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James Herbert

GNC

King-Sized Canary
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Aug 25, 2001
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Anyone read any James Herbert here? I read a lot as a teenager, stuff like The Rats and its sequels, but grew out of him quickly. I did read Others a few years ago, which was fair enough, but as he's Britain's most successful horror author it's funny he doesn't get the same kind of respect as Stephen King.

The reason I was reminded was that I picked up a copy of The Fog recently and found it quite a decent little potboiler as they used to call them, a few bits of nastiness in a 1970s way but not bad at all for a Kneale or Wyndham style English apocalypse. Then for Christmas I got a copy of '48, his alternative WW2 novel, which I'll get around to soon (I hope).

He's been quiet for a while I see, but does anyone here have any liking for his particular brand of chillers?
 
Read quite a few of his when I was younger. Having married into Mr Snail's book collection I've now come across more. :D
 
I too read quite a fewer when I was younger, I've missed some of his more recent offerings and he seems to have gone quiet...
 
Can't say i care for him that much, but i got through Moon and a couple of other nasty stories a few years back, well, only when it was the best quality reading material i could get on remand :shock:

What's the one with the haunted house where there's the flashback to the woman getting the shotgun blasted into her geneiva convention?
 
Read quite a few, I enjoyed the magic cottage just about the time we were moving to a place in the country. :eek!!!!:
 
...and again, I got through a lot of them in my teens. There was a definite wave of Herbertism* among my peers at school and we all swapped books (and I guess, as many of us on here are sort-of the same generation, we were all of the target demographic when Herbert was at his most productive and high-profile.) I do remember a lot of my lot being disappointed with Fluke, probably as it wasn't as graphic and breathless (and IIRC it immediately stood out as it had a white cover whereas all the other Herbert paperbacks were black), but actually I quite enjoyed it.
BRF said:
What's the one with the haunted house where there's the flashback to the woman getting the shotgun blasted into her geneiva convention?
The Fog. I've still got that one, and (I think) Lair, but the rest have all been lost or lent over the years. Haven't read any for ages, though.



* In more ways than one
 
I think he doesn't get the same sort of respect as Stephen King because he's not got a fraction of his talent.
 
I've recently read '48 (mainly because it was in Poundland!), and Once... (because it was cheap in a charity shop...), and enjoyed them both, each in their own way.

'48 was perhaps a little thin, inasmuch as it left me wanting to know more about this strange, alternate, post-WWII vision of Britain. It was like a single episode of Survivors, with more to come.

Once was somewhat heftier, and a good old-fashioned (but modern) fairy story, with plenty of light horror and sex thrown in.

Of the two books, and since we're making comparisons with Stephen King, I'd say that Once would stand up pretty well in the King oeuvre, which you couldn't really say of The Rats, for example!
 
stuneville said:
BRF said:
What's the one with the haunted house where there's the flashback to the woman getting the shotgun blasted into her geneiva convention?
The Fog. I've still got that one, and (I think) Lair, but the rest have all been lost or lent over the years. Haven't read any for ages, though.

I've just read The Fog and it isn't that one! Might have been Sepulchre? It's so long since I've read the others, to be honest.

It is funny how a certain generation grew up with him, there was always something more forbidden about his books than yer King or Barker that made his books required reading for about a million people once upon a time. He must still be selling to someone, all his novels are still in print.

As to him being less talented than King, that's probably true, but doesn't mean you don't race through a James Herbert much faster, he does have a way with the pageturner. I suppose you'd call it "lean prose" if you were a book reviewer.
 
gncxx said:
I've just read The Fog and it isn't that one! Might have been Sepulchre? It's so long since I've read the others, to be honest.
Right you are - it was The Dark.

Which, in fairness, is The Fog all over again, but longer, and for "fog" read "dark".
 
Full story:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpres ... 359156084A

OBE for best-selling horror author

James Herbert, one of the world's greatest horror writers, was awarded an OBE by the Prince of Wales - and then surprised the royal by telling him "you're in my new book".

Herbert, 67, has frightened millions of readers with his novels featuring the supernatural or threats to mankind like nuclear war or flesh eating giant rats.

During the 1970s a succession of novels like The Fog and Lair were must-read books which left readers with their hearts racing, and he has hogged the best-seller lists ever since.

After the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony on Friday, the writer described the OBE, for services to literature, as an honour and something his late mother would have been proud of.

He added: "I believe it's the first time a horror writer has had an award of this kind. Strangely enough this year they had the world horror convention in England and they gave me the award - Grand Master of Horror.

"The recipient before me was Stephen King - so he'll be pleased for me today as we're old friends."

His latest work will be called Ash, the name of the character who has featured in another of his books, and will probably be published in two parts...

Congratulations, Mr Herbert! And nice to hear that he's still working away on his next book(s). He doesn't say anything bad about Prince Charles in it, by the way, so presumably he doesn't get eaten by a giant rat or something.
 
I remember reading The Damnation Game by Clive Barker when he was largely unknown, on the front cover of which was a quote from Herbert praising the book. A little while after, I read Sepuchre by Herbert and was struck by the ahem similarities.

James Herbert was read by me (like a lot of other posters here) during my teens when the setup back story/sex/grisly death formula seemed really cool but I grew out of him. He always seemed like a slightly upmarket Sean Hutson (which is a kind of compliment).

To add a certain piquancy, all the books I owned of his came from the hotel where my mum worked, a guest had checked in with about six or seven James Herbert novels and then disappeared leaving all his clothes passport and valuables behind. The valuables and effects went to the police, the bag of books wound up with me and the guest never reappeared :shock: .
 
Heckler20 said:
I remember reading The Damnation Game by Clive Barker when he was largely unknown, on the front cover of which was a quote from Herbert praising the book. A little while after, I read Sepuchre by Herbert and was struck by the ahem similarities.

James Herbert was read by me (like a lot of other posters here) during my teens when the setup back story/sex/grisly death formula seemed really cool but I grew out of him. He always seemed like a slightly upmarket Sean Hutson (which is a kind of compliment).

To add a certain piquancy, all the books I owned of his came from the hotel where my mum worked, a guest had checked in with about six or seven James Herbert novels and then disappeared leaving all his clothes passport and valuables behind. The valuables and effects went to the police, the bag of books wound up with me and the guest never reappeared :shock: .

Looking back, detecives discovered that Heckler developed his cannibalistic tendencies at an early age.
 
Heckler20 said:
I remember reading The Damnation Game by Clive Barker when he was largely unknown, on the front cover of which was a quote from Herbert praising the book. A little while after, I read Sepuchre by Herbert and was struck by the ahem similarities.

James Herbert was read by me (like a lot of other posters here) during my teens when the setup back story/sex/grisly death formula seemed really cool but I grew out of him. He always seemed like a slightly upmarket Sean Hutson (which is a kind of compliment).

I really enjoyed Sepulchre though I did read The Damnation Game, but now can't remember much about it. I used to like Barker before the pretensions took over and I found his stuff impossible to follow, but as for Hutson I only read one of his which was Assassins, and was completely ridiculous. Maybe Herbert could be silly too, but he didn't strike me that way as a teen.
 
Another teenage Herbert reader here too. I loved them when I was about 13, but don't think I've seen any of his books since the mid 80s (when they were abundant in charity shops and second hand bookshops). Is he still going?

Must have been a huge influence on the legendary Garth Marenghi. :D
 
Tapeloop said:
Must have been a huge influence on the legendary Garth Marenghi. :D

Oh I dunno, I always thought with the bad glasses he looked more like Hutson.

gncxx said:
I used to like Barker before the pretensions took over

Amen, once Barker wandered off into the 1000+ page dark fantasy nonsense I tuned out.
 
Another teenage Herbert reader here too. I loved them when I was about 13, but don't think I've seen any of his books since the mid 80s (when they were abundant in charity shops and second hand bookshops). Is he still going?
Hell yeah, He's still around and some of his more recent work is his best! Have a go at "The Others" "Once" and my favourite "Nobody True" Horror fiction at its best in my humble opinion.
 
rushfan62 said:
Another teenage Herbert reader here too. I loved them when I was about 13, but don't think I've seen any of his books since the mid 80s (when they were abundant in charity shops and second hand bookshops). Is he still going?
Hell yeah, He's still around and some of his more recent work is his best! Have a go at "The Others" "Once" and my favourite "Nobody True" Horror fiction at its best in my humble opinion.

And as someone who is currently volunteering in a charity shop, I can confirm that copies of his books from the eighties are still very much in circulation...
 
As a little tribute to the late Mr Herbert, I took one of his books down off the shelf recently and read Creed. He described it as his Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, but it wasn't exactly hilarious though I did laugh in a few places. It's more like his version of Dennis Wheatley, and none the worse for that, a pageturner as I expected. The benevolent portrtayal of the paparazzi was interesting (it was written before 1997).
 
Just finished The Spear, Herbert's Nazi novel where he tried to present Himmler as worse than Hitler in the popular imagination. The way he went about that was... interesting. Basically a group of neo-Nazis try to restage World War 2 using occult means. Nice that the heroine rather than the hero saves the day (without spoiling it), though one element would be inadvisable in the current climate: one of the main villains is a hermaphrodite!
 
I was yet another reader of Herbert as a teenager. Judging by this thread, his early books seem to have been a viral hit in that demographic, back in the day. In my case I heard about The Rats via (1980s) classroom word of mouth.

I preferred Lair to The Rats, and didn't read beyond that at the time, but I read Nobody True a few years ago and enjoyed that.
 
As a little tribute to the late Mr Herbert, I took one of his books down off the shelf recently and read Creed. He described it as his Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, but it wasn't exactly hilarious though I did laugh in a few places. It's more like his version of Dennis Wheatley, and none the worse for that, a pageturner as I expected. The benevolent portrtayal of the paparazzi was interesting (it was written before 1997).

Creed was an interesting character, could've had a whole series written about him.
 
Creed was an interesting character, could've had a whole series written about him.

He did seem to have a lot more mileage, but alas Mr Herbert didn't, he didn't write many more novels afterwards.
 
By coincidence, I read Shrine when the film version was being released, renamed The Unholy. It's been getting terrible reviews, but the book is really good, bit of a slow-burner about apparent miracles in a quiet English village. Of course it all goes horribly wrong, but this may be one of Mr Herbert's most underrated books (probably because it's not as violent as the others, apart from Fluke).

Anyone seen the film? @ramonmercado ?
 
By coincidence, I read Shrine when the film version was being released, renamed The Unholy. It's been getting terrible reviews, but the book is really good, bit of a slow-burner about apparent miracles in a quiet English village. Of course it all goes horribly wrong, but this may be one of Mr Herbert's most underrated books (probably because it's not as violent as the others, apart from Fluke).

Anyone seen the film? @ramonmercado ?

Sounds interesting, I'll watch out for the film. Haven't read the book either.
 
I did read the Rats many years back, but for some reason it never scared me. I have been going through novels like toilet paper since the first lockdown so if anyone has a particular recc for him, I’ll definitely buy it!
 
I haven't read any Herbert for ages but downloaded The Magic Cottage out of curiosity to my Kindle. I just can't get into it at all. I read a bit and then just find my mind wandering and interest fading.
 
I read "The Magic Cottage" a couple of years ago. No idea why, not my normal sort of thing.

It was rubbish.

But very readable, silly, entertaining rubbish.


I felt kind of ashamed afterwards tho :D
 
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