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The Nightmare Chronicles [Mass Market Paperback]

Douglas Clegg
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Say sorry to the trees Dec 22 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For those that think depth is a heroin-filled needle hanging from your arm in some condemned, rat-infested apartment, you'll love Douglas Clegg.
The characters are rarely multi-faceted and layered. The plots are mediocre, standard stuff, bordering on uncompelling. The tone is always hopeless. And the language is pseudo-literate that gets in the way of the story telling.
There is a reason why he's written so many books and hasn't become popular. Read this book and you'll discover why.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nightmare Chronicles by Douglas Clegg is one of the most page turning collections of stories I've read in many years. Some of the stories are quiet subtle horror tales, and others, like White Chapel, I Am Infinite I Contain Multitudes, and Underworld are big stories of love lost and terror found.
These are some of the most original tales of horror I've read, and are right up there with Straub's (Magic Terror) and even some of Joyce Carol Oates. If you're looking for blood'n'guts, you'll find a couple of extremely brutal stories here, but in general, the stories have a brief shock illuminated by a psychological insight into a character's existence.
The faint-hearted should be warned off the two best stories: White Chapel and I Am Infinite I Contain Multitudes. Clearly these are amazing tales, but also they are as brutal as can possibly be imagined. The stories that were funny to some extent include The Night Alec Got Married, which begins as a bachelor party and turns into a reason to avoid intimacy, also, the story called Only Connect was odd and funny in a way because of the secrets within secrets and the paranoid sense of life Clegg manages to create in it.
Another favorite is Fruit of Her Womb, about an aging couple who discover that a mythos-tragedy has happened in the house they've bought. The husband in discovering an old murder mystery, finds some transcendant horror in it.
Some of the stories seem sketchy but interesting, like The Little Mermaid and The Rendering Man. Both are about transformations of sorts.
All in all, this is a satisfying grouping of stories, and leaves me hungry to try out one of two of Clegg's other books.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 5 2001
By Hobbes
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Douglas Clegg novel I've picked up and, I have to say, after hearing so many wonderful things about him, I was disappointed.
This book is poorly crafted at best. It is severely lacking in narrative structure, even within the individual stories, and the half-hearted attempt to tie them all together detracted more than it added. I found myself continuing to read mostly just for the sake of finishing the book, rather than because of any particular feeling for the characters, or even a desire to know how it ended.
Clegg skirts around points that would seem to be essential to understanding the story, leaving the reader feeling, not pleasantly confused and hungry for more as I'm sure was his goal, but rather cheated, as if one had been listening to a long joke that at the last minute failed to deliver a punchline. At the same time, Clegg browbeats the reader with thinly veiled religious symbolism, and characters who experience moments of enlightenment, to which the only proper response can be a groan.
If you're looking for the bizarre, something to keep you glued to your seat, I reccommend P.D. Cacek, Dean Koontz, or John Steakley, to name a few. I doubt I'll be checking out any more of Clegg's work.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Don't let the title of this review frighten you off. This collection of stories, strung together in a beautifully sickening manner by Clegg seems both a tribute AND a modern take on the tales of the Bradbury masterpiece. The handful of stories, which includes his well known "I Am Infinite: I Contain Multitudes", as well as the amazing "Rendering Man" and "White Chapel" are wrapped within the tale of a strange boy who is kidnapped by a mother and her two sons. Of course, this boy is much more than he seems. Much more terrifying and nowhere near as meek and innocent as initially believed. With each vignette and subsequent tale, one descends deeper into Clegg's world - not a pleasant thought for those who wish to retain a cheery outlook on society. His writing is surprisingly vivid and literate for the genre (a talent not seen too much in the "Bestsellers" list these days other than for the big names). The visions he molds in the reader's helpless minds helps to firmly embroil each tale while not allowing the connection vehicle (the boy & his kidnappers) to wallow as simply tasteless filler. If you enjoy this, please take the time to peruse Clegg's other works. With each effort, the man displays more talent, and a greater grasp of what horrifies the everyday person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars _The Nightmare Chronicles_ Review Nov. 15 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
No wonder this book won both the International Horror Guild Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Clegg is one of those writers whose artistry is only matched by his sense of story. He builds mythologies within the smallest of stories, and deconstructs the essence of the horror tale (with echoes of Hawthorne and Machen and even Shirley Jackson and Joseph Conrad) in some of his longer tales.
I never come at books as mere entertainment, although even the most literary novel had better involve me. Clegg, with The Nightmare Chronicles, has managed to create a body of entertaining fiction as well as some serious notions about horror and love, all exploding within these pages. Clegg doesn't shy from ambiguity either.
In his first story here, "Underworld," a man has recently lost his pregnant wife. She was murdered violently. When he goes to a small restaurant in an old alley in the city, he thinks he sees her through the portal window of the kitchen. When he eventually pursues this further, the story takes a twist into what feels inevitable but unexpected. The ending (don't worry I won't reveal it) is both emotionally moving and a stunningly quiet and perfect climax to the events leading up to it. In some ways, it's an illuminating thought about what it means to go through the human nightmare.
The stunner of the collection, "White Chapel," comes next. In "White Chapel," nearly a novella within the collection, a journalist gets the scent of a fascinating but psychotic mystery: a man who has become a legendary torturer and killer, who lives now in the jungles of some Asian/Indian outpost. This is where the Joseph Conrad echo comes in. "White Chapel" is a distant cousin of _Heart of Darkness_.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
I bought this book after reading some of the reviews here. What a mistake. This book was not at all scary, and it wasn't even that interesting! Read more
Published on March 18 2005 by Kristine
4.0 out of 5 stars creepy and unsettling
Clegg's short stories are a cut above (sorry) most because they rely on atmosphere and twisted psychology rather than blood and gore (though there is a fair share of that here). Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2004 by David Group
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Way To Put A Short Story Collection Together!!
Douglas Clegg is a leader in the post King/Koontz/Saul generation of horror authors, along with being one of the most prolific. Read more
Published on May 16 2003 by Mary Ellen Gustafson
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Clegg!
This is one of my favorite collections EVER, and it was my introduction to the work of Douglas Clegg. Nothing else has ever quite topped it for me. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT WRITER
Douglas Clegg's collection of short stories rivals anything that Barker, King, or Koontz have put out. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2002 by Samurai6
5.0 out of 5 stars A master of the short story
Clegg is a rarity; a master at the short story and the novel. That is very unusual. A writer is usually better at one or the other, but Clegg knows how to scare in either... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2002 by Darren Jacks
5.0 out of 5 stars Best short story collection I've read in years!
Great stories, great ideas especially The Ripening Sweetness of Late Afternoon and I Am Infinite, I Contain Multitudes. Read more
Published on May 25 2002 by Troy J. Knutson
4.0 out of 5 stars Know nothing of Douglas Clegg? Let me Introduce you...
This was the first Douglas Clegg book I read, after reading some of his work in other collections. Though I believe that his longer fiction is his strong suit, these little gems... Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Trust me, don't waste your time or money!
Like others I bought this book based on the reviews and by the fact that it has won an award. So okay give it a try. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Eddie F. Jacobsen
1.0 out of 5 stars Trust me, don't waste your time or money!
Like others I bought this book based on the reviews and by the fact that it has won an award. So okay give it a try. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001 by Eddie F. Jacobsen
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