A Skeleton at the Helm, edited by John Richard Stephens

The post-Halloween season is a good time to snoop around for bargain Halloween books at Barnes & Noble, and two weeks ago I stumbled across a very nice collection of classic horror stories set on the high seas!  The collection, A Skeleton at the Helm, was just published this year and is a wonderful hardbound book that’s a steal for only $10.00:

As one would expect from the nature of the collection, the stories are all old tales that are otherwise publicly available, but it is nice to have them together in one place for reading enjoyment.  Stories come from such greats as Poe, Bram Stoker, Washington Irving, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Hope Hodgson, and even Winston Churchill!  The book also comes with a nice introduction by the editor, which includes a discussion of real terrors of the sea which are just as chilling as the stories themselves!

From the discussion, it is easy to see why lots of myths and dark legends were spun about ocean travel: the sea is a frighteningly dangerous and unpredictable place, even in modern times.  Rogue waves can snap or overturn the sturdiest oceal vessel, and their origins are still a subject of debate.

A Skeleton at the Helm has been added to my collection of quality hardcover horror books.  If you like getting a chill from more than a stout ocean wind, I recommend it!

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3 Responses to A Skeleton at the Helm, edited by John Richard Stephens

  1. I didn’t know Winston Churchill wrote tales of terror. Good-looking cover. I read a lot of modern horror, but I like the old stories, too!

  2. David: The story “Man Overboard!” in this collection is the only Churchill story I’ve read so far, though I understand he wrote a few before he went into politics. I have to admit, though, that politics suited him much better (the story is so-so)!

  3. Ed says:

    Started reading “Skeleton at the Helm” and right away I was blown away by one of the most stupid statements I’ve seen in a while. Page 5, “Trapped by Ice”, first paragraph, “Before global warming, a ship could be trapped for years”. Then it goes on to state “Another dangerous side effect of global warming for ship captains are the huge chunks of ice breaking off ice shelves on both poles”. Seriously???, so ice never broke off before the global warming scare tatic started and now that we “supposedly” have global warming there’s no more danger of a ship getting stuck in ice. Ok, this guys obviously a very gullible Al Gore follower. This could’ve been an exciting read but now that he’s introduced one of the biggest snake-oil salesman scams into this story I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish reading it without disgust.

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