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The New Uncanny by [Priest, Christopher, A.S. Byatt, Hanif Kureishi, Ramsey Campbell, Matthew Holness, Jane Rogers, Adam Marek, Etgar Keret]
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The New Uncanny Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Length: 242 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'A masterclass in understated creepiness... a deliciously macabre collection that the old Austrian might well have enjoyed.' --Book of the Week, Time Out

'Delightful and disturbing.' --The Independent on Sunday

'If we need the uncanny and I suspect we do then we also need it updating... laudable.' --Book of the Week, The Independent

About the Author

A S Byatt is renowned internationally for her novels and short stories. Her novels include the Booker Prizewinning Possession, The Biographer's Tale and the quartet, The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman. A distinguished critic as well as a writer of fiction, A S Byatt was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999. Matthew Holness won the Perrier Comedy Award in 2001 for Garth Marenghi's Netherhead, and has since appeared in The Office, Casanova, and his own Channel 4 television series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Man to Man With Dean Learner. Hanif Kureishi s first play, Soaking the Heat, was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1976. Since then he has enjoyed success as a playwright, screenwriter, novelist and short story writer. His play My Beautiful Launderette was adapted into an award-winning film starring Daniel Day Lewis. His first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1990 and was adapted for BBC TV. His novel Intimacy and short story 'My Son the Fanatic' were also adapted into award-winning feature films. Frank Cottrell Boyce s film credits include 24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story and the forthcoming remake of Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang. His debut novel Millions won the 2004 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for The Guardian Children s Fiction Award. His second novel, Framed, was adapted into a film by the BBC. His third, The Unforgotten Coat, was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa Children s Book Award and won the 2012 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. He was Danny Boyle s script writer on the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 588 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Comma Press (22 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008MZJ9JI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #279,854 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Fourteen modern writers were sent Freud's essay on "The Uncanny in Literature" and were asked to produce a story in response. Freud's essay concludes with a list of eight principle causes of the uncanny in fiction, a rather ragtag set that seems unequal to the task of summing up the realm of horror literature, but perhaps understandable considering Freud really only concentrated on the work of one writer, E T A Hoffmann, and in particular his masterpiece of weird nightmare, "The Sandman", which bagged all but two of Freud's eight causes (inanimate objects mistaken as animate, animate beings behaving as if inanimate or mechanical, doubles, being blinded, the all-controlling genius, and confusions between reality and imagination -- and the last two are: being buried alive (for which, of course, see Poe) and the rather vague "coincidences or repetitions"). A nice enough stab from a man who wasn't, after all, working in his chosen field, and certainly an interesting point to kick off an anthology of new writing.

This book is subtitled "Tales of Unease", but most of the authors have taken their inspiration from the items on Freud's list rather than striving for the uncanny itself, meaning that some of the stories don't necessarily produce the feeling of unease. But this is not a complaint, as one of the better stories is Hanif Kureishi's mostly angstless "Long Ago, Yesterday", in which a man meets his long-dead father in a pub and has an amiable drink with him.

But it's that feeling of not so much horror, as the unrelieved tension of unease which I was hoping for. Too often horror fiction anthologies lump the gory with the subtler, weirder, more ghostly stories, although I'm not convinced the readership for the two types is all that mixed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've kind of lost interest in the horror short story genre recently, despite having been an ardent fan in the past. Too many writers these days try to impress by either being overtly visceral, or by writing in a "stream of consciousness" style that I find extremely off-putting. The overwhelming majority of these tales manage to convey a deep sense of unease without trying too hard to be "clever" or just plain sick. Thoroughly recommended.
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Not a bad collection of stories with some real highlights, but I can't say I felt any particular uncanniness about most of them.

I would probably recommend skipping the introduction, after reading it I felt some of the stories were a little contrived to fit into the guidelines, and in some ways I think the idea of the book is a little detrimental to the stories contained within. Maybe if I skipped the intro and turned the lights off I might feel differently...

Some were amusing but not very uncanny, some were both amusing and uncanny, and others were more serious. Probably the majority of them feature some kind of modern technology, gadgets, the interwebs, etc. which I guess is where the 'new' mostly comes from. When this is done right it really works but in other cases I think bringing such things into the story brings it back into reality and lessens the tension you might normally expect from a 'tale of unease'.

My favourite is probably continuous manipulation which does have an element of uncanniness to it.
I bought the book after searching for Christopher Priest, based on the strength of his more uncanny tales from the Dream Archipilego, primarily about the mysterious towers on Seevl, his effort was decent and the idea was amusing (and not set in the dream archipelago I might add, although they do have funny names...).
Tamagotchi and Seeing Double were also good

I could go on and talk about the rest but it's really for you to make your own mind up. I would still recommend the book but don't go in expecting oodles of unease.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after hearing it discussed at a conference on the uncanny in Chichester. I enjoyed all the stories in different ways although my awareness of each tale being written as an *exercise*in the uncanny did perhaps make the collection a little safer, a little less unsettling. Perhaps not surprisingly children played an important role in many of the most effective tales. I recently listened to a play by Salley Vickers about Freud and Oedipus which made me realize that although we think of that myth as a representation of the repressed wish to kill one's father and sleep with one's mother, the story begins with a mother who exposes her baby to almost certain death. The unconscious or repressed wish to kill a child, or another loved one, seemed to be a resonant recurring theme in `The New Uncanny'. Among my favourite tales in the volume were Alison MacLeod's chillingly ambiguous `Family Motel', Nicholas Royle's genuinely disturbing `The Dummy' and Christopher Priest's characteristically haunting `The Sorting Out'.
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I was initially a little disappointed with this anthology. I was expecting a modern take on the traditional gothic genre horror/ghost/supernatural stories . However you get just what it says on the tin, "Tales of Unease", stories which are disquieting and which give you an undefined sense of unease without ever reaching any full expression of horror.

They achieve this objective very well, they are skilfully written short stories, with strange themes that creep into your head leaving a disturbing uneasy feeling like a half-forgotten nightmare.

Some of the authors like Ramsay Campbell, A.S Byatt and Hanif Kureishi, are well known writers, other names are far less familiar. I would recommend reading the introduction first (which I usually skip), because it does give an interesting insight into how the assignment was defined, and Freud's classification of the themes in literature which make us uneasy (and his theories about why they make us feel this way).

So not quite what I expected, but still a well written, themed anthology that is definitely worth reading.
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