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Cruel Stories by Donald Tyson

Cruel Stories by Donald Tyson

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This book is extreme horror and appropriate for adults only.

The cruelty that human beings impose on each other, or upon themselves, is more horrifying than anything suffered in the natural realm. Nature is impersonal; in all of Nature only mankind is cruel. But cruelty is not the sole province of humanity. In the realm of the supernatural exist other entities which, like us, possess a capacity to torment. Gods, demons, wraiths, djinn can also be malicious. A single scarlet thread runs through these stories – the cruelty imposed upon men and woman both by the unnatural of this world and supernatural of the worlds that lie beyond.

The conte cruel (cruel story) is a subgenre of horror fiction defined by French writers during the decadent fin de siècle of the 19th century. Its seminal exponent was the writer Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, who in 1883 published a collection of short stories under the title Contes Cruels. As the name implies, it was characterized by terror and suffering inflicted by one person upon another, variously motivated by such things as hatred, revenge, lust, greed, ambition, or sheer sadism.

The addition of a supernatural element to this genre elevates it to the cosmic level. The suffering inflicted is not only physical and emotional, but spiritual and transformative. Spiritual horror strips away the comforting conventions of our shared reality to reveal what lies naked and beating beneath the skin. Those who suffer must confront the final and terrifying awareness of their own frailty. Suffering is a mirror – when we gaze into it, we see ourselves as we truly are, emptied of all illusions. This is the ultimate horror, which all of us at some point in our lives must face.


Wikipedia Definition of the conte cruel:

The conte cruel is a “short-story genre that takes its name from an 1883 collection by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam”, although previous examples had been provided by such writers as Edgar Allan Poe. Some critics use the label to refer only to non-supernatural horror stories, especially those that have nasty climactic twists, but it is applicable to any story whose conclusion exploits the cruel aspects of the ‘irony of fate.'[1] The collection from which the short-story genre of the conte cruel takes its name is Contes cruels (1883, tr. Sardonic Tales, 1927) by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam. Also taking its name from this collection is Contes cruels (“Cruel Tales”), a two-volume set of about 150 tales and short stories by the 19th-century French writer Octave Mirbeau, collected and edited by Pierre Michel and Jean-François Nivet and published in two volumes in 1990 by Librairie Séguier.

A new short story collection, anchored with a shocking new novel!


Signed & Numbered Hardcover

  • Signed by Author Donald Tyson and Artist K. L. Turner
  • Hand-Numbered 1 to 100
  • Color Dust Jacket
  • Spine Stamping
  • In Stock

Trade Paperback

  • Color Cover
  • In Stock

Story: Donald Tyson
Cover artwork: K. L. Turner
Editor: Joe Morey


“Donald Tyson is one of the most scintillating writers in the Lovecraftian tradition. The stories in this book, with their richly textured style, vivid characterization, and compelling scenarios, are among the best examples of contemporary Cthulhu Mythos fiction.”
— S. T. Joshi

“I couldn’t resist a book about Abdul Alhazred of Necronomicon fame! And I’m glad I did because Mr. Tyson’s story is tightly plotted with evocative imagery and excellent characterization. Everyone comes across as a well-rounded believable person even with the fantastic world they inhabit. The plot moves along smartly with little or no wasted side trips and the resolution is satisfying and rather surprising. Anyone who has wondered about the man who ‘wrote’ the Necronomicon is in for a treat!”
— David Chamberlain

“… Tyson takes Lovecraft’s Cthulian mythos and weaves it into the real world almost seamlessly. Tyson’s understanding of Lovecraft’s world and gods is phenomenal, and he shows a great ability to make that mythos his own.”
— Tobias Mastgrave

“…Tyson wove Lovecraft’s Mythos with genuine bits of history, myth, and magick to create an eerie sense of believability.”
— Drew Montgomerey, RPGNET

“A fascinating glimpse in the mechanizations of Lovecraft’s world as the journey one would need to take in order to be crazy enough to create the Necronomicon.”
— The Hopeful Librarian

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