As part of the Ask cenobyte Experiment, Brille also asked:
I have another but if you don’t get to it that’s all right. What is,..simply..the scariest book you have ever read. Could be a one line answer…which I will then further research.
Hm. Ever? Hm. Well, a lot of it is subjective, right? I mean, when I was eight, I read a novel called “Coma”, which is a terrible book, but the opening scene is horrific. But I was WAY TOO YOUNG to read that book. I read a book whose title I can’t remember now about two sisters, one of whom develops leukemia. THAT was scary, because I read it and assumed that every time I got a nosebleed, I had leukemia. I made the stupid decision to read “It” when I was fourteen. I thought it would cure me of my perfectly healthy and reasonable fear of clowns. It did not.
I couldn’t sleep while reading “The Tommyknockers”.
“The Vanishing Country” by Mel Hurtig scared me, but in an entirely different way.
So did “A Doctor’s Compendium of Childhood Illnesses and Diseases”. Dumb, cenobyte. Real dumb.
Hmmm…is there a book that was/is *so scary* I couldn’t actually finish it? I don’t think so. I’ve been a fan of horror since I was about two, according to my mother. I used to get horror comics (there was one where a brother and sister went to the chocolate easter bunny factory and were eaten by a giant chocolate easter bunny. They went head first. Lots of blood and gore).
On this topic, there are *many* extremely creepy stories in Edge Science Fiction/Fantasy Publishing’s Tesseracts Thirteen. The Tesseracts series are anthologies of Canadian S/F short stories, poems, and even novellas sometimes. In fact, I’m interviewing the editors of Tesseracts Thirteen tonight (Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell. You might remember David Morrell as the Canadian author of First Blood, the book that was turned into the movie “Rambo”). Yeah. LOTS of creepy stuff that makes you hear noises in the dark when you’re at home reading them after the kids have gone to bed. Dumb, cenobyte, dumb.
I think Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” is still one of the best ‘horror’ stories out there. That and “The Cask of Amontillado”. If you haven’t read Poe, go do it. Right now. I’ll wait.
But mostly I’ve only talked about fiction (with the exception of The Vanishing Country). I’ve read some court transcripts that would scare the eggs out of dead chickens. And all the “non-fiction” haunting books are good….but…OH!!!
Mysteries of the Unexplained was an encyclopaedic-style book put out by Reader’s Digest. There are stories in that thing that STILL give me the heebie-jeebies. Particularly the story of Skippy the Wonder Horse who was found eviscerated in a field. *shudder*
Oh. OOOH. Whitney Strieber’s Communion. Hhhhnnnnnnniggggnnnnhhnnnn.