A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
In the lives of all of us, short or long, there have been days, dreadful days, on which we have had to acknowledge with gloomy resignation that our world has turned against us.
Most of M.R. James’ ghost stories have an antiquarian element. Stuffy old scholars find relics and then some ancient superstition comes to prey on the present. Formulaic as they sound, those stories are still awesome and I love them dearly. But there’s a special place in my heart for “The Malice of Inanimate Objects,” a story with no professors in it, no rare books, and no age-old pagan curses. Instead, it’s about the horror of everyday objects—a kite in the blue skies, a stuffed bird in a shop window, the razor on the bathroom counter.
Sure, “The Malice of Inanimate Objects” is kind of silly and not particularly terrifying. It might, in fact, be James’ funniest story. Yet, there is still something chilling about it beneath the surface. It may make your next bad day seem just a bit worse. It may make your next bout of poor luck seem just a bit more nefarious. It may, if you think about it too much, be a paranoia-inducing spiral into madness. Still, good fun.
Review by Matthew