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Rudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy

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From ghost stories to psychological suspense, the complete horror and dark fantasy stories of Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England's greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educate From ghost stories to psychological suspense, the complete horror and dark fantasy stories of Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England's greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educated in England, but returned to India in 1882, where he began writing fantasy and supernatural stories set in his native continent: "The Phantom Rickshaw," "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes," and his most famous horror story, "The Mark of the Beast" (1890). This masterwork collection, edited by Stephen Jones (Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist) for the first time collects all of Kipling's fantastic fiction, ranging from traditional ghostly tales to psychological horror.


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From ghost stories to psychological suspense, the complete horror and dark fantasy stories of Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England's greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educate From ghost stories to psychological suspense, the complete horror and dark fantasy stories of Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England's greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educated in England, but returned to India in 1882, where he began writing fantasy and supernatural stories set in his native continent: "The Phantom Rickshaw," "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes," and his most famous horror story, "The Mark of the Beast" (1890). This masterwork collection, edited by Stephen Jones (Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist) for the first time collects all of Kipling's fantastic fiction, ranging from traditional ghostly tales to psychological horror.

30 review for Rudyard Kipling's Tales of Horror and Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Kipling's is one of those imaginations which, slipping here and there, seems to plant the seeds for numerous books and genres yet to be devised. He writes to pique, slowly twisting out his stories and drawing the reader along unexpected and unrecognized roads. Each tale might set the mind on a new and unusual tack, and hence, more than anything, Kipling is an author for authors: an author whose imagination is contagious. His stories always center around the foreign mystery of his nati Kipling's is one of those imaginations which, slipping here and there, seems to plant the seeds for numerous books and genres yet to be devised. He writes to pique, slowly twisting out his stories and drawing the reader along unexpected and unrecognized roads. Each tale might set the mind on a new and unusual tack, and hence, more than anything, Kipling is an author for authors: an author whose imagination is contagious. His stories always center around the foreign mystery of his native-born India, but more than that, of the intersection of dry, Anglican Protestantism and vibrant, deadly, magical Hindu tradition. The Greeks long ago borrowed from the Indian mystics the ideas of the soul, of atomism, and asceticism, and since then, the West has adopted holy meditation, the scourge of the flesh, and the One God who is Many. Kipling's cultural crossroads is not a new conflation, but a reintroduction of an old acquaintanceship. Many of his earlier stories present a kind of deniable magic: a magic which is only magical because it is unfamiliar, and which later finds a perfectly reasonable explanation. It is not hard to imagine such overgrown superstitions on the parts of the British, whose magical roots have been long straitlaced and sublimated, excepting ghost stories at Christmas. In 'My Own True Ghost Story', we find a Britain who is obsessed with finding magic in India, and who comes to find it only because he looks for it everywhere. Kipling's works are full of such reversals of expectation, where it is not the 'alien magic of India' at fault, but the alien India which a foreigner wishes were true. In his introduction, Neil Gaiman mentions the stigma of Colonialism that follows Kipling to this day. Kipling was representing the point of view of a ruling class descended from a foreign culture, but he is hardly dismissive of Indian culture or its traditions. Indeed, he does not try to make anything absurd out of Indian culture, nor does he try to represent it from the inside. Though many may be content to declare him a racist and a colonialist because he was of the race of conquerors, that stance forgets that every nation has been conquered and sublimated by a series of various cultures, and that this should not invalidate the conquering culture any more than it invalidates the conquered culture. Even North America's native people wiped out a previous aboriginal population in staking their claim. Gaiman is also one of the authors who shows a clear line of inspiration back to Kipling. The concept of his novel 'American Gods' is completely laid out in Kipling's 'The Bridge-Builders'. Likewise, one can find the roots of Gaiman and Pratchett's 'Good Omens' in Kipling's 'The Appeal', which also forms a background for C.S. Lewis' 'Screwtape Letters'. All three show the afterlife in terms of a purely British bureaucracy: polite and convoluted. Kipling also provides a scaffold for Gaiman's favorite: 'awkward fellow in an incomprehensible underbelly of horrifying magic'. Yet these are not the only threads to be traced through Kipling. 'A Matter of Fact' is a proto-lovecraftian horror tale, if there ever was one, from the carefully-paced, skewed tone to the confessional style to the incomprehensible sea creatures and the alienating realization that the truth often has no place in the world of man. The collection also includes a pair of science fiction tales, which are not Kipling's best work. The first, especially, is difficult to follow. His retro-future is barely comprehensible today, and he has made the most common mistake of the unskilled sci fi author: he explains too much. He spends much more time on describing his unusual, convoluted technologies than on imagining the sort of world they would produce. The second, 'As Easy as ABC: A Tale of 2150 AD ', spends more time on plot, politics, and character, and if one makes it through the overwrought sections, one can see a prototype of 1984. The political tack of the story tries to tackle fascism versus democracy decades before it became a reality. While he does not have Verne's eye for the social impact of technology, he did succeed in making a remarkably forward-looking tale. He also dabbles in metaphysical and psychic connections, trying to divine the nature of consciousness. In 'The Finest Story in the World', he presents a case of previous lives as the lively backdrop for a true Author's Story. The narrator obsesses with writing, talent, inspiration, and the eternally looming specter of Lost Perfection in a way which threatens to pull out the heart of any aspiring writer by its strings. 'The Brushwood Boy' deals with another obsession of the writer: the despair that there will never really be an audience who can comprehend you. Eventually, the tale collapses neatly into a paranormal love story, but its implications stretch far beyond its conclusion. 'Wireless' takes a technological tack in the question of whether there might be a universal source of human inspiration. He also writes many more standard English Ghost stories, usually regarding mental breakdown and obsession, as in the 'The Phantom 'Rickshaw' or 'Sleipner, Late Thurinda'. Perhaps the most powerful of these is the seemingly innocuous 'They', which subtly and slowly builds a mood of thick unease without resorting to any tricks or shocks. There are also the tales of a world which suddenly turns, growing stranger that the protagonist could have imagined, but without resorting to magic or the uncanny. Such stories as 'The City of Dreadful Night', 'Bubbling Well Road', 'The Strange Ride of Morrowby Jukes', and 'The Tomb of his Ancestors' ask us to accept a world which seems eminently possible, if unlikely. It is these stories that most stretch our horizons by asking us to imagine something which requires not a leap of faith, but merely a coincidence of remarkable circumstances or an unusual world view. Kipling also has chance to show the humorists' pen in the Fish Story 'The Unlimited Draw of Tick Boileau' and in the uproarious farce "The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat', which rises in ever steeper climaxes of unimagined consequences until it begins to shake the high seat (and low comedy) of Wodehouse himself. There are many other tales besides, from Fairy Stories to original Mythology (which Kipling fully realized in his lovely 'Just so Stories'), adventures, and even a mystery. Kipling's great wealth of production and imagination is daunting, but we may at least take comfort in the fact that his soaring wit is not the kind that overawes and dumbs us, but the sort which sets our mouths to laugh and call, and our minds to dance and twitter, or to fall suddenly into unknown and unrecognized depths in just the place we thought we knew the best. He may lack the poetic turn of Conrad, the drive of Verne, or the harrowing of James, but neither could they lay claim to the far-ranging vivacity of that ingenuity that is, and remains, Kipling's. My Suggested Fantasy Books

  2. 5 out of 5

    Randolph

    This is really difficult to review overall. While there are many outstanding stories here, Jones in his desire for completeness included a lot of really bad stories. The stories are offered in more or less chronological order, so the really terrible stories are mostly in the first quarter of the book. The ubiquitous Neil Gaiman provides a superfluous introduction. You are going to have to deal with Kipling's colonial and imperial mentality as well as his belief in the superiority of the white ma This is really difficult to review overall. While there are many outstanding stories here, Jones in his desire for completeness included a lot of really bad stories. The stories are offered in more or less chronological order, so the really terrible stories are mostly in the first quarter of the book. The ubiquitous Neil Gaiman provides a superfluous introduction. You are going to have to deal with Kipling's colonial and imperial mentality as well as his belief in the superiority of the white man and the superiority of the English overall. You will have to put that aside to appreciate even his best stories. The supernatural does not always figure, but most tales have some element of it. Kipling's attempt at verisimilitude by use of his version of dialects and his insistence on trying to render them into some less than convincing phonetic form, is trying at times and makes some even shorter tales a slog. Stick with this doorstop and you will find some gems. Most, if not all of these stories are in the public domain so note the TOC and find them online for free. Some are even available in audio form on Librivox.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    I found it hard to get into this book. To be fair, I've found Kipling a bit heavy going in the past - there's just something about his writing style that puts me off - but when I saw this book of his short stories, I felt it was time to give him a second chance. Certainly a few of the stories caught my interest and held it, but for the most part I found them too verbose to ever be really chilling. The ideas were there, including a delightful mix of commentary on and borrowing from Ind I found it hard to get into this book. To be fair, I've found Kipling a bit heavy going in the past - there's just something about his writing style that puts me off - but when I saw this book of his short stories, I felt it was time to give him a second chance. Certainly a few of the stories caught my interest and held it, but for the most part I found them too verbose to ever be really chilling. The ideas were there, including a delightful mix of commentary on and borrowing from Indian culture, but Kipling's prose is just so wordy and it's a slog to get through it. I read writers like Tolstoy and Joyce and they, too, can be wordy, but with them it is a pleasure; with Kipling I find it a chore. That said, a few did entertain me and certainly fans of Kipling would enjoy this extensive anthology of his shorter works, so I give it three stars over all: not quite my cup of tea, but a lovely collection for a fan. I received this book as a free e-book ARC via NetGalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M Christopher

    This book took me a while to read for several reasons. For one thing, at the time I started it, I was also working through the massive "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years." I almost always have 2 or three books going at once so I can switch off depending on my mood and concentration level. Also, my Sabbatical ended while I was working on this volume, which meant I had far less time to read. Most importantly though, and what kept me from giving this collection 5 stars, is that it starts This book took me a while to read for several reasons. For one thing, at the time I started it, I was also working through the massive "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years." I almost always have 2 or three books going at once so I can switch off depending on my mood and concentration level. Also, my Sabbatical ended while I was working on this volume, which meant I had far less time to read. Most importantly though, and what kept me from giving this collection 5 stars, is that it starts quite slowly. The collection is arranged in order of publication date. With the early stories being written as early in Kipling's career as 1884-5, what we have is far from the work of the accomplished author he was to become. They're not juvenalia and each story on its own stands up just fine but taken together the first 10-15 stories tend to be a bit "much of a muchness." By the time the reader reaches the classic "The Man Who Would Be King," however, the situation changes. Now we have a mature Kipling, confident in his craft. The plots and characters are far more varied as is the diction. From that point forward, the book is a delight. A hitherto undiscovered treasure for me was "The Brushwood Boy" and I was pleased to run into my old friends Puck, Dan and Una in "The Knife and the Naked Chalk," a chapter from "Rewards and Fairies." Only Kipling's two forays into science fiction marred my pleasure. I found both "With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 AD" and "As Easy as A.B.C.: A Tale of 2150 AD" to be unreadable. I've been a fan of Kipling's verse and stories since I was a child. The reservations expressed above notwithstanding, this is a solid addition to my library. I recommend it but remember to take it slowly through the first quarter or so of the book to allow the slighter stories to have room to please your palette before you devour the heartier fare to come.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Just got this as a holiday gift and it looks magnificent. It looks like 785 pages of inspiration to finish one of the seven stories I have running right now. Thanks, Kate! UPDATE: Kipling's got this remarkably casual voice, dressed in Victorian style. I'd forgotten. It's lovely.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brenton

    I'd never read any Kipling before this, not being familiar with any of his works other than The Jungle Book (and I don't think I've even read that...embarrassingly, I've only experienced it by way of the old Disney adaptation). I picked it up first and foremost because I'm on the hunt for classic horror and science fiction, and also because I was curious what Neil Gaiman had to say about Kipling in his introduction. I did not know what I was in for. I know when I am reading a solid sc I'd never read any Kipling before this, not being familiar with any of his works other than The Jungle Book (and I don't think I've even read that...embarrassingly, I've only experienced it by way of the old Disney adaptation). I picked it up first and foremost because I'm on the hunt for classic horror and science fiction, and also because I was curious what Neil Gaiman had to say about Kipling in his introduction. I did not know what I was in for. I know when I am reading a solid science fiction tale. I know when I am reading a well-crafted ghost story. I also know when what I am reading transcends whatever basic genre it happens to fall into and enters the realm of timeless Literature. And this describes the work of Kipling. This collection of tales will require multiple readings on my part before I ever feel like I have even a tenuous grasp on Kipling's craft. As noted in Gaiman's introduction, the characters herein feel so much more real than other authors' characters, with lives that happened before the story and that go on after the story. There is, within these pages, such a deep and pervading sense of history, of the collective human organism burbling to and fro, a river running through time, that you easily lose the sense that you are reading someone's attempt at fiction and instead feel that you are in fact reading true snapshots taken out of this planet's half-known and half-understood past. This is Beautiful Literature. The collection here covers a wide swath of ground, from traditional supernatural ghost stories to globe-trotting treks of adventure to visceral macabre tales of human struggle. There are even a small handful of far-flung speculative pieces with feet solidly planted in science fiction. The highlight, of course, is the famous "The Man Who Would Be King", held aloft by more than a few scholars as one of if not the finest short story ever written in the English language (and its reading should be quickly followed by a viewing of the excellent 1975 film with Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Christopher Plummer). My personal favorite may have been "The City of Dreadful Night", which is nothing more than a description of an Indian city's feverish attempt to sleep beneath the heel of summer's monstrous heat, yet is one of the most evocative short stories I've ever read. The one aspect of these writings that I had trouble with, especially earlier in the book, was their deep entrenchment in colonial Indian culture, geography, and nomenclature. In fact, the only thing that would make this book even better would be a fully annotated edition. However, Wikipedia, a dictionary, and Kipling's rich talent for tale-telling will keep you afloat.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I've been reading this book rather slowly. I read a couple of short stories now and then in between other novels. Some of the stories are quite good. "Vampire" is a poem that I have in another collection. No this is not about the supernatural vampire but rather a poem about a man's unrequited love for a woman who did not seem to notice his devotion to her. "Even as you and I" as the line states several times. I feel we may all relate this poem as most of us have been on one side or the other (or I've been reading this book rather slowly. I read a couple of short stories now and then in between other novels. Some of the stories are quite good. "Vampire" is a poem that I have in another collection. No this is not about the supernatural vampire but rather a poem about a man's unrequited love for a woman who did not seem to notice his devotion to her. "Even as you and I" as the line states several times. I feel we may all relate this poem as most of us have been on one side or the other (or more likely both sides) of a devotion and love which was not returned. A FOOL there was and he made his prayer (Even as you and I!) To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair (We called her the woman who did not care) But the fool he called her his lady fair— (Even as you and I!) "The Phantom Rickshaw" is a classic ghost story and this book also contains the classic novella, "The Man Who Would Be King" about two British Adventures who travel to Eastern Afghanistan in the mountains to the Kafir (pagans) who lived there. They brought with them 20 rifles to impress the people and subjugate their neighbors. They worshipped them as gods and the incarnation of Alexander. The ending is tragic and fits this collection very well. Some of the stories stay with you while others are enjoyable but forgettable. I've actually skipped around a bit so I have read more of the book than 117 pages but highly recommend it whether you've never read Kipling or you are already familiar with his works. I'm still reading....

  8. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    1) The Vampire 2) The Dream of Duncan Parrenness 3) The City of Dreadful Night 4) An Indian Ghost in England 5) The Phantom 'Rickshaw 6) The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes 7) The Unlimited Draw of Tick Boileau 8) In the House of Suddhoo 9) The Bisara of Pooree 10) Haunted Subalterns 11) By Word of Mouth 12) The Recurring Smash 13) The Dreitarbund 14) Bubbling Well Road 15) The Sending of Dana Da 16) My Own True Ghost Sto 1) The Vampire 2) The Dream of Duncan Parrenness 3) The City of Dreadful Night 4) An Indian Ghost in England 5) The Phantom 'Rickshaw 6) The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes 7) The Unlimited Draw of Tick Boileau 8) In the House of Suddhoo 9) The Bisara of Pooree 10) Haunted Subalterns 11) By Word of Mouth 12) The Recurring Smash 13) The Dreitarbund 14) Bubbling Well Road 15) The Sending of Dana Da 16) My Own True Ghost Story 17) Sleipner, Late Thurinda 18) The Man Who Would Be King 19) The Solid Muldoon 20) Baboo Mookerji's Undertaking 21) The Joker 22) The Wandering Jew 23) The Courting of Dinah Shadd 24) The Mark of the Beast 25) At the End of the Passage 26) The Recrudescence of Imray 27) The Finances of the Gods 28) The Finest Story in the World 29) Children of the Zodiac 30) The Lost Legion 31) A Matter of Fact 32) The Bridge-Builders 33) The Brushwood Boy 34) The Tomb of His Ancestors 35) Wireless 36) 'They' 37) With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 AD 38) The House Surgeon 39) The Knife and the Naked Chalk 40) In the Same Boat 41) As Easy as A.B.C.: A Tale of 2150 AD 42) Swept and Garnished 43) Mary Postgate 44) The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat 45) A Madonna of the Trenches 46) The Wish House 47) The Gardener 48) The Eye of Allah 49) On the Gate: A Tale of '16 50) The Appeal

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I'm sorry to admit that I had never read anything of Rudyard Kipling before this book, except for the occasional poem. He's an amazing writer, I ought to read more. This is not one of his children's books. The stories are decidedly creepy, but several of them have that British dry humor to go along with it. The introduction by Neil Gaiman (a current, well-regarded fantasy and horror author) mentions that Rudyard Kipling has fallen out of favor because of some of his political views. I I'm sorry to admit that I had never read anything of Rudyard Kipling before this book, except for the occasional poem. He's an amazing writer, I ought to read more. This is not one of his children's books. The stories are decidedly creepy, but several of them have that British dry humor to go along with it. The introduction by Neil Gaiman (a current, well-regarded fantasy and horror author) mentions that Rudyard Kipling has fallen out of favor because of some of his political views. I found the "British Empire" viewpoint to be fascinating for the historical context of the stories. I think people ought to study mindsets that are no longer politically correct so that they can understand where people were in the past and see how far we've come. These stories span Kipling's career and lifetime. The stories give insights to the Victorian English in India all the way through post World War I. A couple of the stories could correctly be called science fiction, but some of their references, I wasn't able to follow because I am so unfamiliar with Victorian era technology and vernacular. The stories would be very interesting to fans of "Steam Punk" style science fiction.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Finergrind

    I wish I had read this prior to working in India. India continues to be a mystery to me... Is it a chrome edged, high tech Goliath, or a gilded mandala reflecting the past? Each time I visit India I'm left wanting to know more about. I've read most of Kipling's more popular works, but I'm surprised by his chilling tales of India. I doubt there is a more eerie setting than the countryside of India, and the caste system there provides an opportunity for sufficient horror to be visited on the good, I wish I had read this prior to working in India. India continues to be a mystery to me... Is it a chrome edged, high tech Goliath, or a gilded mandala reflecting the past? Each time I visit India I'm left wanting to know more about. I've read most of Kipling's more popular works, but I'm surprised by his chilling tales of India. I doubt there is a more eerie setting than the countryside of India, and the caste system there provides an opportunity for sufficient horror to be visited on the good, and the bad... I remember "The Phantom Rickshaw", but I'm saving that story for last. I was drawn into "The City Of Dreadful Night" and think it demonstrates a realistic representation of the British Raj and the treatment of India's peoples. So far, this is an excellent book to read; a great way to unwind before sleep...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Slytheringirl

    This is an excellent collection of Kipling's work. The variety of tales is a good mix of various yet to have been created genres and subgenres. Not all the tales may be some of his best stuff, but this collection is still a good glimpse at his style of writing. Highly recommended for fans of Kipling and students of Lit.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I have loved Kipling since I was a little girl, but I'd never really read much of his darker writing. I was happy to find that I enjoyed it just as much as his lighter works. A nice little collection- maybe not for everyone since Kipling's writing style is very much a product of when he was writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roseann

    Some stories are great, others I just don't get...guess it's the period humor or references that make things a little difficult to comprehend!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman, who wrote the introduction, but I've never read Kipling. Update - Good introduction to Kipling.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I think I had read most of these already, but I always enjoy Kipling's stories.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    I struggled through this book and finally put it down 86% of the way through. Rudyard Kipling is a talented writer his stories are well constructed. The problem I had with this book is that with a handful of exceptions his stories are dull and uninteresting. I do no have a problem with classical literature and love a great deal of stories from the 19th century and early 20th but I have used up any desire to ever read another piece by Mr. Kipling.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Infamous Ginger

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. One of thegreat shorts. I did not get it at first, but it dawned onme as I went along.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon M Hughes

    not too bad!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annabelle

    Recommended by Neil Gaiman on The View from the Cheap Seats.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Hayes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Review, the short version: Read it, and be changed, and never, ever argue with me about the Cthulhu Mythos. Preface to the long version: I am well aware of Rudyard Kipling's political and social leanings, and the degree to which he was both more extreme than, and sadly sometimes only as extreme as, his contemporaries. I do not agree with nor condone his beliefs, but reading his fiction is not the same as condoning his politics. I hope in vain that this might put a rest to this argumen Review, the short version: Read it, and be changed, and never, ever argue with me about the Cthulhu Mythos. Preface to the long version: I am well aware of Rudyard Kipling's political and social leanings, and the degree to which he was both more extreme than, and sadly sometimes only as extreme as, his contemporaries. I do not agree with nor condone his beliefs, but reading his fiction is not the same as condoning his politics. I hope in vain that this might put a rest to this argument, but I don't expect to put out the chemical fire that is the Internet. Now, the long version. Kipling is one of those great writers I am ashamed to admit I have not read much of; beyond the obvious and regrettable Disney exposure I have read a little bit of his Just So Stories. So when I was given a chance to read a collection of his work specifically aimed at my preferred genre(s) via the power of the Christmas present, I jumped at it. What I read rearranged my brain and took my breath away. Kipling is, simply put, a master of English prose, and this book captures not only some of his most, but some of the most, inventive stories. "The Mark of the Beast" and "The Man Who Would Be King" are, of course, classics, considered some of Kipling's strongest work; but this book is not merely an excuse to reprint those pieces. Kipling's work here is genuinely masterful, and masterful in a way I do not often attribute to such a clear precursor of later, more prominent works; because while I didn't expect it, I have to trace inspiration, if not origination, of some of the greatest works of speculative fiction back to Kipling. "On the Gate: A Tale of '16" peeks through a good bit in Neil Gaiman; "Wireless" reminds me of Tim Powers; and "A Matter of Fact" predates Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" by a good thirty years; and both of them are not only inspirational, but fantastic stories in their own right. These are not the highest points in the book, either: "The Finest Story in the World" is beautiful and amusing, and "The Brushwood Boy" pulled at my heart and my tear-ducts. But all of them are worth something, even just a wry smile; there are no low points in this collection. Or at least, there are no low points that are a fault of Kipling. The only trouble I had with this edition (Pegasus Books, 2008) was its copyediting; it is, in a word, abysmal. Some of this may be idiosyncrasies of Kipling's grammar that I am just too post-Strunk to understand, but it seems in most places like the editorial process was simply ignored; I often found myself having to go back and re-read sections of stories just to understand what Kipling was trying to say. There are worse things in the world than having to re-read Kipling, certainly, but I should not be doing it out of typographic necessity. All in all, this is going to be a tough book to beat for my favorite of the year, and it will be going on my Inspiration Shelf for those nights when the words are gummed up. If you are a reader, I recommend it; and if you want to write urban fantasy, I'd call it mandatory.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maanasee Deshmukh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Because this book is a series of many collect stories, it is very hard to focus on a set of characters or a plot. However, Kipling does have a running theme in all his poems and stories, and that is the idea that the supernatural isn’t something we can’t just tread over. He firmly believes in the fact that the supernatural will always come back to us in some form or shape, and we are unable to escape it. In the story, The Phantom Rickshaw, the character Jack is subjected to the horror of witness Because this book is a series of many collect stories, it is very hard to focus on a set of characters or a plot. However, Kipling does have a running theme in all his poems and stories, and that is the idea that the supernatural isn’t something we can’t just tread over. He firmly believes in the fact that the supernatural will always come back to us in some form or shape, and we are unable to escape it. In the story, The Phantom Rickshaw, the character Jack is subjected to the horror of witnessing repeatedly the death of his mistress riding in a rickshaw (two-wheeled hooded vehicles commonly seen in India). it is on one of his travels with his new mistress Kitty, that he sees “horse and rider pass through men and carriage” (Kipling 27) to which Kitty sorely tells him off that he is terribly ill. However, Jack says that he “was driven in terror...by an apparition of a woman who has been dead for eight months” (Kipling 28) and these were not facts that he “could not blink” (Kipling 28). In this case Jack had tried his best to forget the woman he had loved so dearly and yet here she was haunting the living daylights out of him. Like many others in the stories, the characters were unable to escape such horrors even if they wanted to. And seen again in the story They the main character Mr. Tupin experiences that his “vision confirmed..the very parting of spirit and flesh” (Kipling 492), to which he oddly tries not to convince himself that the “people” that he stumbled to find in the city is actually an abandoned town. He like many others in the book are subjected to many ghosts and other horrors to which they cannot escape. From apparitions to gross rituals and phenomenons, Kipling does an amazing job painting creepy stories for the dark.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Hobbs

    Read so far: The Vampire The Dream of Duncan Parrenness The City of Dreadful Night An Indian Ghost Story in England The Phantom ’Rickshaw The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes The Unlimited Draw of Tick Boileau In the House of Suddhoo The Bisara of Pooree Haunted Subalterns By Word of Mouth The Recurring Smash The Dreitarbund Bubbling Well Road The Sending of Dana Da My Own True Ghost Story Sleipner, Late Th Read so far: The Vampire The Dream of Duncan Parrenness The City of Dreadful Night An Indian Ghost Story in England The Phantom ’Rickshaw The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes The Unlimited Draw of Tick Boileau In the House of Suddhoo The Bisara of Pooree Haunted Subalterns By Word of Mouth The Recurring Smash The Dreitarbund Bubbling Well Road The Sending of Dana Da My Own True Ghost Story Sleipner, Late Thurinda The Man Who Would Be King The Solid Muldoon Baboo Mookerji’s Undertaking The Joker The Wandering Jew The Courting of Dinah Shadd The Mark of the Beast At the End of the Passage The Recrudescence of Imray--3 The Finances of the Gods The Finest Story in the World Children of the Zodiac The Lost Legion A Matter of Fact The Bridge-Builders The Brushwood Boy The Tomb of His Ancestors Wireless ‘They’ With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 AD The House Surgeon The Knife and the Naked Chalk In the Same Boat As Easy as A.B.C.: A Tale of 2150 AD Swept and Garnished Mary Postgate--4 The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat A Madonna of the Trenches The Wish House The Gardener The Eye of Allah On the Gate: A Tale of ’16 The Appeal

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Schuff

    The only things I had read by Rudyard Kipling before this had been his Jungle Books and the poem "If." I'd bought this book some years ago from one of my book clubs, and I had probably bought it solely on the strength that Neil Gaiman had written the introduction. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and meeting Kipling's very distinctive characters. Stephen Jones in his afterword quotes George Orwell thus: "As of what Kipling wrote about nineteenth-century Anglo-India...it is not onl The only things I had read by Rudyard Kipling before this had been his Jungle Books and the poem "If." I'd bought this book some years ago from one of my book clubs, and I had probably bought it solely on the strength that Neil Gaiman had written the introduction. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and meeting Kipling's very distinctive characters. Stephen Jones in his afterword quotes George Orwell thus: "As of what Kipling wrote about nineteenth-century Anglo-India...it is not only the best but almost the only literary picture we have." Be prepared for British imperialistic attitudes and Kipling's own racism and see beyond them to India herself. The later stories take place in England and sometimes during the War and are equally to be relished. This book has been a treat to read, and one I'm definitely keeping in my library.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I absolutely abhorred this collection of stories which is evidenced by the 2 years it took me to finish the book. I had never read anything by Kipling before but as a child loved the Rikki Tikki Tavi cartoon so I thought I'd love these stories too. I was so wrong on that account. HAlf of the time I had no idea what was going on because it seemed like key details were left out of the stories, and the times I did understand I was bored out of my mind. If I could put down a book without finishing, I absolutely abhorred this collection of stories which is evidenced by the 2 years it took me to finish the book. I had never read anything by Kipling before but as a child loved the Rikki Tikki Tavi cartoon so I thought I'd love these stories too. I was so wrong on that account. HAlf of the time I had no idea what was going on because it seemed like key details were left out of the stories, and the times I did understand I was bored out of my mind. If I could put down a book without finishing, this definitely would have been on my abandoned list.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kas Roth

    I wasn't expecting this to be something that was comfortable to read, however, it just wasn't my cup of tea. The arrogant main characters are a complete turnoff and they aren't getting payback really. It's like I'm supposed to feel sorry for them, but they're all the same interchangeable Englishman who uses violence and childish entitlement to get his way. It is what it is, considering the time-period. Not a difficult read, but not really horror or fantasy as much as a dairy style retelling.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Drpsychorat

    I must confess that I enjoyed the vast majority of the stories in this Kipling collection. Although his 19th century bigotry, racism & sexism was apparent in his earlier stories, his later stories had more of a psychological/religious frame of reference to them & were very captivating & emotionally appealing. I enjoyed reading this collection.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I loved this book! My favorite : "The Finest Story of the World." I really enjoyed the tales with the character Mulvaney as well, though for entirely different reasons. The story that I found the most haunting was "The Strange Ride of Marrowbie Jukes." Everything about that tale was disturbing to the core.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frankie

    Neil Gaiman's introduction was eye-opening for me, and this is the first time I've read Kipling while keeping the historical context in mind. I'm liking it so far, and just finished reading "The Man Who Would Be King"...it looks like the movie with Sean Connery was pretty true to the story (although it's been a LONG time since I've seen the movie).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresamvitolo

    Heavy on Indian culture & lingo. Interesting to a degree, but some of the stories seemed more superstitious based. Probably a function of having heard a lot of themes in many stories, but possible Kipling's had been the first - or at least an early one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Still slowly working my way through these stories.

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