Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Dark Beasts by Frank Belknap Long

For this month’s retro paperback review I grabbed The Dark Beasts by Frank Belknap Long from my bookshelf...

Frank Belknap Long (1901 - 1994) isn’t quite as well known as his contemporaries – H.P. Lovecraft and Clarke Ashton Smith – but his stories are worth checking out. The Dark Beasts is a 1964 paperback from Belmont Books that includes nine of the stories that appeared in Long’s acknowledged classic collection The Hounds of Tindalos. Of these nine I think the best known are “The Ocean Leech” and “The Flame Midget.” Long’s stories are sometimes derivative of other writers from the golden age of pulps. For example, I could easily detect the influence of William Hope Hodgson and John Collier in several passages. Such an influence isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Long’s stories often fall into the category of short-shorts (six to ten pages) but never give the impression of having been rushed. Throughout his career Long produced entertaining tales of the weird and fantastic and interested readers are encouraged to hunt down this paperback if you’re interested in introducing yourself to the weird and wondrous world of Frank Belknap Long. The nine stories included here are: “The Dark Beasts,” “The Ocean Leech,” “The Flame Midget,” “A Stitch in Time,” “Death Waters,” “Step Into My Garden,” “It Will Come to You,” “The Census Takers” and “The Refugees.”
Frank Belknap Long

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