Nightmare Fuel! Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan…Make It Your Next Read…

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“Agents of Dreamland is a new Lovecraftian horror novella from award-winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan…

In this new novella, a government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible ― the Children of the Next Level ― and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.”

(MysteryTribune.com)

”Death cults, fungus, and the vast, time-hopping conspiracies of eldritch horrors, oh my. Caitlìn R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland had everything I love crammed into a deceptively slim novella. Kiernan, one of the sharpest voices in weird fiction, has created a bleak and beautiful playground and her new edition of her first Signalman novella, Black Helicopters, is one I’m hoping to see in 2018. I can never get enough nightmare fuel.”

(TOR.com)

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Caly, a Vintage Horror PB by Sharon Combes

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My Favorite Covers—Low Red Moon, a Novel of Deep Time by Caitlin R. Kiernan, ROC Press, 2003

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My Favorite Covers—Threshold, a Novel of Deep Time by Caitlin R. Kiernan, ROC Press, 2001

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Blue Bayou, from Dreamcatcher Soundtrack, 2003

1980s Horror! The Nest by Douglas Gregory

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The Nest by Gregory A. Douglas: a rare treasure.

Description

It was just an ordinary garbage dump on peaceful Cape Cod. No one ever imagined that conditions were perfect for multiple breeding, that it was a warm womb, fetid, moist and with food so plentiful that everything crawling, creeping and slithering could gorge to satiation. Then the change in poison control was made and the huge mutants began to leave their nest – in search of human flesh.

On a 2-mile-long, 1-mile-wide island near Cape Cod, the small community there is unaware that the cockroaches infesting the nearby dump are undergoing a strange and frightening mutation. No, this isn’t a “giant bug” novel, though these cockroaches are slightly larger than normal. These roaches have rapidly evolved to form a hive-mind intelligence, as well as much stronger mandibles. There are hundreds of thousands of them. And they’re hungry.

This was an above-average creature feature, definitely a step above the typical “nasties” of the 70s and 80s whose authors hoped to cash in on the success of James Herbert’s Rats trilogy. Still, 448 pages is a bit much for a killer bug story, though the writing was grade-A pulpy goodness, with vivid, disgusting descriptions of gruesome roach on human violence. Here’s a typical example:

“The boy dropped his own body over his sister’s, trying to shield her. The bloodthirsty insects crawled between them, now tearing and ripping at both juvenile bodies. [The girl’s] silken corn hair was ropy with her blood and her brother’s. Their empty-socketed eyes stared at each other face to frail face as they perished in this storm more horrible than the sea had ever hurled at [the island].”

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Urn and Willow, A Ghost Story in Parts by Scott Thomas — Part 1: Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit…

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Urn and Willow

A Novel by Scott Thomas, 2012

Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit

Massachusetts, 1836



All across Amesborough families huddled in dim parlors, owl-eyed by fires as autumn winds rushed and rasped and made windows tremble in their frames. The hour was late, and while most of the inhabitants should have been tucked under covers dreaming, this was not the case. Fathers, mothers, children, and hirelings waited, fidgeting, saying little or talking inexhaustibly for the sake of distraction. Such was the situation in the humble Browne house, in the eastern part of town where the trees were all but bare and the chill hand of the season held sway.

Abner Browne, lean, white-capped and weathered, was the oldest person in the house. He occupied the comfiest chair and sat with a blanket over his legs, his feet near the logs. His two grandchildren, a boy of ten and a girl of twelve, were close on low stools.

“Whereupon I said to Barrows, ‘It can’t be much farther beyond that hill –” the old man was telling a story that all the other Brownes in the room were familiar with, a tale which under other circumstances would have been welcomed like a comfortably worn piece of clothing. But tonight his words were little more than a drone in preoccupied minds.

Abner’s son, Tristam, who had proven successful as a joiner and owned the building the family occupied, was at the window with one of the curtains pulled slightly from the panes so that he could peer out. His body was pressed to the wall, off to the side, as if he expected a rhinoceros to come bursting through at any moment.

His wife Ann, who sat close to the blaze across from her father-in-law, watched Tristam intently, her face tight. Neglected knitting sat in her lap, the wrinkles in her bunched apron like black spoons. She observed her husband as he squinted and craned and as he let the curtain drop back in place before returning quietly to his own chair. He lighted, seeming to give ear to his father’s tale, but was up and back at the window after a moment.

Abner Browne broke off from his telling and scowled. “You’ll have a path worn in the floor afore the night is through, Tristam.”

“Would you have me sit and do nothing?” Tristam countered, not so respectful of his father as was usually the case.

“What more is there to do, son? If he comes, he comes.”

Olive, the girl, face awash in firelight, looked up, her voice a tremble. “Do you think he shall come here, Grandfather?”

The old man gave her a small, almost sad smile. “I can no more say if it should or should not rain, though my bones tell me that at times.”

“Do your bones tell anything of Mr. Woodbridge?”

Abner chuckled. “Nothing, alas.”

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