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Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural: A Treasury of Spellbinding Tales Old and New Hardcover – May, 1985

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marvin Kaye, award-winning author and anthologist, has compiled several collections of fantasy fiction, and has written many acclaimed fantasy novels. He is an associate professor of creative writing at New York University and the artistic director of the Open Book theatre company in New York. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 623 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385185499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385185493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Sroczynski on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The words I am about to write will not do justice to this anthology. If you are a fan of horror short stories, get this before you get anything else. None of the stories are bad, and many are terrfying and unforgettable. Theodore Sturgeon's "The Professor's Teddy Bear" is unique, grotesque, and it will stick with you for months. "His Unconquerable Enemy" has a gripping climax that will amaze you. "The Bottle Imp" is a grand tale of treachery, pain, and sacrifice. "Hop-Frog" is a Poe selection that is every bit as brilliant as his more famous works, and in traditional Poe fashion it is a tale of revenge. I could go on about every story in here but instead I will just very strongly recommend this to all fans of horror literature.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an absolute treasure! Stoker, Lovecraft, Poe, Shelley, Asimov, Bierce, Tolkien are all here. You'll also find Richard Matheson, Tanith Lee, Sheridan LeFanu, Orson Scott Card (with one of the most disturbing, chilling tales I've ever read), Ogden Nash, Tennessee Williams, Jack London, Walt Whitman (is this high-school english class! ), Robert Bloch and more. Each selection comes with a little background note providing some info about the author, history about that particular story and recommendations for other related readings. This collection is fantastic; it doesn't disappoint. English class would have been infinitely more interesting with this kind of reading!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Masterpieces" is correct. This book is hard to put down. Usually when reading a collection gathered on a mutual theme, the mind of the reader eventually numbs from the sameness of the stories. Not so with this anthology. Each story is unique, unpredictable, and well written. I enjoyed it greatly. I give it the highest praise possible here--5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
A perfectly-chosen one volume collection of classic horror and weird fiction from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Introduction: In Search of Masterpieces · Marvin Kaye
Dracula's Guest [Dracula] · Bram Stoker · ss Dracula's Guest, London: Routledge, 1914; written in 1897 as part of Dracula, this chapter was omitted from the published book for reasons of length.
The Professor's Teddy Bear · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Weird Tales Mar '48
Bubnoff and the Devil · Ivan Turgenev & Marvin Kaye, adapt. · ss Fiends and Creatures, ed. Marvin Kaye, Popular Library, 1975
The Quest for "Blank Claveringi" · Patricia Highsmith · ss The Saturday Evening Post Jun 17 '67; revised from "The Snails".
The Erl-King · Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe · pm *; English adaption by Marvin Kaye
The Bottle Imp · Robert Louis Stevenson · nv New York Herald Feb 8-Mar 1, 1891
A Malady of Magicks [Ebenezum] · Craig Shaw Gardner · ss Fantastic Oct '78
Lan Lung [expanded from "Dragon...Ghost"] · M. Lucie Chin · nv Ares #1 '80; restored version
The Dragon Over Hackensack · Richard L. Wexelblat · pm *
The Transformation · Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley · ss The Keepsake, 1831, 1830
The Faceless Thing · Edward D. Hoch · ss Magazine of Horror Nov '63
The Anchor · Jack Snow · ss Dark Music and Other Spectral Tales, Herald, 1947
When the Clock Strikes · Tanith Lee · ss Weird Tales #1, ed. Lin Carter, DAW, 1981
Oshidori · Lafcadio Hearn · vi Kwaidan, Houghton Mifflin, 1904
Carmilla [Martin Hesselius] · Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu · na The Dark Blue Dec, 1871 (+3)
Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory · Orson Scott Card · nv Chrysalis 4, ed.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at the thrift store for about thirty-five cents, expecting the usual collection of stories that I have probably read countless times before in other anthologies.While it did have the requisite Poe and Lovecraft, I was pleasantly surprised by the offbeat and rare pieces of work this book offered. Some standouts include "Graveyard Shift" by Richard Matheson (immeasurably better than the King story of the same name, "The Night Wire" by H.F. Arnold, and Orson Scott Card's "Eumenides In The Fourth Floor Lavatory". The roster also includes such authors as Dylan Thomas, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Theodore Sturgeon. All in all, a good collection with more than a few surprises.
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Format: Hardcover
The stories in "Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural" were selected by Fantasy/SF author, Marvin Kay, and are quite a unique, well-chosen mixture, although monsters such as gigantic snails and teddy-bears-gone-wrong dominate the first section of the book, which is titled "Fiends and Creatures." Robert Louis Stevenson's Bottle Imp makes a horrific showing, as do a couple of dragons, the Devil, and the Erl-King.

"Lovers and Other Monsters" is next, and as might be expected is over-run by vampires, including Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla."

"Acts of God and Other Horrors" is part science fiction/adventure ("The Pool of the Stone God" by A. Merritt), some literature (Dylan Thomas and Leonid Andreyev), and even a poem by Ogden Nash ("A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor").

Section IV, "The Beast Within" is introduced as showcasing two kinds of horror: "man's inhumanity to his own species and--perhaps even more dreadful--the power of the human mind to create a tailor-made Hell for its 'owner.'" Quite a few 19th Century American authors show up here, including Walt Whitman, Jack London, Stephen Crane, and (of course) Ambrose Bierce.

The final section "Ghosts and Miscellaneous Nightmares" has stories you might not have seen in other supernatural story collections, including Robert Aickman's "The Hospice" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Christmas Banquet."

Here is a sampling of my favorites:

"A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor" by Ogden Nash--This is a vigorous poem with a strong moral, something it might be fun to memorize, rather like Robert Service's "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." It starts "The hands of the clock were reaching high/In a old midtown hotel;/ I name no name, but its sordid fame/ Is table talk in Hell...
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