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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
Powerful imagery and complex characters are Ramsey Campbell trademarks. And nowhere are these talents more evident than in his collection of short tales, Ghosts and Grisly Things. As a three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award and eight-time winner of the British Fantasy Award, Campbell has established himself as one of the most respected writers of horror fiction, a true master of the genre. The stories in this chilling collection represent horrors that range from the haunted denizens of a dying town to the twisted thoughts of a tortured mind, each one making it clear why Campbell is considered a master at the top of his trade.
The basic concepts behind several of Campbell's stories came from his own life experiences. His introductory explanation of these events and the history he provides regarding the creation of each story adds spice to their flavor. It was Campbell's own thoughts about trying a major psychedelic drug that led to the vivid leapfrog imagery of "Through the Walls." And it was his mother's worsening agoraphobia that created the framework for the tortured character in "Looking Out." The experience of counting backward while waiting for an anesthetic to work gave Campbell the idea for "This Time," and an experience on a coach ride in Turkey triggered the creation of the creepy tale "Where They Lived." Similarly, "Going Under," a tale of obsessive behavior, came about as the result of the real-life closing of one of the Mersey Tunnels so that the public could walk through it in celebration of its anniversary.
Some of Campbell's tales are more blatantly horrific, such as the bloody tale of contagious murder, "See How They Run." Other stories are far subtler with their terror, such as "The Same in Any Language" and "Welcomeland," two stories where the real horrors are only hinted at but are no less frightening, and "The Alternative," which blends and blurs the lines between the happenings in real life and those that occur in nightmares.
Campbell's vivid imagery and his vast range of voice and tone are well exemplified in these stories, which cover the gamut in terms of the type, level, and intensity of their horror. This is spine-tingling, mind-bending fiction from a powerhouse writer who can make the most ordinary of things seem darkly malevolent.
Beth Amos is author of several novels, including Cold White Fury and Second Sight.