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Peter Straub (1) (1943–2022)

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Om författaren

Author Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943. He earned degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. He taught English at his former high school for three years and worked for a time on his doctorate in Ireland. He began writing in 1969 and published visa mer two books of poetry in 1972. His novel Julia (1975) was an attempt to find a successful genre in which to work, after his first novel, Marriages (1973), did not sell well. He found that he had a talent for writing horror thrillers in the Gothic tradition. His stories are complex and well paced, with authentic settings that add to the believability of the plot. He is particularly good at creating grotesque characters and gruesome situations; the eeriness of his work is captivating. He has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre
Foto taget av: photo by Bernard Gotfryd, 1984


Verk av Peter Straub

Talismanen (1984) 9,691 exemplar
Svarta huset (2001) 7,378 exemplar
Gengångare (1979) — Författare — 3,724 exemplar
Skuggrike (1980) — Författare — 1,607 exemplar
Koko (1988) 1,429 exemplar
Drakens dag (1983) 1,355 exemplar
Mystery (1990) 1,148 exemplar
Lost Boy Lost Girl (2003) 1,138 exemplar
The Throat (1993) 1,037 exemplar
The Hellfire Club (1996) 1,015 exemplar
Mr. X (1999) 845 exemplar
A Dark Matter (2010) 775 exemplar
In the Night Room (2004) 752 exemplar
Houses Without Doors (1990) 655 exemplar
Julia (1976) 515 exemplar
Poe's Children: The New Horror: An Anthology (2008) — Redaktör; Bidragsgivare — 447 exemplar
If You Could See Me Now (1977) 417 exemplar
Magic Terror (2000) 384 exemplar
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now (2009) — Redaktör; Bidragsgivare — 261 exemplar
Conjunctions: 39, The New Wave Fabulists (2002) — Redaktör; Bidragsgivare — 197 exemplar
Blue Rose (1995) 177 exemplar
Mrs. God (1990) 148 exemplar
Pork Pie Hat (2010) 131 exemplar
The Talisman [and] Black House (1984) — Författare — 102 exemplar
American Fantastic Tales: Boxed Set (2009) — Redaktör — 91 exemplar
The Green Woman (2010) 85 exemplar
Under Venus (1984) 55 exemplar
Sides (2007) 47 exemplar
5 Stories (2008) 44 exemplar
The Buffalo Hunter (2012) 34 exemplar
The WaveDancer Benefit (2002) 22 exemplar
The Skylark (2009) 21 exemplar
Marriages (1973) 17 exemplar
Perdido (2015) 16 exemplar
Four Ghosts (Anthology 4-in-1) (2012) 12 exemplar
The General's Wife (1982) 10 exemplar
4 Killers (Anthology 4-in-1) (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 8 exemplar
Ashputtle {short story} (2007) 6 exemplar
The Juniper Tree 5 exemplar
Superhorror (1990) 4 exemplar
Under Venus [and] Marriages (2001) 3 exemplar
Open Air (1972) 2 exemplar
Mystery/If This was Happiness/The Minotaur/Mothers (1990) — Bidragsgivare — 2 exemplar
Little Red's Tango 2 exemplar
Ghosts 1 exemplar
Isn't It Romantic? (2000) 1 exemplar
Fee 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

Dracula (1897) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor34,002 exemplar
The Sandman: Brief Lives (1994) — Efterord — 5,405 exemplar
Fruarna i Stepford (1972) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor2,991 exemplar
Stories: All-New Tales (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 1,359 exemplar
Black Thorn, White Rose (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 1,102 exemplar
Mord bland mästerkockar (1938) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor959 exemplar
McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories (2004) — Bidragsgivare — 664 exemplar
Are You Loathsome Tonight?: A Collection of Short Stories (1998) — Inledning — 594 exemplar
Prime Evil: New Stories by the Masters of Modern Horror (1988) — Bidragsgivare — 582 exemplar
Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing (2000) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor536 exemplar
American Gothic Tales (1996) — Bidragsgivare — 443 exemplar
The Wine-Dark Sea (1988) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor417 exemplar
Last Days (2010) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor377 exemplar
Happily Ever After (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 292 exemplar
xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 265 exemplar
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Collection (1999) — Bidragsgivare — 263 exemplar
October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 257 exemplar
The New Gothic: A Collection of Contemporary Gothic Fiction (1991) — Bidragsgivare — 254 exemplar
The Armless Maiden: And Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors (1995) — Bidragsgivare — 249 exemplar
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighteenth Annual Collection (2005) — Bidragsgivare — 222 exemplar
Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 209 exemplar
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixth Annual Collection (1993) — Bidragsgivare — 209 exemplar
Fear Itself: The Horror Fiction of Stephen King (1982) — Inledning — 162 exemplar
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourth Annual Collection (1991) — Bidragsgivare — 155 exemplar
The Museum of Horrors (2001) — Bidragsgivare — 147 exemplar
My Favorite Horror Story (2007) — Inledning — 136 exemplar
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 133 exemplar
Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 131 exemplar
Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 126 exemplar
Cutting Edge (1985) — Bidragsgivare — 124 exemplar
The Monstrous (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 113 exemplar
Rage Against the Night (1605) — Bidragsgivare — 112 exemplar
The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2010 Edition (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 111 exemplar
Hauntings (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 107 exemplar
Foundations of Fear (1992) — Bidragsgivare — 96 exemplar
Metahorror (1988) — Bidragsgivare — 89 exemplar
Borderlands 4 (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 85 exemplar
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 10 (1999) — Bidragsgivare — 83 exemplar
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 11 (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 80 exemplar
Horror: Another 100 Best Books (2005) — Förord, vissa utgåvor80 exemplar
Best New Horror 2 (1991) — Bidragsgivare — 77 exemplar
Halloween (2011) — Bidragsgivare — 70 exemplar
Murder for Revenge (1998) — Bidragsgivare — 70 exemplar
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 69 exemplar
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 69 exemplar
Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 67 exemplar
The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 (2017) — Bidragsgivare — 61 exemplar
The Cutting Room: Dark Reflections of the Silver Screen (2014) — Bidragsgivare — 60 exemplar
Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends (2019) — Bidragsgivare — 54 exemplar
Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 53 exemplar
Best New Horror 4 (1993) — Bidragsgivare — 53 exemplar
Ghosts: Recent Hauntings (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 50 exemplar
The Mists from Beyond (1993) — Bidragsgivare — 48 exemplar
Dark Terrors 5: The Gollancz Book of Horror (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 43 exemplar
Shadows of Fear (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 43 exemplar
Turn Down the Lights (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 42 exemplar
Taverns of the Dead (2005) — Bidragsgivare — 41 exemplar
Dark Screams: Volume Three (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 41 exemplar
Ghost Writing: Haunted Tales by Contemporary Writers (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 32 exemplar
Dark Screams: Volume Nine (2018) — Bidragsgivare — 31 exemplar
Last Drink Bird Head : A Flash Fiction Anthology for Charity (2009) — Bidragsgivare — 30 exemplar
Bad Seeds: Evil Progeny (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 30 exemplar
Murder on the Run (Anthology 11-in-1) (1998) — Bidragsgivare — 29 exemplar
Murder Among Friends (Anthology 11-in-1) (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 27 exemplar
Nightmare Magazine, October 2012 (2012) — Bidragsgivare — 24 exemplar
Dark Terrors 2 (1996) — Bidragsgivare — 23 exemplar
Ghost Story [1981 film] (2004) — Original book — 22 exemplar
Dark Terrors (1996) — Bidragsgivare — 22 exemplar
Murder in the Family (Anthology 12-in-1) (2002) — Bidragsgivare — 21 exemplar
The Giant Book of Terror (1994) — Bidragsgivare — 20 exemplar
Great Writers and Kids Write Spooky Stories (1995) — Bidragsgivare — 18 exemplar
Detours (2015) — Författare — 14 exemplar
The Anthology of Dark Wisdom: The Best of Dark Fiction (2009) — Bidragsgivare — 14 exemplar
Conjunctions: 67, Other Aliens (2016) — Bidragsgivare — 14 exemplar
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown [2008 film] (2008) — Self — 14 exemplar
Halloween Carnival Volume 5 (2017) — Författare — 13 exemplar
Cemetery Dance Issue 61 (2009) 11 exemplar
Best New Horror #26: Anthology edited by Stephen Jones (2015) — Bidragsgivare — 11 exemplar
Night Shapes (Limited) (Signed) (1995) — Inledning — 8 exemplar
Legacies (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 8 exemplar
Nightmare Magazine, September 2013 (2013) — Bidragsgivare — 6 exemplar
By Moonlight Only (2003) — Bidragsgivare — 3 exemplar
Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine | May 1982 (1982) — Bidragsgivare — 2 exemplar
Fear #16 — Interview — 1 exemplar


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Allmänna fakta



THE DEEP ONES: "The Buffalo Hunter" by Peter Straub i The Weird Tradition (december 2022)
RIP Peter Straub i The Weird Tradition (oktober 2022)
Nov./Dec. 2012 SK's Flavor of the Month - Black House i King's Dear Constant Readers (februari 2014)
January 2010's SK Flavor of the Month - The Talisman i King's Dear Constant Readers (april 2010)


I read 'The Talisman' to which this forms a sequel many years ago and can't remember much about it other than I found it rather a disappointment, being a fan of both authors' work. Anyway, that isn't really a difficulty for the reader since there's enough background to fill in the gaps.

The book starts in a very disconcerting and distancing style where the reader is a bird's eye view being whisked from place to place and shown/told lots of things about various characters and situations. This gradually calms down although the whole book continues to be told in present tense with occasional head hopping between characters and quite a lot of info dumping about people's backgrounds. I found it a slow, very long read bogged down from time to time by dragged out pacing and I had to take a couple of breaks to read non fiction as a refresher.

I wasn't keen on protagonist Jack who takes a fair while to finally take on the role he should in solving the initial child murders - no doubt indirectly leading to unnecessary deaths - and much preferred a secondary character (avoiding spoilers as this character is eventually killed off). There are some powerful set pieces, such as the assault on the five biker characters (again, Jack is directly responsible since he should have told them to wait until he was available, rather than approach Black House by themselves), but most of the time any chance of building suspense is deliberately sabotaged - the reader is told that particular characters are about to be killed off. An odd character choice is to make a lot of an old lady at the carehome, constantly telling the reader how lovely she is etc, as if she is going to be key in some way, but only having her make one real appearance.

The distancing of the early chapters occasionally recurs - once, near the end, there is an actual reference to the two men (though not by name) who are writing the story so there is always the sense that this is just a made-up story rather than something the reader can immerse themselves within. As a fan of birds I also found it rather a misfire to have an "evil" crow featured. For fans of the Dark Tower series there are quite a few direct references, with the murderer being directly implicated in the plan to destroy the Beams and bring about universal destruction.

Altogether, it was rather a mixed bag and I would rate it at 3 stars overall.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | 75 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
This novel is a sequel to 'lost boy, lost girl' which I had some problems with - I wroten about those in my review of that book - but sadly the present volume really went off the rails. As it opens, Tim Underhill, best-selling author, is writing a novel about a woman who is mentally fragile, imagining that her daughter - seemingly murdered along with her husband - is calling to her for rescue from a warehouse. Willy, whose name eventually turns out to be significant, is only able to tear herself away from breaking in by fixating on the Bluebeard-type character she is planning to sleepwalk into marriage with in the near future.

In the real world, Tim is having problems following the disappearance and probable murder of his 15-year-old nephew, Mark. Strange things start to happen, commencing with emails sent without subject lines from addresses with no domain name attached and featuring random disconnected words. Then a 'fan' who accosts him in a restaurant turns more and more creepy and aggressive, introducing the idea that there is a 'real' version of every novel - the perfect one that the author meant to write but lacked the ability to produce - and that this novel occasionally slips through from a higher plane. Certain collectors buy up loads of copies of books in the hope of finding the one copy that is perfect. This 'fan' objects strongly to 'lost boy, lost girl' which he views as lies - and that book does indeed turn out to be Tim's consolation to himself that his nephew was transported to a spiritual plane to live with ghost girl Lily Kalendar instead of his likely fate as yet another victim of a serial killer.

The basic premise of the current story is that Tim has erred against the universe by writing the book which assumed that Joseph Kalendar (an earlier serial killer) had murdered his daughter. Kalendar's ghost, given powers in the real world by Tim's portrayal, is now gunning for Tim and becomes merged with his Bluebeard character. Tim is informed of all this by a sequence of text-speak emails by someone styling themselves as Cyrax. This self-appointed guide, or 'gide', sends misspelled missives full of gems such as "rede y boke, rede the 1 with-in", which the unfortunate reader has to plough through and decipher. Under this 'guidance' Tim eventually takes Willy on a roadtrip back to his home town to "CO-RECK THE ERROR".

The idea about the one perfect copy of each book was interesting, but was buried under a pile of dross. I can't begin to enumerate the things that for me were wrong with this book. One of the worst was the development of Willy, who eventually makes her way into the real world, as a woman so fascinating that men are completely spellbound by her (apart, conveniently, from the Bluebeard character and his henchmen). She is frequently described as 'gamine' and her boyish figure is stressed, which became quite nauseating when it transpired that she 'converts' Tim, a lifelong gay man, who can't keep his hands off her. In turn, she finds him godlike in bed. I understood that this is a literary joke as she is his creation and in a way he is having sex with himself, but it was offensive on so many levels. (Willy, as a child's mispronounciation of Lily - since she is Tim's version of the supposedly dead Lily Kalendar - is really a sort of woman-as-penis given the slang meaning of her name.) Far from fascinating, I found her irritating, and her increasing gluttony for anything sweet was also a cause for queasiness. For me, there was no tension in the idea that Tim had to make amends and 'sacrifice' her as I couldn't wait for that moment to arrive.

Similarly, Tim's curmudgeonly brother is - very improbably - transformed in this book into a kindly, friendly, cheerful man purely by virtue of having met a nice woman who joined his school as a junior teacher and through her, 'finding religion'. This lacked any credibility given his previous portrayal in 'lost boy, lost girl'.

The supernatural elements that were once subtle in stories about Tim here take over with multiple appearances of his dead sister, another guide along the way, and an angry angel, plus the explanation of what happens to humans after death. Given the angel's powers , why was Tim's assistance required in any case? Altogether, this was such a mess that I couldn't envisage it ever having been published if submitted by an unknown author. It has put me off reading Straub at present, though I have a few books that pre-date this and which will hopefully be a return to form. So for me, the current volume scrapes a one-star rating.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | 15 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
Unfortunately, after the enjoyable sequence of 'Mystery' and 'The Throat' by this author, this novel, which continues the story of Tim Underhill, best-selling author, was a major disappointment. The first part, in which Tim's sister-in-law kills herself and Tim comes back home to attend the funeral, then his nephew Mark goes missing, was a good, slow, build-up of tension. Told in a mix of first person narrative from different viewpoints including Tim's journal, and shifting around in the time line, gradually it is revealed that Mark became obsessed with a derelict house directly behind his own, which eventually turned out to be connected to his own family in a horribly dark way.

But for me the book unravelled at the point where the 'ghost girl' appeared, and the ending was a contrived wish-fulfilment fantasy by Tim who couldn't face the likely truth. Even the cameo appearance of Tom Pasmore, hero of 'Mystery' who also played a key role in 'The Throat', failed to rescue it. (I did think quite early on, when Mark was telling his friend Jimbo that he wanted to find out who owned the abandoned house, that he should just ask his uncle Tim to get Tom to look it up online. When eventually Tim does do so, the identity of the present killer who has been abducting adolescent boys, is soon revealed - unlike one of the killers in 'The Throat' he didn't have the intelligence to hide his identity behind a corporation.)

Another problem I had with the book was its lack of continuity - it was established in the previous volumes plus 'Koko', that Tim had a sister, murdered as a child. In 'The Throat' Tim returns to his hometown and spends days there on two occasions (on the second, he and Tom were working undercover but that wasn't the case on his first visit) - and yet he never once visits his brother's family. As that takes place about eight years previously, Mark would have been about seven years old. Tim tells us frequently that he loves his nephew, although he and his brother don't get on, mainly because his brother is a sour, hardhearted and unloving man, yet Tim never once even mentioned that he had a brother, sister-in-law and nephew in either 'Koko' or 'The Throat', the previous two books where Tim figures largely. Also, in 'The Throat' it is clear that his parents' marriage ended soon after the murder of his sister, and his father became a homeless drunk. In the current volume, although a drinker his father does hang around for some years at least, taking his sons to bars. This is a major changed premise and made even weirder by the fact that Tim's sister isn't mentioned in this book either. I found it irritating. The author does like to play around with reader sensibilities - in 'The Throat' it transpired that 'Mystery' was apparently a book written by Tim Underhill and the major incident of Tom's childhood, being run over by a car, had instead happened to Tim - but I found this creation of a readymade family for Tim a step too far.

The shift from straight crime (the previous books about Tim) to weird supernatural didn't work for me. In the other books, Tim does "see dead people" from time to time, but it is left nicely ambiguous. It can be ascribed to his mental state, stress (some of the experiences happen in Vietnam after he has witnessed appalling scenes), or survivor guilt in the case of his glimpses of his dead sister, plus we know that Tim had a drug addiction when he lived in the far East for some years. In those stories, it is left open-ended as to whether he has really seen ghosts. But in this, we are expected to believe not only that the dead can affect the concrete, material world but that it is possible to somehow cross over to that realm in one's physical body. Even if this is just a consoling fantasy, the story as written forces this interpretation onto the reader.

Having now read the sequel, 'In the Night Room', things go on to unravel even further. In any case, with the present book, given that the first half was decent, I am awarding it 3 stars overall (3 stars on GR carries the 'liked it' connotation - I liked the first half at least).
… (mer)
1 rösta
kitsune_reader | 27 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
This is a collection of some longer length short stories, probably novella length, and very short interspersing vingettes of a page or so. The first of the more substantial stories is about a character from the author's novel, Koko, and having read that novel, the boy's name was an immediate clue that something nasty was about to transpire, given that the grown-up version of this character was thoroughly unpleasant in the novel. Sure enough, Harry Beavers learns to hypnotise his younger brother with horrific results. (In an afterword, the author tells us that this and 'The Juniper Tree' which follows are meant to be by his character Tim Underhill, best-selling author, who used the stories to work out things in his life and so the Harry of this story isn't meant to be literally the one from 'Koko'.) I found this story rather too graphically nasty.

'The Juniper Tree' is about a boy who is molested in a cinema - a theme from 'The Throat', the third of the author's Blue Rose trilogy, where this happened to one of the serial killers and, again, to Tim himself. It was better written than the first but has a somewhat anti-climactic ending.

'A Short Guide to the City' is a sort of guide to a tourist, the place visited being a version of Millhaven, the town in the Blue Rose trilogy and its follow-ups, since it has the Green Woman Taproom, notorious from 'The Throat' and other landmarks. However, it is a darker fantasy version of the place in other books, given that, as the story develops, it seems there are junkyard cities where children are living, a never-finished bridge and other flights of fancy.

'The Buffalo Hunter' is, I think, meant to be black comedy. I found it went on far too long and the extended 'joke' about baby bottles was soon very wearing.

Probably the best in the book is the concluding 'Mrs God' about a man who escapes to a stately home in England to evade the pregnant wife he is angry with, in order to research an obscure poet who spent a lot of time there decades previously. All too soon, the parallels with his own situation start to appear. The strangely disconnected and disoriented tone of the story, including the odd village encountered on the character's journey to the great house, reminded me of Ramsey Campbell's work, though from the author's afterword his inspiration was taken from Robert Aickman, another writer of supernatural tales.

Altogether, I didn't enjoy the collection and can only rate it at an 'OK' 2 stars.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | 8 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |


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