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White and Other Tales of Ruin (Necon Contemporary Horror Book 7)
 
 

White and Other Tales of Ruin (Necon Contemporary Horror Book 7) [Kindle Edition]

Tim Lebbon , Caniglia , Jack Ketchum
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

From Jack Ketchum's introduction: "These stories are meant to chill you, to hurt you, and they will. But they’ll do so for the right reasons. They’ll do so because of the people ... In each one all hell’s broken loose, something terrible has happened and something in the world is winding down. But that doesn’t mean the human spirit’s winding down. Far from it. That’s where the stories get their teeth from and why they hurt ... He will not insult your intelligence. He will not betray you with cheap tricks just to force you to follow in his direction. And most importantly, he will honor your heart ..."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1003 KB
  • Print Length: 342 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Necon E-Books (23 Aug 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IT8WI0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #406,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great writer!!! 15 April 2005
By Kelly
Format:Paperback
Each plot is brutal and repugnant, yet beautiful and inspiring. All are distinctively original and as addictive as candy, but twice as dangerous. Perfect! The atmosphere suffocates you with the feel of madness and desperation. Weighing you down with a sense of complete annihilation. Lebbon's style of writing is intimate, refined and above all else -cryptic. Instead of laying it all on the line, he gives you only enough to provide the blueprints, allowing the reader to create and build around their own aversions and fears.

The characters are by far Lebbon's true gift. Besides giving his cast flesh and bone, he grants them emotional depth and fallibility. Creating players that you can identify with, envision in your life and just simply, understand. Each one seeming to represent an aspect of the author and the people close to him or at least that's the image you get while reading. Each character is written as though the familiarity were expected, and should be received without question.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the light of the creeping darkness I slide...... 22 Feb 2004
By Schtinky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you love spellbound, creepy tales of unbound terror and dread that comes from the soul, do not miss Lebbon's collection put together here in "White & Other Tales of Ruin." This is the first book of Lebbon I have read, and believe me I am running to the bookshelves for more.

His monsters are typically unseen but felt deep within your senses, rousing your inner level of safety to an alarming state of anxiety and trepidation. The prose is poetic in its telling of what the protagonists feel and taste and smell and see, the dialogue flowing and smooth, and the terror huge and real.

With a wonderful introduction by author Jack Ketchum, he mentions that Lebbon's stories have "teeth", and indeed they do; trust me, you will feel the bite. Also notable to me was the use of Caniglia's "On The Edge Of Paradise" artwork used for the jacket cover, and preceding each story is another horrendously beautiful sketch of Caniglia, whom I think is one of the most talented modern day artists.
There are six tales here in this collection, and I will give a brief summary of each.
White - Some people called it "The Doom", others called it "The Ruin", but either way it spelled a change in the world as we know it. Seven people find themselves trapped in a large manor house, each having initially gone there to get away from the haunts of their past. When the snow came, it didn't stop, and now everything is completely frozen, as the snow piles up higher and higher. There is no working transportation to take them back to the town 10 miles away, so they wait for the snow to stop.
Tension grows as one by one, each admit to having seen something in the snow; a deer perhaps, or a seagull or a cat, flitting just outside their peripheral vision. The only thing they know for sure, is that it's white. The story begins with the first death, and will lead us through to the conclusion, with the things that dart and flutter just outside our vision.
From Bad Flesh - One of my favorites. After The Ruin, diseases of different sorts are spread throughout the world, with names like Numb-Skull, TGD, and QS. Our protagonist Gabe has what is just referred to as The Sickness, and his friend Della tells him of a man named String who lives on the island of Malakki near Greece who could possibly have a cure for his deadly illness. So Gabe travels to Malakki, where the dead are piled up in the harbor like cordwood and the Lordships still do their fly-by's. Here he meets Jade, a beautiful woman, who saves him from an insane crowd and promises to take him to String.
Their journey up into the mountains is hellish and gripping in its intensity, revealing horrors to Gabe that he had not thought humans capable of. They reach the little village where String lives, surrounded by a glass moat, and Gabe and Jade are welcomed into the village. Who is String, and where does he come from? What is the secret to his cure? How does he have this power? Will Gabe receive the cure? Lebbon will suck you into this tale and not leave you disappointed in the end.
Hell - Not necessarily my favorite, but I think only because I was spoiled by Edward Lee's vision of hell in his book City Infernal. Lebbon's vision of hell is just as disturbing though, as voyeurs take a tram journey through hell, watching the horrors through the shaded windows while strapped into their comfortable seats; all to prove that "things could be worse in their own life".
After Nolan's wife dies, his daughter Laura suddenly goes missing; and imagining her under the sway of some religious cult, Nolan takes the tram into hell to search for her. When he sees her actually inside hell, strung up upon a barbed wire fence, he fights the demons who control the tram with the help of Chele, a woman who lost her son, and manages to escape the tram and enter hell itself. Together they save Laura from the fence, but now they are stuck in hell, and don't know the way out.
The First Law - Incredibly creepy story of five survivors adrift in a lifeboat after their ship is torpedoed during the war. Their lifeboat has been aimlessly drifting for five days, and the five men are sunburned and dehydrated when the oceans currents pull them straight to a strange island. Right at the start, one of them behaves very strangely, and although there is fresh water and the signs of available food about, something about the island is just...not right. This is the creepiest tale of unseen monsters and inexplicable tragedies with such an overbearing sense of dread and ruin, that this story alone makes the price of the book worthwhile. Follow our survivors to the end of their journey, and you will not leave unshaken by the horrid revelations and hidden terror prevalent on this strange island that does not belong to the normal world.
The Origin of Truth - The scientists have done it again, and this time they have unleashed millions of "nanos", microscopic man made organisms that stripped any type of matter down to the atoms and used it to replicate themselves. The entire world was being eaten, bit by bit. Doug flees the city with his wife Lucy-Anne and daughter Gemma, spilling out from the city along with everyone else. They wind out taking refuge in Scotland with Lucy-Anne's mad uncle Peter, to wait out the last days together. Very well told apocalypse tale, original and deeply moving.
Mannequin Man and the Plastic Bitch - Can Artificials love? Tom had once belonged to The Baker, and long ago that eccentric man had implanted a rogue program into Tom to allow him to love. Years later, after The Baker is dead, Tom falls in love with a hooker named Honey, an Artificial herself.
He must steal her away from her pimp, Hot Chocolate Bob, who follows them through the city and into the underground. But surprisingly, Honey doesn't want to leave right away, insisting on visiting a club called The Slaughterhouse first, to see her friend Doug Skin and get him to release her. Very interesting tale of a futuristic landscape where "chop-shops" are common, sort of a plastic surgery gone awry trend where people can add or remove body parts, or make themselves ten feet tall, or intensify their vision, or become a human spider. Anything goes.
Honey and Tom try to find love in all this, but if Tom is the only Artificial that really has love, will he be able to share it? Great story, don't miss out on this fast paced futuristic horror story that will make you feel for those who are incapable of it.
Don't miss out on this masterful collection of stories. Enjoy!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, collection 20 May 2004
By Jeffrey Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My first experience with British author Tim Lebbon was a mixed one. My voracious appetite for apocalyptic tales virtually insured I would visit his writings one day. It seems that every book this author has written involves the collapse of civilization followed by horrific incidents, or at least that is what I have gathered from reading plot synopses of his various novels and short stories. When I finally decided to shell out some bucks for one of his books, I decided to pick up "White and Other Tales of Ruin," figuring that a collection of six short stories about the end of the world would give me a rather comprehensive view of what this guy is all about. The experience started on a positive note: none other than Jack Ketchum, of "The Girl Next Door" and "Red" fame, wrote an enthusiastic introduction for this compilation. Ketchum claims that Lebbon represents the cream of the crop of new young writers, a man who has "done his homework" and has a lot to offer fans of the horror genre. Since I am a fan of Ketchum's work, I took this as the best sort of endorsement, and eagerly dove into the first story. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was less enamored with the introduction's effusive praise. There are good stories here, but a few are rather pedestrian.
"White" introduces the reader to Lebbon's concept of "The Ruin," a series of catastrophic global events leading to the gradual extermination of humanity. Details are vague, but we do get a sense that limited nuclear exchanges matched with several devastating viruses have claimed, and continue to claim, the lives of several billion people. Even worse, nature itself is changing in dangerous ways. The Ruin will reemerge in other Lebbon stories, but "White" focuses on the terrible effects of the calamity on a small group of people trapped in a decaying manor along the English seacoast. Heavy snows and an ominous new life form roaming the countryside insure the characters will have their hands full just trying to stay alive. Told through the eyes of one of the trapped souls, a man who lost his beloved wife to one of the viruses some time before, "White" is Lebbon's attempt at writing a siege story. It's a keeper, full of cloying atmosphere, suspense, and occasional touches of gore.
"From Bad Flesh" is another Ruin tale, this time about an English man suffering from a grotesque plague seeking a cure on a remote Greek island. In his quest to find a witch doctor named String, this poor chap runs into a beautiful young woman with several secrets, witnesses many atrocities on the island, and learns how a cure can sometimes come with a terrible price. "From Bad Flesh" is a by the numbers story, one where I saw the ending coming long before it knocked on the door. If you cannot see the conclusion to this one in advance, you haven't been keeping up on your horror reading. Not a bad tale, considering several scenes of unpleasantness thrown into the mix, but far from spectacular.
"Hell" was the weakest contribution to the book. A man whose daughter mysteriously leaves one day literally visits the underworld in an attempt to feel better about his loss. It's one of those "you think you got it bad? Check out these poor blokes" stories. The guy witnesses staged genocides and mass sufferings through the windows of his Hell tour bus (!), all a part of a carefully orchestrated therapy program. When he sees his daughter in one of the landscapes, he escapes from the bus and makes his own personal journey through the nightmares. Will he rescue his offspring? Will they escape from Hell before demons turn them into hamburger? Maybe, but getting to the end of this story was quite tedious. I never knew where Lebbon was going with this unsatisfying tale.
"The First Law" and "The Origin of Truth" are somewhat better. The former is a story about some sailors stranded on a terrible island after a submarine sinks their boat. They find out that their newfound land harbors a nature so pure that it cannot tolerate the presence of human interlopers. I liked the story solely because it turns the conventional idea of shipwrecked people finding sanctuary on a deserted island on its head. The latter story relates the horrors of nanotechnology run amok through the eyes of a young family. As the world collapses into its component molecules under the relentless march of replicating miniature robots, the family flees north in an effort to stave off the inevitable. Lebbon plays with your head as he has the young girl, Gemma, begin channeling advanced scientific theories from seemingly out of nowhere. Perhaps this girl can save humanity? Or perhaps not. Whatever the case, you'll feel for these characters by the end of the story.
The last story deals with a depressing future where humans interact with artificial androids. It's a technological and polluted world filled with bored souls looking for a good time through "chopping." Think body modification and piercing carried to insane levels (adding extra legs, arms, and other body parts), and you'll get the idea. The story can be nasty at times, but it is really about the restorative powers of love. Sounds weird, huh? Well, it is. It is also arguably the best story in the book. According to the endnotes, Lebbon wrote it just for this collection. "White and Other Tales of Ruin" is a good way to spend a day or two, a good read for those interested in new horror, but nothing here trumps "Swan Song" or "The Stand," the two books that are the best apocalyptic horror has to offer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative! 13 Sep 2004
By Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What most people, myself included, forget is that even though there may be monsters, demons and boogeymen, horror is really just a mirror. Hold up any frightening tale or poem, examine it and what you get is the heart of mankind. The only difference between the works is the mirror's clarity. Though all creators have their way with us, a really great author is not only able to tell a story, but can simultaneously reflect our own hearts. Tim Lebbon is not only an author, but he's also a great writer.

Each plot is brutal and repugnant, yet beautiful and inspiring. All are distinctively original and as addictive as candy, but twice as dangerous. Perfect! The atmosphere suffocates you with the feel of madness and desperation. Weighing you down with a sense of complete annihilation. Lebbon's style of writing is intimate, refined and above all else -cryptic. Instead of laying it all on the line, he gives you only enough to provide the blueprints, allowing the reader to create and build around their own aversions and fears.

The characters are by far Lebbon's true gift. Besides giving his cast flesh and bone, he grants them emotional depth and fallibility. Creating players that you can identify with, envision in your life and just simply, understand. Each one seeming to represent an aspect of the author and the people close to him or at least that's the image you get while reading. Each character is written as though the familiarity were expected, and should be received without question.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the squeamish. 4 Oct 2011
By JinxInks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am very excited that they finally put this book on Kindle. It is not the easiest book to find in print and I have owned 6 copies so far. Each one has been lent out until it is in tatters. As to the book itself... It's what Mr. Saul's books could be if his stories weren't so predictable. It's what Mr. King would write if he could get over the deus ex endings. In short, it's horror, done to absolute perfection.
5.0 out of 5 stars It isn't the End - its the Means 15 Aug 2007
By TorridlyBoredShopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While I won't cover the six tales in this book because they are beautifully treated by another reviewer, Schtinky, on this page, I do have to say that Lebbon's view of the world comes through vibrantly in his short stories. In White, we see a clean variant of the world as it is blanketed in a coat that it cannot shed, and slowly but surely the world seems to peel away and become a distant memory for those involved. This beauty turns the people involved towards more and more desperate actions, and this desperation reveals that there is not only a heavy snowfall raging against the face of the world but that there is something - bizarre - moving just out of sight.
Definitely a great read.
In From Bad flesh, the end is not a pretty picture but is instead a terrible thing that people desperately hope to cure. It is filled with images of that desperation and of the way that people feed upon people in lurid captions captured against the backdrop of The Sickness, and this motion toward a cure leads to - to what? Much like White, something sits just out-of-sight, making the reader squint and hope their eyes can collect all the details hidden amidst the pages.
Also an amazing read.
And the list goes on and on.

When I saw this little gem waiting for me in a package I unwrapped with care, I silently thanked a horror goddess for introducing me to tee ad and Lebbon for collecting pieces of short fiction. In my opinion this is Lebbon's strongpoint; although Lebbon has crafted many a book with many a catchy inkling, Lebbon excels at the idea behind the books and paints them beautifully when he is less worried about pages and more worried about content. You can really see this in White and Other Tales of Ruin; here you have ideas that all come together in interesting ways, and you have some really strong tales crafted by a really powerful pen. Basically you have six tales of beauty, all coated in the word "ruin" and wrapped in the skin of a Caniglia painting; from the inside-out you have something that says "read me" and, like Alice and the choices she made in Wonderland, you would be served to also follow those directions. I say that and then more, telling a person who wants to read something good to relish the read, because many of the tales are not only written well but are also things hat prompt a reader to keep on reading. This is because each tale has its own type of beauty rendered in the landscape it paints, with "White" literally blanketing everything like doom-flavored candy and "Bad Flesh" making you wonder what type of treat you'll get when you roll it off your tongue.

If you have a eye for short stories and a love for well-written horror, then you should enjoy your journey into Lebbon's backyard. I', a bit biased because I not only enjoy his work but also because I enjoy short stories, thinking that many lengthier works are oftentimes attempts to pad details and not really deliver the goods.
And in White and Other Tales you don't have that problem. Te problem you have is that the ending will come and you will sit and think on it, letting the thing you've just ingested settled at least fifteen minutes before jumping back into that pool of thought.
Personally I loved the read and thought that even the cover art was that good.
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