on 12 March 2002
Intriguing, superlative collection of short tales from Peter Straub, an author often described as "the thinking man's Stephen King" (no offense to Mr. King!). At times deeply harrowing, but always vividly intoxicating, these tales are an excellet variety of thriller/horror/drama/romance/fantasy. "The Ghost Village" is a must for fans of his Blue Rose Trilogy (especially "Koko); "Ashputtle" is deeply unsettling, with its subtle but unnerving outcome; "Hunger, An Introduction" is a haunting gothic ghost tale; "Mr Clubb and Mr Cuff" is a fun, malicious revenge tale. A must for fans of Straub, and also recommended for those not yet familiar with his novels, a perfect introduction to the unease and superb narrative this author provides. See also: "Houses Without Doors"
on 28 September 2011
Peter Straub's short stories often work in support of his novels and much of this collection will seem familiar to existing fans. In "Bunny is Good Bread", we learn more of the early life of Fee Bandolier the Blue Rose killer and "The Ghost Village" deals with a bizarre incident experienced by Tim Underwood's unit in Vietnam shortly before the period covered in the novel Koko. A word of warning: unless you are keen on torture porn, "Mr Clubb and Mr Cuff" is probably best avoided.
on 23 October 2012
This book is worth reading/buying alone for 'Bunny is good bread', which tells the story of how a serial killer can be molded from the clay of a sweet and tender boy. The story will be of particular interest to anyone who has read 'The Throat' or 'Mystery' to a lesser extent. 'The Ghost Village' is a nice companion piece to Koko and fleshes out part of that story more.
'Magic Terror' is a fabulous collection of stories and my only regret is we don't see more of these type of collections (short stories/novellas) available. I had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with Peter Straub in Edinburgh during his book signing for 'Magic Terrors' and he gave some nice insights into the stories and how they were created. I don't see how anyone could not enjoy this book. Be warned: an intelligent author like Straub demands and assumes intelligence from the reader, so you have to be willing to prime the pump before you expect any water to flow. This isn't one for people with no attention span.
on 2 August 2001
I couldn't help feeling a little cheated after reading the 7 short stories/novellas contained within this book. Having read most of Straub's novels including the 'Blue Rose' trilogy ('Koko', 'Mystery', 'Throat') imagine my surprise when I started to recognise the storylines in 'Bunny is Good Bread' and 'Ghost Village'. I thought it was coincidence at first until I twigged that I was in fact reading a large excerpt from the aforementioned 'Blue Rose' books! However, I still enjoyed reading them again all the same and for new readers of Straub it is a good introduction to a superb writer although I can't help wondering whether Straub is yet another alter ego of Stephen King at times as I often feel that the two write so similarly. Nevertheless this is a good read, although if you are expecting run of the mill horror or wall to wall blood and gore you will be disappointed; read something by Shaun Hutson instead! Straub's horror is much more subtle and real and all the more enjoyable. 4 well deserved stars!
on 6 June 2001
I try to keep an open mind and, since so many consider him a good horror/fantasy writer, I've read several Peter Starub's books... and never quite got to enjoy it. This book certainly isn't the exception: The collection of stories is made up of apparently very different tales, but unfortunately, they all end up having the same flavour. Of course some are better than others, but nonetheless I always get the feeling the beggining and central plot are extremely long while the endings are abrupt. I don't know if this is done to try and leave you with a taste for more; at least I get the feeling the writer suddenly got bored with what he was doing and just cut it off. Besides a good plot and well developed characters, what I most like of a book is it's rythm, and at least for me, Magic Terror just didn't have the right pace. This is not a bad book, and the stories aren't bad; but I'd probably reccommend it as a second choice if you have nothing better to read. It may be a good book to read while your busy with something else, because you can set it aside and return to it whenever you want. At least it will entertain you, but don't expect chills: the terror component is basically concentrated in the title.