Thursday, August 10, 2006

Favorite Short Stories: The Ship That Saw A Ghost by Frank Norris

When I used to hang out at conventions more than I do now, horror writers were always arguing about quiet horror vs. I, don't know, noisy horror. That's horror achieved with a whisper vs. horror achived with a chainsaw.

I ran across a piece of quiet horror last summer, penned by an author not particularly noted for his ghost stories. The Ship That Saw a Ghost sails from the pen of Frank Norris, best known to me at least for McTeague, a novel my friend's class had to read in college. I didn't have to read it. I went to a different college.

On the good ship Glarus
The short story tells the tale of men aboard a tramp steamer named Glarus on a secret and nefarious mission off the coast of South America in 1902. A visit to a lost and dangerous island promises to make the crewmates rich.

Fate has other plans, however, and to give much away would spoil the story which is available free at the link above.

I suppose the relationships of the sailors including the key mates known as the Black Crows as well as the reports of their San Francisco port of call all mesh with other Norris work.

The sense of sea life and of sailors at home is captured, but the core premise and the chills provided the imaginative reader make it a great late night read.

Put on a candle, imagine the creak and moan of a ship topping constant waves, far away from anything, then imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere in a dead calm.

It's quite horror but its chilling.

Tags: , , , ,

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...