Category Archives: horror

“The First Days of May,” Claude Veillot, 1961

“The First Days of May,” Claude Veillot, 1961, trans. Damon Knight — An alien species (dubbed Shrills) fills a conquered earth with horrific and deadly sounds.  Their natural ability to produce supersonics gives them an advantage, and they rout humanity … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, favorites, horror, international, invasion, love/family/children, senses/space | Leave a comment

“Mariana,” Fritz Leiber, 1960

“Mariana,” Fritz Leiber, 1960 — Mariana lives in a beautiful villa surrounded by tall pine trees, but she’s troubled by something, perhaps a sense of monotony.  Her husband assures her that her life is perfect, and he urges her to … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, favorites, gender, horror, love/family/children, mechanization, psych/mind/madness, suicide | Leave a comment

“Horrer Howce,” Margaret St. Clair, 1956

“Horrer Howce,” Margaret St. Clair, 1956 — An entrepreneur visits a reclusive old man who is looking for investors in his unfinished horror house.  Jaded by his experience with the latest in such entertainments, the investor isn’t impressed by the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, cars/pedestrians, genrecraft, horror, media/advertising, spectatorship/voyeurism, speed/slowness, violence | Leave a comment

“The Birds,” Daphne du Maurier, 1952

“The Birds,” Daphne du Maurier, 1952 – Hungry birds attack war veteran Nat Hocken’s town and family.  He takes war-time measures, boarding up the windows and doors, stocking provisions.  Nat imagines the attitudes of his neighbors: some will not prepare, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, horror, hubris/pride, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“It’s a Good Life,” Jerome Bixby, 1953

“It’s a Good Life,” Jerome Bixby, 1953 – An (alien?) child with unimaginable power terrorizes his local community. Comments:   The basis for a Twilight Zone episode, spoofed by The Simpsons. Another tale of unsocialized children with the power to destroy; … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, horror, love/family/children, violence | Leave a comment

“The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson, 1948

“The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson, 1948 — Residents of a small town sacrifice one of their own in an ancient lottery ritual. Comments:  Themes of sacrifice, violence, lack of empathy, ritual.  Critical interpretations have linked it to instances of religious dissent … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, emotions/intimacy/empathy, horror, love/family/children, religion/soul/spirituality, violence | Leave a comment

“The Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950

“The Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950 – A telepathic vampire is created by atomic radiation.  The orphaned child of a lieutenant and a nurse stationed on a ship performing nuclear tests, he wanders from city to city.  He discovers his … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, class/labor/"work", communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, horror, hubris/pride, interior/exterior, language/libraries, primitive/civilized, psych/mind/madness, spectatorship/voyeurism, superhumans, violence | Leave a comment

“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett, 1944

“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett (Kuttner and Moore), 1944 – Strange beings arrive to declare a young couple’s baby their future genius-king, the next stage in human development.  They report that the king has tasked them with traveling in … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, evolution, favorites, generational conflict, horror, intelligence, love/family/children, superhumans, time/history/causality, violence | 1 Comment

“Who Goes There?,” Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell, Jr.), 1938

“Who Goes There?,” Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell), 1938 – Scientists in Antarctica discover the ship of a crash-landed alien who can mimic their bodies. Comments: Made into The Thing from Another World (1951) and The Thing (1982).  An  … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, horror, identity/authenticity, simulacra | Leave a comment

“A Friend to Alexander,” James Thurber, 1942

“A Friend to Alexander,” James Thurber, 1942 — Every night, a man is harassed by Aaron Burr in his dreams.  Burr challenges him to a duel, with a chilling conclusion. Comments: Read in Perchance to Dream.  Elements of humor and … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, dreams/hypnosis, favorites, horror, humor | Leave a comment

“The End of the Party,” Graham Greene, 1932

“The End of the Party,” Graham Greene, 1932 — Peter Morton and his twin, Francis, have been invited to a birthday party, at which a number of games will be played, including hide-and-seek. Although they have a close bond, Peter … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, dreams/hypnosis, horror, international, love/family/children | Leave a comment

“The Man with the Strange Head,” Miles J. Breuer, 1927

“The Man with the Strange Head,” Miles J. Breuer, 1927 – A doctor spies on a potential patient, who has been reported by his neighbors as pacing in his apartment and making strange noises.  He tries to determine the man’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, automata/robots, cyborgs/posthumans, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, horror, interior/exterior, male anxiety, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, psych/mind/madness, the body | Leave a comment

“The Last Séance,” Agatha Christie, 1926

“The Last Séance,” Agatha Christie, 1926 – A famous medium agrees to sit one last time at the request of her fiance (a man of suspect motives) for a mother who has recently lost her child. He tries to persuade … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, 1926-1939, dreams/hypnosis, favorites, gender, horror, international, memory, photo/film/image, the body | Leave a comment

“Dagon,” H. P. Lovecraft, 1919

“Dagon,” H. P. Lovecraft, 1919 – A morphine-addicted merchant marine wants to commit suicide due to an incident in the war.  He relates that his cargo boat was overtaken by a German boat and he escapes in a raft. He … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, genrecraft, horror, psych/mind/madness, suicide, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Damned Thing,” Ambrose Bierce, 1893

“The Damned Thing,” Ambrose Bierce, 1893 – A journalist testifies at a coroner’s inquest as to what he saw concerning another man’s death by a “thing” in the woods.  He reads from his notes, which he posted to his paper … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, horror, in/visible, knowledge/truth/epistemology, narrative, senses/space | Leave a comment

“What Was It?” Fitz James O’Brien, 1859

“What Was It?” Fitz-James O’Brien, 1859 — The denizens of a boarding house take a dare and move to a “haunted” house.  At first, they’re titillated.   While the protagonist ruminates on the nature of terror with his friend, he and … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, genrecraft, horror, in/visible, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the scientist | Leave a comment

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1845

“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1845 – A hoax, published as if it were true.  A man with tuberculosis is put into a state of hypnosis (by mesmerism) at the point of death. A … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, death/immortality, dreams/hypnosis, horror, knowledge/truth/epistemology, psych/mind/madness, the body, the scientist | Leave a comment