A collection of horror stories by the iconic Charles Beaumont.
When The Hunger, and Other Stories first appeared in 1957, it heralded the arrival of Charles Beaumont as an important and highly original new voice in American fiction. Although he is best known today for his scripts for television and film, including several classic episodes of The Twilight Zone, Beaumont is being rediscovered as a master of weird tales, and this, his first published collection, contains some of his best. Ranging in tone from the chilling gothic horror of “Miss Gentilbelle,” where an insane mother dresses her son up as a girl and slaughters his pets, to deliciously dark humor in tales like “Open House” and “The Infernal Bouillabaisse,” where murderers’ plans go disastrously awry, these seventeen stories demonstrate Beaumont’s remarkable talent and versatility.
© 1957 by Charles Beaumont. © renewed 1985 by Christopher Beaumont
Charles Beaumont (1929–1967) was a prolific American writer of speculative fiction, including the signature collection Night Ride, and Other Journeys, also available from Blackstone and Skyboat. His stories provided the source material for over twenty classic Twilight Zone episodes.
Gabrielle de Cuir is a Grammy-nominated award-winning audio producer. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks and is a recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her extensive stage and screen credits include the major motion picture The American President.
J. Paul Boehmer is an American actor best known for his numerous appearances in the Star Trek universe. He began his audiobook work in 2000 and has since lent his voice to many fiction and nonfiction titles. He has won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and was named a finalist for Audie Awards in 2003 and 2012. Between books, he is active in regional theaters across the country. His television appearances include guest spots on Nip/Tuck and Numb3rs.
Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than two thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than three hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014 and was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2012.
My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars
The Hunger, and Other Stories
This is a great collection of weird and haunting tales written in the 1950’s by Charles Beaumont. They’re very enjoyable and will either leave you with a spooky chill or give you pause and make you think. I’ve listed each story with a synopsis minus any spoilers so enjoy. I definitely recommend this audiobook as the narrators add an entirely new dimension to the already strange and odd tales. I absolutely love the voices of Gabrielle de Cuir, Stefan Rudnicki, and Paul Boehmer. UNforgettable!
1. “Miss Gentibelle” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ This is a whopper of a scary short story set in the swamps of the Bayou about a confused little boy named Robert whose mother calls him Roberta and dresses him like a little girl. For punishment she kills his pets. In his room at night the dead animals come back to life and fly around his room whispering to him as he weeps.
2. “The Vanishing American” read by Paul Boehmer ~This short is about a man on his 47th birthday who has suddenly realized that people no longer notice him and begins to believe he’s invisible. He’s unsure whether he’s just invisible or dead. He goes out of his way to be seen and then does something he’s always dreamt of doing.
3. “A Point of Honor” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ A Hispanic boy named Julio goes to church at St. Christopher’s and on this day he finds the Church too quiet. He feels alone therefore he decides to pray tomorrow and he puts coins in the box and leaves. He wants to join the ACES but he knows he has to do something for the gang leader Paco first.
4. “Fair Lady” read by Gabrielle de Cuir ~ An elderly school teacher, alone and wishing for death finds renewal one day on the bus when the driver says “Fare Lady” asking for the bus fare, however what she heard was “Fair Lady” and she was in love. She became happy again for three years until one day he was gone.
5. “Free Dirt” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ Mr. Aorta lived for the satisfaction of something for nothing. On the streetcar he sees a sign for ‘free dirt’ apply within, Lillyvale Cemetery. The word free was a magic word to him. He borrows his neighbor’s truck and gets as much free dirt as he can and plants a garden.
6. “Open House” read by Paul Boehmer ~ There was a knock. Only one. Mr Pierce froze. It was All Fool’s Day. The night he and his friends had celebrated until he’d married Emma whom he now hated. He would just say she was visiting friends. It was Lou and a new guy Vernon. He let them in for a drink. He had his oil cloth apron almost tied and he heard another knock…then the latch.
7. “The Train” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ Neely was the little hand on a clock. He was the mercury in a thermometer. He moved but he didn’t move. It was the same train he loved and thought about all the time. It was here, right before him. He wanted to explore each car on the train. All the way to the last car…the phantom car. Nobody had ever been here before except perhaps the ghosts.
8. “The Dark Music” read by Gabrielle de Cuir ~Miss Maple, who considers herself pure is a biology teacher bent against sex education. While on a field trip she hears the sound of flute music flowing from the woods beckoning her. She tells a student it was only a snake but the music and the being speaks to her soul and keeps calling her back. She learns craving desire.
9. “The Customers” read by Paul Boehmer ~The man in black that Aunt Lucia had warned Myrtle and Henry Ludlow about came calling. When he walked, his feet didn’t even touch the ground. He never said his name. He was a salesman of sorts and the Ludlows were ready and willing to buy what he was selling. They all come around in time he said. Mr. Ludlow didn’t understand. Who does?
10. “Last Night the Rain” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~Amy always said she could hear things others couldn’t. Things like the grass drinking. It was the river. She knows when the wind sings and when the birds are talking to each other. Mr. Beckman knew these things too. He lived in a houseboat and was always busy gathering big rocks for his towers named Sin and Good. God’s work he said.
11. “The Crooked Man” read by Paul Boehmer ~Jessie loves Mina. A man and a woman born in the future by artificial insemination. There was a class system of hunter and beast. Jessie was raised a rocketeer of the hunter class. They live in a world where being heterosexual is illegal and they are forced to live underground. The natural use of the woman was changed and burned into lust.
12. “Nursery Rhyme” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~A short story about a boy named Carly who appears to live in a nursery rhyme world of colorfully painted walls, old wooden toys and cloth books of animal pictures. His Ma thinks she hears him crying but Pa hears nothing. Only quiet. He’s grown up now and his Ma and Pa no longer recognize him. He left long ago.
13. “The Murderers” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ Herbert and Ronald, while sitting around, decide to kill someone for their freedom of critical thinking and slavery of their minds. They meet an old man Oliver and decide he’s the one. The two men sit around all night drinking, plotting and arguing over who will do the killing. They were both cowards. Meanwhile, things didn’t go as planned.
14. “The Hunger” read by Gabrielle de Cuir ~Julia was a plain but attractive woman. And she was lonely. She lived in fear; sort of. More of a longing. There had been a recent brutal rape and murder with two others before that. Although she was afraid, Julia fantasized about an encounter with the man who had escaped the state hospital for the criminally insane. She often looked for him around corners, behind trees. Perhaps, he would find her attractive because she knew only a lonely man would do this. She would tell him she understood and that he wasn’t the only one that was lonely.
15. “Tears of the Madonna” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~ Ramon de Castro has an important decision to make that will challenge his spirit and pride. The strange man dressed like an American tells him not to waste his money as the bulls will be sluggish from the heat. There are animals and there is man and without the spirit the beauty is degraded. He continues to talk Ramon into meeting Delores, the woman known as The Flower of Mexico.
16. “The Infernal Bouillabaisse” read by Paul Boehmer ~ A contrast in foods and life. Edmond Peskin has found the perfect combination of ingredients for his bouillabaisse. He keeps the only copy of his secret recipe buried in his wall and refuses to share it with anyone. Technically it doesn’t even exist. Until it’s too late.
17. “Black Country” read by Stefan Rudnicki ~Spoof Collins was the spirit of jazz. He was the extra note that climbed higher and higher. Sonny learned to play the hard way by unlearning. Everyone loved him. Jazz was his woman and he had it bad for her. He could climb until the melody got lost and then he got real mean and the heart of jazz turned into the blues.
This was an awesome audiobook experience. This amazing collection of stories written by Charles Beaumont and voiced by Gabrielle de Cuir, Paul Boehmer, and Stefan Rudnicki was an absolute treat. Perfectly matched and UNforgettable!
© 2014 crystalzen