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The End of the Line Paperback – 1 Nov 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907519327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907519321
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Christopher Fowler 'Fowler's' strength lies in the way he interprets the darker side of the ordinary.'-the "Guardian "Joe Lansdale 'A folklorist's eye for detail and a front-porch raconteur's sense of pace'.
- The New York Times Review. Mark Morris 'The horror debut of the year'-"Science Fiction Chronicle
One of the most respected living horror writers in the world, Ramsey Campbell. Campbell has more awards for his horror tales than any other author, and "is likely to be remembered as the leading horror writer of his generation," according to a contributor to the "St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers." One of the heirs apparent to early-twentieth-century American author H. P. Lovecraft, Campbell's horror stories are often set in contemporary Merseyside, England, his own hometown. His unsettling, dreamlike prose transforms his work into very incredible horror fiction.
- Mark Morris The horror debut of the year - "Science Fiction Chronicle
"Jonathan Oliver has collected together some of the very best in new horror writing in an themed anthology of stories set on, and around, the New York subway, the London underground, the Metro and other places deep below." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who's ever spent any length of time travelling on London's underground system knows what a nightmare it can be, the congestion, the chaos, the stifling heat in summer; the delays, and of course the dark foreboding tunnels that snake into the hidden heart of the metropolis. In The End of the Line, Editor Jonathan Oliver has put together a collection of contemporary horror tales set in or around the underground, and not just London's famous Tube, but other underground rail systems and places of the deep.

The first story in the collection is by Paul Meloy, a writer whose work I've not encountered before. His story Bullroarer is an interesting choice to open the collection with. Unfortunately, although I enjoyed his writing style, the story didn't really work for me. It is essentially a tale of revenge for childhood bullying with a mythological twist. To me it came across as a little juvenile. I also felt that it could have happened anywhere. The fact that part of it takes place on a London Underground train seemed entirely incidental. I would have liked an opening in which the theme of the underground felt essential to the story, and apart from the possible mythical metaphor of descent to the underworld, this didn't really have that for me.

Next up, is The Girl in the Glass by John Llewellyn Probert. I found this addressed the theme much more fundamentally, with the haunting story of a girl who falls under a train desperate to get her life back - literally. A creepy tale and one I enjoyed. This is followed by the stand out story of the collection for me, The Lure by Nicholas Royle. This takes place in Paris, and uses the world famous Metro for part of its setting.
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These are new horror stories all set underground, encompassing several locations, such as Berlin, Prague and London. I already had an inkling that they would prove not to be my `thing', since I rarely read horror, but some stories surprised me with their power and subtlety. I found most of them a bit disappointing, expecting as I did a degree of playful, adventurous, writing. Only one of them truly horrified me, made me feel sick and disgusted me - and that one had an outrageous premise. But what is horror? I read most genres with some kind of understanding of what I am going to get, with this collection I wasn't sure.

Most stories here don't have anything much resembling fright or terror. The best ones rely on a certain style of ambiguity for their effect. Nicholas Royle's story 'The Lure' concerns an English teacher in Paris, who keeps seeing a blind man and his dog on the Paris Metro and about whom he makes a series of chilling discoveries. Quite slight in itself, it has a profoundly disturbing atmosphere, especially as one realises that the young protagonist has been the subject of a horrendous act of voyeurism.

Pat Cadigan's story 'Funny Things' is a tale of subterranean parallel lives. Perhaps underground is the only place where you could find yourself the victim of an arcane crime like husband theft. The woman this happens to manages, however, to have the last laugh.

My favourite story 'Fallen Boys' by Mark Morris, concerns a class of children on a visit to a Cornish railway mine. Among them is Matthew, unpopular, unlikeable and very vulnerable. The other kids tease him horribly, and he has no defence. However, the visit to the mine and the story told by their guide, finds that some measure of unearthly revenge has been made available.
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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I was very taken with the idea of this collection - a loose bag of stories inspired by "underground", mostly, though not all, "the Underground" (ie the London one) - a brilliant idea: the Underground seems to inspire fascination (at least in some) and is the subject of a wide literature. There's a deep (pardon the pun) fit with horror - all those people pressed together, the dark, the speed, the tangled routes, the history. So it's a promising idea.

As you would expect, with nineteen different stories, some come closer that others to capturing this essence. And some don't try at all, but deal with different "undergrounds" - a putative line in Manchester, the Paris Metro, a Cornish mine railway, the Liverpool underground. The positive way to put this is that everyone will like some stories more than others, and I don't think it would be very helpful to go through and rate each one, because my views are unlikely to match yours. I will just say that as individual stories I think these range from three to five stars, and that my favourite was the very last story, "Down" by Christopher Fowler, because it did seem to me to catch the essence-of-Tubiness, and was rather off the beaten track of something-nasty-in-the tunnels.

My only criticisms would be that in some of the stories - not all, and not, oddly, those actually set off the London Underground - the Underground connection seems a bit forced. I found myself thinking a few times that the story would have worked as well if the McGuffin had been a bus or a plane: or, frankly, without the transport connection at all. And perhaps there is slight overuse of what I would described as the "Sliding Doors" trope: a misstep on the Underground sends the protagonist astray into the "wrong" world.
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