Monday, February 27, 2012
The Ten Best Horror Short Stories (Pre-1960)
I haven’t done a list in a long while, but they are always a way to fill space, er, present informed opinion. This one isn’t exactly new, to be truthful. I was taking some time to go through some old post on previous blogs (this is my fourth blog, and it was depressing to see that I seem to write worse and worse as time goes on) and came across an old post which contained a list of my favorite horror short stories published before 1960. The usual problem with making lists is that, since they are personal preference, the order/content of them changes almost immediately. (I found a list I had made of my favorite horror novels of the 21st century, and was so repelled by the books on it I can only conclude I had a secret drug habit in 2007, secret even from myself.) This list, however, seems to have held up pretty well, and doesn’t really change on casual observance.
Largely to limit the Lovecraft content, I limited the list to one story per author. There were several stories by Arthur Machen and William Hope Hodgson which almost made the list, so those are the most notable snubs/omissions. Most people would go with "Pigeons From Hell" for the Howard story, but an explanation for my choice can be found here.
1. “The Colour Out Of Space”, H. P. Lovecraft
2. “Who Goes There?”, John W. Campbell, Jr.
3. “Dig Me No Grave”, Robert E. Howard
4. “The Graveyard Rats”, Henry Kuttner
5. “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson
6. “The Damned Thing”, Ambrose Bierce
7. “Second Night Out”, Frank Belknap Long
8. “The Ash-Tree”, M.R. James
9. “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper”, Robert Bloch
10. “Born of Man and Woman”, Richard Matheson