Home > Bibliography, Fiction, writing > The Twelve Books of Christmas: Part One

The Twelve Books of Christmas: Part One


You can find links to buy a lot of my work on the My Books page, but in the run-up to Christmas I will be showcasing a dozen of them that make ideal gifts for the geek in your life. The first is Colonial Horrors, a curated anthology of tales from the earliest years of American horror.


The book was first published last October in hardback, and a paperback edition was released a few weeks ago: Amazon also offers a Kindle version. It is a curated anthology, with an introduction discussing the origins of horror fiction in America, and individual notes on each story.

There are seventeen tales in all, published from 1684 to 1927, all of them chosen for the light they shed on the Colonial era and its role in American horror. Just as the European Gothic features the wild mountains, crumbling castles, and ruined monasteries of that continent, so the American Gothic looks to the dark forests, inward-looking towns, and stifling religion of the colonies. From the accounts of the Salem witch trials in 1692 to the 2015 movie The VVitch with its old-fashioned typography, from the earliest tales of the Jersey Devil to the beloved and oft-adapted tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the collection covers both the familiar and the unexpected.

Unexpected, you say? How about this:

  • The legend of the Jersey Devil began in a religious dispute between two publishers at the start of the 18th century;
  • The contributions from Cotton and Increase Mather, well known for their involvement in the Salem hysteria, were believed by their authors to be nonfiction;
  • America’s first Gothic novelist, Charles Brockden Brown, is remembered today only by a handful of academics;
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, a descendent of a Salem judge, wrote horror tales as well as moral commentary;
  • The cult movie The Blair Witch Project was based (very loosely, as it turns out) on a reported haunting.

But don’t take my word for it. Here are extracts from some reviews:

“For lovers of American literature and horror fiction fans, this important anthology reveals how the religious beliefs, historical events, and folktales of the colonial period influenced the writerly imaginations that led to the evolution of the modern horror genre.”
Library Journal (starred)

“A well-curated collection of creepy, spooky, and downright weird pieces by a core group of American authors. As the nights grow cooler and the shadows longer, stoke the fire and curl up with this excellent example of true American horror.”
Booklist

“Rather than the gothic castles of Europe, these feature witch trials and dark and foreboding forests. The colonial period was truly the birthplace of American horror, as these stories point out.”
The News-Gazette (Champaign, IL)

Colonial Horrors can be found at any online retailer and at many good bookstores. The publisher, Pegasus Books, has this to say about it.

Tomorrow, and every day until Christmas, I will be covering another title. If you’re not done with your Christmas shopping, or if you are expecting to receive some gift tokens, take a look: you might find something you like.

Click here for Part Two: Nazi Moonbase.

Click here for Part Three: Werewolves – A Hunter’s Guide.

Click here for Part Four: Theseus and the Minotaur.

Click here for Part Five: The New Hero, vol. 1.

Click here for Part Six: Knights Templar – A Secret History.

Click here for Part Seven: The Lion and the Aardvark.

Click here for Part Eight: Thor – Viking God of Thunder.

Click here for Part Nine: Tales of the Frozen City.

Click here for Part Ten: Blood and Honor.

Click here for Part Eleven: The Dirge of Reason.

Click here for Part Twelve: More Deadly than the Male.

 

 

 

 

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