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Ramsey Campbell, Probably: On Horror and Sundry Fantasies

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30 review for Ramsey Campbell, Probably: On Horror and Sundry Fantasies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Ramsey Campbell, Probably (1968-2015/Collected in 2015 Revised Edition) by Ramsey Campbell, edited by S.T. Joshi: 40 years of non-fiction pieces by World's Greatest Horror Writer Ramsey Campbell. There are autobiographical pieces which illuminate Campbell's often harrowing early life, essays on various writers, pieces on social issues related to horror, and essays and introductions originally written for Campbell's novels and short-story collections. In all, they're dandy. And so many of them in Ramsey Campbell, Probably (1968-2015/Collected in 2015 Revised Edition) by Ramsey Campbell, edited by S.T. Joshi: 40 years of non-fiction pieces by World's Greatest Horror Writer Ramsey Campbell. There are autobiographical pieces which illuminate Campbell's often harrowing early life, essays on various writers, pieces on social issues related to horror, and essays and introductions originally written for Campbell's novels and short-story collections. In all, they're dandy. And so many of them in this big book from PS Publishing! Campbell is thoughtful and often self-effacing when he writes about his own work, and those essays that do this offer a wealth of information about how and why certain decisions were made in the writing process, and what Campbell thinks about those decisions in retrospect. He's also debilitatingly funny in many of the essays, never moreso than when he deals with The Highgate Vampire hoax. There's also hilarity to be had in portions of his self-appraisal (for some reason, a section on his attempt to include the word 'shit' in a Lovecraftian story submitted to August Derleth's Arkham House nearly had me lying on the floor). His essays on writers are occasionally scathing but for the most part positive. A melancholy essay on the late John Brunner stands out as a painful meditation on what happens when a very good writer is forgotten in today's publishing climate. A wide-ranging essay on the novels of James Herbert is a sensitive reappraisal of that (alas, also late) best-selling writer's work as a foundational stratum of working-class, English horror shot through with deeply held social concerns not usually seen in English horror up to that time. Many of the writers Campbell writes about are also friends, thus shedding a certain personal light on writers ranging from Robert Aickman to the (then) Poppy Z. Brite. General pieces include the almost-obligatory '10 horror movies for a desert island' essay, several examinations of horror in general and the general public's attitude towards horror, the 'Video Nasties' censorship hysteria in the Great Britain of the 1980's and early 1990's, and examinations of the history of horror. Campbell's lengthy autobiographical essay "How I Got Here" is also invaluable in understanding his life and work. He's almost painfully self-revelatory at points, while remaining refreshingly free of self-pity. Oh, and there's an essay on British spanking-based pornography. Really, you can't go wrong with this collection. How often is one going to find revelatory close readings of major H.P. Lovecraft stories and brief 'plot' synopses of faux-English-school-girl spanking pornography in the same book?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Bruss (Crypticus)

    This compendium collects decades worth of Horror Legend Ramsey Campbell's essays, columns, introductions, afterwards, & in this new edition, several expansions, corrections, & footnotes. I greatly enjoyed reading Mr. Campbell's thoughts on all things Horror - in film, literature, & life. Whether it be cosmic, societal, or interpersonal. Chiefly of interest is his infamous autobiographical essay (originally appearing as the introduction to the 2nd edition of "The Face That Must Die"), here greatly This compendium collects decades worth of Horror Legend Ramsey Campbell's essays, columns, introductions, afterwards, & in this new edition, several expansions, corrections, & footnotes. I greatly enjoyed reading Mr. Campbell's thoughts on all things Horror - in film, literature, & life. Whether it be cosmic, societal, or interpersonal. Chiefly of interest is his infamous autobiographical essay (originally appearing as the introduction to the 2nd edition of "The Face That Must Die"), here greatly expanded; A cool & unflinching account of his strange childhood stuck between a ghost-like absentee father & a mother slowly consumed by madness, delving into such dark & uncomfortable territory its impact rivals his most accomplished tales of terror. It certainly goes a long way to explain why a poor young Ramsey resorted to Horrors From Beyond Space & Time as an alternative to those in his home. The majority of the book is much lighter fare, particularly Mr. Campbell's thorough & generous appraisal of fellow Horror authors, where even those he clearly dislikes (Hutson!) get put up on blocks for a thorough break-down of technique alongside The Greats. Like all great authors he heaps plenty of praise & credit upon writers vastly inferior to himself, whose talents pale in his presence. His respectful examination of James Herbert's work a good example, lacking in all pretense or judgement. In one essay Ramsey sets out to recount several of his recurring nightmares & night terrors with the same level of craft & detail he pours into his fiction. It's enthralling & unsettling as the best Horror & much of his nightmare images & themes were disturbingly close to my own. Enjoying these essays it becomes clear Mr. Campbell is a Horror fan first & foremost, whose talents were borne from an innate fandom nurtured until it grew to consume him whole. A noble goal achieved, & here, well documented. "What the dead behold, they may become." Bring on collection II... -#PatrickBruss (Crypticus), 2016

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    I reviewed this title for Horrified magazine at https://www.horrifiedmagazine.co.uk/r... I reviewed this title for Horrified magazine at https://www.horrifiedmagazine.co.uk/r...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rex Burrows

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jay Rothermel

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Burnett

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Stolp

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nodar Khvichia

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bryce Warren

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Green

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Langford

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scott Woods

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jay Rothermel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gary Budden

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adam Millard

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Pennell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Guy Adams

  23. 5 out of 5

    Keith Ravenscroft

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  25. 5 out of 5

    Moudry

  26. 4 out of 5

    BeyondMusing

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy Bennison

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim

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