Friday, April 12, 2013

Tales To Terrify #53: Harry Shannon

Introduction: A few more minutes advertising the book and Spider Robinson's workshop.  Entirely skippable, but short enough.

Horror 101The House and the Brain by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Haunted House Story by Charles Dickens, "The Alchemist" by H. P. Lovecraft, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Haunted House Story is an anthology edited by Dickens, Lucia more-or-less pans the collection with the exception Dickens' own contributions, looking at the contents I can't say I'm surprised, I don't know any of these people.  Would have liked to see more discussion about the other stories.

Lucia does give us quite a bit of discussion about The House and the Brain, and while I've never read Bulwer-Lytton more than an over-wrought sentence or two, he makes it sound interesting enough that I might come around to it some day.  Lucia talks about this novel as an early example of the supernatural-detective subgenre.  The idea that you have a rationalist who refuses to believe in ghosts, but finds magic spells a more rational explanation for a haunting amuses me, seems somehow less rational than Carnacki the Ghostfinder.

The Lovecraft story is pretty trivial, as is the treatment of it here.  A plot summary, nothing more.  The Bronte discussion isn't much more detailed, although I'm glad to see it included in a discussion of these sort of possibly-possibly not supernatural haunted house stories.

Violent Delights by Harry Shannon:  A realistic horror story about a horror writer dying by being hit with a car.  The driver won't save him lest she get in trouble.  The obnoxious voice the narrator gives for the girl is great, but overall I wasn't all that entertained with the story.  It has a nice moment or two, but mostly empty calories.  2.5/5

What do you think?: A discussion of the ideal length of the podcast.  One of the reasons I love Tales to Terrify more than Starship Sofa is the can-actually-listen-to-this-in-one-sitting length.  I'm glad to hear they aren't changing that here, and I'm excited by the prospect of multi-episode serials, however they choose to make that work.  I'd much rather a multi-part story than a 3-hour episode.

Summary:  Horror 101 is the most enjoyable recurring column in Tales to Terrify and I am always glad to see an instalment.  This one is pretty minor aside from the Bulwer-Lytton discussion and even then I don't feel like I learned much about the history of the genre or thought as much about classic books as is sometimes the case.  This was a mediocre episode of Horror 101 and a mediocre episode of Tales to Terrify.  Nothing was objectionable, but I'm not terribly impressed with this one.

Listen to the episode at

No comments: