Friday, September 10, 2010

FFB: FANTASY: SHAPES OF THINGS UNKNOWN, edited by Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 1974)

From the Contento indices:

Fantasy: Shapes of Things Unknown ed. Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 0-673-03409-7, 1974, 384pp, tp); Textbook, in The Man [sic] in Literature Program [hello 1974].

Cover · Dream · Joan Miro (interior art uncredited and apparently in the public domain, aside from an uncredited panel from a Marvel Thor comic)
Unit 1: The Seen and the Unseen
9 · Thus I Refute Beelzy · John Collier · ss Atlantic Monthly Oct ’40
15 · The Laocoön Complex · J. C. Furnas · ss Esquire Apr ’37
28 · The Blue Lenses · Daphne du Maurier · nv Ladies Home Journal May ’59
68 · Harvey · Mary Chase · play, 1943
Unit 2: Children of the Devil
149 · Mrs. Amworth · E. F. Benson · ss Hutchinson’s Magazine Jun ’22
165 · Gabriel-Ernest · Saki · ss The Westminster Gazette May 29 ’09
173 · O Ugly Bird! [John] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss F&SF Dec ’51
190 · The Green Scarf · A. M. Burrage · ss The London Magazine Aug ’26
Unit 3: Beast and Creeping Things
209 · Born of Man and Woman · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Sum ’50
213 · The Fly · George Langelaan · nv Playboy Jun ’57
249 · Talent · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53
258 · Heartburn · Hortense Calisher · ss The American Mercury Jan ’51
Unit 4: Powers and Abilities
271 · The High Divers · Jack Conroy · vi
274 · Pecos Bill · Phil Squires · ss Legends and Tales of the Old West, 1962
280 · The Portable Mrs. Tillson · Whitfield Cook · ss Story, 1937
291 · The Man with English · Horace L. Gold · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #1, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
301 · Free Dirt · Charles Beaumont · ss F&SF May ’55
Unit 5: Signs and Wonders
313 · The Chaser · John Collier · ss New Yorker Dec 28 ’40
317 · The Masque of the Red Death · Edgar Allan Poe · ss Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine May, 1842
324 · Prey · Richard Matheson · ss Playboy Apr ’69
337 · The Horn of Plenty · Vladimir Grigoriev · ss Galaxy Dec ’69
354 · The Magic Shop · H. G. Wells · ss The Strand Jun ’03
366 · Discussion Questions · Misc. · ms
377 · Biographies of Authors · Misc. · bg
383 · Pronunciation Key · Misc. · ms
384 · Index of Authors and Titles · Misc. · ix

This is my first textbook entry in the "Forgotten" Books roundelay, although some of my other choices over the last two and a half years have been used as texts in courses in various venues. Despite a certain potted quality about most of them, I've loved good literature anthology texts all my literate life, and collected them as I came across them for sale as a child, usually for small change in library and tag sales, and at the five-and-dimes such as WT Grant's (where the textbooks were usually in the 3/$1 bin rather than the 4/$1 bin with the Lancer paperbacks in the mid-'70s). Scott, Foresman was a leading publisher of elementary and high-school textbooks in the US in the 1970s, probably the leading publisher of the literature textbooks, and how many other books were so widely thrust upon public-school students, at least, yet so easily forgotten after they were turned back in at the end of the school year (leading to a brisk trade in queries to information librarians and occasionally booksellers, along the lines of "It was a story about a horrible car-crash, that turned out to be a test..." (I can identify this widely-reprinted story "spoiled" thus for you at the end of the entry...another widely-reprinted story in the same sort of venue was Donald Westlake's allegorical sf "The Winner," from Harry Harrison's Nova 1 anthology of original sf stories).

Liberal and well-funded school districts might well've taken this and other volumes in the "Man in Literature Program" for junior or senior-high cirricula...I certainly would've enjoyed seeing what my classmates would make of the classroom discussion questions as this, for Hortense Calisher's "Heartburn": "Briefly summarize the circumstances by which Dr. Retz acquired the small animal in his chest. By what circumstances can he be relieved of it?" As it was, I first read Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day," Alan Nourse's "Brightside Crossing," and Clifford Simak's brilliant "Desertion" in my 7th-grade Scott, Foresman text, though the class only went through the Bradbury, after three previous years going through the Scott, Foresman "elite" series of Cavalcades, Ventures and Vistas in another state's elementary school...they also published the irregular set of hardcover editions of "free reading" books we had in the classroom, including Keith Robertson's Henry Reed's Journey and Harold Courlander's Ride with the Sun, which I have briefly reviewed previously.

Meanwhile this is a fine selection of chestnuts and a few odd surprises, the umpteenth anthologization at least of such work as the Benson (whose Mapp and Lucia novels of manners would not yet have had their revival by 1974, and his brilliant horror fiction was still what he was best remembered for) and the Colliers and the Langelaan, with the Sturgeon, Du Maurier, Wellman and Gold not quite in the same league (each of those writers having more-anthologized stories) but all fine choices, and the Saki, Poe and Wellman impeccable choices except for the weak protest that these stories by them were almost ineluctable by any literate youngster. Well, persistent literate youngster. That kid probably wouldn't've had much other chance to read "Prey" or "Free Dirt," though, however much they might enjoy their creators' work on Twilight Zone repeats or horror or suspense film broadcasts...and the inclusion of such "outliers" as Harvey and the tall-tale retold among the other fantasies seems valuable to an old eclecticist such as myself. I'm sorry that reading texts these days probably aren't allowed to be as adventurous today (Texas's more retrograde folks do indeed lead the way), as I will enjoy acquainting myself with the few unfamilar stories in this volume, which arrived in today's mail, such as the Furnas and the apparently very obscure Conroy item, and rereading the plethora of familiar stories, almost all first read by the age I'd be assigned this book.

Meanwhile, this seems an opportune point to mention two recent retrospectives (contents detailed at the end of the post), by our surviving veteran annual horror anthologists:

Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow and The Mammoth Book of the Best of the Best New Horror (the UK title differs slightly but is no more wieldy), edited by Stephen Jones. Both cover twenty-year periods, Datlow's the two decades after she was first on the jury for the World Fantasy Award and the next year co-edited the first of her Year's Best Fantasy and Horror volumes (my first published fiction, "Bedtime," she was kind enough to shortlist in the 1995 volume). Jones's book is more directly keyed to his annual Best New Horror, which he began, initially co-editing with Ramsey Campbell, with their 1990 volume...he takes one story from each volume so each of the twenty years is represented by a story; Datlow's book is less worried about having each year repressented, which is probably the richer if less systematic approach; John Pelan's enormous retrospective of 20th Century short horror fiction, forthcoming from Cemetery Dance Publications, is probably going to be not Quite the volume(s) it could be, in part because he is rigorously holding to a schedule of each year represented by one story and no writer having more than one story in the two volumes...the greatest error this forces, by me, is exclusion of Fritz Leiber's "Smoke Ghost," almost certainly the single most influential short horror story of the century in English...and some other questionable, if usually good, choices as Robert Bloch's representation by the relatively cheerful fantasy "That Hell-Bound Train" (his "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" is almost certainly the most plagiarized horror story published in English in the last century...though it wouldn't be my choice to represent him, either...perhaps "Sweets to the Sweet" among so many other candidates), or the inclusion of a number of what I'd call suspense stories, such as Joe Lansdale's triumphant "Night They Missed the Horror Show," rather than supernatural stories.

The ISFDB and Contento also have the following sf companion to the Fantasy book indexed (I have to wonder how many other volumes in the Not-Woman in Literature series there were):
Science Fact/Fiction ed. Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 0-673-03407-0, 1974, 394pp, tp)
ix · Science Fiction: Before Christ and After 2001 · Ray Bradbury · in *
3 · The Gun Without a Bang [as by Finn O’Donnevan] · Robert Sheckley · ss Galaxy Jun ’58
9 · Crabs Take Over the Island · Anatoly Dnieprov · ss International Science Fiction Jun ’68
26 · All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace · Richard Brautigan · pm The Pill vs. the Springtown Mine Disaster, 1968
27 · EPICAC · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · ss Colliers Nov 25 ’50
33 · R.U.R. · Karel Capek · pl, 1921
80 · The Human Factor · David Ely · ss The Saturday Evening Post Nov 16 ’63
90 · The Thinking Machine · Isaac Asimov · ar Science Digest Dec ’67
93 · Misbegotten Missionary · Isaac Asimov · ss Galaxy Nov ’50
105 · Elegy · Charles Beaumont · ss Imagination Feb ’53
112 · Aesthetics of the Moon · Jack Anderson · pm
115 · Constant Reader · Robert Bloch · ss Universe Jun ’53
126 · Who’s There? · Arthur C. Clarke · ss New Worlds Nov ’58
130 · We’ll Never Conquer Space · Arthur C. Clarke · ar Science Digest Jun ’60
137 · The Sack · William Morrison · ss Astounding Sep ’50
152 · Mariana · Fritz Leiber · ss Fantastic Feb ’60
156 · I Always Do What Teddy Says · Harry Harrison · ss EQMM Jun ’65
163 · The Man Who Could Work Miracles · H. G. Wells · ss The Illustrated London News Jul, 1898
177 · Echoes of the Mind · Arthur Koestler · ar Esquire Aug ’72
183 · The Reluctant Orchid [Harry Purvis (White Hart)] · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Satellite Dec ’56
191 · Founding Father · Isaac Asimov · ss Galaxy Oct ’65
196 · The Wound · Howard Fast · ss The General Zapped an Angel, Morrow, 1970
205 · The Sound Machine · Roald Dahl · ss New Yorker Sep 17 ’49
215 · Love Among the Cabbages · Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird · ar Harper’s Nov ’72
223 · Puppet Show · Fredric Brown · ss Playboy Nov ’62
231 · Random Sample · T. P. Caravan · vi F&SF Apr ’53
234 · On the Wheel · Damon Knight · ss Nova 2, ed. Harry Harrison, Walker, 1972
239 · Orbiter 5 Shows How Earth Looks from the Moon · May Swenson · pm The Southern Review, 1969
240 · The King of the Beasts · Philip José Farmer · vi Galaxy Jun ’64
242 · UFO Detective Solves ’em All—Well Almost · Philip J. Hilts · ar The Washington Post, 1973
247 · The Good Provider · Marion Gross · ss F&SF Sep ’52
251 · A Sound of Thunder · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers Jun 28 ’52
261 · Who’s Cribbing? · Jack Lewis · ss Startling Stories Jan ’53
267 · The Third Level · Jack Finney · ss Colliers Oct 7 ’50; F&SF Oct ’52
271 · Speed · Josephine Miles · pm, 1960
272 · The Inn Outside the World · Edmond Hamilton · ss Weird Tales Jul ’45
284 · On the Relativity of Time · Wolfgang Pauli · ar, 1949
286 · Relativity Wins Again · Anon. · ar Science Digest Jan ’72
287 · A Matter of Overtime · Anon. · ar Time Mar ’69
289 · There Will Come Soft Rains · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers May 6 ’50
295 · The Forgotten Enemy · Arthur C. Clarke · ss King’s College Review Dec ’48
301 · Earthmen Bearing Gifts · Fredric Brown · vi Galaxy Jun ’60
304 · The Ifth of Oofth · Walter Tevis · ss Galaxy Apr ’57
312 · Electronic Tape Found in a Bottle · Olga Cabral · pm, 1971
313 · Brace Yourself for Another Ice Age · Douglas Colligan · ar Science Digest Feb ’73
317 · The Census Takers · Frederik Pohl · ss F&SF Feb ’56
322 · Disappearing Act · Alfred Bester · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
337 · Bulletin · Shirley Jackson · vi F&SF Mar ’54
340 · Autofac · Philip K. Dick · nv Galaxy Nov ’55
359 · Toward the Space Age · William Stafford · pm, 1970
360 · Spaceship Earth · R. Buckminster Fuller · ar, 1969
364 · Biographies of Authors · Misc. · bg
366 · Science-Fiction Awards · Misc. · ms
378 · Pronunciation Key · Misc. · ms
379 · Discussion Questions · Misc. · ms
394 · Index of Authors and Titles · Misc. · ix

and...the contents of the Datlow and Jones and Pelan books noted above:

Darkness Table of Contents (Tachyon Publications)
Trade paperback / 424 pp. / March 2010 / 978-1-892391-95-7

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament by Clive Barker
Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant
The Greater Festival of Masks by Thomas Ligotti
The Pear-Shaped Man by George R.R. Martin
The Juniper Tree by Peter Straub
Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds by Dan Simmons
The Power and the Passion by Pat Cadigan
The Phone Woman by Joe R. Lansdale
Teratisms by Kathe Koja
Chattery Teeth by Stephen King
A Little Night Music by Lucius Shepard
Calcutta, Lord of Nerves by Poppy Z. Brite
The Erl King by Elizabeth Hand
The Dog Park by Dennis Etchison
Rain Falls by Michael Marshall Smith
Refrigerator Heaven by David J. Schow
---- by Joyce Carol Oates
Eaten (Scenes from a Moving Picture) by Neil Gaiman
The Specialist’s Hat by Kelly Link
The Tree is My Hat by Gene Wolfe
Heat by Steve Rasnic Tem
No Strings by Ramsey Campbell
Stitch by Terry Dowling
Dancing Men by Glen Hirshberg
My Father’s Mask by Joe Hill

The Best of the Best New Horror contents:
Robinson Publishing, UK • tp • £9.99 ISBN: 978-1-84901-304-8; Running Press, USA • tp • $13.95 ISBN: 978-0-7624-3841-9
1989 NO SHARKS IN THE MED Brian Lumley
1990 THE MAN WHO DREW CATS Michael Marshall Smith
1991 THE SAME IN ANY LANGUAGE Ramsey Campbell
1993 MEFISTO IN ONYX Harlan Ellison
1995 QUEEN OF KNIVES Neil Gaiman
1996 THE BREAK Terry Lamsley
1998 MR. CLUBB AND MR. CUFF Peter Straub
1999 WHITE Tim Lebbon
2002 20TH CENTURY GHOST Joe Hill
2003 THE WHITE HANDS Mark Samuels
2004 MY DEATH Lisa Tuttle
2005 HAECKEL'S TALE Clive Barker
2006 DEVIL'S SMILE Glen Hirshberg
2007 THE CHURCH ON THE ISLAND Simon Kurt Unsworth
I: Index by Contributor
II: Index by Title
III: Contents of Previous Omnibus Editions

The Century's Best Horror Fiction
edited by John Pelan ISBN: 1-58767-080-1
Table of Contents
1901: Barry Pain -- The Undying Thing
1902: W.W. Jacobs -- The Monkey's Paw
1903: H.G.Wells -- The Valley of the Spiders
1904: Arthur Machen -- The White People
1905: R. Murray Gilchrist -- The Lover's Ordeal
1906: Edward Lucas White -- House of the Nightmare
1907: Algernon Blackwood -- The Willows
1908: Perceval Landon -- Thurnley Abbey
1909: Violet Hunt -- The Coach
1910: Wm Hope Hodgson -- The Whistling Room
1911: M.R. James -- Casting the Runes
1912: E.F. Benson -- Caterpillars
1913: Aleister Crowley -- The Testament of Magdelan Blair
1914: M. P. Shiel -- The Place of Pain
1915: Hanns Heinz Ewers -- The Spider
1916: Lord Dunsany -- Thirteen at Table
1917: Frederick Stuart Greene -- The Black Pool
1918: H. De Vere Stacpoole -- The Middle Bedroom
1919: Ulric Daubeny -- The Sumach
1920: Maurice Level -- In the Light of the Red Lamp
1921: Vincent O'Sullivan -- Master of Fallen Years
1922: Walter de la Mare -- Seaton's Aunt
1923: George Allen England -- The Thing From--"Outside"
1924: C.M. Eddy, Jr. -- The Loved Dead
1925: John Metcalfe -- The Smoking Leg
1926: H.P. Lovecraft -- The Outsider
1927: Donald Wandrei -- The Red Brain
1928: H.R. Wakefield -- The Red Lodge
1929: Eleanor Scott -- Celui-La
1930: Rosalie Muspratt -- Spirit of Stonhenge
1931: Henry S. Whitehead -- Cassius
1932: David H. Keller -- The Thing in the Cellar
1933: C.L. Moore -- Shambleau
1934: L.A. Lewis -- The Tower of Moab
1935: Clark Ashton Smith -- The Dark Eidolon
1936: Thorp McCluskey -- The Crawling Horror
1937: Howard Wandrei -- The Eerie Mr Murphy
1938: Robert E. Howard -- Pigeons from Hell
1939: Robert Barbour Johnson -- Far Below
1940: John Collier -- Evening Primrose
1941: C.M. Kornbluth -- The Words of Guru
1942: Jane Rice -- The Idol of the Flies
1943: Anthony Boucher -- They Bite
1944: Ray Bradbury -- The Jar
1945: August Derleth -- Carousel
1946: Manly Wade Wellman -- Shonokin Town
1947: Theodore Sturgeon -- Bianca's Hands
1948: Shirley Jackson -- The Lottery
1949: Nigel Kneale -- The Pond
1950: Richard Matheson -- Born of Man & Woman
1951: Russell Kirk -- Uncle Isiah
1952: Eric Frank Russell -- I Am Nothing
1953: Robert Sheckley -- The Altar
1954: Everil Worrell -- Call Not Their Names
1955: Robert Aickman -- Ringing the Changes
1956: Richard Wilson -- Lonely Road
1957: Clifford Simak -- Founding Father
1958: Robert Bloch -- That Hell-Bound Train
1959: Charles Beaumont -- The Howling Man
1960: Fredric Brown -- The House
1961: Ray Russell -- Sardonicus
1962: Carl Jacobi -- The Aquarium
1963: Robert Arthur -- The Mirror of Cagliostro
1964: Charles Birkin -- A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
1965: Jean Ray -- The Shadowy Street
1966: Arthur Porges -- The Mirror
1967: Norman Spinrad -- Carcinoma Angels
1968: Anna Hunger -- Come
1969: Steffan Aletti -- The Last Work of Pietro Apono
1970: David A. Riley -- The Lurkers in the Abyss
1971: Dorothy K. Haynes -- The Derelict Track
1972: Gary Brandner -- The Price of a Demon
1973: Eddy C. Bertin -- Like Two White Spiders
1974: Karl Edward Wagner -- Sticks
1975: David Drake -- The Barrow Troll
1976: Dennis Etchison -- It Only Comes Out at Night
1977: Barry N. Malzberg -- The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady
1978: Michael Bishop -- Within the Walls of Tyre
1979: Ramsey Campbell -- Mackintosh Willy
1980: Michael Shea -- The Autopsy
1981: Stephen King -- The Reach
1982: Fritz Leiber -- Horrible Imagings
1983: David Schow -- One for the Horrors
1984: Bob Leman -- The Unhappy Pilgrimage of Clifford M.
1985: Michael Reaves -- The Night People
1986: Tim Powers -- Night Moves
1987: Ian Watson -- Evil Water
1988: Joe R. Lansdale -- The Night They Missed the Horror Show
1989: Joel Lane -- The Earth Wire
1990: Elizabeth Massie -- Stephen
1991: Thomas Ligotti -- The Glamour
1992: Poppy Z. Brite -- Calcutta Lord of Nerves
1993: Lucy Taylor -- The Family Underwater
1994: Jack Ketchum -- The Box
1995: Terry Lamsley -- The Toddler
1996: Caitlín R. Kiernan -- Tears Seven Times Salt
1997: Stephen Laws -- The Crawl
1998: Brian Hodge -- As Above, So Below
1999: Glen Hirshberg -- Mr. Dark's Carnival
2000: Tim Lebbon -- Reconstructing Amy

For more of this week's book selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog for the roundup of links and guest suggestions.

****spoiler bit from above****

"Test" by Thedore L. Thomas, from F&SF, April 1962, and reprinted at least twenty times, I'd guess. I recall seeing it in the Xerox Publications classroom magazine Read, for example, ca. 1977.


George said...

Wow! There's plenty of great reading here! At one time, SF and FANTASY courses were popular on college campuses. That trend seems to be fading.

Todd Mason said...

There is, indeed, and as I noted in a discussion in the Horror list at Indiana U, I hope the Pelan, despite my disagreements with some of the premises and judgements, doesn't end up even more a sinmple collectors' item/forgotten book than it might be (the Peter Straub and other retrospectives have his name and larger publishers behind them)...though even David Hartwell's THE DARK DESCENT, which I have very strong criticisms of, is growing obscure as well.

Part of the problem with the courses in college (and my FFB here is definitely a younger-readers text, with even the public school sign-in/sign-out roster in its inside front cover, careful to list both "county" and "parish" as a possible local political entity as the owners of the text) and not a few in the high schools is not only the graying of the audience for fiction, but more importantly I fear the notion that these courses could go to the seoond-raters and more callow junior faculty, or needn't be taken too seriously...certainly, in my own university career, it wasn't Robert Onopa nor A. A. Attanasio nor Ian MacMillan teaching the sf lit course at the University of Hawaii, but a relatively callow fellow (and the possessor of one of the most annoying speaking voices I've ever heard) was the only course I ever dropped at that campus (I was able to get into David Morrison's planetary astronomy course, which was a trade up I wouldn't've made in that semester if the first course looked at all promising); at George Mason University, where I finished my BA, the horror course was taught by a very competent professor who was taking a flier on a subject she was not confident about at all...I stuck with that one.

More happily, the incorporation of fantasticated literature into eclectic literature courses is more common now than it was even in the '80s...a very real triumph of Culture Studies, at least in the literary end of academe...and the good courses, those taught by people passionate about the work, often survive, even in these straitened times...

Richard R. said...

In Shapes, two by Matheson? I'm surprised at that, perhaps they were cheap to obtain.

Todd Mason said...

Well, one was already a chestnut (his first publication, after all), the other a fairly recent publication at the time...and Matheson was at the zenith of his popularity at the time (at least so far!), I'd say.

Todd Mason said...

...and I think Matheson and Collier often speak particularly well to the young...suprising that Saki got only one entry.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Whoa -- too much text! Eyes glazing over; but that Miro cover! Wow. I should figure out what book it was my sixth grade teacher used where we read Jacobs and lots of Poe and a few other things. Guess that would be early 70s...?

Todd Mason said...

Yeah, too tired when completing it to go get more illos. Probably could set the borrowed and/or upgraded indices off better, but work calls.

Todd Mason said...

And did he/she assign a text with the Poes and "The Monkey's Paw," or was it more along the lines that she/he read to you?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Had quite a job finding my way to the end. I like anthologies too. My husband uses stories like this in his utopia/dystopia course but only in fragments. I wonder if anyone will publish the whole shebang except as an ebook soon.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And yes Miro is worth the price alone.

Scott Cupp said...

Fascinating stuff there, Todd. I would have loved to have a textbook like this at any point along the way. And the other anthologies listed look equally fun. Thanks for pointing it out.

Todd Mason said...

Well, like the Pelan antho, Patti, the JJ Adams dystopia anthology is forthcoming...the others I found in my whip-around a few months back all being out of print...and I really should've broken the consideration of the retrospectives off into another posting, away from the FFB...but weariness will out. I'm a fan of Miro from way back...had one of his items in repro from the Hirschorn up on my bedroom wall in Hawaii. Also, the Brubeck Quartet snagged a painting for my once clear-favorit album, and still one of my favorites, TIME FURTHER OUT: MIRO REFLECTIONS.

Glad you liked it, Scott--the info density seems to be putting some off a little, and I can sympathize...that's often true of my prose at the best of times, but adding all the TOCs only reinforces matters. Yes, I do have to wonder how many schools ever picked up this particular Scott, Foresman series.

SteveHL said...


I enjoy almost all the FFB entries but somehow yours are usually the ones I find most interesting, probably because I have some acquaintance with a large percentage of the books you choose – or, as in this case, not any of these books themselves but many of the individual stories. I am tempted to start commenting on each of the stories that I am familiar with, but I doubt that people would find that fascinating, unless, that is, they have nothing else to do for the next ten or twelve hours. So just a couple of points…

I’m not sure why you don’t think the Lansdale shouldn’t be included in a book of horror stories. I find some of Lansdale’s short stories too unpleasantly strong for me to enjoy them, and “Night They Missed the Horror Show” would certainly fall into that category. It does seem to me at least as much a “horror story” as most of the supernatural entries.

Two of the stories that I don’t know at all that sound particularly intriguing – “I Always Do What Teddy Says”, because I think that’s a great title and because it is, unusually for a science fiction story, from Ellery Queen and “Norman Wisdom and the Angel of Death”, because that’s an even better, and much weirder, title.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Steve--glad to be of service.

I have an arguably reductionist view that if a story is horror, it must have supernatural or fantasy elements in it; if it's a "realistic" or other not actually fantasticated story, like the Lansdale, it's a suspense story, rather than a horror story. Thus, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is a horror story (though could be read as suspense, albeit by stretching the point), while "The Lottery" is suspense fiction...PSYCHO is suspense fiction, while THE DEAD DON'T DIE is horror fiction (Bloch has rather few novels that are horror thus). And so on. And I'll agree with you that the Lansdale is pretty damned extreme (it has a subtitle or dedication, depending on how you look at it, that describes it as "a story that doesn't flinch"). There are certainly other, perhaps even more borderline cases, such as "The Yellow Wallpaper," or stories involving monstrous animals or sufficiently delusional human perception. But if consensus reality says it can happen, by me it's likely suspense, and if the threat/terror is completely metaphorical, it's horror. They have (at times only slightly) a different flavor.

ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and the other crime fiction magazines have usually been willing to run a fair bit of criminous sf, fantasy and horror over the years...certainly such amphibian writers as Edward Wellen, who also got an unfantasticated, but Very arguably near-future, terrorism novella into F&SF (I reviewed it as an FFB a while back), were likely to sell that kind of thing to the CF magazines. I haven't read it yet, though I tend to like Harrison's fiction (I'll check to see if it's in his 50-year retrospective volume). I'll hope to have read the Fowler pretty soon, too.

C. Margery Kempe said...

It was a textbook or at least a reader, i.e. anthology with questions and activities at the end of each story I think. I could be wrong. Wrote my first round robin story in that class, then we made covers and bound them. Way cool. She also had her actor friend come in and perform "The Tell-Tale Heart" while we sat cross-legged on the floor in the darkness of candle-light. Great class: super teacher.

Todd Mason said...

And, I suspect, a persistent inspiration for your own eventual career...