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House of Fear Mass Market Paperback – 27 Sep 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 27 Sep 2011
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris; Original edition (27 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907992073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907992070
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,839,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Jonathan Oliver is the Editor-in-Chief of Solaris and Abaddon books, the author of Twilight of Kerberos: The Call of Kerberos and editor of End of the Line. House of Fear is his second anthology of horror as editor.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great for horror fans
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Format: Paperback
Short story collections are always worth a look at. Solaris has put together a varied team of writers to contribute a short story each all loosely based around `a haunted house' the obvious that happens here is that some step up to the task better than others, Christopher Fowler writes a stand out piece in this collection called `An Injustice' which takes on the tale of kids out to have fun and things just don't go according to plan, this does seem to have a bit of a current affairs influence behind it. Inside/Out by Nicholas Royle turned out to be a bit of a let down considering his novel `Regicide' which was also released through Solaris was by far one of the creepiest books I have picked up in a long time, similarly Sarah Pinborough's `The Room Upstairs' and Garry Kilworth's `Moretta' were not quite up to scratch.
`The Windmill' by Rebecca Levene was probably a favourite for me after reading it through a couple of times, Levene looks at prison life for somebody who thinks they rally shouldn't be there. Weston Osche Takes a bit of a different spin in `Driving the Milky Way' with the tale unfolding around an R.V. in a desert making for a very memorable read. . Jonathan Green and Adam Nevill also put across stellar pieces of work.
I could happily go into detail about each and every story included here in detail but then the review would end up as long as the book. All in all, House of Fear is a very worthwhile project edited very well by Jonathan Oliver. As always with short story collections the real beauty is being able to pick it up whenever there is a spare half hour and blast through a quick satisfying read. 90% of what is included is brilliant and the other 10% is more than acceptable anyway.
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Format: Paperback
House of Fear collects almost twenty original short stories from some of the top names in horror (including a few that I, embarrassingly, had never read before!). All ostensibly united by the theme of "haunted houses", this isn't a collection of creaky Victorian floorboards - rather, the authors take a far-ranging and creative approach.

Robert Shearman's "The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World" is a grim little retelling of the Genesis myth, as set in modern suburbia. Mr. Shearman is a cult hero for his weird and terrifying short fiction and this is an excellent start.

Lisa Tuttle ("Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear") and Stephen Volk ("Pied-a-terre") both look into what it is that makes a house special - not the structure, but what it means to a family or couple. Both stories having their hauntings, but they're more likely to elicit a forlorn sniffle than a shriek. They're good horror, but they make you think.

For more overtly horrifying tales, Jonathan Green ("The Doll's House), Adam Nevill ("Florrie") and Weston Ochse ("Driving the Milky Way") will all make you lose sleep. Mr. Green, known more for his swashbuckling fantasy series, unveils an unexpected dark side in this tale of a crumbling family and the difficulties of raising a child. Adam Nevill's tale has a similar theme, but in the case of "Florrie", it isn't about children, it is about the elderly. Mr. Nevill makes a grandmotherly parlour into a truly horrible place. Mr. Ochse's haunted house is a caravan in the middle of the desert - a playhouse for children over the summer and the gateway to a terrible obssession.

There are some traditional tales, but even those have unique spins.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
House Of Fear from Solaris is billed as an anthology of 'haunted house' stories, but that's not quite true. For one thing there's a haunted windmill, a haunted camper-van, a haunted doll-house... And for another, if 'haunted' means merely inhabited by a ghost then not all these places are haunted (although some most definitely are). If, however, 'haunted' means infected fear, guilt, and secrets then yes, these stories most definitely tell of hauntings...

How do you judge whether an anthology is good or not? One can't expect to love all of the stories, after all. But by any objective criteria I can think of House Of Fear isn't a good anthology; it's a great one:

Is the 'strike rate' of brilliant stories to merely average ones amazingly, impossibly high? Check
Do the stories selected illuminate and contrast well with each other? Check
Does the anthology introduce you to a load of great new authors you've not read before? Check, check, check
Here were a few of my favourite stories; I plan to write about some of these in more detail in my Strange Stories feature at some point.

Objects in Dreams May be Closer Than They Appear - Lisa Tuttle. Okay, Lisa Tuttle is not a writer who is new to me, but this story was, and it might be the best thing by her I've ever read. It's a story of our dream house (and dream life) as a trap, and it's deeply unnerving. And it would be the winner of the best titled story in the anthology, if not for:

The Dark Space in The House in The House in The Garden at The Centre of The World - Robert Shearman. Manages to combine the haunted house theme with an off the wall creation myth, a satirical look at modern middle-class life, and humour that genuinely made me laugh (especially the bits about cancer).
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