Dark Companions (1982)
by Ramsey Campbell
Dark Companions is a book of short stories previously published in magazine’s ranging from pulp to pro markets through the 1970’s into 1980. Many of the stories have to do with childhood experiences that we can all relate to. The Chimney entailed a terrifying urban legend and a young boy who guarded the fireplace in his room every Christmas as a black figure slithered down the chimney and into his sanctuary. It wasn’t until many years later as an adult, called by the police to his parents home, that he learned what that frightening creature was. He stared in disbelief as his childhood home burned to the ground.
Other creepy stories included fan favorites Macintosh Willie, The Invocation, and Out of Copyright. The book also includes, The Puppets, a tale of first love, it’s untimely ending and it’s maligned correspondence with an old vagabond’s stage-carriage puppet show.
Dark Companions is a collection of psychologically creepy horror, quiet horror that lingers after you’ve read it. It’s a great starting point for those not indoctrinated into the work of Ramsey Campbell. These stories represent a period in which Campbell desired to break away from his Cthulhu Mythos origins and find his own voice as a weird fiction author. You will find the stories highly successful in their intentions to get under your skin and fester as each tale progresses.
I didn’t understand Campbell when I first began to read horror. I was into gore and his quiet style of storytelling was simply not for me. But then I gave him another chance and this time I let it sink in. I’ve been frightened by his work ever since.
Same with me for sure. When I was younger I didn’t think there was enough action in his stories. It wasn’t until the last 10 – 15 years that I began to appreciate his work, too 🙂
I think I`m gonna have to go to the book store and find this. Looks quite interesting.
I took the plunge and read most books on my kindle now. It’s just so much cheaper to get books and easier to read. Especially because I like to read at night and my wife can’t sleep with the light on. 🙂
True, it is. I do the same a little, but I still like going to the used bookstores and seeing what gems I can find.
Always preferred creepy horror to gore: Campbell is one of those authors who I tried to get hold of, but never found
Good to see him mentioned here