The Terror

The Terror
A Mystery


(1 Review)
The Terror by Arthur Machen







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The Terror
A Mystery


(1 Review)
One of Machen's best horror novels. A series of murders take place, but who or what is responsible?

Book Excerpt

se, neither the name of the works nor of the town had been printed; there had been a brief notice of "Explosion at Munition Works in the Northern District: Many Fatalities." The working man told me about it, and added some dreadful details.

"They wouldn't let their folks see bodies; screwed them up in coffins as they found them in shop. The gas had done it."

"Turned their faces black, you mean?"

"Nay. They were all as if they had been bitten to pieces."

This was a strange gas.

I asked the man in the northern town all sorts of questions about the extraordinary explosion of which he had spoken to me. But he had very little more to say. As I have noted already, secrets that may not be printed are often deeply kept; last summer there were very few people outside high official circles who knew anything about the "Tanks," of which we have all been talking lately, though these strange instruments of war were being exercised and tested in a park not far from London. So the man who t

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I could start with: This is Lovecraftian, as Lovecraft himself should have written it. It wouldn't be much of an overstatement. The Terror is written in style of an investigative mindset (a smarter one), and it is is set in the years of the Great War aka World War One.

Needless to mention, as splendidly written in the story: "Not even the Germans had gas-grenades, which leave each corpse with a thousand bite-marks kinda wounds..."

It connects the historical situation with reasons from beyond, for it having been that way by necessity. I book this, as an attempt to make the lives lost in attrition war NOT have been thrown away, like junk.

For a work from 1917 this work is fluent in its narration, and it is notable on informing the reader, much better than Machen did in People of the Black Seal.

Prose is easy to read, and not too awkward in formulations. Anyone with high-school teaching in the English language can try, it won't be a chanceless waste of time.

The Terror succeeds at something, which early Lovecraft failed to achieve: Informing us readers, while still building the surprise before we know it. Good work.

"Well, it was written while they were at war with 'us Germans', so guess how much sympathy we can expect herein. Especially, when we remind ourselves that Germans usually don't like other Germans either, and just expect them to serve & function in similar ways..."