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Dark Gods Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1986

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA Although these four stories have failings, they'll make readers jump when things go bump in the night. Klein sometimes lets his idea of what is literary obtrude on his storytelling; all in all, however, these are among the best the genre has to offer. These tales are not for gore-fest fans; the horrors generally do not get detailed descriptions. But readers who are admirers of Lovecraft will recognize the master's influence. "Black Man with a Horn" is a direct tribute to the Lovecraft tradition. In "Petey," middle-aged angst provides the background for a more concrete terror; "Children of the Kingdom" is an interesting experiment with horror in an urban setting; and "Nadelman's God," a black comedy about the nihilistic follies of idols, is excellent. So advise readers to avoid those dark paths and enjoy the shivers. Catherine Chauvette, Fairfax County Public Library, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam (June 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055325801X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553258011
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Simply put, this book is one of the best collections of horror fiction written in the latter half of the 20th Century. Similar to the work of H.P.Lovecraft thematically, but with very strong characterization, striking imagery, and contemporary themes; Klein tears aside the world of (frequently humorous) mundane existence, to reveal a landscape peopled by terrible monsters. In the award-winning "Children of the Kingdom" the sewers and ghettos of Manhattan conceal a race of faceless mutants connected to the Gnostic Gospels and MesoAmerican lore. In "Black Man With a Horn" an aging Lovecraft protege discovers that some of the old gent's tales might not be fiction after all. But possibly the best of all is "Nadelman's God" where an ad man becomes a most unlikely and unwilling prophet for a divinity of slaughter and cruelty. Dark, witty, and frequently profound.
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Format: Hardcover
I must disagree with the reviewer who found these four novellas weak. Of course, I should clarify my criteria for rating such works: I am not a big fan of the graphic, bloody, "modern" horror fiction: I have reservations about Stephen King (I think my favorite work of his is his novella "The Mist" -- though bloody, it is not gratuitously so-- and in it he is not as callous with his characters as in his novels) -- and most other popular modern horror writers. I think the finest horror fiction is, almost by definition, shorter: horror must extablish a pervading and insistent atmosphere of dread -- carefully built up and cumulative. This is difficult to sustain over novel-length works and shock is employed rather too lavishly to compensate. For the type of horror I rank highly, think Shirley Jackson, Lovecraft, Blackwood, Leiber (in his rare but brilliant forays into the genre). Well, in my opinion, Klein is, simply, one of their peers. The four works in this collection are all excellent. Even the weakest ("Petey") is interesting and beautifully written. The other three are all, in my estimation, masterworks of modern horror. "Children of the Kingdom" is more than that other reviewer indicates: it builds up the notion that there is a terrifying subterranean world that is on the move, spreading, actively looking to usurp our position in the world (the creatures, who do far more than just invade an old folks' home, are called in Costa Rican folklore "usurpadores" -- usurpers. The citywide blackout pictured in NYC is, by implication, caused by them -- and in the darkness they run rampant, all over New York, raping women by the hundreds (the only way they can reproduce).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Most people who approach H.P. Lovecraft's peculiar genre of "weird fiction" do it in a way owing more to imitation than invention--such that modern Cthulhu Mythos tales have the sycophantic feel of fan fiction.
T.E.D. Klein, on the other hand, really twists those familiar themes about angry gods and forgotten races into new shapes. Here, Upper East Siders in the seventies contend with subterranean beasts during a blackout. A creature raised from hell upsets a house-warming party. A terrible poet accidentally writes a conjuring spell.
And what's more, it's scary--Klein understands how to make the juxtaposition between the familiar and the fantastic, more often mined for humor and irony, into something pretty unsettling.
This book is a lost classic.
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By A Customer on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
T.E.D Klien doesn't seem to haven't written much but whathe has written is brilliant. I guess its only his sparse output that prevents him being one of the best-known horror writers of moment. Dark Gods is a set of four equally novellas, my favourite being the one about a housewarming party that goes badly wrong (the title escapes me) but they're all equally good.
Unlike other tediously formulaic horror writers (step forward Koontz, Saul, Laymon etc) this author does not rely on stereotypes and overblown descriptions of nastiness to cause chills.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
T.E.D. Klein's "Dark Gods" is a collection of four novellas, arguably horror, but probably not the kind that will make you regret reading them at home alone at night. Instead, expect in all four Klein's very-New York urban suspense, intelligent and sophisticated supernatural yarns that will keep you guessing as you flip the pages. Like the true masters of horror, Klein realizes that terror peaks when trickled out gradually in seemingly innocent, benign, and innocent surroundings. A deteriorating nursing home on New York's West side, a Connecticut country estate, an intercontinental airliner, or even from the pages of a long forgotten college poem. Unlike run-of-the-mill slash-and-scream horror fiction - the written equivalent of "Nightmare on Elm Street" - Klein takes as much pain developing credible characters and rich backgrounds as he does creating tension and the requisite fear factor, while leaving enough ambiguity to leave the reader hanging just enough to insure the stories will gnaw the edges of your conscious long after lesser stores have been forgotten.

The quality and grip of each is consistent and superb, but if I had to pick a favorit, it would be the longest and the last: "Nadelman's God" - a creepy story about a middle aged New Yorker's literary creation that comes back to haunt him. Complete with a gritty Long Island decaying neighborhood and a 30-year old loser living with his mother, Klein spins a well-drawn harrowing tale of imagination manifested.

"The Black Man with a Horn" matches an aging science fiction writer and one time pal of H.P. Lovecraft against a demonic Pacific Island legend.
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