November 17, 2010

Wish List Wednesday #73: Richard Laymon's "The Cellar"

Wish List Wednesday is a weekly meme I started in July '09, in which I put the spotlight on a book that is on my wish list--whether new release, blast from the past, or hidden gem.

When it comes to authors with a last legacy in the horror genre, the late Richard Laymon is one whose name is mentioned over and over again. Since author Ty Schwamberger turned me onto Laymon's work, I've had a chance to read and review of couple of his novels (Bite and Glory Bus). Plus, I have a couple more sitting on my to-be-read pile (Savage and Come Out Tonight).

But there is one novel in particular that I would like to read, yet have never seen it on a shelf anywhere, and with the recent crumbling of Leisure Books which has been re-releasing the Laymon library, I shouldn't hold my breath. The book is Laymon's debut novel, The Cellar.

There's no real reason why I'd single this Laymon novel out besides the fact that it's the breakout one. I suppose growing up in a house that had a spooky ol' dirt floor cellar, that could play a role. But I think it boils down to getting a feel for where the guy started out from on his writing career.

I don't know, what would the Laymon fans suggest? Is there a novel by him that you'd suggest be read above the others?


  1. I'd like to track down a vintage copy of THE CELLAR as well, for cheap (collectors' prices on eBay) but only for completist reasons. I was *not* impressed at all with the only book of his I read, RESURRECTION DREAMS. I know his reputation has grown since his death so I'm willing to give him another shot...

  2. The Cellar is far and away the book to read when it comes to Laymon, as it's not only his first book, but arguably the first book in the splatter punk subgenre (though the term was coined by a different author).

    It's extreme, it's gross, it's violent, and it's easily one of the most influential horror novels ever written.

    The Cellar along with Ketchum's "Off Season" are two of the most important milestones in the (now storied) history of the gross-out horror novel and should not be missed by anyone with even a passing interest in the genre.

    I guarantee they aren't for everyone, but if you are so inclined, you should definitely check The Cellar out.

    - Aaron

    PS, I've noticed a lot of used copies of The Cellar in aftermarket book stores and the like, so finding a copy of the Leisure re-release shouldn't be too hard.

  3. Will - I will probably have to resort to eBay some time if I ever want to read this book. Not even the libraries in my province seem to have it.

    Aaron - The Cellar certainly seems to get heralded alot. I wouldn''t mind finding his book Laymon's Terms either, but I'll have to wait until next year for the re-release.