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Below the Stairs: Tales from the Cellar Paperback – October 1, 2017
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This, the second in our 'Things in the Well*' series of anthologies, contains 21 short, scary tales from below the stairs. A common theme, each story is longer than the preceding one, adding to the effect of being drawn down the stairs into a gloomy cellar. to present the best tales we could find, we've included a few reprints from some of the world's best horror writers (Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Paul Kane) plus new tales from modern masters and stories by some (as yet) lesser known writers.
The Thing in the Cellar by David H. Keller
The Root Cellar by Toby Bennett
The Basement Apartment by Mark Allan Gunnells
Trapped by Theresa Derwin
Purgatory in Perpetuity by David Turnbull
The Cellars by Ramsey Campbell
Breeding Black by Chad Lutzke
The Memory Man by Steve Dillon
Bloodworms by Noel Osualdini
Below Deck by K.N. Johnson
An Endless Echo in Every Empty Space by Matthew R Davis
The Vaults by Katherine Wielechowski
Creakers by Paul Kane
The Bone Vine by Erin Cole
The Stairwell by Chris Mason
Below Ground by Charlie Walls
Hell’s Event by Clive Barker
The Watchman by Brian Craddock
Eyes of Glass by Stephen Herczeg
Under the Pyramids by H.P. Lovecraft with Harry Houdini
Warding by Kev Harrison 70
*The first 'Things in the Well' anthology is "Between the Tracks - Tales from the Ghost Train" and is available separately.
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About the Author
Ramsey Campbell is one of the most respected writers of horror and weird fiction. He has won more awards than any other living author of horror or dark fantasy, including the World Fantasy Award Life Award in 2015, 14 British Fantasy Awards, 4 World Fantasy Awards, 3 Bram Stoker Awards, 3 Horror Guild Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and more. Campbell's most recent novels and novellas include Born to the Dark, The Searching Dead, Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach, The Booking (novella), Think Yourself Lucky, The Last Revelation Of Gla'aki, and The Pretence, and his most recent collections include Inconsequential Tales, Just Behind You, Holes for Faces, and Limericks of the Alarming and Phantasmal. Many of his tales have been included in anthologies, and Campbell himself has edited or co-edited several anthologies. In recent months an anthology of stories was published, called 'The Children of Gla'aki - a Tribute to Ramsey Campbell's Old One' in which each story was inspired by Campbell's short story The Inhabitant of the Lake. Initially influenced by Lovecraft and Machen among others, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants was published by Arkham House when he was eighteen years old. On the advice of August Derleth, he later relocated his story settings from Lovecraft country to more familiar English settings in and around the fictional city of Brichester, which he positioned near the River Severn. Much of the later work is set in or near Liverpool (See Secret Stories, Creatures of the Pool, et al.) For many years he was the President of the British Fantasy Society, and S. T. Joshi once stated of Campbell: "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."
- Publisher : Things in the Well; Softback 6x9 ed. edition (October 1, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 412 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0994592264
- ISBN-13 : 978-0994592262
- Item Weight : 1.21 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.84 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,787,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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BELOW THE STAIRS is a collection of 21 stories, all revolving around that terror of terrors, the basement. For some reason, parents just love to torture their kids by relentlessly having them go down that long series of stairs, usually poorly lit, to get folding chairs or some such thing – always in the far corner. Yes, I was one of those kids. My aunt and uncle had a half finished basement when my grandmother lived. But under the stairs was an alcove – with no light – that I was constantly asked to visit to get things. Not much scares me anymore, but the thought of going down there sends shivers down my spine. If you’ve never experienced that, I envy you.
So, here’s my breakdown – I’m going to do it a little different than my usual anthology reviews (trying something new). I’m going to write a quick blurb and then give a rating.
The Thing in the Cellar by David H. Keller – Parents may want to take a cue from their children. You might not think somethings down there, but kids know better. (A)
The Root Cellar by Toby Bennett - I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in a basement with regular wall. But if I ever find myself in a root cellar with dirt walls, you can bet I won’t be pulling at things sticking out of them. Not so for Jodie. (B)
The Basement Apartment by Mark Allan Gunnells – One of my favorites. I’ve recently started reading Mark after getting a taste of his work in another anthology and will be seeking out more from him. This was a great story about the perils of moving out on your own. (A+)
Trapped by Theresa Derwin – A robber gets more than he bargained for breaking into a house. I felt the tension was there, with no real payoff. (B-)
Purgatory in Perpetuity by David Turnbull – A girl has to take up the mantel of caring for her grandmother under unusual circumstances. Another favorite of mine. (A+)
The Cellars by Ramsey Campbell – Truly not sure how I felt about this one. First, who takes a date into catacombs? Be that as it may, some weird stuff happens down there, including a room that shouldn’t be there. (B-)
Breeding Black by Chad Lutzke – Why this man isn’t on the NY Times Best Seller list is beyond me. Someone needs to open their eyes and check Chad out. This was such a great story about… well, if I actually say, I’ll give it away. (A+)
The Memory Man by Steve Dillon – Usually any story that starts with whiskey spilling (alcohol abuse in my book) would immediately get an F rating from me (can you tell I’m a whiskey drinker), but not Steve’s story. This was such a mind (insert colorful expletive here) that I can’t begin to do it justice here. (A) [would have been an A+ but there’s that whole wasting whiskey thing]
Bloodworms by Noel Osualdini – This one was plain weird. It started out very interesting and then wound up like a cross between Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, and Tim Burton’s Sandworm in Beetlejuice. (B)
Below Deck by K.N. Johnson – A great “ghost story” on a boat. Creepy, and enjoyable. (A)
An Endless Echo in Every Empty Space by Matthew R Davis – In any anthology, especially one as large as this one, there’s bound to be a “clunker”. This story was that for me. I didn’t get the time-jumping, and the story just didn’t hold my interest at all. (D)
The Vaults by Katherine Wielechowski – I love to go on Ghost Walks whenever I get a chance. However, after reading this story, I can guarantee I won’t be going on any that take you below ground. (A)
Creakers by Paul Kane – Look, anyone that has Clive Barker’s endorsement to write about (and within) the Hellraiser canon deserves to be in anything he submits to; and this is no exception. Ray has to deal with selling his parent’s house along with whatever is attached to it – is it memories or something else? (A+)
The Bone Vine by Erin Cole – Wow, this was just out of the park weird. Meg’s brother-in-law finds an artifact that cures everything, after a little sacrifice, including death. But what is the true cost, really? (B+)
The Stairwell by Chris Mason – OK, admit it, if you’ve ever stayed at a hotel, or apartment complex, you know there is always that space under the stairs on the first floor, in the stairwell. And how many of us want to look under there, but don’t? Well, Peter knows exactly what’s down there, and doesn’t like it. (A-)
Below Ground by Charlie Walls – Lots of stories have been written about a race of beings that either exist alongside Man or before Man. Some call them angels, some call them demons, some call them masters, and others call them gods – but almost every culture has something like that. This is a story about what happens if you actually see one when you aren’t supposed to. (A-)
Hell’s Event by Clive Barker – Does this man even need an introduction? You cannot have even the slightest interest in the horror genre and not know who Clive Barker is. This is a very interesting story about a race for democracy. (A)
The Watchman by Brian Craddock – I enjoyed this one. Just when you thought you had it figured out, Brian throws you for a loop. While it was quite sad, it was enjoyable, none the less. (A)
Eyes of Glass by Stephen Herczeg – OK, right below clowns and children of the corn, dolls are in the top five of creepiest things. Dolls that are possessed, well anyone see the movie Annabelle? (A+)
Under the Pyramids by H.P. Lovecraft with Harry Houdini – I’m a huge fan of Lovecraft and Houdini, but this story left me flat. Harry is in Egypt and after being abducted discovers a realm where monsters dwell. (C)
Warding by Kev Harrison – A nice way to end the anthology. Witchcraft, spells, bindings, and finding things in a new house that you shouldn’t. (A)
There you have it. This was a HUGE tome that took me a while to get through. There’s some very good stuff between these covers, but then some that just didn’t have that wow factor for me. What I do like is when an anthology has a theme like this. Rather than random stories, they all have something in common. It’s interesting to see what authors come up with to match the editor’s vision.