Binscombe is a place where things go bump in the night and often in the daytime too. Here you will find stories to prick the imagination, quicken the pulse, and chill the blood. It is a place where waiting for a bus may take a lot longer than you think, where the rustle in the bushes is likely to be something considerably more secretive and more dangerous than a badger, whBinscombe is a place where things go bump in the night and often in the daytime too. Here you will find stories to prick the imagination, quicken the pulse, and chill the blood. It is a place where waiting for a bus may take a lot longer than you think, where the rustle in the bushes is likely to be something considerably more secretive and more dangerous than a badger, where inanimate objects may have strong views of their own, and where past, present and future sometimes collide with unpredictable results. To this inward-looking corner of England's Home Counties comes Mr Oakley, a newcomer in the village but one whose family name appears on some of the oldest gravestones. Mr Oakley believes in the comfort, convenience and security of the modern world and he fancies that the past is safely dead and buried. It is a world view that he will have repeatedly challenged by the mysterious Mr Disvan, who acts as his (and our) guide to the winding byways of the bizarre that thread through Binscombe life. Now that Mr Oakley has returned to his ancestral homeland, he will soon discover that reality is a relative concept, and the world outside Binscombe will never seem quite the same again. "Whitbourn's wit is both unforced and splendidly droll." -The Daily Express "These stories are not comfortable to read, but they still bring enjoyment of good company and the vicarious chill of a good fright at someone else's expense, and as such are to be heartily recommended." - Interzone "Original and intriguing." - Starburst "Pulled off with panache and no small amount of humour." - The Daily Express "He doesn't cheat, and he doesn't soften the edges." - Mary Gentle "Marvellously inventive." - The Times...
|Title||:||Binscombe Tales - The Complete Series|
|Number of Pages||:||616 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Binscombe Tales - The Complete Series Reviews
I read the first story, Another Place, as a sample of the Binscombe Tales on my podcast Forgotten Classics. Author John Whitbourn was kind enough to approve of the reading, to the extent that he has given me permission to read another. So I am rereading all the tales in order to select another favorite. (It's tough. I love so many of these stories.)Original review below.===========I'm a sucker for those series of tall tales told in taverns that seem to exist only in science fiction. After rereading Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke, I came across the Binscombe Tales which carry the banner into very current times. The tales always begin in the tavern, told by town newcomer Mr. Oakley, but almost always take us into Binscombe itself, under the supervision of Mr. Disvan. Binscombe is not unlike living in the Twilight Zone or perhaps Night Vale and the tavern often feels like a safe harbor by the end. Some of the stories are chilling (the one at the bus stop, for example), some just present a fascinating concept in story form (Rollover Night especially comes to mind), but all have a vein of humor present. Each story can stand alone but the overarching theme is that of introducing Mr. Oakley to his long-forgotten town roots so that he can enjoy his full potential as a Binscombe resident. I also really enjoyed the Afterward where the author wrote about Binscombe Tales he considered but had never gotten around to writing (inexplicably and criminally not included in the Kindle edition). Those enriched the story setting and town as well as giving insight into how Whitbourn's mind worked in concocting the tales I had just read. Highly recommended.
These tales are an immensely readable mixture of The Twilight Zone and English humor. They can be read one or two at a time ("savored", as I believe some term it) or gobbled one right after the other (the way I've read them). Each can stand on its own, but taken together, they work together to tell a larger story about Binscombe, Mr. Oakley, and Mr. Disvan. I was introduced to Binscombe Tales by Julie at the Forgotten Classics podcast. I enjoyed that story so much that I put the book on my To Read list, and though not all of the tales are quite as good as that one (always the case with collections of short stories), it was an entertaining read. (I'd probably give it a 4.5, but I'm rounding up, since half-stars aren't possible at this point.)Prepare for a few shudders, but there's nothing very graphically depicted. In the Kindle e-book version I read, there are occasional lapses in editing-- mainly punctuation issues and a few misspellings-- but not enough to be particularly irritating.One thing to note: I bought the Kindle version of this book-- partly because it was significantly cheaper than the paper version, partly because I simply prefer reading on my e-reader. However, for some reason, the Kindle version is lacking the afterword that is included in the paper versions. Based on reviews, that afterword is a lengthy essay that sounds like an interesting read. I'm disappointed that it wasn't included in the ebook (but I guess I'll survive this deprivation, somehow). A great set of stories. I only wish there were more of them. (I suppose the author doesn't intend to write more, either, since he apparently writes about story ideas he never got around to, in that afterword I haven't been able to read.) I can definitely see myself revisiting these, at some point, and I'll recommend them to others.(For mini-reactions to individual stories, see the full review on my blog.)
Binscombe is England's Twilight Zone - or Eerie, Indiana if you prefer: an apparently ordinary village where things go bump in the night and often in the daytime too. The genre is hard to define, but I'd say it's fantasy in the truest and most inclusive sense in that it has room for all flavors of the imagination from time travel to ghost stories to outright horror - but always with wit, warmth and humour. These stories may send an icy chill up your spine, but they are never heartless or unwelcoming. In literary terms, the narrator's voice is one you'll enjoy spending time with.The Binscombe Tales work as individual episodes, but like the best TV series they also have the unity of a complete story arc in which newcomer Mr Oakley gradually reconnects with his family's roots in the village. His guide, mentor, friend and drinking companion is Mr Disvan, surely one of the great creations of fantasy/horror literature, a shamanistic figure who combines wisdom, charm, slyness, ruthlessness and even a kind of sweet innocence. (I imagine him played by Ian McShane.) John Whitbourn has written a whole string of award-winning novels to great critical acclaim, but for my money the Binscombe Tales are his best work.
Love his writing style, clever, and he makes me laugh, with lines like: It was all very confusing. I just didn't understand. "I don't understand," I said. Something about that just makes me giggle! This was, in all, a lovely combination of eerie, paranormal, humorous, and the prologue/epilogue was just the right way to finish.