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The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Vol. 4: Sin's Doorway, and Other Ominous Entrances

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Sin's Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances is the 4th volume of Night Shade Books' five volume "Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman."Contents:• Introduction by David Drake• The Undead Soldier• Larroes Catch Meddlers• Up Under the Roof• Among Those Present• The Terrible Parchment• Sin's Doorway• The Golgotha Dancers• Changeling• For Fear of Little Men• Where Angels Fear• Sin's Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances is the 4th volume of Night Shade Books' five volume "Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman."Contents:• Introduction by David Drake• The Undead Soldier• Larroes Catch Meddlers• Up Under the Roof• Among Those Present• The Terrible Parchment• Sin's Doorway• The Golgotha Dancers• Changeling• For Fear of Little Men• Where Angels Fear• The Witch's Cat• School for the Unspeakable• Voice in a Veteran's Ear• These Doth the Lord Hate• The Liers in Wait• The Hairy Thunderer• The Song of the Slaves• It All Came True in the Woods• When it Was Moonlight• His Name on a Bullet• The Valley Was Still• Back to the Beast• Finger of Halugra• Arimetta• Half Bull


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Sin's Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances is the 4th volume of Night Shade Books' five volume "Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman."Contents:• Introduction by David Drake• The Undead Soldier• Larroes Catch Meddlers• Up Under the Roof• Among Those Present• The Terrible Parchment• Sin's Doorway• The Golgotha Dancers• Changeling• For Fear of Little Men• Where Angels Fear• Sin's Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances is the 4th volume of Night Shade Books' five volume "Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman."Contents:• Introduction by David Drake• The Undead Soldier• Larroes Catch Meddlers• Up Under the Roof• Among Those Present• The Terrible Parchment• Sin's Doorway• The Golgotha Dancers• Changeling• For Fear of Little Men• Where Angels Fear• The Witch's Cat• School for the Unspeakable• Voice in a Veteran's Ear• These Doth the Lord Hate• The Liers in Wait• The Hairy Thunderer• The Song of the Slaves• It All Came True in the Woods• When it Was Moonlight• His Name on a Bullet• The Valley Was Still• Back to the Beast• Finger of Halugra• Arimetta• Half Bull

30 review for The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Vol. 4: Sin's Doorway, and Other Ominous Entrances

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    Placeholder review - I don't own a copy of this, but I'm reading a number of stories contained in it from scans of their original magazine appearances, and I needed to put the review somewhere. Thanks to Inter-Library loan, I was able to obtain a copy and add yet another review: "Changeling" - Prof. Gaul and his son David arrive in the small town of Wauketa to interview a family whose young daughter was accused, and cleared, of poisoning people in the town (where the deaths have continued). But a Placeholder review - I don't own a copy of this, but I'm reading a number of stories contained in it from scans of their original magazine appearances, and I needed to put the review somewhere. Thanks to Inter-Library loan, I was able to obtain a copy and add yet another review: "Changeling" - Prof. Gaul and his son David arrive in the small town of Wauketa to interview a family whose young daughter was accused, and cleared, of poisoning people in the town (where the deaths have continued). But as the Professor talk with her parents, David spends time with the strange, mischievous little girl and begins to be unnerved by her actions... A fairly standard pulp story, solidly told, with some creepy details (the voice from the hole) and a rather abrupt ending. Not bad, as these things go. "Back To The Beast": A scientist self-administers a concoction, in his locked lab, that will reverse his evolutionary form (without somehow effecting his intellect/brain) but then fails to take into account his ape-form's inability to be dexterous enough to compound the antidote, and so is faced with further de-evolution or suidice. Eh, not much of anything. "The Undead Soldier" (aka "The Horror Undying"): A man trapped by a blizzard finds himself in an abandoned shack, and under some floorboards (which he's burning for warmth) finds some clippings and a privately printed account of the depredations of a murderous soldier during the Civil War era, who seemingly survived his execution to kill again. And then he wonders why the notes are in this shack... This was half interesting and half weak. The interesting part was the historical setting and "assorted documents" approach, which allowed enough distance for the events to seem believable and grim, but vague. Unfortunately, this piece from early in Wellman's career has him basing a story around some folkloric detail, an approach he would refine over the years, but not having developed enough yet as a writer to find a story to base it in. The detail itself - (view spoiler)[that those cursed as werewolves in life often return from the dead as vampires (hide spoiler)] - is used more effectively in "The Grave of Lill Warran," and here it serves only to explain - retroactively - the historical killer's inability to die (well, he does actually die but..you get my meaning), the bearing of which on the immediate circumstances are not engaged with by our main narrator. Honestly, it would have been kind of more interesting if there was no specific explanation, leaving us to think the immortal killer some kind of human ghoul or something. It's not bad, just underdeveloped, with a main character who reads a story and takes no action but is only acted upon... "When It Was Moonlight" - Edgar Allan Poe, in the midst of his career and looking for inspiration as he composes "The Premature Burial," does some primary research when he hears that a local woman in Philadelphia was recently rescued from the grave by her husband. Finding no one at home, he goes to beg some money from a friend (and gets only a meager meal for his trouble) but then, on passing the place that night, is called in by the strange woman, who proceeds to reveal a horror in the basement... This is actually pretty neat and well-done. Wellman has done enough research that Poe is neither overly heroic nor presented as a debauched lout - captured at a moment in his life where he had sworn off drinking, his wife was dying, and poverty/starvation stalked at the door - and does a good job integrating the author's bent for the macabre without it seeming forced (more a predilection than an indulgence, in other words). The vampiric aspect of the tale is also nicely singular - the vampire becomes inactive/paralyzed in complete darkness, which leads to a rather well-conceived finale that brings in a classic Poe concept. Enjoyable. "These Doth The Lord Hate" - a bitter little thing, surprising for Wellman who is generally all about the positive aspects of Christianity and its fight against satanic evil. The narrator notes a short anecdote in a famous medieval book about witches, in which a cabbage farmer discovers his young daughter (and through extension, his wife) know how to cast spells to effect the weather - and so he must turn them over to the church as witches, and then expands on the horrific emotional details elided by the brevity of this anecdote. We presented it on PSEUDOPOD here. "The Golgotha Dancers" - an art fancier takes home a disturbing painting of a figure being crucified by celebrating creatures that had been mysteriously hung in an art museum (displacing Böcklin's classic "Isle Of The Dead"). But now he finds the hideous creatures emerging in his apartment, hammers in hands, intent on continuing their work. A solidly devilish little piece of black magic, this is highly entertaining and breezily told. We presented it on PSEUDOPOD here. "Sin's Doorway" - A hungry (and surprisingly well read) tramp comes upon, somewhere in Appalachia, the rural funeral of an obviously disliked individual and agrees to (in the Welsh folk tradition) "eat his sins" (for $100 and the man's home) so that the dead man can be buried in hallowed ground. But the dead man was a sorcerer with a strange, dog/monkey-like familiar (Parway), some cretinous followers and a rather insistent assistant (sorry!) while the home proves to be a rather sinister place all on its own. I really like this - first of all, I like fiction involving Hobos, then the set-up is so basic and believable (the guy is starving, and on top of $100 bucks and a roof over his head, a meal is included!), and then the weird aspects are rolled out so well - he's instantly rejected by the community after accepting the deal, Parway begins following him in its strange slinky way, the repulsive/obsequious followers fall right in behind him, and the house - the house, which is atmospherically described, is another of Wellman's backwoods folklore details - a "gardinel", which appears to mean a house of evil that is something like a living thing and which is grown on the spot (so kind of like an architectural familiar). And finally, that this is simply a story about evil and how seductive it is, as this tramp, with his senses honed by hunger, knows that he is in a dangerous place and should reject anything offered and get the hell out of there! Good stuff. "Larroes Catch Meddlers" - two men hunt down a legend about lost Confederate gold to a rotting, grand old house - "Larroes" - in the backwoods swamps. The gold is supposed to be in the basement, and guarded by two Confederate soldiers, and they use a "Hand Of Glory" to show them the way past enchantments - but that help only goes so far. A solid, creepy little tale of cursed treasure.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)

    Manly Wade Wellman is a master storyteller that has managed to stay very underrated in the weird fiction/horror/pulp genres. Yet reading his prose is very captivating. There are things that stand out in his writing, and they shine through in this collection of stories: 1)His tendency to have optimistic endings where good prevails over evil. Personally, horror that has evil prevailing has no appeal. I enjoy reading stories where the good guys win. This is usually the case with Wellman's stories. I Manly Wade Wellman is a master storyteller that has managed to stay very underrated in the weird fiction/horror/pulp genres. Yet reading his prose is very captivating. There are things that stand out in his writing, and they shine through in this collection of stories: 1)His tendency to have optimistic endings where good prevails over evil. Personally, horror that has evil prevailing has no appeal. I enjoy reading stories where the good guys win. This is usually the case with Wellman's stories. It is true that some of his stories are morality tales where the wrong decision leads to bleak consequences, but that doesn't bother me nearly the way that stories with good people suffering horribly and evil triumphing do. You get the impression that this ill-fated people had many opportunities to abandon the wrong path and get out with their lives intact. 2)His feel for local Southern customs and folklore. Reading his stories is like stepping through a doorway to places where time has stopped. Even in the stories that take place in the 20th century as far up until the mid 50s (at least in this volume), there is a element of the characters having been forgotten by the future, and living their lives the way they have for many years. I love the rather eerie presence of legends that have pervaded the hearts and minds of people of isolated Southern areas that inhabit Wellman's stories. Nothing like knowing that this old man living in a shack in the Appalachian mountains knows how to keep you from having an old witch woman steal your soul, or what songs you don't want to sing to avoid a Behinder getting you. He also takes more prevalent legends and gives them a backstory that has you thinking, 'Well now I know.' 3)His ability to build up suspense and fill his stories with sense of dread that keeps you on your toes. Several time, I was gasping out loud, feeling that anticipation as I saw that the 'thing' was there and the protagonist was in grave danger. There are no cheap thrills, or shock value in his stories. It's a sustained tension that abates when the story meets its rightful conclusion. Yes, there might be some violence in his stories, but it's never gratuitious. 4)The aspect of faith having power to save the person in jeopardy. This is an element I find absolutely necessary in my favorite horror fiction. Although I do enjoy reading some HP Lovecraft, I dislike his feeling of dread and despair. That humans cannot possibly hope for a good resolution because the elements of the dark are so much more powerful, older, and beyond our comprehension, and we will never understand or defeat them. This is nice to read at times, but I get rather jaded with this pessimistic cosmicism and yearn for old fashioned stories where faith still has value. Wellman doesn't try to superimpose his religious beliefs on the reader. But I get the impression that his stories have this element because it's an important part of his psyche, and it flows naturally into his storytelling. I do feel that a nonbeliever can enjoy and find something worthwhile and relevant in his stories. There are a lot of Civil War stories in here. I'm not much for Civil War fiction, but I found it intriguing the way Wellman took true events of the war and gave them a supernatural explanation and basis. They tend to be told from the Southern side, but that makes sense as Wellman is a Southern writer. At any case, it's an interesting look into the past. He also has a couple of stories that delve into Native American folklore. They were very well done and did not have those aspects of pulp fiction in which non-whites are betrayed in a derogatory or exploitative manner. Wellman also have several witchcraft stories. In his stories, there are bad, scary, malevolent witches. Not of the sort that are earth-worshippers, but those who worship the Dark One, and use their powers to bring evil into the world and to destroy others. And they are scary stories. I started this volume almost a year ago, so I can't remember every story in detail, but there are no stories that I did not enjoy. I thoroughly recommend this to fans of weird fiction, supernatural fiction, dark fantasy, and horror. I hope that many more readers of my generation and beyond are able to discover the rather hidden gems of this great writer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is the fourth volume in the collected works of Wellman, with stories written anywhere from 1927 to 1995. These stories all stand independent of each other, with no common protagonist like the ones in volume three. And one knows that when the protagonist is a one shot guy, he’s a lot more apt to end up dead in an unhappy ending. As usual with any collection of stories- especially horror from the pulps- some of the stories follow a very predictable path. But others don’t-these are the real g This is the fourth volume in the collected works of Wellman, with stories written anywhere from 1927 to 1995. These stories all stand independent of each other, with no common protagonist like the ones in volume three. And one knows that when the protagonist is a one shot guy, he’s a lot more apt to end up dead in an unhappy ending. As usual with any collection of stories- especially horror from the pulps- some of the stories follow a very predictable path. But others don’t-these are the real gems. Even the predictable ones make good reading- Wellman uses folklore, history and setting to enrich even the slightest tale. All of these stories are very short, perfect for picking up and reading a couple at bedtime.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chas

    While all of the entries in this series have been superb, this one truly stands out. It's a wonderful selection of Wellman stories, just as he was entering his peak, mainly published in the '30s and '40s in "Weird Tales" and "Strange Stories," and before he truly cemented himself in the history of Fantasy and Horror with his Silver John character. Still, they prove that Wellman was already on his way to becoming one of the giants of genre. While all of the entries in this series have been superb, this one truly stands out. It's a wonderful selection of Wellman stories, just as he was entering his peak, mainly published in the '30s and '40s in "Weird Tales" and "Strange Stories," and before he truly cemented himself in the history of Fantasy and Horror with his Silver John character. Still, they prove that Wellman was already on his way to becoming one of the giants of genre.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I freely admit that it was a little hard getting into this; I don't know if the first couple of stories weren't to my taste, or if it just took me a bit to relearn the style of writing. But I was really pleased to discover that two of them were stories I'd read before, and it was a good collection. I freely admit that it was a little hard getting into this; I don't know if the first couple of stories weren't to my taste, or if it just took me a bit to relearn the style of writing. But I was really pleased to discover that two of them were stories I'd read before, and it was a good collection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    "Lesser than previous volumes, way better than other writers": this rather subjective opinion pretty much sums up my thoughts regarding the stories/novellas included in this volume. They are very good, and loses a star only in comparison to the stellar contents of the previous volumes. Or it all may be due to my somewhat biased view against longer works. Anyway, these are classical examples of southern horror, and includes two John Thunstone novellas as well. Highly recommended. "Lesser than previous volumes, way better than other writers": this rather subjective opinion pretty much sums up my thoughts regarding the stories/novellas included in this volume. They are very good, and loses a star only in comparison to the stellar contents of the previous volumes. Or it all may be due to my somewhat biased view against longer works. Anyway, these are classical examples of southern horror, and includes two John Thunstone novellas as well. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Adams

  8. 4 out of 5

    Keith Thomas

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan Bligh

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phil Williamson

  11. 5 out of 5

    Coy Hall

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  14. 4 out of 5

    M Glover

  15. 5 out of 5

    Edward

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danna

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jack Finley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda Sims

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Darland

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trenton Hayes

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mickey Schulz

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adam Burton

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  24. 4 out of 5

    Moudry

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hotspur

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Warren Landon

  28. 5 out of 5

    DeVery

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robiswalking

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Macdonald

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