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Horror: The 100 Best Books [Paperback]

Stephen Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1998
Editors Jones and Newman have paired horror's leading authors with the genre's milestones, featuring Peter Straub on Stephen King, Nell Gaiman on Anthony Boucher, Joe R. Lansdale on Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Clive Barker on Christopher Marlowe, and many equally inspired matches.

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First published in 1988, Horror: The 100 Best Books has remained the only book of its kind: a solid (and entertaining) annotated reading list spanning the range of horror fiction from the 16th to the 20th century. The device of asking 100 horror, fantasy,and science fiction writers to write about their favorite horror books might seem at first to capture an idiosyncratic sample, but through diplomacy and diligence, editors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman succeeded in obtaining short essays on most (if not all) of the well-known classics, as well as many more lesser-knowns that are well worth discovering. Readers who follow up on these recommendations will find tips about books by writers mostly known for other genres--such as Iain Banks, Robert Holdstock, Lisa Tuttle, and David Morrell.

Also valuable are write-ups on literary works not always acknowledged as horror, such as Kingsley Amis's The Green Man, Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird, and John Gardner's Grendel. And the write-ups offer a fascinating peek into the minds of the contributors, who include just about all the top horror writers of the'60s-'80s. This 10th anniversary edition makes no changes in the list of 100 books, but updates the entries and includes a 9-page reading list of titles from 458 B.C. to 1997. --Fiona Webster

About the Author

James Marriott is the author of "Virgin Books' Tourist Trap, Danger Down Under" and "Holidaymakers from Hell" (all written as Patrick Blackden).


Kim Newman is a novelist, critic and broadcaster. His fiction has been translated into many languages and he is a past recipient of, among others, the Horror Writers of America Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Critics' Guild Award for Best Novel. He is also the editor of "The BFI Companion to Horror."
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you buy this book you'll just have to buy another one down the line. My current copy is falling apart from the constant use. The one I had before that still hasn't been returned. So with the next one I buy I'll be on my third copy in just under a year since my initial purchase. For the horror fan who doesn't have the time or volition to check out the horror websites or sift through all the rotten horror novels and anthologies, this book is perfect for you. In this volume of articles by distinguished writers and anthologists you get a taste of everything from splatterpunk to Gothic. Writers as diverse as Harlan Ellison and Richard Laymon (even going back as far as Poe) get to put their two cents in. You find established classics like Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and underappreciated gems like Carroll's The Land of Laughs. You get writers who you never associated with horror like Shakespeare(article for Will writen by writer/director Clive Barker) and Melville. Of course Stephen King and Peter Straub, the modern heavyweights, are included, it wouldn't be a party without them. Once you see the Hundred choices made and read the articles, you will understand why they are there(even if you disagree with the choice). Reading this book sent me out to my used book store in an attempt to locate the out of print volumes, but somebody else must have beat me to it. And I still have yet to go through the dozens and dozens of books listed in the recommended reading list at the back of the book. So do yourself a favor, don't buy this book, you'll just have to buy another copy and you'll find yourself hunting for books like Sarban's The Sound of His Horn or Laymon's The Cellar. It is an addiction worse than smoking. It is a fear addiction, and there's no patch for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A horror aficionado's guide to great reading! Aug. 22 2001
Format:Paperback
This updated version of the 1988 Bram Stoker Award winner is appealing for several reasons. First, it's a modern classic in horror scholarship, a survey of horror literature spanning fifteen centuries, several genres, and a plethora of authors. Second, there's the thrill of reading great writers' thoughts about their favorite authors--Stephen King on Robert Marasco, Peter Straub on King, and Ed Bryant on Dan Simmons among others. Third, it's basically a big list of good books. The 100 entries combined with an extensive list of recommended titles (now updated through 1997) have enriched my reading for years. Plus, I'm always gratified when knowledgable people reel off their recommendations--their picks send me scurrying to used bookstores in search of new treasures.
In their introduction, Messrs. Jones and Newman express their hope that the book is "...informative and fun," also stating that it "should offer a guide for the relative newcomer to the subject, but also some meat for the veteran afficionado. We hope we've succeeded in giving a working overview of an often maligned field of literature." I, for one, think they've achieved their goal--Horror: 100 Best Books is a worthwhuile addition to library of any horror maven, a useful, entertaining work that belongs on the shelf next to books like King's Danse Macabre, Winter's Faces of Fear, Skal's The Horror Show and Wiater's Dark Thoughts on Writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but what about... Dec 13 2000
Format:Paperback
Of course, they're not MY best hundred, or yours either - but that's the fun of it. Of course, there's a fair sprinkling of idiots and semi-literates - Shaun Hutson (on David Morrell's excellent The Totem) admirably lives down to both labels. Colin Wilson apparently believes that Stoker's Dracula can't be appreciated without a knowledge of Stoker's biography; the ever-infantile Forrest J Ackerman drools inconsequentially over a forgotten (and deservedly, by the sound of it) 1940s pulp novel; and Richard Christian Matheson is disappointingly vague and platitudinous about his father's magnificent I Am Legend. Also, the editors have cheated slightly in resorting to dead authors for some of their reviews - though this is of course wholly in keeping with the spirit of the enterprise, and is well justified by the presence of critics like H P Lovecraft (on Robert W Chambers' The King In Yellow) and Edgar Allan Poe (on Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales). The presence of the writing dead also helps ensure that the late twentieth century is not more over-represented than absolutely necessary, though I could have done with seeing works by Thomas Tessier, James Herbert and Michael McDowell in place of James Branch Cabell (Something About Eve, reviewed in horrendously sloppy style by Robert E Howard), Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey is a lovely read, but horror it ain't) and Henry James (whose 120-page treatment of a 5-page story, The Turn of the Screw, is reviewed by R Chetwynd-Hayes with his usual pedestrian flippancy). (It's wonderful, by the way, to be writing a favourable review which simultaneously gives me the chance to pan.) The editors also commit the enormity of repeating the usual old wives' tale about The Castle of Otranto - "turgid and unreadable"; it's nothing of the kind. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Los cien mejores libros de horror Sept. 12 2000
Format:Paperback
El cuerpo central del libro es una lista comentada con los cien mejores libros de horror, elaborada a partir de una encuesta realizada a varios autores consagrados en el género, pidiéndoles que escriban sobre sus libros de horror preferidos. El libro es una guía muy útil para seleccionar las obras fundamentales y conocer los comentarios de autores contemporáneos sobre los grandes clásicos del horror literario. La lista se inicia con el comentario de Clive Barker sobre "La trágica historia del Doctor Fausto" de Christopher Marlowe (1592) y finaliza con "Dark Feasts" (1987) de Ramsey Campbell, analizado por Jack Sullivan. La parte principal se complementa con una «lista de lecturas recomendadas» donde se trata de compensar las ausencias de la lista principal (donde es notoria la ausencia, por ejemplo, de Ann Radcliffe, una de las pioneras del género). Esta lista complementaria sobrepasa el límite de los «cien grandes», comienza con la "Orestíada" (-458) de Esquilo, e incluye en varios casos, más de dos obras por año, cerrándose en 1997 en un periplo de nueve (9) páginas que los amantes del género festejarán por siglos. Como dicen los editores en la introducción, «una vez que haya terminado de leer todos los cien libros discutidos en el texto principal, puede comenzar a trabajar a través de la lista secundaria. Entonces usted será un experto. Podemos perdonarle que no lea "El castillo de Otranto" si trae una nota firmada por su madre» (p. 15). Read more ›
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