Bloch at 100

Robert Bloch was born on April 5, 1917 in Chicago.  Today marks the centennial of his birth.  He died of cancer in 1994.

Bloch wrote in multiple genres, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, often more than one in a single story.  Bloch sold much of his early work to Weird Tales and contributed to the Mythos.  He also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood.  His best known novel, Psycho, was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into the classic film of the same name.

Sadly, this one novel has at time overshadowed his short fiction.  To my mind, that was the area in which he excelled.  Bloch was one of the best, often mixing humor with horror, and he should be remembered.  Sadly, like many authors who have passed on, he is in danger of being forgotten by the younger generations.  In spite of that, he still casts a long shadow over the field of fantastic fiction today.

I intend to honor his memory by reading something of his.

 

16 thoughts on “Bloch at 100

    1. Keith West Post author

      Great question, Mario. Geez, where to start? If you can get your hands on The Best of Robert Bloch or any of the Collected Stories volumes, they would be great places to start. The Best of volume will have “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper”, “The Man Who Collected Poe”, “Enoch”, “That Hell-Bound Train”. Those are the ones I remember the best. Bloch often turns up in Mythos anthologies, and a lot of that work is good. Some of his early work is kinda rough in terms of prose, but most of those stores haven’t been reprinted in mass market format, just collectible editions. He had a number of paperback collections over the years that should still be relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately very little of his work is available in electronic format.

      Anyone else with suggestions, please feel free to chime in.

      Reply
          1. Keith West Post author

            Thanks. A bit steep for an ebook, but I may have to bite. I can’t seem to find a listing for it anywhere else. How does the rest of the anthology hold up?

          2. Keith West Post author

            Actually, now that I notice the word “Farm” isn’t actually in the title, I found a listing on the ISFDB immediately. I’ve got a copy in an anthology at home, and I even think I know where it is. I’ll dig it out tonight. I’ll also read a collaboration between Bloch and Kuttner since Friday is Kuttner’s birthday.

          3. Paul McNamee

            It’s a great anthology, as I recall. I haven’t read it through in a long time. But it was the first anthology of Mythos stuff I read by authors other than Lovecraft.

          4. Keith West Post author

            Hmm, apparently the comments don’t auto-refresh. I missed some of your comments about the title. I may buy this anthology anyway, although I’m needing to cut back on book-buying for a while.

    1. Keith West Post author

      I do, too. I read quite a bit of his stuff about 12 years or so ago, but I’ve not read much since. I need to fix that. He was almost always worth reading once he hit his stride in the 1940s. As Duece says, some of his early stuff is not that great. But then he was still a teenager when he started selling to Weird Tales.

      Reply
  1. deuce

    I forgot his centennial was coming up, but I read his Del Rey collection a few weeks ago. When he was good, he was often great, but I find he was very hit and miss, for me. Only about half of his early Mythos work is readable, IMO, but “Notebook Found in a Deserted Farmhouse” is easily one of the best tales in the entire genre.

    Bloch also had a major beef with druids, referring to their overwhelming evil in numerous tales. He didn’t get that from HPL. It was an animosity he came up with on his own. The Romans had a problem with the druids due to them being a focal point of rebellion. Bloch made them out to be major threats to the planet. REH would not agree.

    Other than his odd manic anti-druidism, Bloch could write a good tale. I still remember where I was when I read “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper.” Speaking of which, Bloch milked ol’ Jack for all he was worth, what with “Wolf in the Fold” and NIGHT OF THE RIPPER.

    Yes, Bloch should be remembered.

    Reply
      1. Keith West Post author

        Thanks. I’m hoping to get into a routine that will let me put some stuff up at least once a week. Things at work have thrown a monkey wrench into my schedule. I’ll try to post an update about that later in the week.

        Reply
    1. Keith West Post author

      I only remembered because James Reasoner had a post about some of his detective novels.

      Reply

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