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Old 07-09-2008, 05:05 PM   #1
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Stories in the Dark-Barry Pain (1901)

A colection of strange tales from the primarily humoritst Barry Pain.

http://www.horrormasters.com/SS_Col_Pain1.htm

Have read all the stories,except one,during one single day,so it isnt any potential loss.

Contents

The Diary of a God
This Is All
The Moon-Slave

The Green Light
The Magnet
The Case of Vincent Pyrwhit
The Bottom of the Gulf
The End of a Show
The Undying Thing
The Gray Cat

Ive "ilatic"-ed those that I full heartily recomend-however,all the others are worth a read,just that,if you dont have enough time,you can skip them for now.

(Note:Anything beyond THIS POINT are Spoilers)

Though,im more then 50% inclined to recomend "The End of a Show" as well- except that it is a LITLE rushed-even a bit more then M.P.Shiel's "The Pale Ape".The Gray Cat is a typical "african negro transformation story"-(note:using the word to denote the period,as well as the contents,though it goes nowhere NEAR the levels of racism found in Bram Stokers "The Lair of the white worm"-the only time I was glad the black guy died,so I wouldnt have to bear through it any longer),while "The Case of Vincent Pyrwhit" is a ,what is now considered,"typical" ghost tale, but one must consider the fact this was published in 1901 and most certainly writne even sooner-so one has to accept that in this time,this particular device was by no means so ovr-used as typecast as "cliché" or repetive by the degrees it is today.

"This Is All" is a short story of psychological horror and again ,while the pointe may seem used-up from the view-point of a reader of today,once again th period of publication and writing have to be considered.

"The Magnet" is a psychological horror tale too,but of the "unsupernatural" sort-but anyone whose read Henry Béraud's "Lazarus" knows a good Weird tale can be composed even without the supernatural geting involved,however it is stil good if its there,for my part.

"The Green Light" is a sort of a crime story,but we have implications here that could link to both madness and or some supernatural influence,but that is all up to the reader.

Now to discus the stories I DO recomend:

* The Diary of a God-I would use the words HPL used to describe "Lazarus"-"a remarkable study of a vivid phase of madness".The image of the desolate, lifeless moors and the protagonist wandering upon them,his mind absorbed by their stilness is superb and thusly would get a 7.04/11

* The Bottom of the Gulf -a short,working tale.The opening lines could have been done a bit beter to not ilustrate the Roman scene in a tad sardonic light, but that efect only last half a page (of the tales two)-so for that, 7.56/11

* The Moon-Slave-a remarkable litle story,whose final lines give a double pointe-to the person use to average "satanic" elements,it could simply sugest hell,however,whose read Bensons "The Man who went too far" and a CERTAIN novela by A.Machen will know diferent.Excelnt idea,made in short form-the opening lines,reminding one of a fairy tale can be slightly off-puting at the start,but after it just exceeds itself. 8.31/11

* The Undying Thing-the true masterpiece of the colection-on is reminded of Shiel's "The Pale Ape"-which it could say to exceed in some points and Walter De La Mare's masterfull tale of the abnormal,"ABO".The flavour is only slightly diluted with the length of the old mans short reminescence and then by the fact we dont even get a hint of apearance of the titular creature-while "the undscribebable" is a comon thing i literature,both De La Mare and others have managed to show us there are very few of the things that we cant at least give a vague outline about.That being said,my rating of this is 9.03/11

Also,I include a corected version of Pain's 1911 "Stories(Studies?) in Grey" story colection story (whose entierety can be found here http://ia331335.us.archive.org/2/ite...nuoft_djvu.txt
) "Smeth",which has been listed as a supernatural tale.While ive tried to compress it and erade some of the erros-which are quite minor in comparison with say archive's text of "The Epicurean",as you all probably know-I did not manage to corect one mistake-"tah(?) he do it again?"-this does,however not damage the text in any way-I simply could not come up with a word fiting the corupted stub.

As a whole,aftr having read Pain's "An Exchange of souls"-I have to say that he was a beter weird writer priot to 1911,when An exchange came out-dont get me wrong,its a marvelous tale anybody should read,its only that,when Pains other works of the weird were ignored or called uncharacteristic of his humorous style,he probably tried to make An Exchage more "tolerable" for the cristics by puting in litle sardonic phrases-theese are,even if plentifull,gradualy left behind before the half of the book,mostly.And for good reason.

While Pain was surely a good humorist,the disposability of this market,especialy for the public for which Pain and Jerome wrote,would make a modern reader not exactly tremble with joy-as much as with Poe's humour,though,of course to a lesser decree,seeing as Poe has a particularily anoying style of "funny",which has become extremely dated these days.I will probably do a "review" of Poe's humour at a future time.

A colection of Pain,Jerome and one other writer has apeared ,having supernatural tales from theese humorists,mostly FROM Stories in the dark, some,like Smeath,from Studies in Grey.This has to be honored,because of what Pain left behind otherwise-like with R.W.Chambers,whose "shop girl" romances have been proclaimed unuterabely terrible by a learned person of Chambers' work and reviewer of "The yellow sign and other tales"-is ,frankly,not worth looking into,unless you are either a dated humour fan or a person studying Pain as a whole.

Cheers
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