Friday, October 12, 2018

Horror List Book Review: The Collector

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.)

This week I'm reviewing The Collector, by John Fowles.

This is an excellent book. It's slow and non-violent, purely psychological horror. It's told in multiple parts, with each of the characters well developed, though not necessarily likable. The first part is from the main character's point-of-view. He is an outcast, lonely, but fascinated by a woman. He buys a new place and sets up a soundproof room for her before kidnapping her and locking her in. He wants to experience her, be near her, watch her, but he has no interest in sex.

He has collected her.

The next part is from her POV. We get some insight into her reactions throughout her captivity, which we've previously seen from his POV.

Each of the POVs were distinct from each other. Though the pacing is slow, the story drags you in and pulls you along, mostly by holding the terror over you due to your own expectations and fears. As the reader, you hope for some awareness from the main character, some understanding from him that what he's doing is wrong. A sense of morality or hope. His neutrality and blandness are part of the horror.

This one has finally moved my top ten around:

My Top Ten:  

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum)
3. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
4. The Collector (John Fowles)
5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
6. The Bridge (John Skipp and Craig Spector)
7. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
8. Needful Things (Stephen King)
9. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
10. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

The next review will be for The Resort, by  Bentley Little. After that, Dark Descent.

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Unlocking the Magic is an anthology seeking fantasy involving characters with mental illness. The focus is on realistic portrayals of the mental illness, not magic born of it. 3000 to 6000 words. Pays $300. Deadline November 1.

The Literary Hatchet is seeking speculative fiction flash, short stories, art, poetry, etc. 500 to 6000 words. Pays $5 to $10. Deadline November 1.

The First Line is seeking fiction and non-fiction essays with the first line, "As she trudged down the alley, Cenessa saw a small..." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $50. Deadline November 1.

Thema Literary is seeking short stories, poetry, essays, and art with the theme The Critter in the Attic. Up to 20 pages. Pays $10 to $25. Deadline November 1.

Spring Song Press is seeking steampunk short stories for Steam and Lace. 1000 to 10,000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 1.

Are any of these links of interest? Have you read The Collector or anything by John Fowles? What did you think? Anything to share? Have you been submitting?

May you find your Muse.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon- I can see why you describe it as a 'horror' story ... I probably should read it ... and some of his other works. Thanks for this - cheers Hilary

Priscilla Bettis said...

Wow, The Collector made not just your top 10 but in the number 4 spot! I also like slower horror. It doesn't always need to be slash and burn for me. (Yes, sometimes, but not always.) It's one of the reasons I liked A Face at the Window by Dennis McFarland while a lot of people didn't. Thanks for the review!

The Cynical Sailor said...

It's interesting how you describe the horror as psychological in nature, rather than physical. In some ways the former can be scarier than the latter. I was interested to see some of the books on your list. I never really thought about the Handmaid's Tale as horror, but it certainly is horrific.

John Wiswell said...

Onto my reading list it goes! Sounds fascinating, and I need more scary books by authors I haven't tried before.