21 Following


Demons by Daylight (Star Horror) - Ramsey Campbell My first introduction to the work of Ramsey Campbell was, I have to say, quite a shock. He's not going to be for everyone, that's for sure. What you have here are not coherent stories relayed in a conventional manner and the horror is not conventionally scary. His stories are more oblique and scary in more subtle ways. They seem to get more cryptic as the collection progresses. The number of stories I feel I fully got my head around were definitely in the minority.

On top of that is his sparce, jagged prose that has to be read to be believed. Imagine the converse of Lovecraft who gave obsessive attention to detail, Campbell on the other hand, is concerned with only imagery and atmoshpere. Imagine watching a movie which is a sequence of still images fading in and out on screen every few seconds, each conveying a key scene or plot development. Campbells stories read a bit like that. Thus the narrative and dialog can be confusing and require careful reading. However the imagery is wonderfully evokative, powerfully conveying the sense of unease and atmosphere.

Reading campbell is not a passive affair, he does not spell everything out, forcing the reader to make deductions and draw inferences in order to make sense of the plot. In addition, the sparce prose requires the use of imagination to fill in the gaps. This will either be a positive or negative depending on what you want from a book.

Those who like a little subtlety in their horror will like what they find here, especially if you they prepared to actively engage with the stories. Those who are more passive readers, who prefer to have things spelled out and the horror in your face will probably not like this at all.