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The Whisperer and Other Voices: Short Stories and a Novella [Paperback]

Brian Lumley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2003 Tom Doherty Associates Books
The Whisperer and Other Stories contains a complete short novel, The Return of the Deep Ones, as well as eight more weighty slices from the dark imagination of Brian Lumley. Here are several of Lumley's best H. P. Lovecraft-inspired tales, including "The Statement of Henry Worthy." Also included are "The Luststone" and "The Disapproval of Jeremy Cleave," proving that Lumley can make one laugh even while the hairs on the back of their neck are slowly coming to attention. . . .

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Though not strikingly original in theme, the nine stories in Lumley's first collection since A Coven of Vampires (1998) are as punchy and direct in their approach to horror as the author's blood-curdling Necroscope novels. Nearly all feature modern people reduced to primitive drives and fears when faced with territorial challenges from weird nemeses. In the title story, an impeccable John Bull type is driven to violence as he finds himself displaced gradually from barroom and bedroom by a grotesque little homunculus with fiendish hypnotic powers. "The Disapproval of Jeremy Cleave" is a black comedy about a husband so possessive of his wife that after death his glass eye and prosthetic leg noisily interrupt her lovemaking with other men. The desperate extremes people resort to when confronted with threats to all they hold dear is particularly noticeable in two Lovecraft pastiches: "Aunt Hester," which tells of a family's struggles to fend off one member's formidable skill at exchanging personalities after her demise, and "The Return of the Deep Ones," in which a marine biologist painfully discovers that he's descended from a semi-aquatic species. Though most of the stories showcase Lumley's familiar blend of O. Henry twists and gruesome shocks, "No Sharks in the Med," an expertly modulated tale of mounting psychological suspense about a newlywed couple's struggle to escape pursuers on a private island, is the book's best selection. Fans in need of a regular Lumley fix will find the tone and temper of these tales satisfyingly consistent with his novels.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Tor is fighting back against the bibliographical chaos of sf and fantasy short fiction with two collections of the Lovecraftian Lumley's stories. This volume contains the title story, the classic visitation-from-beyond yarn "The Return of the Deep Ones" (once published as a short novel in three installments and since lost to view), and seven other tales. Among those the standouts are "Snarker's Son," a Lovecraft-tinged alternate history; "No Sharks in the Med," which Lumley brings vividly to life by setting it in Cyprus; and "The Luststone," a raunchy, raucous condensation of a longer, rather more explicit original. The stories indicate that Lumley's partiality to purple prose goes back a long way, but for most readers, his handling of Lovecraftian themes, his deft use of setting, and his growing skill at characterization will far outweigh the fustian. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Dissapointing Whisper May 1 2009
By Jamieson Villeneuve TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Lumley's new collection "The Whisperer and Other Voices," starts with an introduction that sets the tone for the short stories that follow. Regrettably, the tone that it sets is boring, self promoting and long winded. I normally like reading introductions; they give me an insight to the author, what the author was thinking. This time around, however, any information was too much information. It is full of details on how rare stories are, which ones have never been seen in America before, what inspired the story etc.

Now, normally I would have loved this information; however, Lumley just comes off as an arrogant self promoter, patting himself on the back for how well this story turned out, how much he liked this one, etc. I hate listening to authors telling me how great they are. I like reading it even less.

As if that wasn't enough, the stories themselves are lacking in spunk and spark. The stories are told in long winded, drab sentences and Lumley's use of the English language is sometimes painful to read. Often times, the story could be written by H P Lovecraft himself, so unoriginal is Lumley's style of writing. The stories contained in "The Whisperer" often lay flat with nothing to hold the readers attention.

One of the stories in "Whisperer" is entitled "Aunt Hester." When we meet Aunt Hester, she tells us the story of her power and her twin brother George. We learn of Aunt Hester's peculiar ability to transfer her body into her brother's in times of great urgency and her families' negative reaction to this power. Her nephew is the only one who will visit her now and agrees to help her use her power one last time, to see her grandchildren.
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Format:Hardcover
Within Brian Lumley's works is a certain something that oftentimes finds me late at night with my chin pressed to a book, a chill lapping the base of my spine, making me look over my shoulder and wonder because of his visions. Here I find my mind running rampant, dancing through gardens of strange delights that, if I'm luck, bring about some delicately crafted nightmares to lovingly caress me within my sleep. Its as if the words he crafts, working from some primal place that a reader can easily understand, can bring about feelings I had long considered dead and gone in my horror-hardened mind. This is something I find myself coveting more and more as the days press into years and time marches on.
In this installment of short stories, there are many notable pieces that include, among other things, a short novel dealing with some of my favorite Lovecraftian amphibians. There are also pieces here that found me laughing as well, picturing the dread of the characters as they learned valuable lessons on "juju" and the high cost of certain crimes, and pieces that make me remember why eating things I find outside is never a good idea.
Breaking some of these down, they are:
Snarker's Son, a tale involving an oddity at the police station and a policeman who is at first skeptical until being privy to a meeting of the "tubers," ending the tale in something bloodily to my liking and always full of teeth.
Aunt Hester, brimming with Lovecraftian themes that also dart in their own morbid direct, deals with a woman that can, for some strange reason, switch bodies with her twin brother if she wants to. She finds it out quite by accident at first, doing things innocently and then out of anger.
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Format:Hardcover
Fans of Lovecraft's scenarios will relish this science fiction/horror blend which includes many elements of Lovecraft's horror tales, with the focus on racial memory and a concluding story of the Deep Ones based on Lovecraft's classic. Just as haunting is No Sharks In The Med, a short story about a vacation to Greece which turns into a deadly struggle for survival.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing! May 7 2001
Format:Hardcover
Let me start by saying that, as others have said many times, Lumley's stories are a tribute to H.P. Lovecraft; some intentional, others not. His stories are written in a prose that seems to come from a somewhat gentler time, perhaps 60 years ago. The writing itself is beautifully done -- and wonderfully enough without lots of four letter words and overt sexuality. There's not anything wrong with foul language or sex used in a book per se, but it seems to have become the staple form of communication in the horror genre nowadays. It's nice to see a master at ratcheting up the tension level rely on subtleties instead of broad swaths of blood, gore and sex.
That said, Lumley's tales are not for everyone. For those who prefer King's bluntness, Hamilton's sexiness or just plain quick and dirty writing may not appreciate the style of these stories. Also, some may find the plots trite and older than dirt. A fine example of a story that every horror writer has written in some form is the opening tale, "Snarker's Son", where a stolid cop finds himself in an alternate reality and thus comes to grief. However tired the plots may seem in some cases, Lumley has that certain skill that few possess -- the ability to make the old seem fresh and riveting to boot.
My favorite stories are "Aunt Hester" and "No Sharks in the Med". The first tale is about a beloved aunt with a terrifying and ghastly power that she exercises without taking the proper precautions. It makes one consider anew the old and odd family spinster! "No Sharks in the Med" is a tale of terror that builds slowly to an exciting and horrible end. It plays on the meaning of the word shark.
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