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John Langan

John LanganJohn Langan got his MA from State University of New York (SUNY) and received a Masters in Philosophy from the City University of New York. His horror stories and essays have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; Fantasy Commentator; The Lovecraft Annual and the New York Review of Science Fiction. His stories can be found in several anthologies including The Living Dead, By Blood We Live, and Supernatural Noir. He is adjunct faculty at the New Paltz campus of SUNY, where he teaches creative writing. Here’s John Langan’s website.

John Langan talks Literary Horror, THE FISHERMAN and gives away a book!

John Langan has been shortlisted for numerous horror awards and received critical acclaim for both his shorter work, like his story collection Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Terry reviewed it here), and his two novels, House of Windows and The Fisherman (you can read our review here). In addition to writing, he edited the Creatures; Thirty Years of Monsters anthology with Paul Tremblay. Marion Interviewed him about The Fisherman, “literary” stories versus “horror” stories, and the power of landscape in fiction.

One random commenter with a USA mailing address will win a copy of The Fisherman Read More

Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters: An elegant horror collection

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Mr. Gaunt by John Langan

We are living in a Golden Age of the short story of the fantastic, as is ably demonstrated by John Langan in his first collection of short stories, Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters. Langan writes the sort of psychological horror that reminds one of both Henry James and M.R. James, as Elizabeth Hand points out in her introduction to this collection. Each story is elegantly written, with craft evident in every sentence.

Langan’s Jamesian heritage is especially clear in the first story in the book, “On Skua Island,” which uses a plot device that should be worn past using by now, though La... Read More

The Fisherman: Five-star horror

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The Fisherman
by John Langan

The Fisherman (2016), by John Langan, gets my first five-star review of 2017. The Fisherman is a story about bereavement. It is a story about dead wives and children. And it’s a story about fishing and the things we pull up from beneath the surface. It is horror; it will disturb you while you’re reading it, and sneak up on you for days afterward.

Langan structures The Fisherman as a series of nested stories. The story of Abe, a widower who works for IBM in 1990s New York, brackets the book, but Abe’s story is about Abe and Dan, and their story is about the story they hear from Howard. Howard’s story is really Lottie’s s... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Inaugural Issue

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The magazine isn't horrible; it's in the horror genre.  Perhaps reading about a great magazine -- and then reading the magazine itself -- will make your Monday more bearable!

John Joseph Adams, editor of the well-regarded science fiction and fantasy e-journal, Lightspeed, as well as numerous excellent anthologies, has launched a new horror e-zine, Nightmare. It will feature two reprint stories along with two original stories each month, along with in-depth interviews, short interviews with each author whose story is featured in the issue, and non-fiction discussions about writing and reading horror.

The first issue is out today, and it is terrific. I’m an early subscriber and a Kickstarter supporter of the pro... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Issue 2

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It's not the magazine that's horrible; it's that the magazine contains horror fiction. A perfect mood setter for Halloween!

Because Wednesday is Halloween, here’s another serving of the new magazine Nightmare, edited by John Joseph Adams. The second issue of this new online magazine makes me think we’ve got something special going here: the fiction is excellent, the nonfiction informative, the art compelling.

The first story in this issue is “Construction Project” by Desirina Boskovich. The married couple who tell this story in first person plural believe that a creature is waiting for them should they drop their guard for even a moment. They therefore go about making their third-floor apartment into an impregnable safehouse. The building goes on and on, over the months and the seasons, followed by the acquisition of the supplies Eli and... Read More

Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

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Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe edited by Ellen Datlow

Whether you're aligned with the literary academia or an unabashed genre reader, the name Edgar Allan Poe commands much respect. I think it's only fitting that a modern anthology inspired by the author's body of work should be released on his 200th anniversary. Kudos to Solaris Books for taking on the task of publishing such a book, which all comes together with the firm editorial direction of Ellen Datlow. Datlow, for me, has been an editor who's less impressed with literary fireworks or verbal acrobatics but focuses more on the meat and bones of the story, its fundamentals if you will. In that respect, Poe lives up to that promise. That's not to say the stories will immediately grip you. In fact, a good chunk of them take time to develop. But for the most part, the patience and the struggle are well worth the wait, and what's consist... Read More

Supernatural Noir: A Datlow anthology

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Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow suggests in her introduction to Supernatural Noir that noir fiction and supernatural fiction, with its roots in the gothic, have a lot in common. The main character in each tends to be a hard-living guy, usually down to his last flask of scotch, haunted by a sexy dame whose middle name is trouble. So it seemed natural to her to combine the two genres for an original anthology.

Despite my general rule that any anthology edited by Ellen Datlow is one I want to read, I resisted this one for a long time. Detectives looking for ghosts? Eh. Not my thing. But when Supernatural Noir was nominated for a Read More

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four

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The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four edited by Ellen Datlow

Anything Ellen Datlow edits automatically finds a place on my list of books to read. For many years, this included the excellent anthology series The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, which Datlow coedited with Terri Windling. When that series disappeared, much to the dismay of fans of short fiction everywhere, Datlow undertook to publish The Year’s Best Horror, which has been published by the terrific smaller press, Night Shade Books, for the past four years. This year’s volume, the fourth, is chock full of memorable stories certain to keep you up at night.

... Read More

The Monstrous: You can’t go wrong with Datlow

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The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Whenever I see Ellen Datlow’s name as editor on the cover of an anthology, I know I’m in good hands. Datlow has a made a thirty-plus year career of choosing good stories and developing collections that take different aims at the theme. The theme of The Monstrous is monsters, and Datlow makes sure to explore all facets of that word with this mostly-reprint anthology from Tachyon Press.

There are twenty stories in the book. One is original to the anthology. The reprints include one classic horror story and a few that read as dated to me. Datlow’s standards of excellent writing and good characterization stand throughout the book.

I’m going to discuss two pieces out of sequence, because they left me puzzling. Read More

More by John Langan

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsHouse of Windows — (2009) Publisher: From John Langan (Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters) comes House of Windows, a chilling novel in the tradition of Peter Straub, Joe Hill, and Laird Barron. When a young writer finds himself cornered by a beautiful widow in the waning hours of a late-night cocktail party, he seeks at first to escape, to return to his wife and infant son, but the tale she weaves, of her missing husband, a renowned English professor, and her lost stepson, a soldier killed on a battlefield on the other side of the world, of phantasmal visions, a family curse, and a house… the Belvedere House, a striking mansion whose features suggest a face, hidden just out of view, draws him in, capturing him. What follows is a deeply psychological ghost story of memory and malediction, loss and remorse.


The Wide Carnivorous SkyThe Wide Carnivorous Sky — (2013) Publisher: “I want to be like John Langan when I grow up, okay? He blends meticulously crafted traditional narratives with joyous genre-bending and narrative rule-breaking. His stories are fiercely smart, timely, timeless, heartbreaking, and of course, flat-out scary. Langan fearlessly commits to his monsters, his characters, his readers, to his vision of the horror story and the messed-up, broken, frightening world we inhabit. Wide, Carnivorous Sky, indeed.”-Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye. John Langan has, in the last few years, established himself as one of the leading voices in contemporary horror literature. Gifted with a supple and mellifluous prose style, an imagination that can conjure up clutching terrors with seeming effortlessness, and a thorough knowledge of the rich heritage of weird fiction, Langan has already garnered his share of accolades. This new collection of nine substantial stories includes such masterworks as “Technicolor,” an ingenious riff on Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”; “How the Day Runs Down,” a gripping tale of the undead; and “The Shallows,” a powerful tale of the Cthulhu Mythos. The capstone to the collection is a previously unpublished novella of supernatural terror, “Mother of Stone.” With an introduction by Jeffrey Ford and an afterword by Laird Barron.


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