Monday, June 22, 2009

Centipede Press

Ramsey Campbell's The Influence

Campbell is one of those rare writers who is probably too hip for the room, by which I mean that horror readers looking for the usual schlock will be disapointed because nobody is disemboweled on the first page. Nor does a hunky vampire put the ole plank to a swooning maiden.

Campbell is first and always a serious novelist. That he sometimes uses supernatural elements to enhance his impressions of this vale of tears we all share does not limit him to the familiar tropes.

The Influence is a rather sweeping story that deals with love, loneliness, loss and finally what it means to confront death. Campbell also takes us beyond death into a realm that as frightening as anything he's ever written. There are a number of scenes that build slowly to shrieking climaxes. There is also prose that imbues the entire book with an otherworldly quality even though Campbell takes care to make his people and their surroundings all too real.

This new edition from Centipede Press gives permanence to one of the eeriest and most elegantly told novels of fear I've ever read.


pattinase (abbott) said...

He has scared the bejesus out of me more than once.

Todd Mason said...

Hey, Patti, you said you never read too much horror. Granted, Campbell often writes suspense fiction, too, but he's one of the absoulte best.

Anonymous said...

Campbell is the horror writer's horror writer. And a genuinely nice guy, to boot. His short stories are masterpieces of the genre. I haven't read "The Influence", so I'll have to pick up this new edition. Aren't they the publishers who in the recent past reissued Tryon's "The Other"?

Jeff P.

Martin Edwards said...

I share your admiration fro Ramsey's work. He and I used to dine together with a - now sadly defunct - group of Liverpool based writers, and I soon discovered that, unexpectedly, he knows more about films and film history than anyone else I've ever met.

Ed Gorman said...

Jeff P. - Yes Centipede did publish The Other recently. Tryon never impressed me much as an actor--he struck me as wooden--but he sure could write.

Anonymous said...


Yes, "The Other" was one of those books I read on the cusp of adolescence that permanently tipped my interest in suspense/horror/whatever folks are tagging it these days.

I re-read "The Other" a few years ago and found it held up well. I hope to re-read "Harvest Home" one of these days, if I can lay my hands on a copy.

Jeff P.

Todd Mason said...

Martin--Campbell writes a regularl column for VIDEO of several excellent horror and suspense writers who appear there regularly (Kim Newman, Douglas Winter, and less prolifically as a fiction writer co-editor/publisher Tim Lucas being among the others.)