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Books 1-10.

11. The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron. I've always enjoyed Laird's noirish horror stories; many of the stories in this collection are stories I'd previously read in F&SF or in the Datlow/Windling/Link/Grant Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies. Presented together, a consistency of vision emerges; Barron's horror is of the dark secrets underlying reality, yes, but it's the rational--science, in many cases--rather than the irrational that leads there. Certain elements and characters recur, central to one story and peripheral to others. Also, his characters tend to cope with their encounters with the ineffable by drinking, a lot. A couple of my favorite stories here are ones I'd read before, like "Old Virginia" and "Bulldozer"; the latter has one of the best openings I've ever read. The title story has a nicely circular structure, but my favorite story in the collection is probably "Hallucigenia"; it's a story in which the main character does all the sensible things that characters in bad horror stories never do, trying to find out what's happening in legal and logical ways, and yet there's a feeling of inexorability about the story--like Lovecraft's characters, Barron's can never escape unscathed from their encounters with the beyond. I actually like Barron's stuff better than I like Lovecraft's, though, so that may not be the best comparison.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
Agree very much about Barron. I like his next collection, Occultation, even better. I got introduced to him through an ebook bundle from Night Shade through Webscriptions, and haven't looked back since.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


David J. Schwartz
Mumble Herder

Recent and Forthcoming



US Edition

UK Edition


"The Sun Inside," part of the Electrum Novella Series from Rabit Transit Press

Short Stories:

"Escape to Bird Island" at The King's English, Winter 2008-9 Issue

"Bear In Contradicting Landscape" in Polyphony 7, Coming Soon

"MonstroCities" in Tumbarumba: A Frolic of Intrusions

"Mike's Place" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet #22

"Proof of Zero" in Spicy Slipstream Stories, Out Now!!

"The Somnambulist" in Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Out Now!!

"Oma Dortchen and the Pillar of Story" in Farrago's Wainscot, Summer 2007

"The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet Number 13, Fall 2003 (Honorable Mention, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collecion); Reprinted in The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet


""Stardust" at Strange Horizons


"On Making Noise: Confessions of a Quiet Kid" in Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer



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