Under Appreciated Horror Authors #5 - Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell is one of the most prolific horror writers working today. Yet once again, he is relatively unknown to people and fans outside the horror realm. And he's had stories published since the late sixites. What I like most about this highly awarded, British author is the fact that he honestly states "I write horror". There's no sugar coating to be found.

A great lover of the Lovecraft's Cthulu, a lot of his work is influenced by it. Later works of fiction focus on both different supernatural occurences and the sheer daily terror which people can encounter.

My first read by Campbell was The Parasite, which is about an entity living inside a human a slowly taking over. A great book which actually helped me figure out a similar story I was working on at the time. I've also read several short stories of his since. And I have a couple of novels waiting in my reading pile.

For about the author, please visit his website

- The Face That Must Die (1978)
- The Nameless (1980)
- The Incarnate (1983) British Fantasy Award winner, Best Novel
- The Hungry Moon (1986) British Fantasy Award winner, Best Novel
- The Influence (1988) British Fantasy Award winner, Best Novel
- Ancient Images (1989) Bram Stoker Award winner, Best Novel

- Alone With Horrors (1993) Stoker Award of the Horror Writers of America winner, Best Collection / World Fantasy Award winner, Best Collection
- The House on Nazareth Hill (1996) International Horror Guild winner, Best Novel / British Fantasy Award nominee, Best Novel
- The Grin of the Dark (2007) British Fantasy Society winner, Best Novel

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Travels to Key West

When I asked if I'd be interested in working an event in Key West, my answer immediately was yes. I've never been and rarely turn down an opportunity to travel to a new destination. Plus it's the middle of March and Spring Break for many colleges and I'm there over the weekend. I became very excited when I found out that my Saturday would be free.

The flight from Indy to Fort Meyers was decent, until the last 30 minutes. Then it became one of the worst flights I ever flown on. I damn near had to use the barf bag. After landing and getting my air legs grounded, I had to reticket and re-enter security. What a pain in the ass. The thunderstorm was still passing through so my flight to the Keys was delayed. Then delayed again. And delayed once again. Normally this annoys me, but the plane scheduled to take us was small ten seater. The other passengers and myself quickly became travel buddies as we were all certain we were all going down together. Unfortunately I did not partake in the bar activities because I was scheduled to start working as soon as we landed.

Eventually the flight took off and landed. Not the worst flight ever, but not the best. I landed and grabbed a cab (immediately noticed the endless bikinis strolling the area) to the Casa Marina and started setting up gear for the next day's meeting. We finished about 6:3opm and went to our hotel. It was so damn muggy. I cant believe that I forgot to bring cargo shorts! About an hour later we hit the city bus to travel to Duvall Street, which is the main tourist area of the island. I wanted to beat down a group of early 20's guys there on Spring Break. They were so damn annoying.

Duvall Street reminded me a lot of a smaller, not quite as wild Bourbon Street. With all the bars and restaurants and party atmosphere, there's a similar feel. We had dinner at the Hog Breathe's Saloon where I at conch fritters and conch chowder for the first time. After walking around a bit and a stop at Irish Kevin's Pub for a couple of more drinks and listened to an entertaining guitar player, we headed back to the hotel for our early morning. Too bad as I felt like I could drink all night long.

After a bad meeting with some audio difficulties, we struck the gear and stored it away. We finished up by noon and had almost 24 hours until we needed to be back for set up and an award banquet.

We hit up a Winn-Dixie grocery store and I ate lunch. I decided to take a stroll up the coast to the beach area. Such beautiful coastline. And not nearly as muggy. It was amazing outside with a nice breeze coming off the ocean. After about an hour, I realized the sunscreen was quickly wearing off so I jetted back to the hotel. Then I went to the poolside bar and had a couple of drinks. There were a lot of regulars there that had a comfortable feel to the place. Went back to my room and got cleaned up for another night on Duvall.

Upon arriving we walked right into the end of a wet tee shirt contest and women flashing their breasts for beads. These are practices and customs that I've never really understood, but I'm all for female nudity so I'll never speak ill of it. Then we headed over to Mallory Square where there are several street performers. A couple of delicious mojitos later and being distracted by some women walking around with only painted flesh for clothes, we found a place for dinner at Guy Harvey's Island Grill. I had a tasty Carribean crabcake sandwhich and the best piece of key lime pie ever.

Now it was time for bar hopping. We started at the orginal Sloppy Joe's, which is now called Captain Tony's. Had a huge glass of island punch. About this time, my stomach was full and my head a bit tipsy. I had to make a decesion to go all out or cut back. I chose to slow down. We then hit up Rick's.

This is where the night turned. Next to us was a table of guys. They were being loud and obnoxious and one was hitting on a married girl, who's husband didn't look very pleased. Suddenly two of them jumped up and decided to arm wrestle (one was around late 20's, the other early 50's). The older guy won. He jumped up and screamed "You got your ass whipped by a gay guY!", repeated in an even more flaboyant nature and proceded to dance and give high fives all around the bar. This included me and my co-worker. He then sat down and started talking with us. Then his husband joins us from the other table. We're all chatting, the table of obnoxious drunk people, the married woman and her husband, and myself along with my co-worker. Then one gay guy was actually orginally from Fort Wayne and he starts talking about things in the Fort. Small world, I guess. Some how it's decided that we will all go to the strip bar, The Red Garter Saloon. I didn't really want to go, but my co-worker did so I agreed. Plus we got in free as the gay couple had free admission tickets. Most of the night I sat at the bar, drinking moderately priced beers, occasionally checking out the all nude dancers, and talking to a bartender from Poland. Eventually the rest of the party fizzled out and left us alone, which was good as they starting to be very annoying. I was getting really bored but my co-worker wanted to stay awhile. I ended up leaving. I grabbed another drink at a Bull & Whistle before flagging down a cab back to the hotel.

On Sunday, we headed back at the Casa Marina to set up for the Awards Banquet. The set was long and tried my patients. We had several obstacles to jump through from not having the right equipment to the room being a lot more packed than we were told. The doors opened and the client fed us an awesome steak & lobster dinner. Excellent. Finally it was awards time. The meeting went long and we struck the gear and stored it until morning. Back to the hotel after a 14 hour day. I was exhausted.

We loaded out gear at 7:30am. My co-worker headed back with the equipment and I went back to my hotel and waited until noon. Going through security at the airport, I got pulled over for a hand swab. The TSA agent said "Hope you're the lucky winner today!" It was not very funny to me. That's not the lottery I want to win. In the waiting area, I saw one of my travel buddies from Friday. She was a very fun gal to talk with and we were both much happier about the sunny skies. Taking off was awesome. You could see the island all around and the ocean. Wish I would've got some pics. The flight got rough as we closed in on Fort Meyers. In fact it was so bumpy that my head hit the air vent. Twice. Leaving two nice marks on my scalp. After saying goodbye to my travel pal, I got reticked and went through security once again. This time no humor from TSA. Two and half hours before my flight. I ate nachos and had some ice cream. A full flight back to Indy and then a two hour drive back to Fort Wayne. I finally got home around 11pm. Another long day.

I really enjoyed the laid back, go at your own pace lifestyle of Key West. No one gets too excited and everyone likes to have a good time. I can myself revisting some day as I could get used to that life. A houseboat maybe...

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Horror Movies Watched and Books Read (Feb 2010)


2/1 - Severed: Forest of the Dead (2006) **1/2
Tree loggers and activists turn into zombies due to an experiment gone wrong. Worth a look if you have time to kill.

2/3 - A Haunting in Connecticut (2009) ***
A solid horror movie with good emotions. I'm not exactly down with the final act, but there was a good build to it.

# Dollhouse, Season 2 (2009-2010) ****1/2
The majority of this season kicked ass and I'm pleasantly pleased with how it turned out. I feel like it the network would've the series alone from the beginning, this could have been an amazing series last more than two season. It would've worked even better on cable.

2/5 - They Wait (2007) **1/2
A decent flick about ghosts haunting a family in Shanghai.

2/7 - Jennifer's Body (2009) ***
People seem to be divided on this movie. They really liked it or hate it. I think the negativity is unjust. Sure it has some pitfalls, but overall this is a witty horror movie.

2/8 - Zombieland (2009) ****
An very funny and some what gory movie. I really, really enjoyed this one. Woody Harrelson kicked ass!

2/10 - Dead Wood (2007) *1/2
A group of young twenty year olds tangle with forest demons. I've seen this similar story done much better, many other times.

2/11 - Blame aka La Culpa (2006) ***
A decently creepy little tale about a woman who's may be haunted by her aborted fetus or at least by the guilt of having the procedure done.

2/12 - Saw VI (2009) ***
Another good to the Saw universe with some very cool and gory traps. Honestly though, isn't Jigsaw's story about completed?

2/13 - Halloween 2 (2009) *1/2
I like the way Rob Zombie writes dialog. But some of his other choices are mind boggling. I wasn't a fan of the remake, and like this one even less.

# Jekyll - (2007) ***
This British miniseries has unique and modern twist on the Jekyll & Hyde tale. It's definitely worth a look.

2/16 - The Chaos Experiment (2009) **1/2
A decent concept but the movie lacks anything to made it really stand out. It's not horrible, but you'll probably soon forget it. And is it just me, or does Val Kilmer still have moments where it seems like if he gave a shit he could better roles than these string of B movies?

2/19- Welcome to the Jungle (2007) *1/2
A very boring and talky take on classic Italian cannibal movies.

2/21 - Coming Soon (2008) ***
I'm usually not disappointed by horror movies I watch from Thailand. This one about a haunted movie is no exception.

2/22 - Dark Country (2009) **1/2
I wanted to like this movie, but the all too familiar plot makes it nothing better than average.

2/25 - Pandorum (2009) ***
A slightly above average sci fi/horror movie that starts out very strong but finishes a little weak.

2/27 - Dead Snow (2009) ****
Zombie Nazi attack a group of people in the Scandinavian mountains. Bloody, funny, and brings some new things to the table. The movie is a must see.

2/28 - Savage Harvest (1994) **
Director Eric Stanze has his fans. I admire his willingness to do whatever it takes to make a movie and I dont care about the low production values, but I have the same opinion about this movie as every one of his that I have seen. The story isn't bad, but horrible acting ruins it.


2012 by Whitley Strieber (incomplete)
Tried to get into the story, but about half way through gave up.

The Ignored by Bentley Little ****
I nearly quit this one after the first 120 pages, but I am glad that I didn't. Later you realize it all getting into the character's mindset before going full throttle into an amazing tale with many twists and turns.

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