Midnight by Jack Snow (1946)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror August 5, 2014
Do you believe in the theory of a ‘Ghost in the Machine,’ as British philosopher Gilbert Ryle coined the term in describing Descartes’ mind-body dualism (mind distinct from the body)? This is the belief that there is a non-biological entity underlying consciousness (the soul or spirit). Neuroscientists will argue that we are solely our physical brains trapped inside our own heads and nothing more than that. Jack Snow’s story Midnight brings up the questions: Are we sometimes operated by otherworldly phantoms—if we desire to call them up? Is there an immaterial realm we might tap into—if we desire to enter?
What if there is a ghost in the human machine? And what if that ghost has evil powers?
Meet John Ware who believes that the stroke of midnight has otherworldly powers and he wants in. He has an insatiable craving to know and experience evil directly. Ancient cults and their powerful secrets do not frighten him. So, he adventures into the darkest of realms. In his chamber is an old clock as tall as any person and owned by various Satanists, wizards, and alchemists. John stands before this clock at the stroke of midnight, his body etched with cabalistic markings, chanting unhuman phrases, and dancing grotesque gyrations as he steps into this mysterious band of time.
Do you think time ever stops?
Or are the grains of time an eternal abyss of madness? Tick-tock.
Jack Snow (1907-1956) has written some twenty short stories and spectral tales as well as a fiction series called Oz Universe.
You can read Midnight at StoryOfTheWeek: scroll to download the PDF.
DO YOU LIKE TO READ SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES?
Every once in a while I come across a newly released anthology that I really like. Most of the time I’m in the old books but here a new anthology edited by Richard Thomas, The New Black. The selection of authors is impressive if you’d like to experience some of today’s dark fiction writers.
The New Black is a collection of twenty neo-noir stories exemplifying the best authors currently writing in this dark sub-genre. A mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and the grotesque—all with a literary bent—these stories are the future of genre-bending fiction.
REVIEW: “The New Black ought to be the New High Standard for dark fiction anthologies. It’s loaded with intelligence and talent. Every one of the pieces in this extraordinary compilation is worthy of your full attention.” —Jack Ketchum
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
Horror Novel Reviews Hell Horror HorrorPalace
Monster Librarian Tales to Terrify Spooky Reads
Lovecraft Ezine Rob Around Books The Story Reading Ape Blog
The Gothic Wanderer Sirens Call Publications The Fussy Librarian
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.
7 responses to “Ghost in the Machine”
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You know I like to read short story anthologies. 🙂 Thanks for making me aware of The New Black. I’m making a note of that one for potential use with my annual short story project next year.
I love the “ghost in the machine” concept – its one of the great ponderables I think. And the music album of that name by The Police “helped get me through high school” back in the day.
Love that cover picture of the of the Dark Music book. Very “Brother Jerome-ish” (of “The Howling Man” fame)
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Jay, because I read so many classic stories, reading contemporary shorts gives me a refreshing contrast and The New Black is especially cutting edge fiction. I’m actually thinking of adding a contemporary short to my weekly posts (when I can find them free online). Yeah, that Dark Music cover is an eye catcher.
I was happy to see Roxane Gay & Kyle Minor among the authors included in The New Black. They were the only two I’d read before but both are good IMHO. 🙂
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Hope you enjoy, Lisa. Some of the stories are quite offbeat. I love anthologies because of their range of variety.
Paula – I’m on Social security now. My first check arrives on my birthday Aug. 20th. Talk kabout horror stories! Tom J sr
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Excellent post, as always! The New Dark looks so intriguing (literary horror? yes, please!) that I have to buy it on Kindle.