The prolific Ramsey Campbell, born in Liverpool in 1946, was a staple of Tor Books's horror line throughout the 1980s and well into the '90s (and remains so, I believe). Lately I've learned, through posts and comments on various horror blogs, that some horror fans are ambivalent about Campbell, who is quite famous within the horror fiction field but not well-known at all outside of it (perhaps he suffers from being the "horror writer's horror writer"?), as author, editor, and critic. Some feel he's overrated and consider many of his stories well-nigh unreadable due to an overly oblique, subtle, or confusing prose style. In Danse Macabre, King likened reading Campbell to taking a small hit of LSD. I don't know how many horror fiction readers find that particularly appealing.
My own impressions of Campbell have been decidedly mixed as well. I still plan on reading his first couple novels, The Doll Who Ate His Mother (1976) and The Face That Must Die (1979) - such wonderful titles! - but must admit barely even getting to the 30-page mark on both Obsession (1985) and Ancient Images (1989) many years ago for the reasons noted above. But I've enjoyed a lot of Campbell's short stories throughout the years as well, in his collections Cold Print, Scared Stiff, and Dark Companions. If anybody would like to weigh in on their feelings and experiences with Ramsey Campbell, I'd love to hear them. Meanwhile, what (mostly) lovely cover art (much of it by Jill Bauman, who illustrated many a Tor cover)...
The Hacker Files issue 3
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