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Book is Choice
This poll is closed.
Kwaidan (怪談): Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn 11 50.00%
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson 3 13.64%
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild 4 18.18%
In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu 4 18.18%
Total: 22 votes
[Edit Poll (moderators only)]

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009

Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!

Morbid Hound

Help us pick the next BOTM!

This is for October, so that means horror. The below candidates offer a few different versions of that.

This month I think I forgot to click the "vote for more than one option" button, so if you'd like to pick two, just post.

Also post if you think there's another book people should consider instead.

As always, if you vote for a book, please join us for discussion if that book is selected.


1.Kwaidan (怪談): Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn


Hearn declares in his introduction to the first edition of the book, which he wrote on January 20, 1904, shortly before his death, that most of these stories were translated from old Japanese texts. He also states that one of the stories – Yuki-onna – was told to him by a farmer in Musashi Province, and his was apparently the first record of it, both by his own account and according to the research of modern folklorists. Riki-Baka is based on a personal experience of Hearn's. While he does not declare it in his introduction, Hi-Mawari – among the final narratives in the volume – seems to be a recollection of an experience in his childhood (it is, setting itself apart from almost all the others, written in the first person and set in rural Wales).


In the late 19th century, Japan was still largely unknown and exotic to Westerners. However, with the introduction of Japanese aesthetics, particularly at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, Japanese styles became fashionable in Western countries. Consequently, Hearn became known to the world by his writings concerning Japan. In later years, some critics would accuse Hearn of exoticizing Japan, but because he offered the West some of its first descriptions of pre-industrial and Meiji Era Japan, his work is generally regarded as having historical value.[21][22][23]

Admirers of Hearn's work have included Ben Hecht,[24] John Erskine, and Malcolm Cowley.[25]

The Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi adapted four Hearn tales into his 1964 film, Kwaidan. Some of his stories have been adapted by Ping Chong into his puppet theatre, including the 1999 Kwaidan and the 2002 OBON: Tales of Moonlight and Rain.

Yone Noguchi is quoted as saying about Hearn, "His Greek temperament and French culture became frost-bitten as a flower in the North."[26]

(from wikipedia)

2. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and was on Barack Obama's reading list.


Set in the recent past, when the country’s eccentric strongman Kim Jong-il (who died in December) still ruled with an iron whim, the novel conjures an Orwellian world in which the government’s myths about the country — its success, its benevolence, its virtues in taking on the evils perpetrated by the United States, South Korea and Japan — are not only tirelessly drilled into the citizenry through propaganda broadcasts but have also become an overarching narrative framing everyone’s lives. As Jun Do learns, people’s identities are subordinate to the roles the state expects them to fulfill, and even words or acts that inadvertently cast doubt on the greatness and goodness of the government can lead to death or prison or torture.

“Where we are from,” says one character, “stories are factual. If a farmer is declared a music virtuoso by the state, everyone had better start calling him maestro. And secretly, he’d be wise to start practicing the piano. For us, the story is more important than the person. If a man and his story are in conflict, it is the man who must change.”

3. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild


King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998) is a best-selling popular history book by Adam Hochschild that explores the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908, as well as the large-scale atrocities committed during that period.[1] The book, also a general biography of the private life of Leopold, succeeded in increasing public awareness of these crimes in recent decades.[2]

The book was refused by nine of the ten U.S. publishing houses to which an outline was submitted, but became an unexpected bestseller and won the prestigious Mark Lynton History Prize for literary style. It also won the 1999 Duff Cooper Prize. By 2013 more than 600,000 copies were in print in a dozen languages.


Listen to the yell of Leopold's ghost,
Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.
Hear how the demons chuckle and yell,
Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.

4. In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu

A collection of five stories by the 19th-century horror writer LeFanu, this collection includes Carmilla:


Carmilla is an 1872 Gothic novella by Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by 26 years. First published as a serial in The Dark Blue (1871–72),[1][2] the story is narrated by a young woman preyed upon by a female vampire named Carmilla, later revealed to be Mircalla, Countess Karnstein (Carmilla is an anagram of Mircalla). The character is a prototypical example of the lesbian vampire, expressing romantic desires toward the protagonist. The novella notably never acknowledges homosexuality as an antagonistic trait, leaving it subtle and relatively unmentioned. The story is often anthologized and has been adapted many times in film and other media.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 16:10 on Sep 27, 2020


Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

Nothing scarier than an artillery barrage -- Am I right?

Woah, great set of options this month, I could go for any of these. LeFanu obviously maxing out the thirstiness meter.

Oct 6, 2010

A man whose blood
Is very snow-broth;
One who never feels
The wanton stings and
Motions of the sense

I voted orphan masters son because it’s so good I want to reread it

Feb 14, 2012

Shitposting 24/7 without regrets. my parents would be proud.

id go for either kwaiden or king leopold.

Hawley-Smoot Tariff
Jun 18, 2003

The price of greatness is responsibility.

Incredible list, these all look great. I’m partial to The Orphan Master’s Son since people keep telling me it’s great, but A Glass Darkly sounds cool too (and spoooooky).

Idaholy Roller
May 19, 2009

I can’t vote on the app and I can’t log on the website could a kindly mod add a vote for Kwaidan please.


Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009

Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!

Morbid Hound

It'll be Kwaidan. I'll get a thread up tomorrow unless Safety Biscuits beats me to it.

you can get started here:

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 03:41 on Oct 1, 2020

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