Friday, November 28, 2008

Horror, Courtesy of The Baroness And Hachette Book Group USA

Look what came in the mail a couple of days ago, courtesy of The Baroness and the Hachette Book Group USA, The 13 Best Horror Stories of All Time.

So far, I've re-read "The Tell Tale Heart" for the first time since the Carter Administration and it seemed more terrifying back then. I read"The Bottle Imp" by Robert Louis Stevenson for the first time and I am about half-way through "Green Tea" J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

Make no mistake, these tales are scary and they are riveting, but one the thing that sticks out the most is loonnnnggg prose of the 19th Century. Why say it with just one sentence, when you can say it with at least ten more? I guess because they had the luxury of time back then, they decided to reflect that with their writing style.

Now, I'm not saying this takes away from the tension, I'm just saying that the most terrified people of that era, were probably the book editors.


Bubs said...

That reminds me of what my bride said about Dickens (one of her least favorite authors)

"You can tell he was being paid by the word."

paulbrazill said...

Apparently,the printers of the first English books were paid by the letter. Hence, a good Anglo-Saxon word like 'fru' being changed to the pointlessly elongated 'through'... don't know if it's true or not, I always blamed the French ...

John Donald Carlucci said...

"I always blamed the French ..."

I do this regularly.

"Sorry I was late boss, It's the fault of the French."

"Yes I looked a her ass, but I blame that on the French."

Works for evertything.


Cormac Brown said...


I agree with her. I checked out a little of "A Christmas Carol" this year to comment on something, and a good portion of that was unnecessary and redundant prose.


Huh, makes sense. What I say to you and Bubs is please check out The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, where you will really see authors that were paid by the word.

It's good to blame the French for somethings.

Johnny Dollars,

"Works for everything"

Except for when everyone but you is French. Then they'll say "nous blâmerons l'Américain.

paulbrazill said...

aah, but there is another story of how, after '1066 and all that'. the french court felt it their duty to civilize the savage Brits. So: one of the first steps was softening that brutal viking language and making it sound more, well, French. Of course anyone who has bumped into an English stag night, in Prague or Krakow for example, will be aware of just how successful that experiment was.

Cormac Brown said...


You would think that the French would've learned how to make a decent beer from their Frank days.

paulbrazill said...

The best selling beers in England are Stella Artois (more commonly known as 'wifebeater' or 'Nelson')and Kronenborg ....

Cormac Brown said...


I remember drinking MLP Ale in Notting Hill, though my memory serves me wrong because I can find no such brand on the web.