Ramsey Campbell has won four World Fantasy Awards, ten British Fantasy Awards, and the Horror Writers' Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. Publishers Weekly calls Campbell a horror writer's horror writer, adding, His control of mood and atmosphere is unsurpassed. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says his horror fiction is of consistently high quality, and The Washington Post praises Campbell for continuing to break new ground, advancing the style and thematic content of horror fiction far beyond the works of his contemporaries.The original publication of Scared Stiff almost created the sub-genre of erotic horror. Never had sex and death been so mesmerizingly entwined. Clive Barker, in his Introduction, says, One of the delightfully unsettling things about these tales is the way Ramsey's brooding, utterly unique vision renders an act so familiar to us all so fretful, so strange, so chilling. Sex . . . is the perfect stuff for the horror writer, and there can be few artists working in the genre as capable of analyzing and dramatizing [this] as Campbell.For this edition, Campbell has added three new stories which have never before appeared in book form. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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August 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Scared Stiff by Ramsey Campbell
COLD AS THE FEBRUARY WIND, the full moon blazed over the fields. Anne Norton heard the wind ruffle the wheat a moment before it plucked at her naked body. She shivered, but not from the cold, which hardly touched her. Already the power was coursing through her; already the belladonna and the aconite were shivering through her genitals and her legs. She ran behind her husband John through the gate in their stone wall.
Once out of the garden she glanced back at the cottages of Camside. Some were empty, she knew, and so was the Cooper farmhouse at the edge of the village. The rest were dark and sleeping, without the faintest gleam of a rush-light. Across the common, the high voice of a sheep joined her in derisive mirth. Ahead of her, John had reached the edge of the wood. Shadows streamed down his naked back.
The wood was quiet, muffled. Only the Cambrook stream gossiped incessantly in the darkness. The others must already be waiting at the meeting place. Now the ointment seemed to pour hotly down her legs. She ran more swiftly, gliding through splashes of moonlight, as the trees began to toss in their sleep. The wind stroked her genitals, which gulped eagerly.
She plunged into the Cambrook, shattering the agitated ropes of moonlight. Beneath her feet pebbles gnashed shrilly, with a hard yet liquid sound. When she reached the bank she looked back sharply, for she'd heard the stream stir with more life than belonged to water. But the water was flowing innocently by.
As if the gnashing of the pebbles had been the earth's last snatch at her she felt herself leave the ground. She saw the luminous ground race by beneath the skimming blur of her feet. Ranks of trees danced beside her, huge and slow but increasingly wild, branches about one another's shoulders. She felt all the strength and abandon of the trees flood through her.
In a moment, or perhaps an hour -- for the wood seemed to have swelled like fire, to cover the whole countryside -- she had reached the glade.