Sunday, August 25, 2013

H G Wells' "The Red Room" (short story, gothic horror, free)

This is a haunted house story. A large abandoned palace with three old caretakers has a "Red Room" that is haunted & feared. Narrator, apparently a traveler, will insist on staying there saying he doesn't fear ghosts, & will discover the fear first hand.


Much of story is about setting the mood, but the key part went over my head. In the end, narrator tells us "there is no ghost there at all, but worse, far worse, something impalpable— ... The worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal men, ... and that is, in all its nakedness—'Fear!' Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear with reason, that deafens and darkens and overwhelms." And yet the mysterious events of the
night before don't quite fit this conclusion.

Fact sheet.

First published: The Idler, March 1896.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg or eBooks@Adelaide.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of H G Wells.