The Grin of the Dark

The Grin of the Dark

by Ramsey Campbell

Tubby Thackeray was once the biggest comedian in the world -- people literally laughed themselves to death at some of his performances.

Newspapers of the time contain mysterious, truncated accounts of disturbing events at Tubby's performances and at screenings of his films.

Tubby's leering, laughing clown's face haunts Simon.

Everywhere he turns, he sees the clown's sardonic grin; his faintly glowing white costume; or his long, oddly jointed limbs.Tubby Thackeray is dead.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Horror
  • Rating: 3.44
  • Pages: 381
  • Publish Date: July 8th 2008 by Tor Books
  • Isbn10: 076531939X
  • Isbn13: 9780765319395

What People Think about "The Grin of the Dark"

His usual devices are present: an uncertainty of what is real and what is not, half-glimpsed horrors in everyday settings, an almost paranoiac sense that every encounter with another person will be unpleasant; but this novel uses those devices to conjure up a vision of Azathoth, Lovecraft's blind "idiot god", an aspect of Lovecraft's mythos which most writers avoid because its horrors are too philosophically complex for hackwork, and too abstract for comprehension by admirers of Stephen King and his imitators.

Once I've entrusted my tape to player I clear a pizza box off the least lumpy armchair as the television screen lights up. It looks as if the brightness is trying to scratch the screen white, but surely only the start of the tape is worn. Put the damn tape in show us what happens on the screen and get to the next point. And what the hell does this mean, "It looks as if the brightness is trying to scratch the screen white"? Read this book if you want a good example of how not to write or is you like being annoyed.

Campbell has not shied away from modern themes, exploring the way people interact with strangers on the internet, the way that the internet is becoming the way we define truth even though on-line information is constantly changing and is being changed. A must read for all Campbell fans and/or fans of subtle, cosmic horror.

Think about logging into your favorite message board and seeing post after post (think about 300 pages of it in this case)of the same two people going back and forth about which one knows more than the other and the one who's spelling is so appalling your eyes bleed. If you don't mind a book that makes your eyes bleed and makes you drool on yourself from the lack of brain cells you will have by trying to get through this, then by all means, read away.

He gets the opportunity to write a biography about Tubby Thackeray, a comedian during the silent film era, and Simon thinks this will get him back on track.

'The Grin in the Dark' is less a horror tale than a novel of unease. It has to be said that Campbell writes well and he delivers more than the genre expectations we pay for - the human dynamics and characters are well done and assist the sense of Simon's and our alienation. If it has a meaning as a novel beyond the thrill, it lies in a solitary male's alienation from the world, the 'victim' of unseen forces in a world where other men have become uniforms or strangers. Campbell's world (in this story) is a world where the individual finds himself constantly coming up against the Clausewitzian friction of a system that is always breaking down at the margins. This laughter is the 'grin in the dark', an aimless, general laughter that comes when we have turned into roly-poly conforming creatures of what it is that lies under all things, something very primitive. This is a book reasonably put on horror shelves but not one that seems prepared to reach too deeply into the dark night of the soul - as we say, it is a novel of deep unease about the world we thrown into.

I have heard so many good things about him and somehow, he just had never made it into my reading. Once I began this I was thrilled to discover a silent film star was at the heart of the story. Silent film and horror--yes, please! The story is based around a "lost" silent clown called Tubby who is clearly based on Fatty Arbuckle.

This author has written about 12 other books and I was left wanting to read more of his work.