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The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror: Evil Lives On in the Land!

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Welcome to a landscape of ancient evil . . . with stories by masters of horror Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James​, Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver​, Michael Marshall Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, and more!   The darkness that endures beneath the earth . . . the disquiet that lin Welcome to a landscape of ancient evil . . . with stories by masters of horror Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James​, Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver​, Michael Marshall Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, and more!   The darkness that endures beneath the earth . . . the disquiet that lingers in the woodland surrounding a forgotten path . . . those ancient traditions and practices that still cling to standing stone circles, earthworks, and abandoned buildings; elaborate rituals that invoke elder gods or nature deities; the restless spirits and legendary creatures that remain connected to a place or object, or exist in deep wells and lonely pools of water, waiting to ensnare the unwary traveler . . . These concepts have been the archetypes of horror fiction for decades, but in recent years they have been given a name: Folk Horror.   This type of storytelling has existed for more than a century. Authors Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, and M. R. James all published fiction that had it roots in the notion of the supernatural being linked to objects or places “left behind.” All four writers are represented in this volume with powerful, and hopefully unfamiliar, examples of their work, along with newer exponents of the craft such as Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver, and many others. Illustrated with the atmospheric photography of Michael Marshall Smith, the stories in The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror tap into an aspect of folkloric tradition that has long been dormant, but never quite forgotten, while the depiction of these forces as being in some way “natural” in no way detracts from the sense of nameless dread and escalating horror that they inspire . . .  


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Welcome to a landscape of ancient evil . . . with stories by masters of horror Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James​, Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver​, Michael Marshall Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, and more!   The darkness that endures beneath the earth . . . the disquiet that lin Welcome to a landscape of ancient evil . . . with stories by masters of horror Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James​, Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver​, Michael Marshall Smith, Karl Edward Wagner, and more!   The darkness that endures beneath the earth . . . the disquiet that lingers in the woodland surrounding a forgotten path . . . those ancient traditions and practices that still cling to standing stone circles, earthworks, and abandoned buildings; elaborate rituals that invoke elder gods or nature deities; the restless spirits and legendary creatures that remain connected to a place or object, or exist in deep wells and lonely pools of water, waiting to ensnare the unwary traveler . . . These concepts have been the archetypes of horror fiction for decades, but in recent years they have been given a name: Folk Horror.   This type of storytelling has existed for more than a century. Authors Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, and M. R. James all published fiction that had it roots in the notion of the supernatural being linked to objects or places “left behind.” All four writers are represented in this volume with powerful, and hopefully unfamiliar, examples of their work, along with newer exponents of the craft such as Ramsey Campbell, Storm Constantine, Christopher Fowler, Alison Littlewood, Kim Newman, Reggie Oliver, and many others. Illustrated with the atmospheric photography of Michael Marshall Smith, the stories in The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror tap into an aspect of folkloric tradition that has long been dormant, but never quite forgotten, while the depiction of these forces as being in some way “natural” in no way detracts from the sense of nameless dread and escalating horror that they inspire . . .  

30 review for The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror: Evil Lives On in the Land!

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    Looking for a nice set of “keep me up at night” Halloween stories, I spotted this collection called THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FOLK HORROR: EVIL LIVES ON IN THE LAND! The list of writers included impressed me so much that I purchased it as a pre-order. As I began the Preface, I was introduced to the definition of “Folk Horror” … and I’ll admit that my heart sank a bit. I was expecting some gruesome tales tied to “off the beaten path” locations. That was certainly a part of it. But, then I learned that Looking for a nice set of “keep me up at night” Halloween stories, I spotted this collection called THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF FOLK HORROR: EVIL LIVES ON IN THE LAND! The list of writers included impressed me so much that I purchased it as a pre-order. As I began the Preface, I was introduced to the definition of “Folk Horror” … and I’ll admit that my heart sank a bit. I was expecting some gruesome tales tied to “off the beaten path” locations. That was certainly a part of it. But, then I learned that these often involved “Fairy Folk” … and my sense of wondering if I’d made a mistake grew significantly. Then came the opening tale from Arthur Machen, a name to be reckoned with in horror fiction. The tale was called THE WHITE PEOPLE … and I Really Struggled to get through it. It didn’t help that much of the narrative was from a recovered journal that ran-on a bit like stream of consciousness writing. At this point, I was ready to return the book to the shelf and admit defeat. Thank goodness I decided to try one more. This was JENNY GREENTEETH by Alison Littlewood, and it was exactly the type of story that I hoped would be populating the majority of this collection. The great news was that this was exactly the case. Out of 19 collected tales, I strongly enjoyed 14 of them … close to 74%. Of the others (excluding the first one), I thought they were quite good, although they did not instill that chilling sense of dread that I’d hoped to encounter. Some examples of the best include: * WAILING WELL by M.R. James. I can usually count on James to “tastefully” raise the chill quotient! * STICKS by Karl Edward Wagner frequently reminded me of the better moments from the movie, “The Blair Witch Project.” This was a story that was uniquely its own, though. * THE FOURTH CALL by Ramsey Campbell just “creeps under the skin” before I’m quite aware of it, and by then it’s too late! * THE HOUND by H.P. Lovecraft is one I’d read before, yet it was still incredibly unnerving. * THE GYPSIES IN THE WOOD by Kim Newman is a novella that serves as the concluding work. Newman expands on Doyle’s creation of The Diogenes Club, and it was a real joy! I enjoyed this so much that I picked up an earlier collection, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF HALLOWEEN STORIES, without even checking the list of contributors. I’m very much looking forward to reading that one!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    This book is indeed mammoth - a chonker over 500 pages - and runs the gamut from classic spooky tales from old masters to more recent offerings by modern authors. As with any anthology, I had my favorites, but I really can't stress enough the overall quality of this collection. I mean, is that shocking? Stephen Jones is a BEAST when it comes to the horror genre. One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this collection is that it focused on stories that had connections to nature. Lots of theme This book is indeed mammoth - a chonker over 500 pages - and runs the gamut from classic spooky tales from old masters to more recent offerings by modern authors. As with any anthology, I had my favorites, but I really can't stress enough the overall quality of this collection. I mean, is that shocking? Stephen Jones is a BEAST when it comes to the horror genre. One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this collection is that it focused on stories that had connections to nature. Lots of themes here about man vs wild, settling the land, colonization... all from different perspectives and given the nature of this anthology (both older works and newer) it turns into a snake eating its own tail: how do humans effect the natural world around them? Where are our blind spots? What are we capable of? Definitely pick this one up if you love cornfields, the mist between trees, and the echo of a songbird that suddenly stops short. Thank you to the publisher for this ARC! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Great October read, a nice collection of old and new stories, most of which managed to at least give me a shiver.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Thompson

    We’ve all gone a bit mad for folk horror in the last few years, haven't we? I’m frankly still shocked that a movie as audacious as Midsommar was so successful! As someone who watched The Wicker Man at an incredibly impressionable age, I’m very excited that the mainstream has decided to follow me into the woods to worship the old gods. And out here, The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror is the closest thing we’ll get to a bible. Well, one that doesn’t release an ancient curse, anyway. In this 500+ page We’ve all gone a bit mad for folk horror in the last few years, haven't we? I’m frankly still shocked that a movie as audacious as Midsommar was so successful! As someone who watched The Wicker Man at an incredibly impressionable age, I’m very excited that the mainstream has decided to follow me into the woods to worship the old gods. And out here, The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror is the closest thing we’ll get to a bible. Well, one that doesn’t release an ancient curse, anyway. In this 500+ page collection, you’ll find favorites such as Arthur Machen, M.R. James, H.P Lovecraft, and Algernon Blackwood. These are absolute essentials for those who are new to the genre, and always a pleasure for established fans to revisit; M.R. James’ Wailing Well has an especially creepy ending. But it is the lesser known writers that excited me the most. Stories such as Gravedirt Mouth by Maura McHugh tells a tale of a Girl Scout trip gone incredibly awry, or Storm Constantine’s incredible Wyfa Medj, which literally had me gasping with horror on the final furlong. The highlight in the collection for me was genre stalwart Ramsey Campbell’s horrifying tale, The Fourth Call. If you thought your family’s festive traditions were strange, think again. The great thing about most of these tales is that much of the horror lies in the unknown and unseen. A disturbing sound here, a stray breeze from there, a seemingly harmless artifact, can all contribute to something a lot more sinister. A notable exception to this is Simon Strantzas’ story, The King of Stones, which is absolutely brutal. The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror, as the title may suggest, contains an enormous amount of stories, so quality inevitably varies. However, it is fantastic to see the many interpretations of folk horror, and how it existed long before the term was officially coined. An essential collection for anyone with a remote interest in the naturally terrifying.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alison C

    “The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror” consists of 19 stories, some original to this anthology and others reprints, of horror tales rooted in ancient folktales, primarily those of the United Kingdom but also some from the United States and one from India. As with any anthology, some stories are more appealing than others, although I will note that unusually for me, I had to read these in groups of three or fewer because I was scaring myself trying to read them all back-to-back! With writers ranging f “The Mammoth Book of Folk Horror” consists of 19 stories, some original to this anthology and others reprints, of horror tales rooted in ancient folktales, primarily those of the United Kingdom but also some from the United States and one from India. As with any anthology, some stories are more appealing than others, although I will note that unusually for me, I had to read these in groups of three or fewer because I was scaring myself trying to read them all back-to-back! With writers ranging from Arthur Machen (“The White People,” 1899) to H.P. Lovecraft (“The Hound,” 1924; the first mention of the Necronomican is found here) and forward to Kim Newman (“The Gypsies In the Wood”) and Ramsey Campbell (“The Fourth Call”) and back again to Algernon Blackwood (“Ancient Lights,” 1912), then into the present with Alison Littlewood (“Jenny Greenteeth”) and David A. Sutton (“St. Ambrew’s Well”), this collection has something for every horror fan! Recommended - just be sure all the lights are on if you’re reading this at night!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather Miller

    If you love folk horror, then you need this book. Full of stories of ancient things which haunt the land, old customs and bizarre rituals, legendary creatures, dark gods, and forgotten altars, this book boasts some big names from the last 150 years as well as some more recent horror writers. Add in some beautifully creepy artwork and this makes the perfect tome to settle in with on wind-tossed autumn days.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    This collection of folk horror was so interesting to read. It has something for everyone, from classics to new stories. I was introduced to a lot of authors reading this book.⁠ ⁠ It is a huge collection of stories, coming in at over 500 pages. A nice surprise when reading this book was the addition of photographs and illustrations. ⁠ ⁠ One of my favorites was Jenny Greenteeth. It is the beginning of the book, and it was fabulous. Such an atmospheric read! I knew then this was going to be a great sel This collection of folk horror was so interesting to read. It has something for everyone, from classics to new stories. I was introduced to a lot of authors reading this book.⁠ ⁠ It is a huge collection of stories, coming in at over 500 pages. A nice surprise when reading this book was the addition of photographs and illustrations. ⁠ ⁠ One of my favorites was Jenny Greenteeth. It is the beginning of the book, and it was fabulous. Such an atmospheric read! I knew then this was going to be a great selection of stories. All of them are so creepy, and I certainly don't want to be in the woods at night after reading these tales.⁠ ⁠ It is out today, so if you are looking for a collection of folk horror, both old and new, this is the book for you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    G

    This was a really fun read. I've been a traditional ghost story/folk horror freak for a long, long time now, so I was delighted to find old favourites along with new voices; as usual with anthologies, there were some stories that gripped me more than others, but for me there were no real clunkers in this... except maybe for the H.P. Lovecraft one, which, being a fairly early story, was even more over the top than usual for HPL, so much so that I got some strange looks for laughing so hard on pub This was a really fun read. I've been a traditional ghost story/folk horror freak for a long, long time now, so I was delighted to find old favourites along with new voices; as usual with anthologies, there were some stories that gripped me more than others, but for me there were no real clunkers in this... except maybe for the H.P. Lovecraft one, which, being a fairly early story, was even more over the top than usual for HPL, so much so that I got some strange looks for laughing so hard on public transportation. Also, I would have found "A Warning to the Curious" a much better fit than "Wailing Well", but really, any Monty James tale will do for me. Personally, I would have loved to see some L.T.C. Rolt included as well, along with E. Nesbit, Saki and A.M. Burrage, but I guess most people are more into modern day horror than old school ghost stories, so I don't mind. Oh, and a huge thank-you to Stephen Jones for giving a shout-out to "The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water" in his Introduction -- I had never heard of this PIF, but of course it's one and a half minute of folk horror perfection, and I'm now totally obsessed with it (also, will never go swimming again). It would have been great to see Phil Rickman mentioned as well, as his books may not be "horror" as such but are steeped in 100% folk horror spookiness, but that's more of a suggestion than actual criticism. A really nice, strong collection of tales, much much better than similarly-themed anthologies I've read. Definitely recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    The Horror of Folklore This is one of Stephen Jones's most enjoyable horror anthologies. (It includes some borderline disturbing photos by Michael Marshall Smith.) It has classic horror authors like Arthur Machen, M. R. James, Karl Edward Wagner, H. P. Lovecraft, and Algernon Blackwood. There are several modern horror writers, also--Alison Littlewood, Mike Chinn, David A. Sutton, Maura McHugh, Steve Rasnic Tem, Simon Strantzas, Jan Edwards, Christopher Fowler, Storm Constantine, Dennis Etchison, R The Horror of Folklore This is one of Stephen Jones's most enjoyable horror anthologies. (It includes some borderline disturbing photos by Michael Marshall Smith.) It has classic horror authors like Arthur Machen, M. R. James, Karl Edward Wagner, H. P. Lovecraft, and Algernon Blackwood. There are several modern horror writers, also--Alison Littlewood, Mike Chinn, David A. Sutton, Maura McHugh, Steve Rasnic Tem, Simon Strantzas, Jan Edwards, Christopher Fowler, Storm Constantine, Dennis Etchison, Reggie Oliver, and one of Kim Newman's Diogenes Club stories. Kim Newman's novella is worth the price of the book. Stephen Jones gives the actor Mark Gatiss and movie director Piers Haggard credit for the term "folk horror." In his introduction, Jones begins with the well-known Wicker Man and Witchfinder-General. This type of fiction--on film and in literature--may appeal especially to the British, but not exclusively. One interesting thing Stephen Jones brings up is that these stories are in a way "natural" rather than "supernatural horror. But that doesn't make them less terrifying.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dirty Dayna

    i almost loved this book as it connected the past and present writers in a middle ground with shared themes. I think some tweaking to the layout would have resounded better with me it just felt a bit disjointed. However this probably would be resolved in the published book. I think some reorganizing of the stories would give a better flow.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mario Guslandi

    My full review is appearing elsewhere. However, an unusual mix of classical masterpieces and stories by modern writers. Among the latter, some excellent stories by Michael Marshall Smith, Simon Strantzas, Reggie Oliver, Christopher Fowler and Alison. Littlewood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Doyle

    This is a good collection of stories. There are classics and new stuff in here, so there's plenty for everyone. Some stories aren't so strong, but on the whole this is a good set of horror tales. Thanks to Stephen Jones, the authors, NetGalley, and Skyhorse Publishing for these stories. This is a good collection of stories. There are classics and new stuff in here, so there's plenty for everyone. Some stories aren't so strong, but on the whole this is a good set of horror tales. Thanks to Stephen Jones, the authors, NetGalley, and Skyhorse Publishing for these stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Grønsund

    I received an advanced digital copy of this book, courtesy of the author and publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. RTC

  14. 5 out of 5

    Neville Townsend

    I received this book from the publishers via Netgalley for a review. A very good collection of new and old horror tales not a dud story in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steve Jones

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aaron VanAlstine

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  19. 5 out of 5

    RaeDawn Drenning

  20. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tori

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ece Öztürk

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Sumner

  28. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Reid

  29. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jadie Marshall

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