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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:17 pm 
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I stumbled across this:-

http://www.popcrunch.com/the-10-most-di ... -all-time/

I've read five of them - the Selby, Burroughs, Easton Ellis, De Sade and Ketchum.

Disturbing books all, but I think there's a thread of black comedy in "American Psycho" that just pulls it back from the edge, while "The 120 Days of Sodom", at least in the translation I read, is so matter of fact as to be almost boring, and at times comes over as more of a textbook of depravity rather than something that moves or disgusts the reader through involving them in the narrative. I didn't care about the characters in the way that I did, for example, with Ketchum's "The Girl Next Door". That could just be me though.

Off the top of my head, I think Samuel Delany's "The Madman" should be included.

Anyone else got any thoughts? What books have you found especially disturbing?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:30 pm 
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Apollinaire's Les Onze Mille Verges was pretty bad. Babies on spikes bad... :(

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:08 am 
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i've read 3

easton, mccarthy and the blindness one which i enjoyed but woudn't have said it was anything like as bleak and disturbing as 'the road'


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:01 am 
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Quote:
Rolnikov wrote:-
Apollinaire's Les Onze Mille Verges was pretty bad. Babies on spikes bad...




If the novel I've been working on for years and years, ever gets finished and published... You really don't want to read it :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:01 am 
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There's a great 'hard-horror' collection, Dread In The Beast by Charlee Jacob, that I found disturbing...
Not read the novel-version, but Mike Philbin didn't like it very much, see his review here.

Edward Lee is another writer creating hard-horror fiction that's difficult to 'enjoy'... but I suppose a lot depends on what (if anything) a regular reader of horror finds truly disturbing. It seems to me that an element of revulsion is necessary, and that would probably mean the reader didn't actually like the story or book as much.

I've not read anything by BEE, but I liked the film of American Psycho for its dark and twisted sense of humour.

How important is 'disgust' in saying that a horror story is 'disturbing'?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:01 pm 
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There's always the suggestion in American Psycho that it's all in Patrick Bateman's head - even if it is pretty gruesome. These days, it's pretty tame, compared to film franchises such as Saw and Hostel.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:31 pm 
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Quote:
If the novel I've been working on for years and years, ever gets finished and published... You really don't want to read it


Is that the one about teddybear torture?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:11 am 
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Going back to Tony's point, I'd say that 'an element of revulsion' and disgust are part of what we find disturbing more often than not, but not always, as for example a ghost story which can be disturbing but not necessarily disgusting.

None of the Ed Lee books I've read have truly disturbed me. I'd equate them with low level slasher type movies, full of inventive death set pieces and gross out moments, but not disturbing in the way that Ketchum's work is.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Of the list I've only attempted to read 120 Days of Sodom. I found it so tedious as to be unreadable. As far as I got with it, it was more or less just a list of blasphemous acts.

The Apollinaire novella mentioned on this thread is certainly pretty shocking. There is one scene in particular that I'm surprised is allowed to be published, given the huge media storms cooked up about much tamer things in films etc.

A similarly gratuitous book I once read is the short story collection "The Eyes" by Jesus Ignacio Aldapuerta - very much in de Sade territory.

But the one book that really gave me nightmares was a non-fiction one: St. Albans Poisoner: Life and Crimes of Graham Young, by Anthony Holden.

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Last edited by Mike A on Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:43 pm 
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A book that disturbed me was 'All Quiet On The Western Front' I think I must have read it just after leaving school and starting work.
My knowledge of war, at that time, was gleaned from John Wayne films and stuff like The Guns Of Nazarone, The Dirt Dozen, Where Eagles Dare etc, all glossy heroic stuff. Remarque's novel about trench warfare in WW1 was an eye-opener and a stomach-turner. I'd never read anything like it and was appalled.
I can't read German so it had to have been the Arthur Wesley Wheen translation, but I can't remember.

The descriptions of the wounds and ways the soldiers died were graphic, lungs being exposed and seen struggling to breath, sides of heads shot off, the brain barely staying attached. Perhaps my memory of it is dim now but I do know it was a book that disturbed me and changed the way I looked at war forever.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:50 pm 
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Another candidate that occurred to me, "I Was Dora Suarez" by Derek Raymond, which in the "Waterstone's Guide to Crime Fiction" was described as 'one of the most gruesome books ever written'. Definitely gruesome, definitely disturbing and also very good.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Tony wrote:

I've not read anything by BEE, but I liked the film of American Psycho for its dark and twisted sense of humour.

How important is 'disgust' in saying that a horror story is 'disturbing'?


Tony - you really must read American Psycho. The violence is certainly disturbing, but it's nowhere near as disturbing as the realisation that this stupefyingly sharp satire of capitalistic excess is even more relevant now than when BEE wrote the book.

Enough of my blather - in a further attempt to seduce you into Bateman's world, I shall embarrass myself with one of my old reviews...

http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/americanpsycho.html

And if you enjoy American Psycho, may I humbly recommend BEE's Glamorama.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:37 pm 
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Pete wrote:

Anyone else got any thoughts? What books have you found especially disturbing?



Almost too obvious to state Ballard's Crash, so I shall.

Thomas M. Disch's The Genocides is deeply disturbing. I shan't spoil the ending if you've never read it, but it really annoyed the Golden Age SF crowd.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:23 pm 
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Yep, a lot of Ballard is disturbing, but "Crash" takes the prize.

For a Disch entry I'd go for "334", and it's probably even more unsettling now given the parallels between his death and that of the protagonist in the title episode, if I'm remembering correctly.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:27 am 
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Pete wrote:
Another candidate that occurred to me, "I Was Dora Suarez" by Derek Raymond, which in the "Waterstone's Guide to Crime Fiction" was described as 'one of the most gruesome books ever written'. Definitely gruesome, definitely disturbing and also very good.


never read this but i think it is in the wiki entry for it where it says about the first editor reading it vomitted everywhere! wasn't sure whether i ever wanted to read it or not!!


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