Top 25

There was some discussion a few weeks back after Brian Keene released a list of his top twenty-five authors.  It got me thinking about who’d be on my list, so I went hunting through my bookshelves and came up with a couple dozen favorites.  Some are represented because of their novels (N), while others I prefer their short stories (SS).  In no particular order:

1.  Robert Bloch (SS)

2.  Richard Matheson (SS)

3.  Ray Bradbury (SS)

4.  Charles Beaumont (SS)

5.  Harlan Ellison (SS)

6.  Roald Dahl (SS)

7.  Shirley Jackson (SS)

8.  Algernon Blackwood (SS)

9.  Gary Braunbeck (N)

10.  Simon Clark (N)

11.  Joe Lansdale (SS)

12.  Joss Whedon (Scripts)

13.  Rod Serling (Scripts)

14.  Robert McCammon (N)

15.  Stephen King (N)

16.  Jack Ketchum (N)

17.  Tim Lebbon (N)

18.  M.R. James (SS)

19.  Graham Masterton (N)

20.  Charles L. Grant (N)

21.  Dan Simmons (N)

22.  Neil Gaiman (N)

23.  Ambrose Bierce (SS)

24.  Norman Partridge (SS)

25.  Jack Cady (SS)

Now there are a few pecularities that jumped out at me when I tallied this list.  The first is that only one woman is on it, and no ethnic or racial minorities.  I like plenty of female and minority writers — Owl Goingback, Elizabeth Massie and Douglas Clegg jump to mind — but apparently not enough to crack the top twenty-five.  If the list were extended to my top fifty, it would be far less homogenous. 

Half of the list is primarily comprised of short story writers, because the short form is the backbone of the horror genre.  There’s also a distinct split between “classical” and pulp writers versus more modern authors (from 1970-today).  Sixty percent of the writers are still alive, and one-fourth are British writers.  Even two screenwriters made the cut.  And the vast majority would be considered “quiet” horror writers, rather than overtly gory ones.

So who would make your list?

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