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13 Days Of Darkness Part 7 – Book Review: The Dark Descent

dark descent

Last week we talked briefly about the Modern Library’s Tales of Horror And The Supernatural.  Some of you had read it and many of you knew some of the stories from it.  There is one other anthology of horror worth mentioning: The Dark Descent. Actually, “worth mentioning” doesn’t really say it.

It’s worth reading every October as long as you live.  Yes, that’s much better. Best of all, there is minimal overlap between The Dark Descent and the ML anthology.  So that’s two giant fat books of great scary stories that get better with every page.

The even bester part of DD is that even though there are many predictable authors here–Shirley Jackon, Clive Barker, Lovecraft, etc–some of them are represented by stories that rarely make it into anthologies.

Everybody who knows about Shirley Jackson seems to know about her because of The Lottery. But in this book we have her story The Summer People, which I find better and scarier than The Lottery.

Good old Clive Barker is represented by the brief freakout Dread, which makes me shiver every time I read it.

The Dark Descent is over 1,000 pages long and every page is worth reading.  That’s a far cry from most books out there, where I say, “Hmm…this could have been 300 pages shorter, ideally clocking in at zero pages.”

Read it!  October is slipping away!

On that note, what are you going to be for Halloween?  I think I’m going to dress up like a magical Unicorn named Passion Apocalypse.


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  • Megan Horton October 27, 2009, 7:59 am

    I want to read that. I tried looking for at at the library website and they don’t have it. I don’t know why! I like your costume idea. Very nice.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 27, 2009, 8:11 am

      Megan, we are flying out. Your library is a disgrace.

  • giulietta October 27, 2009, 8:17 am

    Hi Josh,

    Great energetic site you’ve got here. I’m going to spend some time looking around. Like the get stronger theme. Will check out of my town’s library (if they have it) The Dark Descent as well as The Summer People! Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. Much appreciated.

    Giulietta, Inspirational Rebel

    • Josh Hanagarne October 27, 2009, 8:28 am

      Thanks Giulietta. Most people either stick around for a long time here or bolt in panic. Glad you made it, either way!

  • Heather October 27, 2009, 9:06 am

    Thanks for the great reading, Josh! I dig your unicorn cosstume and Magickal Ucinorn Nom de Horne. I’m going to wear my world-famous Trick-or-Treat Vest and give out candy! Then I’m going to watch scary movies on TCM all night and drink pumpkin-flavored beer!

  • Jessica Marie October 27, 2009, 11:21 am

    1,000 pages? How am I ever going to keep up with your list of recommendations? I feel bad for not having a cooler costume idea.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 27, 2009, 11:39 am

      Jessica, you can dress up as a lusty burrito. See how easy that was?

  • Jason Steeves October 27, 2009, 7:45 pm


    You’ve definately got a knack for mentioning the horror and suspense that I’ve got and love. Kudos one the spectacular taste!

    Have you read any Thomas Ligotti books? I think you’d really enjoy them. He primarily writes short stories. The Nightmare Factory, Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Noctuary are the ones I have and I really enjoyed them. I should read them again myself.

    Have a good one!


    • Josh Hanagarne October 27, 2009, 8:55 pm

      Jason, I’ve heard of Ligotti but never read any. I’ll check him out, thanks.