Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So Harlan Ellision circa 1975 just told me how to read his book...

…and seriously, as a long-time reader of horror and other dark genres, I'm think I'm going to follow his advice.

In his 1975 collection, Deathbird Stories, he begins the book with a Caveat Lector (literally, Let the Reader Beware):

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting. The emotional content of these stories, taken without break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. - H.E.

It's interesting for me, as someone who has only read one Ellison book to date (his 1975 nonfiction book The Glass Teat: Essays of Opinion on Television), how quickly I'm willing to take his warning at face value.

For me, horror novels are always personal favourites, but rarely do they pack the same punch as horrific short fiction, which can shockingly drive or insidiously worm elements or themes directly into my mind and leave afterimages of themselves for years to come.

So although Deathbird Stories was going to be my next read, I think I'll actually slow myself down to one story a day and pick something else to be my primary focus, because honestly - if Harlan warns you about something, you better darn well listen.

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