Saturday, June 13, 2015

More Short Stories

This time, it's more audio-format short stories.  All are from the same LibriVox collection-- Short Ghost and Horror Collection 010.

"A Bottomless Grave"
by Ambrose Bierce

Quite an odd story.  Best for fans of satire and those who enjoy a sly smile with their shudders. 

"The Mysterious Head"
by Pu Songling

If "A Bottomless Grave" was odd, "The Mysterious Head" is... really, really odd.  (g)  It's only a couple of minutes long, so I listened to it twice to make sure I wasn't missing something.  I don't think I am... It's simply an extremely strange and sparse story-- reminiscent of the sort of tale a child might write or dictate, if children usually wrote about traders, landlords, and magistrates.

Maybe this story is notable simply on account of its age.  (Pu Songling was born in 1640.)  Perhaps there's some element of cultural divide, as well.  I'm not sure what classic Chinese ghost/horror stories are usually like.  This one, in any case, left me puzzled.

"Luella Miller"
by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

I really enjoyed this one.  Ever heard of an "energy vampire"?  Luella Miller takes it to a whole new level! 

(Confession:  While listening, I had a few uncomfortable, guilty memories of times when I've probably been too willing to let someone else "do" for me, when I could've done for myself.  Simultaneously, I wanted to slap Luella soundly across both sides of the face!)

"The Secret of Kralitz"
by Henry Kuttner

The Lovecraftian tale of a man with a most unfortunate birthright.  It was okay, but fairly predictable.  (The very end, though, I must admit I had not seen coming.  Such a shame when the bill comes sooner than expected, eh, Baron?  I'm sure he thought he had at least a few more years to live it up before facing that.)