Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Pandaemonian - Scribbles on the Pan Book of Horror Stories Collection

For anyone interested in the Pan Books of Horror I have just come across a great site, which covers all of the books, their stories and covers: Pandaemonian - Scribbles on the Pan Book of Horror Stories Collection.

I particularly liked the write-up of the Eleventh Pan Book of Horror Stories, since I had a story in that one:

By David A. Riley

Ian Redford is making his way home from the library after dark when he encounters a group of youths looking for trouble.  Following a brief but violent struggle he breaks free, but is chased into a graveyard.  Taking refuge in a disused building, he soon discovers there are worse things in the world than fist-wielding thugs. 

A quality piece of writing this one, with Riley effortlessly creating a threateningly sinister town, Pire, set in a dystopian not too distant future.  Marvelously evocative descriptive prose abounds with much of the narrative a remember-to-breathe-when-reading roller-coaster ride. 

The Lurkers, when they finally put in an appearance are a truly loathsome bunch, and I should not be surprised if they turned up in some of the author’s subsequent writing.  Indeed, I think may actively go seeking them out. 

If I do have a criticism of the story, it is that old chestnut: characterisation.  For although the author does attempt to imbue Redford with some character – he reads “Escapist fiction” to help escape the monotony of his daytime job, and we learn he is saving hard for a car – ultimately I found it difficult to engage with the running man.

But this is a minor quibble with a really rather memorable yarn.

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