The Imago Sequence: And Other Stories Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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The title story of this collection - a devilishly ironic riff on H. P. Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" - was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, while "Probiscus" was nominated for an International Horror Guild award and reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 19. In addition to his previously published work, this collection contains an original story.
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 9 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 21, 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #28,183 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#35 in Horror Anthologies & Short Stories
#66 in Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories (Audible Books & Originals)
#123 in Horror Anthologies (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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The stories did not disappoint. As a fan of Lovecraft, I absolutely enjoyed the cosmic horror. But these had a more modern taste and, unlike Lovecraft, the characters are more realistic.
This man is at the head of modern horror and, since coming across this book years ago, I've voraciously sought out every title Mr. Barron puts out.
If you want to experience quality modern horror be sure to start here.
And then there’s “Proboscis.” I didn’t quite get it at first; the epiphany and the terrifying scene that follows seem at first to come out of nowhere. (Notwithstanding, it threw a good scare into me.) Now I’m thinking that not quite getting it may be the point and I’m liking the story better and better for it. I’m still not sure whether I should be piecing together the insect lore or piecing together signs of incipient burnout in the narrator.
Some close calls. I like those, too. (Even when Barron is slightly off, he’s on.)
Endings can be an issue here. “Shiva -- Open Your Eye” is wonderful for as long as it stays on point. But having reached its summit, Barron goes on four more pages and, expanding the scope, diminishes the effect.
Similarly, I liked the title story quite a bit, including the ending, but the lead-in to the ending felt expedient. (A stranger in a strange land shouldn’t wind up in exactly the right spot.)
And I think I know what Barron was after in “Procession of the Black Sloth” -- something akin to the slithery cross-cultural dread that powered the better of the “Grudge” films. Alas, he doesn’t quite get there -- someone has to spell it all out for us at the end -- and I’m tempted to interpret the story’s drawn-out quality and relative tameness as signals of tentativeness.
“The Royal Zoo Is Closed” and the closer “Hour of the Cyclops” are minor fare I’ve already visited with other guides -- though well-written and for better or worse Barron does innovate a bit in the latter with a lightly funny tone.
Finally, while “Parallax” seems a frequent favorite among other readers, I couldn't make a connection. Not even close. There’s just something inauthentic in its bloodstream that holds me at bay. The sense of intimacy -- both mine with the protagonist and the protagonist's with his wife -- pulled up short of the mark.
A first for me with Barron's work -- and thus a not-uninformative experience in itself.
I have been a devoted fan of horror since about the third grade when I found Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery in my school's library and have been on the hunt for new ways to shake things up (mentally) ever since. Unfortunately, much current horror is slasher- and torture-porn, which honestly, I think anyone with even minor writing skills can pull off. It simply isn't scary to me. I don't mind blood and guts if it contributes to a story line, just not so it's the whole point of the story. I prefer my horror more subtle; a creeping, unsettling feeling that things are just not right and maybe haven't been all along and then it all goes down the s*itter from there. I particularly liked William Hope Hodges' House on the Borderlands, very strange and creepy. It can be read for free on G ute nb e rg . c o m. Crouch End and "N" by S.K. were also quite good, so if you've read those and liked them, I think this might do ya.
Top reviews from other countries
Yes, the Lovecraftian influences are there, but so are the influences of Peter Straub, M. R. James, Jim Thompson, and a host of crime, noir, literary and horror writers. Yet Barron doesn’t just borrow from this venerated list, he creates his own style, creating a unique cosmos that is thought provoking, insightful, and highly entertaining.
These are stories about men and women who while battling, and in many instances, succumbing to the darker side of nature, the uncanny, the horrors of the ancients, are also fighting the darkness inside themselves, the past, age, vanity, mortality, and all the human ineptitudes that haunt them.
'The Imago Sequence' is added to my small pool of re-reads. I get whisked away by Barron's fluid style. He brings everything to the table and I think 'The Imago Sequence' would be a different reading each time.
This book is absolutely fantastic. I've not been this enthused since Barker's 'Books of Blood'. Barron's imagery is really something else.
My only regret is that 'The Imago Sequence' went under the radar for so long. I'd heard Laird Barron's name; the excellent 'Black Wings...' series was my first outing in his unique Universe.
So pleased there's a large back catalogue. Final words: you really must read 'The Imago Sequence'. It's broad enough to cater for 'the everyman' but pure delight for Horror fans.
If you can get a copy from a library, check it out, it may be just what you were looking for. But for me, genuine horror stories are so hard to find.