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Arresteddecay (Arresteddecay)
Username: Arresteddecay

Registered: 08-2012
Posted From: 71.67.181.19
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - 10:52 pm:   

I'm trying to decide between two of his books. The Overnight versus Midnight Sun. It's difficult because I'm intrigued by both, and I can't really get nudged one way or another because ratings are always so mixed.

I loved the The Grin of The Dark, and I'm enjoying Ancient Images, but I think my favorite of the two is the former. I do tend to love the evil force/creature to be very unusual. Beyond being just a ghost. I like it to be unsettlingly "wrong".

Also, why IS public reaction to his work so divided? It's disconcerting. He seems to be critically loved, and he's joining my list of favorite authors, but reviews are so mixed on amazon and goodreads.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.144.35.36
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 12:49 am:   

Welcom Mr Decay

In answer to your first question - go for the House on Nazareth Hill.

In answer to the second - because you need to concentrate on Ramsey's books. They demand the reader put some effort into understanding them. For readers of Dan Brown this is something they don't like. They want fiction that spoon-feeds.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 01:17 am:   

I say, as to the last question, because Amazon reviews are filled with f---heads and haters and trolls and other assorted ass-leakages.

To people who bash Ramsey, well... to paraphrase someone from a totally disparate forum I came across the other day: I'd like to see them beaten so hard, you'd think they fallen in a paint vat at the Radio Flyer factory.

("see them," of course, because I myself abhor violence)
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.244.38
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 01:34 am:   

Hiya, and welcome to the RCMB.

I think the best answer is: go for both! But I know just what you mean - I often struggle to decide which books to start first. You have plenty of time ahead of you I hope - read them all!
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Darren O. Godfrey (Darren_o_godfrey)
Username: Darren_o_godfrey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 207.200.116.133
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 02:20 am:   

What Carolinec said.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.131.45.253
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 06:37 am:   

I can't be much help either. Both of those books certainly fall into the "unsettlingly weird" category you're keen on so you could just as well flip a coin!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 1.169.138.176
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 09:10 am:   

The Overnight and Midnight Sun are both excellent, but the writing style is quite different. The Overnight is told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, whereas Midnight Sun is somewhat more conventional, if that's the right word, written in the author's earlier style (forgive me if I'm wrong here, Ramsey!). You cannot go wrong with either. Welcome to the board!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 1.169.138.176
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 09:24 am:   

As to the latter question, I think that many (if not most) readers are looking for straightforward thrillers or extreme gore - Ramsey Campbell's work fits into neither category. The same people who come away puzzled and disappointed by his work would no doubt have the same reaction if confronted with anything by Aickman, de la Mare, Blackwood, Leiber, and many other old masters (Lovecraft seems to be an exception). I've seen lots of negative contemporary reviews of Blackwood and Machen's supernatural fiction, and the common factor seems to be that some people don't put a premium on atmosphere and don't have the patience to be immersed in a good weird tale. They want things quick, simple, and as gory as possible. I'm talking about the type of 'reviews' on amazon and similar places, of course - there are also some very knowledgeable and discerning critics around, if you look in the right places.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.30.11
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 12:18 pm:   

Hey there, Arrested! I'm fond of both for different reasons, so I'm no use to you. But I will just say that the imminent PS paperback of The Overnight is the definitive version - restoring text I cut from the US edition to keep production costs down and also incorporating editorial suggestions I applied to that edition.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 01:35 pm:   

Thanks, Ramsey that's useful to know.

Where existing US and UK versions of your books differ, would you regard the UK texts as definitive?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.30.11
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 01:43 pm:   

Usually, I think! But not the awful Dark Feasts.
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Patrick Walker (Patrick_walker)
Username: Patrick_walker

Registered: 01-2010
Posted From: 91.125.2.198
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 01:51 pm:   

Oh, what's the story with Dark Feasts then? It was my introduction to your work, Ramsey, back in the very early '90s and contains what remains to this day my favourite short story of yours, The Hands.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.30.11
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 02:00 pm:   

It's riddled with misprints, Patrick! Alone with the Horrors fixes them (but drops "The Whining").
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 02:17 pm:   

Amazon reviewers... don't get me started. It's very similar to the endemic prejudice among younger British genre film fans against foreign films (with the exception of sadistic Italian slasher films, of course). I remember a horror fan in the 1980s railing against the respect shown for "pretentious French crap", and another in the 1990s saying that he wouldn't watch any subtitled film because he'd rather watch "something with a good plot". What's going on there is that any failure to follow a transparent 'entertainment' formula is greeted not only with confusion but with actual rage the rage of someone who feels his own ignorance to have been exposed, and who therefore needs revenge for the imagined slight.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.68
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 03:03 pm:   

Hmmm... 'Midnight Sun' & 'The Overnight' are two of Ramsey's best supernatural horror novels but very different in style.

I'd say 'Midnight Sun' is the more ambitious, slow burning and literary in style, with some of his most haunting imagery, while 'The Overnight' is the more enjoyably pulpy and exciting, scary and darkly funny too.

You can't go wrong with either of them but MS just pips it for me.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.61.103
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 03:06 pm:   

I have a signed copy of Dark Feasts!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.184.63
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 04:28 pm:   

Did you read the same Overnight as me, Stevie? Pulpy?
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Arresteddecay (Arresteddecay)
Username: Arresteddecay

Registered: 08-2012
Posted From: 71.67.181.19
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 04:33 pm:   

Thanks to all! And to Mr. Campbell himself, for sure! Always good to know which is a definitive version. I had been planning, due to budget, to get just one, but this convinced me, I'm going to stretch my book budget just a smidge and get both. ...And possibly Alone With The Horrors... I'm getting a little out of control, here.

Also, I agree about Amazon. Awful reviews, a lot of awful people. Just seems like it's impossible to find a place where you can trust reviewers to have any kind of... maturity about what they read, I guess.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.184.63
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 04:59 pm:   

It's called democracy. :-)
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.145.217.81
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 05:12 pm:   

I have left at least one comment on a review of fahrenheit 451 that their review was all the proof needed that people should take an iq test before they be allowed to post reviews on amazon.
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.244.38
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 06:17 pm:   

"...And possibly Alone With The Horrors..."

"Alone With The Horrors" is my favourite of Ramsey's collections, for sure.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.25.173
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 09:12 pm:   

"Did you read the same Overnight as me, Stevie? Pulpy?"

No less pulpy than its author.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.24.1.217
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 09:21 pm:   

The Overnight is my personal favourite of the two.
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Arresteddecay (Arresteddecay)
Username: Arresteddecay

Registered: 08-2012
Posted From: 71.67.181.19
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 06:42 am:   

Yeah, I have a feeling Alone With The Horrors is going to be a real treat.

God only knows which I'll read first at this point, between The Overnight and Midnight Sun. I suppose I'll just start both and see which I get absorbed by first.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.184.63
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 09:28 am:   

It doesn't matter which. They're both great.

You could have finished one by now! :-)
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 01:10 pm:   

My personal favourites among Ramsey's novels include The Nameless, The Influence, Midnight Sun, The Long Lost, The Darkest Part of the Woods, Silent Children and The Grin of the Dark. My favourite of his collections remains Dark Companions (UK edition), though the recent Just Behind You is remarkable.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 212.183.128.17
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 01:40 pm:   

The set-up of 'The Overnight', with its large cast of characters trapped in the one location and being bumped off one by one by some hideous evil, makes it the most exciting and, yes, pulpy (i.e. reminiscent of King's 'The Mist') horror novel I'd read of Ramsey's in many years. I think he must have had a ball writing it. While reading it I kept having happy fantasies of a similar scenario being played out in my own workplace. It's one of his most thoroughly entertaining horror novels, imo. But I would say 'Midnight Sun' belongs among his list of masterpieces.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.61.103
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 01:40 pm:   

It's called democracy.

Good art is always elitist.

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