawn from the British Nova Publications science fiction and fantasy magazine holdings most originally published in the late 50searly 60s so an interesting sampling of a slightly different taste I;d previously read about half the offerings here but they were all due for a reread soJohn Kippax's Blood Offering is one of those violation of tribal taboo stories familiar from Kipling and Wells Here though it's purely a matter among the South Sea Islanders with the lone white man acting mostly as observer until the Shark God makes the scene in the climax There's some nice dialogue between island class strata sketching of folkloric magic practices and an authentic feeling for detail as life lived in this revenge tale A solid if familiar read The Flowers Of The Forest by Brian W Aldiss is on the one hand a well written and imaginative tale of man who has fled his native lad after committing an act of jealous murder and seeks out a native witch in the jungles of Sumatra The psychology of the main character is sharply drawn One the other hand it is also a story about astral traveling and body hopping for a similar if stronger example see The Horsehair Trunk by Davis Grubb and seemed altogether too gimmicky to me EC Tubb's Fresh Guy is one of those cute filler stories used to pad out so many genre magazines during the heydays of publishing built around a clever idea competent writing and not much else Here two vampires a ghoul and a werewolf await mankind's return from the deep underground bunkers that shielded them during an apocalyptic nuclear war An enjoyable time waster although I always flinch at attempts to de supernaturalize classic monsters as happens here The Garden Of Paris features the exploits of Monsieur Delacroix as the civil servant functionary of UNO whose job it is to filter all the crazy mail into cranks and useful and investigate the latter thus a variant of the occult detectivemonster hunter figure Following up on a man who reports blood curdling screams from the Paris Gardens on the night of every full moon the helpful citizen is sure a secret Communist torture cell is behind it all Delacroix discovers the truth without giving anything away I assure you it is not werewolves either A perfectly entertaining if run of the mill monster story by Eric Williams perhaps most notable for the frame of series character Delacroix and its extended denouement the character is a civil servant not a police officer and not a particularly courageous man which is a nicely realistic touchTow pieces here by GORMENGHAST architect Mervyn Peake In Danse Macabre a story that brings to mind both Guy de Maupassant's Who Knows? and Richard Matheson's Clothes Make The Man a man observes his formal suit sneaking out of his room at night for an assignation deep in the woods with an ice blue evening gown But what seems whimsical uickly turns sinister in this terse little story where the full horror hinges on the last line Meanwhile I got a lot out of my reread of Peake's Same Time Same Place than I had gotten initially An impetuous young man storms out of his bourgeois home and the presence of his boring parents and to seek love and adventure in Piccadilly Circus He finds the former and then by extension a form of the latter but not how he was expecting in a tavern where he starts a relationship with an odd young lady This is a powerful little story and deeper I feel than a surface reading may conclude There's a twist that can't be revealed here and should really be experienced cold for maximum effect but on my mature read I take the last few lines as intended to be as horrifying as the actual twist A very British story in a way as wellIn a somewhat similar bent is Wednesday's Child a fun little piece sci fi than horror honestly that spins off a classic trope by William Tenn as a controlling Boss discovers his submissive secretary is hiding a secret in her vacation time reuests May be interesting to modern eyes for the paternalistic attitude the Boss shows to his female employee think MADMEN than for the twist On the complete flip side is Master Of Chaos by Michael Moorcock I'm not a big fan of the sword and sorcery subgenre but I respect Moorcock's achievements in the field and this is a solid example with some inventive ideas terra incognito is uite literal in this fantasy world as unknown space is raw chaos until formed into liveable geography by ordering rationality retroactively gaining a history and chronology salted into the usual uestmonstercastlefemme fatale formulaThe two standouts here were The Graveyard Reader by Theodore Sturgeon which has a disgruntled husband at his wife's grave she died in a car accident seemingly fleeing her life with him who is approached by a man who reads graves and can unlock their occupant's secrets Sturgeon has a real knack for thought processes and real human dialogue in all its uneven cadence and choppy clipped rhythms plus an honest understanding of the stress found in uncommunicative relationships The central conceit here that graves can be read as patterns of ecological architectural and atmospheric details much as we perceive blocks of text is also well handled It's a powerful emotionally satisfying story a fine slice of morbid dark fantsyEually as strong but previously unknown to me and a full blown horrormonster story to boot is Robert Presslie's Dial 'O' For Operator I'm fascinated by horror stories that revolve around communications technology and media Lucille Fletcher's Sorry Wrong Number Matheson's Through Channels and Long Distance Call Mark Laidlaw's Cell Call HF Arnold's The Night Wire to name a few and here's a prime example An operator gets a call late at night from a woman down by the docks trapped in a phone booth by some black slimy blob creature He and his staff work frantically to locate and rescue the woman but will they succeed when they can't even seem to locate her? As in many of those previous examples the technology in the story allows a kind of distancing effect to occur while still capturing the immediacy of human interaction A fine story with an ambiguous ending that almost emphasizes the human connection Now who do I contact about rights?And that's it for this nice little collection

  2. says:

    Theodore Sturgeon ultimate badass Mops the floor with Carver his ilk

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