Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies
John Langan, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel The Fisherman, returns with a new book of stories.An aspiring actress goes to an audition with a mysterious director. An editor receives the last manuscript of his murdered friend. A young lawyer learns the terrible connection between her grandfather and an ancient race of creatures. A bodyguard drives her employer across a frozen road toward an immense hole in the earth. In these stories and others, John Langan maps the branches of his literary family tree, tracing his connections to the writers whose dark fictions have inspired his own.

Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies Details

TitleChildren of the Fang and Other Genealogies
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 18th, 2020
PublisherWord Horde
ISBN-139781939905604
Rating
GenreHorror, Short Stories, Fiction

Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies Review

  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    First things first, the introduction to this book, written by Stephen Graham Jones, is so choice. Bonus points right away for mentioning one of my favorite childhood stories ever: The Monster at the End of This Book (narrated by your lovable ol’ pal, Grover).Dr. Jones goes on to say, “John Langan, both delivering us some compelling horror but at the same time interrogating the basic form of horror.”That’s how this collection feels to me too: On its face, twenty-one stories of horror. Underneath First things first, the introduction to this book, written by Stephen Graham Jones, is so choice. Bonus points right away for mentioning one of my favorite childhood stories ever: The Monster at the End of This Book (narrated by your lovable ol’ pal, Grover).Dr. Jones goes on to say, “John Langan, both delivering us some compelling horror but at the same time interrogating the basic form of horror.”That’s how this collection feels to me too: On its face, twenty-one stories of horror. Underneath it all, horror deconstructed and inhaled by the reader. It’s a part of you now. It informs you.A perfect example of this is the second story, “Hyphae.” I can’t stop thinking about this story. It has penetrated beyond my mind’s natural order of things and has taken root in my fears. I have a new fear. I can’t tell you what this is because I want people to read this story with all the points of discovery intact—just the way I read it. I stumbled around in a dank, smelly, old house while James looked for his father; the father is found and……a new fear is born. Enjoy! (I say that menacingly because I want other readers to see what I can’t unsee.)Sandwiched in between longer stories are some amusing tales that leave you hungry. One of these is “Zombies in Marysville.” Langan entices his readers with the perfect setup, then hides the rest of the story in the archives of his imagination. I enjoyed this because I was still thinking about it when I started the next story, and it’s that kind of crossover that feels intentional on Langan’s behalf.“Into the Darkness, Fearlessly” is one of my favorite stories. In classic Langan fashion, our tale opens with a story within a story. A professional editor finds a manuscript the morning after (the morning after what? You’ll see) from his client, Linus Price. It’s title is A Grammar of Dread, A Catechism of Terror. Just even reading this title sends the editor into a physical state. This leads to the editor meditating on his relationship with Linus and Linus’s wife, Dominika. The storytelling here is so absorbing! I swear as I type this, the world utterly disappeared as the drama swallowed me whole. Also noteworthy: I love books about writing and writers, don’t you? The fourth wall is slightly transparent as Langan peels back the curtain, revealing to his readers the world of writers from a fictional POV.One more note: I don’t know how to say what needs to be said without sounding like a creep, so have grace for me? Some writers don’t write sensuality or sex scenes that read real. The sex in this particular story proves that it can enhance authenticity instead of harm.Lastly, before I carry on too long, the title story, Children of the Fang, is everything I have grown to admire about Langan’s writing—atmospheric descriptions, mysterious found-footage, rich mythical lore about ancient creatures or beings—it’s almost as if Langan challenges his audience to engage with his stories on a cultural level; an understanding that readers will bring with them their historical context or religious worldview. This kind of interaction means that everyone will have their own, unique experience based on the personal lens one wears while they read. Personally, Langan is my standard by which all other short stories are measured. There is something in this collection that will stand out as your favorite, relish your time in these Genealogies to find it.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    That John's new collection CHILDREN OF THE FANG would be brilliant (and freakin' scary) wasn't a question. But, jesus, the audacity, range, scope, and humanity of his imagination within his continued interrogation of genre and literary influence is, frankly, awe-inspiring. The only question for me was how many stories would employ a cactus. (answer: one). I love John's big terrible brain and look forward to eating it one day.
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  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    Review will appear in a future issue if BOOKLIST and in the blog.Three Words That Describe This Book: immersive, unsettling, askewYou can suggest this collection to fans of an emerging class of stellar horror writers who have been inspired by Langan himself such as Usman Malik, Rachel Eve Moulton, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
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  • Neil McRobert
    January 1, 1970
    This is a bumper crop of short fiction. In the substantial story notes (which I always enjoy) the author mentions the feeling of cracking open a big collection - King's Skeleton Crew, or Barker's Books of Blood, for example, and Children of the Fang does have that vibe. Indeed, it has a LOT of vibes - with each story seeming to pay homage to at least one horror luminary. This isn;t to say that they don't have their own voice - they most definitely do - but that the tradition, or 'genealogy' as L This is a bumper crop of short fiction. In the substantial story notes (which I always enjoy) the author mentions the feeling of cracking open a big collection - King's Skeleton Crew, or Barker's Books of Blood, for example, and Children of the Fang does have that vibe. Indeed, it has a LOT of vibes - with each story seeming to pay homage to at least one horror luminary. This isn;t to say that they don't have their own voice - they most definitely do - but that the tradition, or 'genealogy' as Langan puts it, of horror fiction is present throughout. John Langan is quite the literary ventriloquist, but he also has a set of tools that are very much his own.One of those tools is his ability to create small, tight stories that hint at a larger scale. Several of these tales are fragments of a national, global, or even cosmic crisis - and though they leave you salivating for more, that's where the power is, in the events beyond the margins that Langan only alludes to. He does it several times, and those stories have left me thinking about what might still be going on in those worlds. One example, the sotruy "Inundation" does this t0 marvellous effect - with the events of single moment in a single suburban street standing in for the whole tapestry of a reality-changing cosmic event. It's unlikely that every story will satisfy every reader. A couple, such as the uber-cosmic "Ymir", the technohorror "Irezumi", and the oh-so-weird "Vista" left me a little cold and longing for the good stuff. By that I mean either his fun meta takes on the writing industry and his own coterie of writer-friends (in "Muse" and "Into the Darkness, Fearlessly") or the old-school weirdness of "Children of the Fang" and "Episode Three: On the Great Plains, in the Snow". This last features nothing short of a ghost tyrannosaur caught in a re-enactment of the Indian Wars. I mean, what's not to love?I heartily recommend the collection to all fans of horror, weird, science-fiction or old school pulp. There is a lot of literary expertise on display in Children of the Fang, and Other Genealogies, but mostly it's just absolute blast.
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  • Logan Noble
    January 1, 1970
    Longer review incoming!
  • Ian Grochowsky
    January 1, 1970
    Multiple stories left me aghast. None left me cold. You will enjoy this even more if you have knowledge of weird fiction/horror authors and tropes
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