Tags: epistolary fiction

Books

The Necklace and Other Tales by Guy de Maupassant (translated by Joachim Neugroschel).

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Title: The Necklace and Other Tales.
Author: Guy de Maupassant (translated by Joachim Neugroschel).
Genre: Short stories, literature, social criticism, horror, romance, war lit.
Country: France.
Language: French.
Publication Date: 1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, and 1889 (this collection 2003).
Summary: This volume collects 12 short stories—poignant scrutinies of social pretension, wicked tales of lust and love, and harrowing examinations of terror and madness. In The Necklace (aka The Diamond Necklace (1884), a lady of humble means who yearns for fame and riches borrows a diamond necklace from a friend for a ball, not suspecting it would lead to her utter ruin. Butterball (1880) is set in the Franco-Prussian War and follows a group of French residents of Rouen who decide to flee to Le Havre in a stagecoach, but are held up in the enemy's territory at an inn with the commanding officer only willing to let them go if a prostitute who's in their party agrees to sleep with him. In The Tellier House (aka Madame Tellier’s Establishment (1881), a novella, "Madame" Julia Tellier, a well-known procuress who runs a whorehouse in Normandy, takes her girls on an outing to her brother's village to attend the first communion of her niece Constance. In On the Water (aka On the River) (1876), a boat-man recounts a horrifying experience he had on the lake when he was stranded by a thick fog. In Mademoiselle Fifi (1882), set during the Franko-Prussian war, an unexpected confrontation takes place when occupying German officers request the company of prostitutes for a little celebration, but underrate the women's nationalist pride. In The Mask (1889), the attendees of a costume ball in Montmartre in for a sad shock when the most most energetic and fabulous guest loses consciousness and is unmasked. The Inn (aka The Hostelry) (~1886) is a story in which the young Ulrich and the older Gaspard take care of the Hauser family’s inn on the Gemmi pass high up in the Swiss Alps throughout the winter months, but encounter tragedy and horror in their isolation. In A Day in the Country (aka An Outing in the Countryside and A Country Excursion) (1881), a young woman has an unexpected, passionate and life-changing encounter with a stranger when her family takes a day off to spend in the country by the Seine. In The Hand (1883), a magistrate recounts an occurrence of a man who keeps his enemy's severed hand chained to a wall, claiming he is endangered by it, before he is seemingly murdered by it. In The Jewels (aka The False Gems(1883), an impoverished husband mourning his wife and struggling to manage his finances now she's gone is shocked when he takes her "fake, gaudy" jewelry to be appraised. The Model (1883) is a story of an artist and a model who would go to any lengths necessary to stop being his mistress and become his wife. The Entity (aka The Horla) (1886) is a novella of a man's steady decline into madness while living in the countryside near Rouen, as he becomes conscious of a horrifying, invisible presence that is taking him over.

My rating: 7.5/10
My review:

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Books

The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten by Various (edited by Judika Illes). (2/2)

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Title: The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten: Tales of the Supernatural, Strange, and Bizarre.
Author: Arthur Machen, Dion Fortune, Algernon Blackwood, Marie Corelli, Lord Dunsany, Edgar Allan Poe, Hanns Heinz Ewers, and W.W. Jacobs (compiled and edited by Judika Illes).
Genre: Fiction, literature, short stories.
Country: Wales, England, U.S. and Germany.
Language: English, Welsh, and German.
Publication Date: 1845, 1894, 1895, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1915, 1926.
Summary: This volume collects 18 short stories. (Stories 10-18 in this post, refer to PART 1 for 1-9). In The Inmost Light (1894) by Arthur Machen, a man tries to untangle his friend's mysterious investigations into an otherworldly woman, a mysterious murder, and an allegedly stolen artifact that turns out to be the epitome of horror. In Blood Lust (1926) by Dion Fortune, a man comes across a case of vampirism, though in a different form from commonly-believed, while playing assistant to the psychic detective Dr. Taverner. In The Woman's Ghost Story (1907) by Algernon Blackwood, a woman recounts to a group of skeptics her encounter with a ghost and his unexpected request of her. In The Lady with the Carnations (1895) by Marie Corelli, a woman encounters a tragic ghost of a lady after coming across her portrait in the Louvre. In The Guest (1915) by Lord Dunsany, a restaurant patron has dinner with an invisible dark guest, who makes his presence known before long. In The Oval Portrait (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe, a man learns the mysterious story behind a beautiful, but frighteningly life-like painting of the painter's wife. In The Spider (1908) by Hanns Heinz Ewers, a medical student investigates a mysterious hotel room in which three people hung themselves three weeks in a row. In The Monkey's Paw (1902), when an old man doesn't heed warnings and uses a monkey's paw that allegedly grants its bearer three wishes, he realizes too late that the wishes come at a terrible cost.


My rating: 8/10
My review:

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Books

Shining in the Dark by Various (edited by Hans-Åke Lilja).

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Title: Shining in the Dark.
Author: Stephen King, Jack Ketchum & P.D. Cacek, Steward O'Nan, Bev Vincent, Clive Barker, Brian Keene, Richard Chizmar, Kevin Quigley, Ramsey Campbell, Edgar Allan Poe, Brian James Freeman, and John Ajvide Linquist (translated by Marlaine Delargy) (edited by Hans-Åke Lilja).
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror, crime.
Country: U.S., Canada, U.K., and Sweden.
Language: English and Swedish.
Publication Date: 1843, 1971, 1976, 2006, 1992, 1993, and 2017 (this collection 2017).
Summary: A collection of 12 short stories. In The Blue Air Compressor (1971) by Stephen King, an author that decides to write a book about a dead friend's wife while staying at her husband's cottage has a bad reaction when she uncovers and critiques the manuscript. In The Net (2006) by Jack Ketchum & P.D. Cacek, a passionate internet romance turns sour when the two participants finally decide to meet face to face. In The Novel of the Holocaust (2006) by Stewart O'Nan, a man who survived the concentration camps in his childhood has to deal with fame mixed with his real life memories after he writes a Holocaust novel. In Aeliana (2017) by Bev Vincent, a detective gets help trying to capture a serial killer by a creature of the night masquerading as a little girl. In Pidgin and Theresa (1993) by Clive Barker, an angel sets out to fix her error when she accidentally turns a turtle and a parrot human while deifying their owner. An End to All Things (2017) by Brian Keene is a story of a bereaved man who spends every morning on the dock drinking coffee and imagining and wishing for a different kind of apocalypse. In Cemetery Dance (1992) by Richard Chizmar, a man is summoned to the grave of his first love and victim. In Drawn to the Flame (2017) by Kevin Quigley, three boys must try to survive when they are lured into a menacing house of horrors at a dark carnival. In The Companion (1976) by Ramsey Campbell, a man makes a dire mistake when he decides to take a ride on the Ghost Train at an abandoned carnival. In The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) by Edgar Allan Poe, an unnamed narrator endeavors to convince the reader of the narrator's sanity while simultaneously describing a murder he's committed. In A Mother's Love (2017) by Brian James Freeman, a man goes to extreme lengths to demonstrate the love his has for his dying mother. In The Keeper's Companion (2017) by John Ajvide Lindqvist (translated by Marlaine Delargy), a boy who gets deep into role-playing games believes that he summons a Lovecraftian demon when he moderates a Cathulu game, whose constant presence completely changes his life.

My Rating: 7/10
My Review:

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Books

The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre by Various (edited by Robert Morrison and Chris Baldick).

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Title: The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre.
Author: John Polidori, Horace Smith, William Carleton, Edward Bulwer, Allan Cunningham, James Hogg, N.P. Willis, Catherine Gore, Charles Lever, Letitia E. Landon, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Anonymous (edited by Robert Morrison and Chris Baldick).
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror, vampire fiction, dreams, ghost stories, politics, crime, secret societies,
Country: Britain, Ireland, Scotland, U.S..
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1819, 1823, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, and 1838 (this collection 1997).
Summary: A collection of 14 short stories of horror, mystery, and macabre. The Vampyre (1819) by John Polidori is about a young man that encounters and is fascinated with a cold and mysterious young Count, but his life is quickly plunged into misery and horror when he realizes the Count is not what he seems. In Sir Guy's Eveling's Dream (1823) by Horace Smith, a man of loose morals dreams of a woman that he falls in love with, but when he encounters her in real life, he soon finds she hides a horrific secret. Confessions of a Reformed Ribbonman (1830) by William Carleton tells of the real occurrence where a group of Ribbonmen (a movement of poor Catholics in Ireland) takes violent revenge upon a family that had accused them of theft and assault. In Monos and Daimonos (1830) by Edward Bulwer, a man who has spent most of his life wandering through the wild places of the world and revelling in solitude, gets stranded on an island with a man he loathes who, after an act of violence, inexplicably becomes the permanent companion of his life. In The Master of Logan (1831) by Allan Cunningham, a man who makes light of the spirits of the dead is visited by a beautiful neighbor late at night, who turns out to be not who or what she seems. The Victim (1831) by Anonymous, based on real circumstances, is a story about the dangers and horrors of the practice of buying medical cadavers from shady sources. Some Terrible Letters From Scotland (1932) by James Hogg is written as a series of letters from around Scotland, talking of the spread of Cholera. In The Curse (1832) by Anonymous, a man who comes back to his ancestral home after years of absence learns of a curse that haunts his family, and then enacts it in a moment of mad passion. In Life in Death (1833) by Anonymous, a man who steals a vial of substance that can resurrect the dead from his father's death-bed makes arrangements for his own children to resurrect him in a moment of death. In My Hobby,⁠—Rather (aka The Disturbed Vigil) (1834) by N.P. Willis, a man watching over a dead body has a terrifying experience. The Red Man (1835) by Catherine Gore is a tale of a man who, traumatized by the infidelity of his wife, tries too hard to protect his daughter from the "life of sin," with terrible consequences. Post-Mortem Recollections of a Medical Lecturer (aka The Dream of Death) (1836) by Charles Lever is a tale about a doctor who remains conscious after his body has died. In The Bride of Lindorf (1836) by Letitia E. Landon, a young Count discovers an imprisoned beautiful girl in his uncle's house, and seeks to liberate her, but the truth behind her circumstances is not what it seems. In Passage in the Secret History of an Irish Countess (1838) by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, an orphaned countess come to live at her uncle's house finds herself in the middle of a diabolical plot for her fortune and her life.

My rating: 7.5/10.
My review:

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Books

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.

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Title: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
Author: Mary Shelley.
Genre: Fiction, horror, death, monster fiction.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1818 (introduction 1831).
Summary: At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, the book tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering "the cause of regeneration and life" and "bestowing animation upon lifeless matter," Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

Night Shift by Stephen King. (1/2)

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Title: Night Shift.
Author: Stephen King.
Genre: Fiction, short stories, horror.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978 (this collection 1978).
Summary: A collection of 20 short stories. (Stories 1-10 in this post, refer to PART 2 for 11-20). In Jerusalem's Lot (1978) (a prequel to the novel Salem's Lot and story One for the Road (see Part 2 this compendium)), when Charles Boone returns to his ancestral home and comes upon the abandoned village of Jerusalem's Lot, he discovers an undead horror that has haunted his blood-line for generations. In Night Shift (1970), when a group of workers recruited to deal with a seeming infestation of rats in a decrepit textile mill's basement, they find they are not prepared for the horrors actually residing down there. In Night Surf (1969) (eventually developed into the novel The Stand), a group of young survivors from a plague that has wiped out most of the world have a single hope that they have the anti-bodies from a similar related virus that has left them immune. I Am the Doorway (1971) relates a disabled former astronaut's account of the terrifying change he undergoes after being exposed to an extraterrestrial mutagen, during a space mission to Venus. In The Mangler (1972), a police detective investigating a sudden rash of grisly deaths caused by an industrial laundry press, called a mangle, begins to suspect the machine is possessed by a demon. In The Boogeyman (1973), a man who has buried three young children describes to a psychiatrist how he believes they were taken by an entity that has been following his family. In Gray Matter (1973) (a story within the It universe), a group of men during a bad snowstorm go to investigate a small boy's claim that after his father drank a "bad" can of beer, he has been slowly transforming into an inhuman blob-like abomination that detests light and craves warm beer. In Battleground (1972), a professional hit-man who has just assassinated a toy-maker gets a package from the deceased's mother that includes a toy-sized G.I. Joe Vietnam Footlocker, which immediately begin to wage war on him, much more successfully than he could have ever expected. In Trucks (1973), the narrator and a handful of strangers find themselves trapped together in a freeway truck stop diner after semi-trailers and other large vehicles are suddenly brought to independent life by an unknown force and proceed to gruesomely kill every human in sight. In Sometimes They Come Back (1974), sixteen years after Jim's brother is killed by a group of boys, Jim encounters the boys again, unchanged, unaged, and menacing, in the highschool he comes to teach in.

My rating: 7.5/10.
My review:

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Books

Tales of Unease by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Title: Tales of Unease.
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Genre: Fiction, literature, short stories, horror.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1883, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1910, 1913, 1921 (this collection 2008).
Summary: This collection combines 15 short stories. In The Ring of Thoth (1890), an Egyptologist who accidentally stays past closing time in the Louvre witnesses an ancient rite, and learns a story of love, jealousy and immortality from thousands of years past. In The Lord of Château Noir (1894), during the Franco-Prussian war, in the north of France, captain Baumgarten is sent with his men to capture the infamous Lord of Château Noir, who has been terrorizing the German troops, but they're not prepared for what's in store for them. In The New Catacomb (1898), an archaeologist decides to let his rival in on an amazing discovery of a giant catacomb under Rome he has just discovered, but he has a dark secret and an ulterior motive. In The Case of Lady Sannox (1893), an arrogant and brilliant surgeon flaunts his courting of a celebrated society lady, but the Lord Sannox may not be as impartial to his wife's affairs as he may seem at first glance. In The Brazilian Cat (1898), a man on the verge of bankruptcy accepts an invitation from a relation just returned from Brazil in hopes of getting a loan, but regrets it when he has a close encounter with a huge feline in the relation's extensive menagerie of exotic animals. The Brown Hand (1899) is a story in which a surgeon is haunted by a ghost who unable to rest in peace without his missing limb, which the surgeon lost to a fire, despite a promise given many years ago. The Horror of the Heights (1913) is the story of an aviator, Joyce-Armstrong, who becomes curious of mysterious and sometimes gruesome deaths of pilots who have tried to break the height record of 30,000 feet, and sets out to find out for himself. In The Terror of Blue John Gap (1910), a British doctor recovering from tuberculosis at a Derbyshire farm becomes entrapped in a series of sinister events, and is forced to uncover the mysteries surrounding an Ancient Roman mine and the "Terror" that lurks within it. The The Captain of the Polestar (1883) is a diary of a doctor who becomes increasingly concerned of being stranded on the ice in a whaler led by a seemingly disturbed and haunted captain. In How It Happened (1913), a man describes a horrible car accident he's been involved in, with a dark twist. In Playing with Fire (1900), a group of paranormal hobbyists hold an ill-advised séance with a stranger, and things quickly get frighteningly out of hand. In The Leather Funnel (1900), the narrator is asked by a friend to conduct an experiment to try to determine who an old leather funnel belonged to by going to sleep beside it, but the dream he has makes his blood run cold. In Lot No. 249 (1892), a young man at Oxford becomes concerned and then scared of his ominous neighbour, who he is convinced raises an ancient mummy to do his murderous and evil bidding. The Los Amigos Fiasco (1892), a town in possession of a powerful power generator decides to conduct an experiment by executing someone with the maximum amount of voltage possible to ensure death, but manages a surprising reverse effect, instead. The Nightmare Room (1921) describes an intense domestic scene between a wife, a husband, and a lover, with a mysterious someone watching from the darkness..

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.

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Title: Annihilation.
Author: Jeff Vandermeer.
Genre: Fiction, adventure, science fiction, mystery, biology.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2014.
Summary: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months, all had died of cancer. The book joins the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and the narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

My rating: 7.5/10.
My review:

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Books

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.

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Title: Super Sad True Love Story.
Author: Gary Shteyngart.
Genre: Fiction, literature, futuristic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2010.
Summary: In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of a Russian Jewish immigrant janitor and ardent fan of "printed, bound media artifacts" (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. While in the background a grim political situation is unfolding, and Lenny is set on reaching immortality, could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

Slender Man by Anonymous.

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Title: Slender Man.
Author: Anonymous.
Genre: Fiction, teen, horror, mystery, paranormal, folklore, epistolary novel.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2018.
Summary: One teen's search for the truth about one of the most intriguing urban legends ever—the modern Bogeyman, Slender Man—leads him down a dark, dangerous path. Lauren Bailey has disappeared. As friends at her exclusive school speculate on what happened and the police search for answers, Matt Barker dreams of trees and a black sky... and something drawing closer. Through fragments of journals, news stories, and online conversations, a figure begins to emerge—a tall, slender figure—and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall.

My rating: 6.5/10
My review:

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