|Hell! Said the Duchess||MIchael Arlen||1934||Supernatural Horror||Black Magic|
|The Burning Court||John Dickson Carr||1937||Supernatural Horror||Black Magic|
|Alraune (Frank Braun Trilogy) (Volume 2)||Hanns Heinz Ewers||1911||Supernatural Horror||Medical Experiments Gone Too Far|
|Dark Sanctuary||H.B. Gregory||1940||Supernatural Horror||Black Magic|
|Falling Angel: A Novel||William Hjortsberg||1978||Supernatural Horror||Black Magic|
|Maker of Shadows||Jack Mann||1939||Supernatural Horror||Ancient Sorceries|
|The Yellow Mistletoe||Walter S. Masterman||1930||Supernatural Horror||Lost Civilizations|
|Melmoth the Wanderer (Penguin Classics)||Charles Robert Maturin||1820||Supernatural Horror||Curse of Immortality|
|Burn Witch Burn!||Abraham Merritt||1933||Supernatural Horror||Black Magic|
|Fingers of Fear||J. U. Nicolson||1937||Supernatural Horror||Sinister Family Secrets|
|Doctors Wear Scarlet||Simon Raven||1960||Supernatural Horror||Academic Terror|
|Echo of a Curse||R. R. Ryan||1939||Supernatural Horror||Sinister Family Secrets|
|Medusa||E. H. Visiak||1929||Supernatural Horror||Journey To The Unknown|
|The Deadly Percheron||John Franklin Bardin||1946||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Manipulation|
|Psycho: A Novel||Robert Bloch||1959||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|Here Comes a Candle||Frederic Brown||1950||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|The Screaming Mimi||Frederic Brown||1949||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|THE FIRE-SPIRITS: A ROMANCE ... Translated from the German by J. Eglington.||Paul Busson||1929||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Manipulation|
|The Crooked Hinge||John Dickson Carr||1938||Non-Supernatural Horror||Sinister Family Secrets|
|The Sorcerer's Apprentice||Hanns Heinz Ewers||1910||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Manipulation|
|Vampire,||Hanns Heinz Ewers||1921||Non-Supernatural Horror||Journey To The Unknown|
|Fully Dressed and in His Right Mind||Michael Fessier||1935||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|The Shadow on the House||Mark Hansom||1939||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|The Torture Garden||Octave Mirabeau||1899||Non-Supernatural Horror||Journey To The Unknown|
|Master of the Day of Judgement||Leo Perutz||1921||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Terror|
|The Subjugated Beast||R. R. Ryan||1938||Non-Supernatural Horror||Psychological Manipulation|
|The Death Guard (Roc)||Philip George Chadwick||1939||Science Fiction Horror||Futility Of War|
|Final Blackout||L. Ron Hubbard||1940||Science Fiction Horror||Futility Of War|
|VAMPIRES OVERHEAD||Alan Hyder||1935||Science Fiction Horror||Alien Invasion|
|The Quatermass experiment||Nigel Kneale||1953||Science Fiction Horror||Alien Invasion|
|Quatermass and the Pit||Nigel Kneale||1958||Science Fiction Horror||Alien Invasion|
|The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck||Alexander Laing||1934||Science Fiction Horror||Medical Experiments Gone Too Far|
|The Flying Beast||Walter S. Masterman||1932||Science Fiction Horror||Lost Civilizations|
|The Black Corridor||Michael Moorcock||1969||Science Fiction Horror||Psychological Terror|
|Land under England||Joseph O’Neil||1935||Science Fiction Horror||Mind Control|
|The Cross of Carl. An Allegory||Walter Owen||1931||Science Fiction Horror||Futility Of War|
|Freak Museum||R. R. Ryan||1938||Science Fiction Horror||Medical Experiments Gone Too Far|
|Frankenstein||Mary Shelly||1818||Science Fiction Horror||Medical Experiments Gone Too Far|
|The Day of the Triffids (20th Century Rediscoveries)||John Wyndham||1951||Science Fiction Horror||Science Gone Too Far|
Every since finishing the lists of Karl Edward Wagner’s best horror novels, I’ve been itching to go through it and find some common themes. Fortunately, I’ve put together a table of all the novels of the lists, which you can view at the top. Since the publication of KEW’s lists in the old Twilight Zone magazine in 1983, many of these novels have come back into print. As a matter of fact,you can buy them all, with two notable exceptions. Clicking on the title or the cover of the novel in this chart takes you to the Amazon affiliate account. Only Vampire by Hans Ewers and The Fire Spirits by Paul Busson are not to be found on Amazon (I was forced to use inter-library loan to get my reading copies).
There are three novels under the science fiction horror category which have “Medical Experiments Gone To Far” as their theme. This is not too surprising since KEW was trained as a psychiatrist, but left medical school over his disgust at the way the patients were being treated. And it is not surprising that Psychological manipulation and terror show up in nine other books. The use and misuse of the psychiatric profession was an issue close to him. It pops up in one of KEW’s Kane novels, Dark Crusade. The Land Under England has Mind Control as a theme throughout the book which fits neatly into this area.
Black Magic is another theme to be found in the novels on KEW’s lists. It’s also a common theme in the Kane novels and stories. So it’s not surprising to find this in the list of books. KEW always considered his Kane novels as horror fiction.
My choice of themes for the novels on the list is open for argument. I sifted through common ideas I found in these books and tried to label them. Someone else might have another concept.Recently, a writer suggested KEW deliberately included books that would be very difficult for anyone to locate. It did take me 30 years to finish reading the novels on these lists.
Thanks for this labor of dark love, Timothy; many KEW fans will benefit.
One niggling detail; you may have picked this up from Steve Trout, but Karl did not leave medical school, except in that he graduated. He got his degree and went on to practice psychiatry for a year or so. He did, indeed, become disgusted with the way he saw patients treated in medical school AND in psychiatric treatment in general, and, as a consequence–and because he had another career option–he quit the entire field in disgust. Part of that was due to his contempt for the practice of ECT, a contempt that, I have only recently learned, was not just a professional quibble but a principled, perhaps heroic, stand against a ruthless and unjustified assault against thousands of vulnerable patients. His stand, as a professional in the field, was highly unusual and probably would have made remaining in that field very challenging.