Dead But Dreaming Paperback – Oct 4 2012
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Ramsey Campbell has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including four World Fantasy Awards, nine British Fantasy Awards, three Bram Stoker Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards. Critically acclaimed both in the US and in England, Campbell is widely regarded as one of the genre's literary lights for both his short fiction and his novels. His classic novels, such as The Face that Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and The Influence, set new standards for horror as literature. His collection, Scared Stiff, virtually established the subgenre of erotic horror.
Ramsey Campbell's works have been published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and several other languages. He has been President of the British Fantasy Society and has edited critically acclaimed anthologies, including Fine Frights. Campbell's best known works in the US are Obsession, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, and Nazareth Hill. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Epiphany: A Flying Tiger's Story by Stephen Mark Rainey - In this story a world war II pilot in the Pacific encounters an immense and unfathomable entity deep in the jungle. I believe this is the story Mr. Rainey later expanded into his novel Blue Devil Island (which is clamoring for attention in my to-be-read stack). This was a very well written story; I was pleasantly engaged.
Bangkok Rules by Patrick Lestewka - And now with Bangkok Rules I began to get a glimmer that this was no ordinary anthology. This is a brilliant piece, compulsively readable, creepy and oozing Lovecraftian sensibilities. A hit man perhaps works for a different boss than he thinks. How I wish Mr. Lestewka would write a mythos novel.
Why We Do It by Darrell Schweitzer - I loved this one too! A sort of dorky college student brings a girl back home to observe his family's religious rites.
The Disciple by David Barr Kirtley - Three brilliant stories in a row! Please write some more mythos fiction Mr. Kirtley! At good old Miskatonic University some students come to learn arts other than the humanities.
Salt Air by Mike Minnis - I have always loved the fiction of Mike Minnis. I think there was a planned single author collection from Lindisfarne Press before that worthy company tanked. Salt Air is a wonderfully somber and evocative Yellow Sign story.
Through the Cracks by Walt Jarvis - The anthology moves from strength to strength with this cautionary tale of catching the attention of indescribable things that live in or world beyond our senses.
The Unseen Battle by Brian Scott Hiebert - In Tahiti, an escapee from the carnage of WWI is pursued to the ends of the earth b something noxious from the battlefield. Another good read.
Bayer's Tale by Adam Niswander - Adam Niswander wrote only a few mythos stories, which are in his collection of short fiction, Blurring the Edges of Dream. Bayer's Tale is the best of his work, although it does not stand out in such formidable competition. A detective investigating a strange mass murder is lead to a terrifying reality.
The Call of Cthulhu: The Motion Picture by Lisa Morton - What would happen if someone did make a motion picture The Call of Cthulhu, with an unexpected guest appearance by the title character, and it caused many more people to believe in it? This one also was pretty darned good.
Under an Invisible Shadow by David Bain - This was OK for me, at least in comparison to the stories that have come before. In this zombie apocalypse, the zombie bodies are collected by something indescribable.
The Thing Beyond the Stars by Robin Morris - For me this story worked pretty well. IN the vastness of space there lurk entities that have less regard for us than we do an ant at a picnic.
Fire Breathing by Mehitobel Wilson - Another thought provoking story, where a dj finds out he is the instrument rather than the musician.
The Other Names by Ramsey Campbell (originally in Interzone Nov 98) - Wow. A simpleton finds a few copied pages of the Necronomicon when he goes into an old house on a dare. He learns how names can affect reality when spoken in the name of Daoloth. Beautifully written and it will make your flesh crawl.
Final Draft by David Annandale - How fitting that this astonishing work closes an astonishing anthology. I do not have the superlatives to do this story justice. It competes with A Colder War by Charlie Stross for the title of the finest Cthulhu mythos story of the modern era.
So, what to say? Most of these stories are brilliant, among the best of contemporary Cthulhu mythos works. All are good and worth your while. I urgently recommend this book to anyone who cares about Lovecraftian fiction and especially to those of you who are skeptical of HPL's mimics. No pastiches here; these writers have embraced Lovecraft's themes and put their own original stamp on them. You are in for a real treat with Dead But Dreaming.
Edited by the legendary late Keith "Doc" Herber and the prolific Kevin Ross, both have their roots in the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. The line between fiction and role-playing game has always been blurred for the Call of Cthulhu parent company, Chaosium, so the transition from game author to editor is not unexpected. Dead But Dreaming answers the question: where so many editors have failed, can these two gaming veterans succeed?
EPIPHANY: A FLYING TIGER'S STORY: A fighter pilot ejects into a foreign jungle and we spend each terrifying moment with him as he dangles over the black abyss of a dark forest. Stephen Mark Rainey's tale isn't the strongest of the Mythos-related stories but it is beautifully told. 4 out of 5 stars.
THE AKLO: Loren Macleod pens a story about an archeologist discovering the origins of man are much more malign than he ever imagined. It's written in the traditional form of a Lovecraftian short story, complete with postscript reporting the fate of the hapless narrator. I'm not fond of authors mimicking Lovecraft's style but I can appreciate the effort. 4 out of 5 stars.
BANGKOK RULES: Author Patrick Lestewka has a sick imagination. This is the nastiest, most vile Mythos-tale of the bunch. It is brilliant and disgusting enough that it forces all the other authors to up their game. Just remember: in a game of chance, always look under the tablecloth FIRST. 5 out of 5 stars.
WHY WE DO IT: Veteran Mythos author Darrel Schweitzer pens a short story that manages to make a cultist both selfish and relatable. His opinion of a young woman who could be sacrifice or wife is decided in one fateful moment. All that in just three pages. 5 out of 5 stars.
THE DISCIPLE: David Barr Kirtley manages to do what so many have failed: He creates a story about an arcane professor that is horrific without being cheesy. Too many Mythos authors cast Miskatonic University as a college seething with kooks casting spells, but Kirtley cleverly turns the usual crazy professor plot on its ear. 4 out of 5 stars.
SALT AIR: Michael Minnis combines Kingsport with the King in Yellow while channeling Robert W. Chambers. It's ponderously paced, but that's on purpose. 4 out of 5 stars.
THROUGH THE CRACKS: Walt Jarvis posits that schizophrenics are actually dealing with alien outsiders from other dimensions. He makes the fear of a supernatural contagion deeply personal. 4 out of 5 stars.
THE UNSEEN BATTLE: Brian Scott Hiebert writes a story rich with history. The connection between a young girl and a World War I pilot provides an interesting counterpoint to the creeping intrusion of the Mythos, but the ending falls a little flat. 4 out of 5.
BAYER'S TALE: Adam Niswander tells a Cthulhu tale from the point of view of a police detective on the trail of a cultist. This is a perfectly serviceable story but it doesn't bring anything new to the genre. 3 out of 5.
THE CALL OF CTHULHU: THE MOTION PICTURE: Lisa Morton intentionally mimics the structure of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu in a modern retelling of the iconic horror story, cleverly building on the popularity of the Big C himself. 5 out of 5.
UNDER AN INVISIBLE SHADOW: David Bain summarizes a zombie apocalypse, skips the good parts, and jumps to the creation of colloquially named "Lovecraftian Terror." And that's it. Nothing happens. The weakest of the collection. 2 out of 5.
THE THING BEYOND THE STARS: A futuristic tale by Robin Morris continues a theme throughout Dead But Dreaming that the Great Old Ones are infinitely vast. Only a science fiction story can encompass the inconceivable dimensions of a being beyond human comprehension. Lovecraftian futures are often conceived as a dodge around the promise of humanity's destruction, but Morris definitely refutes that theory here. 5 out of 5.
FIRE BREATHING: I saw the movie Dead Air the same night I read Mehitobel Wilson's tale of an ill-fated DJ who crosses paths with a cultist. It's a nihilistic story of dread and terror. 5 out of 5.
THE OTHER NAMES: I met both Darrel Schweitzer and Ramsey Campbell in one day, but before I had read any of their fiction, which is the sole reason my head didn't explode from the Mythos-y goodness. Campbell has had a love/hate relationship with his horror roots that launched his career, alternately embracing and rejecting the Mythos circle. It's clear he's reconciled with this latest story, in which a young boy in Brichester crosses paths with Daoloth. I'm just happy to have another Severn Valley installment! 5 out of 5.
FINAL DRAFT: David Annandale shoulders the burden of concluding the collection. The editors wisely wrap things up by none other than the stars coming right, told with creeping dread through the joint efforts of an architect and his geologist wife. We all know how it ends, but Annandale conveys the horror through a new medium: architecture. My father's an architect so the imagery stuck with me. 5 out of 5.
Overall, these stories rate a little over 4 out of 5 stars, so I'm rounding the collection up to 5. With only one weak installment in the entire book this is a superior collection of Lovecraftian horror that actually delivers on its promise.
So what we are looking for is a story that takes us somewhere obvious in a novel and scary way, or manages to distract us with the novel and scary scenery so much that we don't see the unexpected twist.
Hard. Very hard to do.
And not every author collected in these pages manages to pull off the trick.
But enough of them do that I can honestly say, as a reader and collector of this sort of thing with over 35 years history and I don't know how many shelf feet dedicated to That Which Should Not Be that this collection is worth owning and reading from. A number of the authors caught me completely off guard, and those that didn't did a credible job of making me enjoy the ride anyway, for the most part.
There are a couple of clunkers, but since this is entirely a matter of subjective taste and since the reader may be just starting his or her journey down the path to Innsmouth, Arkham, Kingsport and places far less savory, I won't say which they are.
The quality of the paperback is extremely high. The paper is of a nice semi-gloss formulation that gives good contrast with the print, important since you may be reading by the light of an old oil lamp as the wind off the storm-tossed Atlantic hammers at the eaves of the old house you rented, an unwholesome dwelling spoken of in whispers by the villagers with eyes too ... wide set for your liking.
I recommend this book to all fans of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, and to curious seekers after the genuinely horrifying.
Splatterpunk addicts and Torture Porn fans will need to look elsewhere.
Most of the stories are written at a high level. They are decidedly varied in thrust and tone. They are never overtly imitative. They are rarely predictable. (Stories that I expected to take me to one destination -- the first two in particular -- routinely deposited me at another.)
And the best of them are genuinely spooky -- and I do not spook easily. Ramsay Campbell's "The Other Names," at once blithe and twisted, thoroughly creeped me out and David Annandale's "Final Draft" reminded me obliquely of Lovecraft's own "The Haunter in the Dark."
There's a real "dread" factor here -- and that's something often sought but rarely seen in horror fiction and supremely difficult to do well.
Granted, there are a few duds, or what seem like duds in this elevated context. The rather plodding "Bayer's Tale" just never captured my interest at all. It seemed stacked rather than written and it's the only one I thought of dropping before I finished. I've heard the affected voice in "Salt Air" before and it's just too familiar a device. While artful, "Fire Breathing" never quite builds the necessary bridge between its protagonist and the reader.
That said, I was richly entertained throughout. And I'm buying the second volume sight unseen.