• The Imago Sequence

  • And Other Stories
  • By: Laird Barron
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (567 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The title story of this collection - a devilishly ironic riff on H. P. Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" - was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, while "Probiscus" was nominated for an International Horror Guild award and reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 19. In addition to his previously published work, this collection contains an original story.

©2007 Laird Barron (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Imago Sequence

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Agonizingly Dull and Meaningless

Full disclosure - I couldn't sit still for all of this.
The most interesting story I read from start to finish took AGES to build up to "he was always dead...sort of - don't ask".
After listening further started to feel like slowly cranking a vice shut on my head, I began skipping around, listening for a few seconds here and there, searching for SOMETHING interesting. Every story I sampled like that just droned on and on and on like a rambling drunk who loves the sound of his own voice. NOWHERE did I land where something engaging was happening; the author's tone manages to make even slightly curious things like a man's face getting chewed off sound about as intense as a shopping list.
It doesn't help that Laird Barron is absolutely addicted to the kind of flowery, pace-strangling metaphor that infests the pages of the literary "classics" they force-feed you in school; you might drag yourself through six or seven increasingly florid parenthetical statements only to discover that it was all symbolic, just a really painful way to describe the 'difficulty' of choosing whether to be as boring as grass growing or paint drying. I think my favorite part was when I landed on a spot that sounded halfway promising, with bubbling in a lagoon and ichor and darkness, and it ended with the narrator deliberately looking away. Cue sarcastic clapping - book goes in the bin.

23 people found this helpful

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Embracing the Cosmic Horror within

First off, I will say that this was an enjoyable read, and if you are at all interested in expanding your scope of cosmic horror, this will be a great addition to your repertoire.

If you are like me and found this collection via a search for contemporary cosmic horror, AND you are a dyed-in-the-wool H.P. Lovecraft fan and are expecting an exacting replica of his work, then I believe you will be disappointed; while the spirit of the “law” as it were is there, the letter definitely is not. Stories in this collection proffer a very “sink or swim” style that, while more organic than the very clinical and exactingly dry Lovecraftian style, does not give you much to go on when trying to decipher motive and inclination of the characters telling the story; you will find that unlike Lovecraft’s “survivors” who more often than not lived to tell their tale despite their madness and end their wretched life on their own terms, Barron’s characters are “happened upon” and found to be narrating their own individual madness as it unfurls without deference to a potential future reader’s humours or misgivings.

I must admit I was personally a tad disappointed in how the involuntarily antagonistic “evils” found in these tales were less “Bestiary of Cosmic Madness” and more “Dictionnaire Infernal”; while the execution ended up enjoyable, I will admit to hoping for recognizably adherent additions to the overall Lovecraftian Mythos (i.e.: this is not a Cthulhu Mythos collection). I will also admit to sometimes being left markedly hungry after the conclusion of each story, as often the through-line of each tended to unravel and fray (no doubt in parallel to the characters’ sanities); while I appreciate this as a device, sometimes I wanted something a little more concrete.

All this being said, I enjoyed this book, and I do feel that the definite nods to Lovecraft are appreciable by those who are and who are not aware of the cosmic horror legacy. All in all, I would say that this collection is 80% of the spirit of Lovecraftian Horror with 5% of the racism (and to that point, any racism you may find in this book is more incidental to individual characters and not so nauseatingly ingrained into the very fabric of the story and writing itself). I liked this collection and kind of wish to read it again as I get the feeling that my attentions were trained on finding the familiar and may well have missed devices and plot points exclusive to the author; if you need more cosmic horror in your life (and honestly, who doesn’t?) then I definitely recommend this collection.

17 people found this helpful

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Dear god what is that?!

This collection stories is quite interesting because the concept of a happy ending is relative. Imago will come for you and you die screaming. I recommend this for any Lovecraft enthusiast and lover of the dark recesses of fantasy and sci-fi.

15 people found this helpful

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Pornographic and boring?

I'm returning & deleting this one. I fell asleep while listening (it's a bit of a snooze fest) and when I woke up, I got to hear Ray Porter saying something like, "she wrapped her lips tightly around his c**k" and that was the end for me.

It's like someone asked a high school-aged boy to write what they think a fantasy porno would sound like. Zero imagination, poor writing, terrible vocabulary.

How do things like that make it past the editor?

9 people found this helpful

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A comment on Bad Reviews

I read a number of reviews complaining that the stories in this book don’t have an ending or worse, simply trail off in the middle. I completely disagree. These stories are great and fascinating. They all have very clear endings. The stories assume that the reader will have a very basic understanding of human history and historical horror and some very basic mythology e.g. Christian devils and witches, Native Americans witches or evil, the Hindu God Shiva, that kind of thing. But even if you don’t have any real understanding of history, all the stories have clear endings.

Hint: The writer is borrowing from historic myths and imagining what it would be like to encounter one - like a Native American witch or the Hindu God Shiva - in modern day America.

The stories are interesting and imaginative and the horror is good.

7 people found this helpful

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fantastic!

This collection was superb! I will always be a fan of Laird Barron!. I look forward to his next collection!

7 people found this helpful

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No straight answers

The narrator did a bang-up job. And it is abundantly clear to me that Barron is a very gifted writer. But this audiobook is like a tale told by a man who is both drunk and high out of his mind. If he doesn’t pass out on you before a story properly concludes, he raves so that one cannot be satisfied that a particular story has a point. I also do not share Barron’s admiration of HP Lovecraft’s fictional work. I would have straight answers from our tale bearer but he cannot be relied upon. Was it worth the time I spent listening? I do not know.

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Great Cthulhu Mythos short stories

A great collection of Cthulhu Mythos short fiction. Several of the stories are real gems. Extra kudos to the author for bringing the Mythos to South Puget Sound.

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Enjoyed it so much that I got it on Kindle aswell

Some of the stories have lodged in my imagination. The narrator is good and suits the author's hard-boiled characters, although I would say his imitation of female voices made me uncomfortable and comes across as a bit sexist.

3 people found this helpful

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Waste of Time, Amateur Writing

Many other reviews bring this up, and I'm going to emphasize it. The author wastes WAY too much time writing up long backstories for these people and introducing characters... none of which matter whatsoever.

It's the potted plant problem. Even the most amateur novelist will tell you the simple truth of not creating pointless characters. But too frequently, the author creates a character who could be replaced by a silent potted plant and the story would go on with minimal adjustments.

It's also the talking head problem. The majority of the characters I saw in these works exists SOLELY as an excuse for the main character to speak their mind to someone. They become talking heads that take little to no actual influence on the story, who serve as nothing but an expository tool.

Now imagine... these stories use potted plants as expository tools.

There is nothing wrong with worldbuilding or giving your characters life. But your side characters need to be actors, not posters. I'm sorry but I'll say it. The stories in this collection were amateur AT BEST.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Si
  • 04-30-18

Let me guess... ancient evil.

This is the third Barron book I've read. Two novels and this collection of short stories. He writes well but he's a one trick pony. Every story - and I mean literally every one - is the same as the previous one except with new characters in a different location. Ancient evil in the jungle, ancient evil in the desert, ancient evil in China, ancient evil in a cave, and so it goes on. And on top of that the stories are inconclusive and unsatisfying. Someone encounters an ancient evil in *insert location here* and ends up in a bad way, probably.

The narration by Ray Porter is exceptional.

6 people found this helpful

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  • mrs sylvia frazer
  • 12-06-17

One of the best...

This is an excellent audio book, Laird Barron's tales are gritty, dark, horrifying and really, really well written. Ray Parker is perfectly suited to narrating these wonderfully dark and thought provoking stories. His vocal/character range is amazing. Top Notch! 10/10 all round.

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Profile Image for Just
  • Just
  • 02-24-22

Good

I tried this after liking 'The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All' by the same author. This collection was written before that. Sometimes it shows, yet the fierce prose with which Laird Barron writes is present. Probably better to start with that collection if you are new here, otherwise enjoy some really good stories.
Ray Porter is excellent.

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