Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Church in High Street

Short Story by Ramsey Campbell

Really buoyed up by the ending. The first half is long, rambly, landscape description, and what seems to be a haunted-house set-up. But after the Strange Old Man warns our narrator off from the Haunted House, and our narrator ignores him and finds a Terrifyingly Crazed Diary, he goes to investigate the titular church, finds a passage descending into the underground (copying Lovecraft's motifs, not just his adjectives), things get legitimately strange.

There does seem to be a science-fictional explanation to how things work, which is nice. And the resolution is a neat way to have a happy-ish ending without breaking the rules that make the monsters scary (well, scaryish anyway), and at the last moment, Campbell snatches the hopeful part out from under us, and makes the terror seem delayed-but-inevitable rather than escapable. I like the ending, but not so much the rest of the story, although the central idea involving fungus-as-portal or whatever is pretty neat.

2.5 Tomb-Herds out of 5

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