Pan 11. That was 1970. 50 years. Unbelievable. After #10 was a lot of fun, I got more of them. I read this story for story, over the space of the last half year. Let's see …
The Cell – I like Case, so I liked this a lot. Still thought it oddly placed. For me Pan is short tales, and this is a bit too long and then at the start? Weird.
A Question of Fear – Good old fashioned is an apt description. The walking cliché Major Dennis is has been immortalized in British movies and fiction, and the end works for me.
Hell's Bells – I am not a fan of those whimsy hell stories. Too Unknown for me. So nothing remarkable in my book.
The Lift – An okay ghost story. But I liked A Question of Fear better. I question the wisdom of putting two stories of one writer in one book.
The Midnight Lover – The first of a lot two-pagers. Not much story in such a restricted space. Despite the topic a bit limp. I couldn't decide if the style was a hommage to Weird Tales or a bit too much and on the pretentious side.
Case of Insanity – It began well, but after all the attention to details he confuses the cases? Sorry, don't believe this for a minute. A ridiculous conclusion. The Market-Gardeners – I like the diversity of Pan, but this failed on any level. A home invasion, a rape and life is good? There is no story here.
Snow in the City – Wade as a writer leaves me indifferent. It is an okay serial-killer story, a term which back then even wasn't popularized (or invented), and to be fair it has a nice atmosphere.
Mrs Manifold – Yay, an old Derleth story? From 1949? It isn't so desperatedly good that it merits a reprint. Competent, decent, but that is all.
Dear Jeffy – This on the other hand is stuff I expect from Pan. Cruel, depressing (in a good way) and memorable. Loved the ending. How Pamela absolutly don't get how Jeffy threw her to the wolves is a horrible and unexpected twist. Second best story in this.
Spider Woman – A nice monster story. The comparison to a House of Mystery story is apt. It is very American in style.
Au clair de lune – I am a fan of Birkin, but this is not for me.
Oysters – Even if this is a typical "story in a story" which here doesn't work well, because it basically just stops, it is quite entertaining.
Minuke – While the story didn't do much for me, it is not for the first time easy to see why Kneale was so successful. The writing is splendid.
The easiest thingin the world – Kind of a logical progression. You start with little things. Heh. For a two-pager this is hilarious. A nice black comedy.
The Babysitter – How did Dulcie Gray manage to write these gruesome stories? Why isn't she more famous as a horror writer? Compared to this story people like Ed Lee & friends look like a couple of kids trying too hard. Best contribution for me.
Hand in Hand – Maybe I have read too many Pan stories, but this seems a bit too formula. The ending is predictable.
Getting rid – Funny because of the sheer absurdity of it, but the kill the wife topic with its sameness gets a bit thin. as if van Thal had a quota to fill.
The Lurker in the Abyss – Ladies and Gentleman, David Riley. While I think it could have been tighter in places, especially at the begining, this was fun.
Fried Man – Sorry, I didn't get it.
The Scientist – This on the other hand is a tiresome melodramatic and pretentious riff on Oppenheimer. He himself said it better with less words.
On the whole Pan 11 was mixed bag. Too much just okay, which made the more original works stood even more out. It is always surprising for me how many of its writers just published one tale like Barbara Benziger. (If this was a one off and not a pseudonym of some bestselling writer). It reminds one of those elaborate introductions you find in Year's Best Horror Stories or in magazines like Ellery Queen's. I always wonder how out of touch I am when seeing a name for the first time and reading then that he already published 12 novels about this or that hero. But somehow it makes the contributors here kind of faceless. Also makes one wonder how overflowing van Thal's in-basket must have been. The constant presentations of new voices says a lot about van Thals work on this, and I mean this in a positive way.
I hope you enjoy #12 (more) and any others you read. I've been planning to re-read my collection for a few months if/when I run out of new reading matter. Not to make light of the situation or be facetious but reading them during a Pan-demic seems appropriate.
Post by marcrhodestaylor on Mar 2, 2021 10:02:56 GMT
Remember reading this at a very early age as part of a book sale at my primary school, one of the first Pans which I actually bought. Their notoriety is entirely deserved as the violence and depravity within these collections reaches a whole other level. Case's story is excellent, still very readable today and a model of good horror writing. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the protagonist has his own, apparently rational though murderous point of view, presumably brought on by the lycanthropy disease for which, as he says, he is not actually responsible. One constantly wonders for how long he can get away with it before being found out. The Babysitter, very nasty and still very good, hard to forget especially with the conclusion. The Lurker in the Abyss, very good. Fried Man, worked well for me. Not a bad collection but not great either, sort of in the middle with a few standout entries.