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Thursday, August 2, 2012

M.R. James

I'm a big fan of ghost stories, always have been, but while I was working on Disney's Dinosaur, Pete Von Sholly, a good friend of mine, (or Pal 'o Mine, as he would say) introduced me to the writings of Montague Rhodes James, an Englishman who wrote a bunch of spooky short stories in the early part of the last century.

James stories usually involved a scholar uncovering some kind of secret book or talisman or scroll or picture, which would then lead to some kind of ghost at the end of the story. A little on the side of writing that seeks to spook rather than startle, James stories were rich in mood, atmosphere and, above all, ghosts.

A favorite of ghost story fans all over the world, these tales were written just outside of the Victorian Era and reflect a certain... quiantness, if you will, as well as an understated sense of foreboding that can only be appreciated if you've read stuff like Poe and Lovecraft and yearn for something along the same lines.  

I thought of M.R. James when I came up with the Book of Spells, the maguffin (or key story prop) in my Sam Specter novel. 

Read James alone, at night, and with only one light on.