October 21, 2010

More Halloween Reading

Another shot of fear-a-fying fiction, courtesy of my old Wacky Pack covered bookcase that I will someday bequeath to my son or daughter (and then immediately take back because I couldn't stand to part with it.) First up is Ghosts and Things (1969) a solid collection of scary tales with E. F. Benson's Caterpillars and The Night-Doings At "Deadmans" by Ambrose Beirce being the standouts. But the real draw for me was the the absolutely awesome Richard Powers cover, check it out (click on images to view full size.)

Next is one of my prize possessions, A first printing (1962) of Fritz Leiber's Shadows with Eyes. This collection was my introduction to Leiber, and he's been my favorite science fiction writer ever since. The first story, A Bit of the Dark World, is the best modern horror short story of the 20th century - period. I won't even try to describe it, but just picture guy's in 'Madmen' style suits and girls in Capri pants and scarves facing nameless cosmic horror.

And even though the cover looks like Richard Powers (and it's listed on some online booksellers as such), when I compare it to some of my other covers by him, it just doesn't have that loose energy and skewed composition that he pulls off with seemingly no effort. Plus it's not included in The Powers Compendium, the best online resource for Powers art I've found. Still, whoever did it, it's a great creepy piece of art that fits the tone of these stories. Hey, this is fun! Think I'll dig up a few more of these before Halloween.

October 7, 2010

The Monster Men

Let's get Halloween started with a little light reading. "The Monster Men" is an early work by that greatest of American storytellers, Edgar Rice Burroughs (first published as a pulp story in 1913, hardcover in 1929.) It takes my absolute favorite setting for a horror story, the mad scientist's laboratory, and ships it off to a deserted island (off the coast of Borneo) to give it some exotic appeal. I like to read this in conjunction with watching one of the Hemisphere 'Blood Island' pictures. There's just something about monsters in a tropical, Polynesian type setting that does it for me. Here's some cover scans from my two well read paperback editions. The first is by the legendary Frank Frazetta (click on images to view full size.)

The second is from a later Ace edition. I like 'em both. The monster face in this one is particularly gross.

Oh, before I forget, see that circle at the top right of this post with Uncle Creepy in the middle? That's this year's button that connects you to all the other blogs that are participating in the 'Countdown to Halloween.' Give 'em a look and keep checking back here for more gruesome goodness.

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