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Baker's Dozen

Some Will Not Sleep: Adam Nevill's Favourite Horror Short Stories
Sean Kitching , October 30th, 2016 07:40

To mark the Halloween release of his own first collection of short stories, Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors, horror novelist and genre aficionado, Adam Nevill, selects a Baker’s Dozen of his favourite short stories from contemporary writers in the field of modern horror. As with Nevill’s 2015 filmic Baker’s Dozen, fans of the genre are going to find an abundance of suggestions to work through on this list. (Written by Adam Nevill, as relayed to Sean Kitching)


Jonathan Thomas – ‘Tempting Providence’
Returning to his university as an honoured alumnus, the photographer of "The Beautiful and the Condemned: Parting Shots" series, Justin, finds Providence, New England, to be much changed. He walks the city to identify what has remained and what has been demolished and desecrated by commercial modernisation. He also observes the old town with a similar eye to the antiquarian, H. P. Lovecraft. This develops into a conviction that he has also seen Lovecraft's ghost.

When he rereads Lovecraft's 'The Haunter of the Dark' he becomes uneasy with an uncanny resonance that the tale matches to his visit; his unaccountable hunger and restlessness, and sense of being observed. "The protagonist's dread "of something which would ceaselessly follow him with a cognition that was not physical sight" reminded Justin of the hypothetical unseen trespassers during yesterday's nap."

The original story evokes itself into a strange life around his experience of the town: "His skin, meanwhile, crawled at visions of what had fastened on him." Soon, a great "cosmic angler" might also be fishing for him, across time and space.

Jeffrey's promised exhibition is a bust, caused by the same unscrupulous machinations that have ruined much of Lovecraft's Providence, while the gallery space begins to function as a portal between dimensions, assuring a ghastly end for someone ...

Part literary commentary, part power-tourism (what seems like a gourmet's guide to the city), Tempting Providence, above all, is enthusiastically and cosmically horrifying. A slacker-humourous and disturbing tale that functions as a clever sequel to Lovecraft's 'The Haunter of the Dark'. An approach the author repeated to great effect, by writing a contemporary sequel to Lovecraft's masterpiece, 'The Colour out of Space', in his novel, The Colour Over Occam.

Recommendation: Tempting Providence and Other Stories (Hippocampus)