Monday, February 05, 2018

'Hasty for the Dark: Selected Horrors'

Read Delia's thoughts about new-to-me author Adam L.G. Nevill's 'Hasty for the Dark: Selected Horrors' (2017), and decided to download it. Nine short tales, and at the end, there is a must-read of 'Story Notes: About These Horrors', which tells us about the inspiration and ideas behind each story.

Some of the tales paid tribute to writers Joel Lane, Jonathan Oliver, Robert Aickman, Conrad Williams, Ramsay Campbell and of course H.P. Lovecraft. The tribute stories are pretty well thought out, fleshing out the spirit and typical distinctive style and manner in the approach of each writer.

The first two stories left me giggling. All about the horrors of living in London. Beyond the glamor, there's the crazy traffic and crowds on the Tube, and the heart-stopping rates of rent in the first three zones. 'On All London Underground Lines' and 'The Angels of London' make you wonder if you're better off dead, or worse, dead, re-living the daily horror of commute and paying rent without even knowing it.

Paying tribute to Ramsey Campbell is 'Little Black Lamb', which is the final story in this collection. Douglas and Sandra suddenly found themselves with strange memories. They weren't hallucinations or suggesting the onset of dementia. The couple had somehow received the memories of serial killers, and picked up a strange suitcase with odd contents. There were also marked changes to the character traits of Sandra. There was a suggestion of a 'movement', a  secret organization or a group that seemed to be controlling what these people do, and Sandra. Then three visitors came to the house, and "two were still alive". I suppose readers could assume Sandra killed the third that "was delivered" to her.

'Call the Name' hinted at the return of the 'Great Old One' to earth (taking cues from Lovecraft in referencing 'Cthulhu') in the year 2055. There's calamity in the world and new species of deep sea creatures, and even mass suicides or perhaps human sacrifices. "I believe we have fatally roused the Great Old One with our careless tenancy. We have begun to wake him with the heat we created." More than horror, it sounded like half fantasy and half science fiction. Or perhaps it's simply the hallucinations of an elderly woman Cleo Harvey, who might have dementia.

No more than a few feet before Cleo's seat, Yoland opens her mouth, but Cleo has no chance of hearing what comes out of it. From the movement of the nurse's lips she can still be certain that a name has been called. 
Yolanda helps Cleo out of her chair and begins moving her towards the balcony, either to see what is happening or to make her a part of the commotion. Cleo winces and whimpers when she sees the long, livid gills where Yolanda's ribs should be.

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