Thursday, September 9, 2010

Five Short Stories of Quaint Fear

I'm feeling quite good about me SF and fantasy development over this past year, I feel I've reached the first critical marker of fandom! I suppose the first bit of evidence of my self-promotion is that I'm starting to get references made by the internet at large. In particular the site i09.com, which I've added to my daily web browsing list, talks about SF and I can think to myself "oh yeah I've heard of that author" or "I absolutely agree with this analysis", etc. It's a wonderful feeling, and as celebration I'm listing 5 short stories of SF and one fantasy, that I believe fits the title of this post. These stories are no scary at all but they produce an aura of strangeness and concern. When you finish the last line, your mouth will dry up, something digit may tingle, and you may feel the need to slowly look up and check your current surroundings.

"The City", Ray Bradbury. A tale of an evil machine written with an archaic array of descriptions and imagery. You can find this in Bradbury's The Illustrated Man.

"I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", Harlan Ellison. A nice contrasting tale also consisting of an evil machine. More modern and psychological themes present.

"The Hound", H.P. Lovecraft. The only Fantasy on this list. A classic demon dog tale but amplified by the strangeness xenophillic and antique loving hobbies of the main characters.

"The Hypnoglyph", John Anthony (a pseudonym for John Ciardi) Finding this gem will be the makings of miniature Odyssey but absolutely worth the effort. This story's namesake is an ingenious alien artifact and coupled with captivating prose.

Finally another Ray Bradbury story, "Pillar of Fire". Absolutely one of my favorite stories, not just in this list but in my grander library of fiction. In this world of cleanliness and Purell dispensers at every corner, it takes a zombie to remind us that dirt, fear, and ugly makes us human.


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