R.I.P. X – Peril of the Short Story – Updates

R.I.P. Meets Deal Me In!


I’ve completed a bunch of additional stories from my R.I.P. list and only have two to go. Here is my original post and list. Here is my last update. Some brief thoughts on the new ones I’ve finished:

♠7♠ “The Open Window” by Saki (from link at Paula Cappa’s blog) – 5 stars. Easily my favorite so far. Saki manages to pull off an amazing prank with his protagonist – and maybe even us, the reader – as the victim. Read it online at http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/OpeWin.shtml


Above: Hector Hugh Munro – a.k.a. “Saki” (I always thought he looked like Peter Lorre)

♠K♠ “The Hell Screen” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (from “The Weird” anthology) – 3 stars. I expected a lot more from this one, as it is so highly acclaimed, but in the end I was disappointed. A half-(or more!) mad artist can only paint things that he has seen with his own eyes is commissioned by the prince to paint a vision of hell.

hell screen

Above: Not exactly the hell screen described in this story, but still quite infernal

♠J♠ “Act of Contrition” by Craig Clevenger (from The New Black anthology) – 4 stars. I didn’t like this one immediately, but I kept thinking about it and it keeps growing on me. Clevenger makes you think about just what is it that causes one to become a prophet. The New Black anthology strikes again!

♠A♠ “The Very Strange House Next Door” by Shirley Jackson (from the “Just an Ordinary Day” collection” – 4 stars. Shirley Jackson hasn’t failed me yet. This was a humorous rather than creepy story, though there are supernatural elements, narrated by a woman who claims she “can’t stand gossip” but then goes on to tell the entire story in the most gossip-y way you could imagine.

dark futures

♠3♠ “Do You Want That in Blonde, Brunette, or Auburn” by Glenn Lewis Gillette (from the Dark Futures anthology) – 3 stars. This one kind of reminded me of that twilight zone episode where a convicted man sentenced to solitary confinement on an asteroid or uninhabited planet (they must have had quite a surplus of those in that universe if they’re using them for jail cells!) and is delivered a robotic “mate” since the powers that be have decided that his solitude is “cruel and unusual.” In this story, the protagonist is The Last Man on Earth and is visited by extra-terrestrial “salesmen.”

Above: Jack Warden takes on robotic Jean Marsh in the Twilight Zone episode “The Lonely” – a classic!

atwood dancing girls

♠8♠ “The Grave of the Famous Poet” by Margaret Atwood (from “Dancing Girls and Other Stories) – 4.5 stars. A pretty strong story from one of my favorite writers. Not really a horror story but so “dark” it made me want to turn on all the lights in the house. Atwood relates the tale of what, to most, would seem to be a couple’s rather mundane existence. What lies beneath the exterior, however, are the kinds of things you might suspect of some but hope aren’t true.

How’s R.I.P. X going for you this year?

Progress Report: Five “R.I.P. X” stories that I’ve Read

Well, I’ve been chugging right along and reading some of my R.I.P. stories whenever I have a window of opportunity.

First I read Edgar Allan Poe’s “Scheherazade’s Thousand-and-Second Night,” a great satire where Scheherezade pushes her luck to tell one more tale, a tale featuring the marvels of Poe’s nineteenth century world. Her husband, having listened to and believed many incredible tales over the past 1001 nights, finds this one just too “out there” even for his credulity.

Next, from the Haunted Legends anthology, I read the enticingly titled story “Spring Heel” by Steven Pirie. (Do you know the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack? My brothers and I were quite taken with it way back in the day. Wikipedia has a robust entry about it.) The story I read tells the tale of a prostitute’s meeting this legendary figure. I liked it.

Then, from Coffin Hop’s “Tall Tales of the Weird West” anthology, I read Grady Cole’s “You Are The Blood.” What do you do when your alternative history’s Wild West is infested with vampires? Send in a gunfighter of course. A special gunfighter. There’s a lot more to this story than that, though. A fun read.

Sunday, somehow during my binge-watching ALL the NFL games (aaaahhh) I squeezed in the Washington Irving story “The Engulphed Convent,” featuring the legend of a convent that, during The Moorish conquest of Spain and facing eminent capture, was swallowed into the ground whole, with nothing remaining save an occasional spectral appearance. Very nice.

Finally, just this morning I read a re-worked Grimm fairy tale, “The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs.” Though I think I’d heard most of the story before (boy born is prophesied to marry the King’s Daughter, King does everything imaginable to thwart the prophecy, King Fails) it was still an enjoyable read, and included a visit to the Devil and the Devil’s mother(!), who actually helps out our hero. I should revisit more fairy tales.

Illustration found at https://chaztales.wordpress.com/tag/devil-with-the-three-golden-hairs/

That’s what I’ve done so far. What have YOU included in your R.I.P. X reading?

R.I.P. X Challenge

Each year for the past 10 years, in the months of September and October, bloggers all over the world have participated in “R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril” challenge, reading – and blogging about – works of a darker nature. This year, the challenge is hosted by The Estella Society http://www.estellasociety.com/?p=1484

There are several participation levels and, as you might guess, one option from the challenge I’m choosing is “Peril of the Short Story.” I plan to read thirteen selected stories during this period. I also plan to complete the “Peril the Third” option, wherein participants just need to read one qualifying book. I have in mind Stephen Kings “The Dark Half,” which I’ve owned for quite awhile and just haven’t gotten to.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman!” er, I mean “R.I.P. meets Deal Me In!” (Almost as epic 🙂 ) R.I.P. Banner created by Abigail at http://www.abigaillarson.com

I’m a few days late, but I’ve finally gotten my R.I.P. act together and come up with a short story reading list for this year. As usual, I’m randomizing my reading order by assigning the stories to cards then drawing one card at a time to determine what I’ll read next.

♠A♠ “The Very Strange House Next Door” by Shirley Jackson (from the “Just an Ordinary Day” collection” – read; 4 stars

♠2♠ “The Thousand-and-second Tale of Scheherezade” by Edgar Allan Poe (from “The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe”)   – Read; 3.5 stars.

♠3♠ “Do You Want That in Blonde, Brunette, or Auburn” by Glenn Lewis Gillette (from the Dark Futures anthology) – Read; 3 stars

♠4♠ “Legend of the Engulphed Convent” by Washington Irving – read; 3.5 stars

♠5♠ “The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs” from Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Philip Pullman’s New English Version edition) – read 3 stars

♠6♠ “Mr. Dark’s Carnival” by Glenn Hirshberg (from The Two Sams story collection)

♠7♠ “The Open Window” by Saki (from link at Paula Cappa’s blog) – read; 5 stars

♠8♠ “The Grave of the Famous Poet” by Margaret Atwood (from “Dancing Girls and Other Stories) – read; 4.5 stars

♠9♠ “The Spring Heel” by Steven Pirie (from the Haunted Legends anthology) read; 3.5 stars

♠10♠ “You Are the Blood” by Grady Cole (from the “Tall Tales of the Weird West” anthology) read; 3 stars

♠J♠ “Act of Contrition” by Craig Clevenger (from The New Black anthology) read; 3.5 stars

♠Q♠ “Darling Adolf” by Ray Bradbury (from Bradbury Stories)

♠K♠ “The Hell Screen” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (from “The Weird” anthology) read; 3 stars

Well, what do you think of my choices this year? Do you see any familiar stories among my thirteen? Are you participating in R.I.P. this year? Last year, I read these for R.I.P.: https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/the-r-i-p-challenge/