Friday, October 24, 2014


I am currently researching and writing a book about one of the premier writers of dark fantasy today, Peter Straub (Ghost Story, Shadowland, Houses without Doors, Koko, A Dark Matters, etc.). I first met and talked with Straub in 1990 in Providence, Rhode Island, when his first story collection, Houses without Doors was published. Since then, we have met sporadically—crossing paths at fantasy conventions, talking occasionally on the telephone, appearing together on my radio show in Kansas City, and enjoying several extended interviews. Our last meeting transpired two years ago at his five-story townhouse on West 85th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on the occasion of the release of his then-new novel, A Dark Matter. Soon, I will visit him again in NYC for more conversations and to research his personal archive at New York University.

Peter Straub combines the popular appeal of his longtime friend and collaborator, Stephen King, with the prestige and “literary” standing of fantasists like Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Straub. In his “breakthrough” novel, Ghost Story (l979), which was adapted into a film in 1981, he took the elements of fantasy and horror that had been present in his earlier work and developed them into the full-throated Gothic expression that has marked all of his subsequent writing. His works include a short-story collection, Houses without Doors (1991), and the novels Shadowland (l982), Floating Dragon (1982), The Talisman (l984)—co-written with Stephen King, perhaps his only competitor in the American popular horror fiction market—Koko (l988), Mystery (l989), and, more recently, Black House (2001, a re-teaming with Stephen King), The Lost Boy (2003), In the Night Room (2004), A Dark Matter (2010), A Special Place (2010), and a short-story collection, Magic Terror (2000). Straub has edited the Library of America volume of H.P. Lovecraft (2005), and he has confirmed that he and Stephen King are preparing another collaboration. He has won the British Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.

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