Monday, May 29, 2023

The Dark Descent

Way back in a now largely imaginary era known as the 1980s, my aunt signed up for one of those mail order book clubs. They always entice you in with a batch of free books because the first taste is free, right? Anyway, she let me pick two of the free books for myself. I picked Edith Hamilton's Mythology and a giant horror anthology called The Dark Descent.

Look at this killer lineup collected in The Dark Descent:

I'm sure I'd read Poe, King, and Bradbury a bit by that point already, but this was my first contact with some of the most important authors that shape my brain to this day. First brush with MR James, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Harlan Ellison, Hawthorne, Karl Edward Wagener, Edith Nesbit, Fritz Leiber, Robert Bloch, Manly Wade Wellman, Aichman, (maybe) Clive Barker, Le Fanu, Faulkner, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Matheson, motherfuckin' Tanith Lee, Flannery O'Connor, Henry James, Robert Chambers, Joyce Carol Oates, Bierce, Oliver Onions, Wharton, Blackwood...many authors here I would go on to teach in college courses. It all started here. 

If you find a copy of The Dark Descent at a used bookstore, treat yourself right and pick it up. Even if you've read all those stories before, buy it and pass it on to someone who needs to get knocked crooked by horror's cream of the crop.