Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Category: Books (page 1 of 8)

The Devils (Devil’s Advocates) by Darren Arnold review – a potted history of Russell’s controversial masterpiece

The Devils is Ken Russell’s notorious 1971 historical drama telling the extraordinary story of a case of possession in 17th century France, in the city of Loudun. I start with possession because, were this any other story, that would be the most extraordinary part. But this isn’t a film about possession; it is a film about the dangers of religion and politics colliding, and it’s message is as resonant today as it was on release (and on publication of the Aldous Huxley book, The Devils of Loudun from 1952, on which the film is partly based).

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Bone China by Laura Purcell review – a well-researched and atmospheric Gothic chiller

After first discovering Laura Purcell’s precise skill for crafting unsettling and foreboding Gothic tension in The Silent Companions, I was excited to read her third novel Bone China. Bone China follows housemaid and nurse Hester Why as she joins Morvoren House, an imposing abode atop the cliffs of Cornwall, and its peculiar and withdrawn mistress Miss Pinecroft. As Hester learns of the strange household dynamic and superstitious nature of the residents, she must also keep her own secrets of her blighted past.

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Wonderland: An Anthology review – ‘lose yourself in the rabbit hole of this delightful anthology’

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has captivated minds, young, old and eternally, since its publication in 1865. From literary spin-offs to film adaptations, its influence has been widespread. 154 years has not lessened its charm, and Titan are celebrating its longevity with an anthology, simply titled Wonderland.

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The Institute by Stephen King review – hope in the face of terror and evil

Let me admit something up front – I was initially a bit nervous to take on this review. How do you review a Stephen King novel when you’ve been a devoted “Constant Reader” (to borrow King’s term) for most of your life? The task was daunting, but I ultimately decided that my desire to read his latest novel, The Institute, as soon as possible was stronger than my fear of reviewing King’s work. If you’re on this site, you’ve likely encountered something written by Stephen King, whether it be a bestselling novel, short story collection, screenplay, viral tweet, or virtually any other written medium. I could list the awards he’s written, but I think it’s more valuable that I just say this: Stephen King is a horror legend and a vital figure of horror fiction. 

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Latest horror books: September 2019

It’s been a little while since we published a roundup of the latest horror books so it’s nice to return with quite an exciting bunch for September. Stephen King’s The Institute is certainly the biggest name on this list – read our review. Is there a book we’ve missed that you think should be included? Leave a comment or get in touch.

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The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson review – weird riches and uneven writing

In his introduction to The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson, a new anthology of Hodgson’s short stories, editor Xavier Aldana Reyes writes: “Hodgson has not always been as well-known or admired, however, and had remained rather forgotten until the late 1980s…it is not difficult to see why. Hodgson’s writing is certainly uneven and…prone to repetition…” But, Reyes writes, Hodgson’s “stylistic shortcomings” are compensated for by his “imaginative invention and ability to conjure up a strong feeling of dread of the unknown”.

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To Rouse Leviathan by Matt Cardin review 
- interrogating the shadow of faith

Following hot on the heels of the cosmic horror masters, from Chambers to Ligotti, To Rouse Leviathan, a collection of short fiction by Matt Cardin, is a solid contemporary entry into the corpus of cosmic horror, though it delivers moments of tonal inconsistency and some story entries that slightly weaken the structure of the work taken as a whole. Ligotti himself has praised this collection, writing “That the so-called reality we bump into on a daily basis should be seen as pure misconception is a fundamental assumption of Matt Cardin’s vision.”

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Meta-horror – a reading list

The past decade has seen a spike in meta-horror, particularly in film. Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and The Cabin in the Woods all bring a comedic self-referential vibe to a genre known for its tropes. But what about books? Below, find a list of some of the best in meta-horror literature. From classics to contemporary fiction, there is something to haunt everyone. But be warned, reading this list may have consequences…

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Four novels to wake us up to our own climate horror story

Turn on the news today and you’ll be confronted by a headline that seems more likely to have been ripped from a movie than real life: “Record heat fuels wildfires in Alaska”; “High likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end by 2050”; “Half of the Great Barrier Reef is dead”. Cheery stuff. Even so, this isn’t a disaster movie we’re living in, it’s a slow-burn horrorfest. There’s a lingering sense of dread now that accompanies us everywhere. We know there’s something on the horizon and we’re pretty sure it’s not going to be pleasant. And while some of us are trying to rewrite the narrative to make it less apocalyptic, the rest of us are still sleepwalking to oblivion.

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Spiders and flies – the Gothic monsters of sci-fi horror

“Science fiction plucks from within us our deepest fears and hopes, then shows them to us in rough disguise: the monster and the rocket” – W.H. Auden

You may believe that Alien is a science fiction film. After all it’s set in space with all the hypersleep pods and computer terminals and rumbling star-drives you might want. The story happens in some distant (but not too distant) future where humanity feels at home travelling the gulfs between stars. It is, perhaps most pressingly, called Alien.

You may believe that Alien is a science fiction film and it’s not an absurd position to hold. It’s just wrong.

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