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Old 03-25-2016   #1
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Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

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Old 03-25-2016   #2
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

I seem to recall reading one of those illustrated children's classics editions of some of Poe's short stories at a young age, but IMO my first true experience with Weird Fiction was when I read John Bellairs' The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull. I know a lot of people dismiss Bellairs as horror for children but there's actually some very creepy stuff in there, and I like the 1950's small town New England setting and the Edward Gorey illustrations.

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Old 03-25-2016   #3
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

Some of the Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine surely fit the bill.

Not the most prestigious introduction, but I was hooked on them as a very small kid in the 90s. Later on it would have been Stephen King's It or Clive Barker's Books of Blood. I didn't become acquainted with the classic/traditional weird canon until well in to my 20s. Now I'm a mild expert ranting about L. P. Hartley or John Metcalfe to anybody who will listen.

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Old 03-25-2016   #4
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

- Thanks to digging through some of father's old school books, I discovered and became obsessed with Poe around the age of 7, one of the truly formative events of my life. A book I was given a year or two after, a '70's anthology called Shudders (Ten Tales Calculated to Give You) was another influential tome and a wonderful introduction into the the wider world of the weird, containing stories from the likes of Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, William Hope Hodgson, AM Burrage, Carl Jacobi, and WW Jacobs. And of course, like others here, I devoured juvenile horror fiction by the pallet - I lived and breathed Goosebumps, which were easily my equivalent of Harry Potter, and for a period growing up the most exciting time of the month was driving out to pick up the newest volume in the series; I had to be careful and contain my excitement, or otherwise I'd have it read on the ride home.

"When a man is born. . .there are nets flung at (his being) to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets." - James Joyce

Last edited by ChildofOldLeech; 03-25-2016 at 11:43 PM..
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Old 03-25-2016   #5
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

Probably simplified versions of Poe in english. I remember loving the masque of the red death, in particular, even then
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Old 03-26-2016   #6
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

I picked up on more subtle variants of the weird when I was really young. I went to a private christian school(K-12) and would often browse the libraries in the middle and high schools just to see if I could find books that I felt shouldn't be available in an environment like that. I ultimately had no desire to read, but libraries in general offered a satiation to my very curious and imaginative mind due to how many different topics and human ideas you could find, even superficially. As sheltered as I was, coming across all the "Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark" books in my middle school library was so freaking exciting, and ignited a passion in me not only for horror, but for misplaced oddities of all kinds. That passion has never died to this day, only grown more obscure and confusing.

I've told this story on here before, I think, but while I was in high school I worked at a toy store and had an assistant manager who used to do all kinds of weird #### to the dolls and toys there. He had the darkest sense humor of any person I had met in my life up until that point, so I was immediately intrigued. He would do stuff like dismember barbie dolls and put them back in the package, or rearrange their body parts into mutant creations that would disgust customers as they walked by. We were out on a smoke break one night and he kept talking about this Current 93 album he bought from overseas, for which he paid a somewhat regrettable but ultimately worthy amount of money for. He let me borrow it with some reservation, not only because of what he gave for it but also because of the person he was giving it to; a super-sheltered, quiet christian school boy whom he probably thought would end up completely mad after hearing what was on the album.

The album was "I have a Special Plan for This World", and from the moment I heard the first few words I was obsessively hooked. It took me years to find that the author was Ligotti, but when I did(from these forums!) I immediately began buying every work of his that I could afford. The only literature I had fully read up to that point was "The Great Gatsby", which I only did due to being forced through school. But, I've been a pretty ravenous reader since discovering Ligotti and I'm not sure I would have been otherwise.
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Old 03-26-2016   #7
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

Narraciones Extraordinarias by Edgar Allan Poe, a 1993 edition. I still have it and The Fall of the House of Usher was the first weird tale I fell in love with.




Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 03-26-2016   #8
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

Quote Originally Posted by ChildofOldLeech View Post
I lived and breathed Goosebumps, which were easily my equivalent of Harry Potter
I also enjoyed the choose your own adventure Give Yourself Goosebumps book range. I still have a largely complete collection of the original range scattered around in boxes in the attic.

I really wish I had encountered Lovecraft, Hodgson, M. R. James and the others as a young kid. I would have found them even more frightening.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 03-26-2016   #9
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

When I was 6-7-8-9 I was obsessed with the Australian author Paul Jennings. If you're not an Australian in your 20s like myself, then i'll assume you've never heard of him. His short story collections Unreal, Unbearable, Uncanny etcetera, were made into an ABC TV series called Round The Twist . . . I was completely obsessed with that as well hahaha.

If any of you fairweather anti-natalists have somehow found yourself in the revolting situation of accidentally creating a life . . . then I suggest you make the little ones existence a little less insufferable by buying them Paul Jennings Uncollected.

A quote from Laura on Goodreads:

Amazing books for kids and their imaginations, not so amazing for the adults I’m afraid. *** stars

Yes, they are kids books Laura you stupid c***.

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Don't you just hate adults?

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Last edited by Liam Barden; 03-26-2016 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 03-26-2016   #10
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Re: Your First Experience with Weird Fiction?

I haven't thought about Paul Jennings since I was 11! I remember Ice Maiden, Souperman, Wunderpants and a few others. His TV show Round the Twist was a hit among the kids on the playground in 90s Britain.

Reading up on Wikipedia, these ancient memories are flooding back. I remember a teacher reading my class the story Pink Bow Tie when I was around 9.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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