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Publisher's Summary

Prepare yourself for the shocking, the strange, and the terrifying in Ambrose Bierce’s 1893 story collection Can Such Things Be? One of the greatest masters of horror brings you 25 tales of the supernatural and the unexplained. Whether in stories of ghosts sending desperate warnings to their human counterparts, psychics attempting to bridge unknown dimensions, howling werewolves, or a robot who takes on a life of his own, Bierce plumbs the depths of fear and fascination. Spooky thrills and mind-bending mysteries await all who dare to open the cover of Can Such Things Be?

Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

Praise for the works of Ambrose Bierce: “These pieces are not dated, nor are they lacking any of the narrative elements necessary to attract and hold the attention of anyone interested in the horror genre.” ( SF Booklog)

What listeners say about Can Such Things Be?

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This is a winner.

There is so much in this that is so good, from the evocative prose to the narration.
The Death of Halpin Fraser, 2 stars. Not my cup of tea.
The Secret of Macarger's Gulch, 4 stars. A fun camping ghost story.
One Summer Night, 4 stars. Short, but packs a wallop.
The Moonlit Road, 4 stars. Crime and Punishment, American style.
A Diagnosis of Death, 3 stars. Predicting death and seeing ghosts.
Moxon's Master, 3.5. Possibly the first story written about AI.
A Tough Tussle, 5 stars. An amazing psychological page turner.
One of Twins, 4 stars. Excellent.
The Haunted Valley, 4 stars. Still topical, a story of jealousy.
A Jug of Syrup, 4 stars. A humorous tale of a man wedded to his job.
Staley Fleming's Hallucination, 2 stars. Karma and hallucinations.
A Resumed Identity, 4 stars. A story about memory, reality, and a sense of self.
A Baby Tramp, 3 stars. Weird and sad.
The Night Doings At 'Deadman's', 3.5. Humorous and creepy.
Beyond the Wall, 2 stars.
A Psychological Shipwreck. 3 stars because I did not see this one coming.
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot, 4 stars. Now that's a ghost story. A knife fight in a dark haunted house.
John Mortonson's Funeral, 3 stars. A humorous tale.
The Realm of the Unreal, 3 stars. An Indian hypnotist is a total jerk.
John Bartine's Watch, 3 stars.
The Damned Thing, 3 stars. An unseen menace.
Haita the Shepherd, 1 star. I'd take a pass on this one.
An Inhabitant of Carcosa, 4 stars. Evocative.
The Stranger, 4 stars. A haunting tale.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • GF
  • 04-01-15

Sharp but filigreed prose defines the descriptive

Sharp, yet filigreed, prose defines the descriptive excellence of Mr. Bierce's style. He begins with engaging narrative; he embellishes it carefully so that an atmosphere gradually emerges to encompass the narrative; he then uses pacing and punctuation to establish a tone; and all conspire to produce emotion in the reader. This is a highly recommended collection.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent narration of the classics

I loved listening to Anthony Heald reading these wonderful old tales from Bierce. He was just perfect here! If you've read Bierce, you'll love the collection. If not, you'll love it all the more. He's the kind of author you wish you could read again for the first time because there's no one quite like him. As with Poe, many have attempted to imitate him, but all fail in the attempt. He remains his own twisted, unique self and I love him for it. May you enjoy this collection as much as I did.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not Bierce's strongest stories but wonderfully performed.

Some of the tales here are still effective but many others haven't aged well. Bierce's writing is as crisp and evocative as ever but his twists have been copied and reused thousands of times since publication and today's readers can see them coming well in advance.

The performance is great. Captures Bierce's wry voice and humor perfectly.

7 people found this helpful

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perfect

Ambrose Bierce was a masterful storyteller, a wonderful purveyor of mystery and imagination, and his language is beautiful and captivating. Anthony Heald's narrationis also perfect, and perfectly suited to these particular stories. He has instantly entered the ranks of my favorite readers.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

oldie but a goodie

stories are abrupt so if you hate having questions... otherwise an enjoyable journey great narrator

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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VERY captivating...

Really had my attention the whole way through! Intelligent story telling to make your spine tingle!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Chapts 39 & 40 are best

Interesting turn of the century stories, but the occasionally overtly racist elements ruined several stories for me. Those didn't age well.

Stories/Chapters 39 & 40, however, were amazing!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very well read. Great, creepy stories. Love it!!!

As a fan of horror fiction, I was pleasantly surprised to find the creepy, yet comical writing of Ambrose Bierce so good, that I'm currently on my fourth listening. A great addition to American classic fiction. The narrator is great at getting the author's intentions across when reading might not have so easily done so. My only complaint is I wish there was more, more, more!!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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No one talks like this anymore :-(

Would you consider the audio edition of Can Such Things Be? to be better than the print version?

I haven't had the pleasure of reading the print version. Although I may do so now. I was a little intimidated by the language. As no one speaks like this anymore; although that did add to the charm of it.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Once I figured out where everything was headed it was quite a suprise and very enjoyable.

What does Anthony Heald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think he lends credence to the language. If I had just read this story, I would have been more compelled to stop and fixate on the language. As it's read you can't really fixate on the old fashioned verbage as much; which leaves you free to enjoy the story.

If you could rename Can Such Things Be?, what would you call it?

I don't think I would rename it. The name fits for more then one reason. I don't want to go into those as I think it would spoil the over all tone of the book.

Any additional comments?

This was quite interesting; I would be very interested in hearing more stories of this type. It's well worth getting.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Beccameriel
  • 05-03-13

Need list of contents

The narrator is great and the stories are excellent. The only problem is that there isn't a list of contents so it's not easy to chose the story to which you want to listen.

10 people found this helpful