“Can you recall the lasting effect of the most deeply disturbing collection of horror stories you’ve ever encountered? The narratives join hands…”
— From THE USELESS by Dominy Clements (The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies)


CAVEAT: By nature of this experiment, spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my reviews as their sections are posted in real-time, before or during or after your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading the book. In either case, I hope they give useful or interesting or unique perspectives.

EDIT (8 Apr 2010): In recent months, I have been receiving many requests to real-time review specific books. Although I really enjoy this process of real-time reviewing, my response to such requests has to be as follows:

Thanks for asking.
I can only real-time review books I’ve bought (or, in rare cases, exchanged for my own books as payment). And I can’t promise to do a review on any of them even if I’ve bought them.
I’ll take a look at your book to see if I want to buy it. Good luck with it.

I have also been speculating upon the ‘journey’ that I mention in my latest review (‘Children of Epiphany’ by Frances Oliver). Was the journey *different* by virtue of the fact that I knew I was intent on publicly writing *about* the journey while making that very journey? I sense that public real-time reviewing — hopefully giving alternative perspectives to previous readers of the book as well as to its new readers — also creates a wonderful experience, yes, a different experience from what would otherwise have taken place, i.e. for the person spending time and effort in creating the real-time review. It is perhaps the new way to *read*, one that, *psychologically*, is now only possible through using the internet in this way. One of the more positive things about the internet, among a lot of negative ones.

Stories are chosen to appear where they do in a single book or in a particular order for some reason. Whether by editorial intent or some synchronous power beyond that. Who knows? I try to tap that power and give it back to the book, in the hope this reveals a new slant upon the separate power of each story and on their overall effect together.
Some fiction lends itself to this approach more than others, and I try by instinct to choose books to review accordingly.

EDIT (22 APR 09): These reviews have developed into what I now call Real-Time Reviews of Books. The more recently dated ones show this development more markedly.

1. Weirdmonger left… Saturday, 7 March 2009 4:55 pm

As most of my reviews are of books I have *bought* in the normal course of wanting to read them, I am not surprised that I praise more than I criticise. But the reviews are intended to be forensic in a true ‘nemonymous’ spirit – which I think you will find to be the case when you read them. I certainly hope my 61 years (58 of which have been spent reading!) ensure I have a critical spirit, in this way.

When setting out on a time-sensitive on-going self-nurturing* review as I did with, say, The Impelled by Gary Fry, that was damn serious stuff. Maybe it shouldn’t have originated on a discussion thread, because it gives an impression of bon-homie rather than critical exposition – but I find that method of reviewing ‘in media res’ leads to a genuine evolution of self-generated observations that I wouldn’t have otherwise made on later stories in the critique process.

*When I say ‘a self-nurturing review’ that’s the review’s self not mine – e.g. as in self-perpetuating fountain!
2. Weirdmonger left… Monday, 9 March 2009 12:08 am

These are not necessarily intended to be ‘interactive reviews’ as such but rather *my* reviews as facilitated by the method of writing them piecemeal (as and when I happen to read each story) – with or without intervention by whomsoever in the world.
3. Weirdmonger left… Wednesday, 22 April 2009 1:42 pm :: http://shocklinesforum.yuku.com/topic/10

Discussion thread about Real-Time Reviews at link immediately above. Please join in.
4. Weirdmonger left… Sunday, 26 July 2009 6:38 pm :: http://www.knibbworld.com/campbelldiscus

Further thoughts of mine quoted from forum linked above:

I aim to use words and styles that unlock a book’s leitmotifs best. My words are inteneded to paint a picture that befits any book that I take on and to raise it (or even lower it*) as a a thing-to-read … not only by taking new things from it but also by giving things back to it. I hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious.

*it is unlikely that I will choose a book to treat that I anticipate not enjoying so this aspect is not likely to happen with any of my real-time reviewing. All books I treat are usually those I have bought (or in rare cases exchanged for editions of Nemonymous) and somehow I never end up buying books I don’t enjoy. A good instinct, I suppose.


May 2007: DFL’s review (‘On The Hoof’) of Thomas Ligotti’s ‘Conspiracy Against The Human Race’: HERE

with TL’s reply.

Real-time notes on Robert Aickman: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/robert-aickman/



Karim Ghahwagi: October 2009: NEMONYMOUS TWO (2002) here:

Nemonymous Two (2002) – as ‘real-time reviewed’ by Karim Ghahwagi

One of the stories inspired Joel Lane’s acclaimed novella: “The Witnesses Are Gone”.


Karim Ghahwagi: July 2011: The HorrorAnthology of Horror Anthologies

Brendan Moody: June 2011:  Nemonymous Night

Rhys Hughes: August 2012: The Last Balcony





“Every book has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”
—from ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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