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The Campfire Collection: Spine-tingling Tales to Tell in the Dark

The Campfire Collection: Spine-tingling Tales to Tell in the Dark

by Eric Martin

The Sun has set, the campfire is lit, and dark night presses insuddenly, the wilderness seems very big and very scary. In the good old-fashioned tradition of story-telling, The Campfire Collection offers twenty-five spine-tingling tales, both true and fictional, of the human experience in the great outdoors. From beastly attacks, to brushes with death and


The Sun has set, the campfire is lit, and dark night presses insuddenly, the wilderness seems very big and very scary. In the good old-fashioned tradition of story-telling, The Campfire Collection offers twenty-five spine-tingling tales, both true and fictional, of the human experience in the great outdoors. From beastly attacks, to brushes with death and supernatural encounters, this anthology captures the cruel, sometimes macabre, side of Mother Nature. And it isn't pretty. Haruki Murakami describes a life destroying tsunami, and Cynthia Dusel-Bacon gives an agonizingly detailed account of being mauled by a bear. Rounded corners and durable cover make this a suitable companion for any overnight excursion, and large type means easy radin by campfire or flashlight. Whether you're just pitching a tent in the backyard or all the way up on the top of Mount Everest, The Campfire Collection is a chilling read from writers who have lived to tell.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Dick Lochte
The Campfire Collection is a sturdy trade paperback chock-full of scary stories. As edited by San Francisco author Eric B. Martin, some of the entries are fact (like a section of Beryl Bainbridege's "The Birthday Boys" that follow Capt. Robert Scott's doomed expedition to the South Pole), some are fiction (among them Tobias Wolff's "Hunters in the Snow"). All take place outdoors, where nature and man (and monster) can turn a wilderness outing into a nightmare experience. Authors include Edgar Allan Poe (of course), Jack London, Paul Bowles and anthropologist Judith M. Brueske. A disparate group, ordinarily, but all on the same page when it comes to making your hair stand on end.
Singly or together, these seventeen tales work. Many are by distinguished authors, including Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe, Peter Matthiessen, Robert W. Service, and Anthony Boucher. The world-class prose and poetry is best read aloud. Poe's maelstrom, "heaving, boiling, hissing—gyrating in gigantic and innumerable vortices," and the "huge scissoring waves" of Marc Reisner's Colorado River should not be missed. Happily, wide-spaced lines facilitate reading by campfire light, and the paper binding and minimal margins, which allow maximum text per page, cut weight and space in a backpack. The stories are grouped into sections reflecting humankind's relationships with "The Elements," "The Beasts," "The Unknown," and "Ourselves." None are for the squeamish or unskilled reader. "The Elements" includes George R. Stewart's account of the Donner Party cannibalism—stripping the flesh from bodies, roasting it, and drying the rest to go—as well as London's harrowing To Build a Fire. In "The Beasts," there is a stark first-person account of a woman being eaten by a bear, edited by Larry Kanuit. They Bite, Boucher's tale of the supernatural with its clenched teeth and draining blood, is the highlight of "The Unknown." "Ourselves" includes Tobias Wolff's nasty bit on obsession, Hunters in the Snow, as well as John Long's suspenseful For Everything Its Season, a story of love and hate. The theme, that nature—physical, bestial, supernatural, and psychological—merits respect, and woe betide the man or woman (although there is but one leading woman) who would control it, unifies the collection. The book is an excellent choice for school as well as public libraries, but not, despiteits literary merit, so as to make it accessible for classroom assignments. They smack of drudgery; this collection is read rightly for pure pleasure. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Chronicle Books, 245p, $15.95 Trade pb. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Mary E. Heslin

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

This collection of 17 short stories, excerpts from longer fiction and nonfiction, and one poem does its title proud. Jack London's "To Build a Fire," Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee," Larry Kanuit's report on the 1977 attack on a US Geological Survey worker by an Alaskan bear ("Come Quick! I'm Being Eaten by a Bear!") and an excerpt from Beryl Bainbridge's historical novel, The Birthday Boys, are representative of the literary voices brought together here and the horrors they tell of man against nature, man against his own desire to overcome limits and man confronting unexplained, perhaps unnatural, phenomena. Virtually all the tales do, indeed, center on the experiences of men but the cultures represented include Japan, as well as Europe and North America. While most of the works are classics easily found in other anthologies, this compendium works well as a whole. The volume is bound in a hardy coated stock that will stand up nicely on a beach or deep in one's camping gear. It will make an admirable source of campfire entertainment for any audience more sympathetic to the well-told tale than to the flash and dash of contemporary movies and electronic games. The contents all lend themselves to being read aloud and will give dramatic readers ample opportunity to practice spine-tingling deliveries. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Chronicle, 245p, 20cm, 99-40570, $15.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Francisca Goldsmith; Teen Svcs., Berkeley P.L., Berkeley, CA, July 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 4)
Library Journal
Rather than the ghost stories you might expect from the title, Martin (whose first novel, Luck, will be published by Norton this fall) has collected 17 stories of the outdoors. Some are true and some are not; some are by well-known writers and some by authors who have yet to become household names; some are thrillers and chillers, and some are amusing. The book is divided into four thematic sections: "The Elements" includes Jack London's "To Build a Fire," a Poe story, a grisly tale of mountain climbers, and an equally grim tale of the desert. "The Beasts" lives up to its title with stories of wolves (by wildlife expert Peter Matthiessen) and woman-eating bears. "The Unknown" is closest to the traditional ghost story and includes Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee." The final section, "Ourselves," may be the most frightening of all, ending with the final scenes from Frank Norris's classic novel McTeague. These dark-of-night tales with something of a twist are recommended for public libraries.--Katherine Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Twenty-year-old Kate Chandler, upstairs maid for New York socially prominent and politically powerful Edgar Talmidge, is terrified and shocked at her predicament. Because she looks so much like the barren Mrs. Talmidge, she has been raped by Talmidge to carry his heir and is told that if she runs away, both she and her baby will be hunted down and killed. With some mysterious help, Kate manages to escape and flees to Oklahoma in April of 1889 to join in the Great Land Run. What she doesn't realize is that the Homestead Act limits participants to those 21 years old and over and heads of households. Along comes Cole Youngblood, a well-known bounty hunter, who says he will stake her claim if she will care for his sister's orphaned children. Cole is unaware that Kate is the woman that he has been hired to bring in. To protect her interest, Kate holds out for marriage. Cole knows Kate is running from something but agrees to marry her for the sake of the children. The characters are strongly drawn and move the story into a lasting romantic relationship, and the ending may surprise readers. The hardships and the determination of those seeking land of their own are vividly portrayed. Also, a glimpse into the lives of women on the frontier will give some meaning to the phrase "you've come a long way baby." Believable characters, lots of action, a vivid historical setting, and romance are the key elements of this good read.-Carol Clark, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Chronicle Books LLC
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1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Eric Martin is an author who frequently listens for things that go bump in the night. He lives in San Francisco.

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