Saturday, January 29, 2011
Book Review : The Great God Pan - Arthur Machen 9*
TGGP is a classic horror story, although if you're going to read it for the sex and horror content, everything is alluded to rather than taking place on page. At the beginning of the book Dr. Raymond performs an experiment on a young girl that will allow her to see beyond the veil of the mundane world and catch a glimpse of Pan himself, the experiment succeeds, but with unforeseen circumstances and the consequences of the experiment cause terror and death for many innocent people.
Machen's influence on H P Lovecraft (and therefore a whole slew of later horror writers) is obvious, the piercing of the veil which allows the horrors beyond to infect the human mind is one of the great themes of his Cthulu mythos. The woodland setting and the sense of unease it brings also feel similar to Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood. Stephen King has said that his is "maybe the best horror story in the English Language," and for such a short book it is a really great read, full of atmosphere and creeping dread.