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Horror's Classic Masters: Remastered volume one
editor: Kurt S. Michaels
Strider Nolan paperback $6.95

review by Alasdair Stuart

Washington Irving, Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Hope Hodgson - all masters of horror; authors whose work has defined the genre for over a century. They're the untouchables, the pinnacle, and the masters...

Kurt S. Michaels has, by this wisdom, committed literary blasphemy. Michaels has re-written, not the stories, but the language of these authors' most famous tales in an attempt to make them more accessible to modern readers. He's succeeded admirably.

Simply put, some of the finest pieces of horror fiction ever written are republished here, the rhythm and pacing of each story perfectly intact. In a detailed introduction, Michaels emphasises how much time he spent ensuring the pacing and structure of the stories remained intact whilst updating their language. This works particularly well with the Bierce and Hodgson pieces as well as W.W. Jacob's classic The Monkey's Paw. All three stories are excellent, but the original text is a little too verbose for contemporary readers. With these stories in particular, Michaels has not so much re-written the work as re-conditioned it, making it far more accessible.

There is, of course, a case for saying that this book is a travesty, that the value of these stories lies not only in reading them but also in adapting to the author's voice, and learning what that can tell us about the time the story was produced. Similarly, the idea of 're-mastering' old material to better suit a modern audience sets a disturbing precedent for many. However, look past these concerns and what you find is a book filled with some of the best stories the genre has ever seen, retouched with care, attention and absolute love for the original material. Michaels hasn't so much re-mastered these stories as put an extra coat of polish on them and the end result is a gleaming collection of the best the genre has to offer.
Horror's Classic Masters: Remastered

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