180 episodes

Conversations with the biggest names in horror fiction. A podcast for horror readers who want to know where their favourite stories came from . . . and what frightens the people who wrote them.

Talking Scared Neil McRobert

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 176 Ratings

Conversations with the biggest names in horror fiction. A podcast for horror readers who want to know where their favourite stories came from . . . and what frightens the people who wrote them.

    180 – Chuck Palahniuk & What Kind of Sex Do You Want?

    180 – Chuck Palahniuk & What Kind of Sex Do You Want?

    Yes I put sex in the title to make you download it. Did it work?
     
    It shouldn’t be necessary, ‘cos this week’s guest is an absolute literary icon. Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, Haunted, Lullaby, Choke, and last year’s Not Forever, But For Now – a writer who helped shape the nihilism and extremity of 90s and noughties fiction. The man who makes people faint with his short stories. 
     
    He’s here, talking to us!
     
    In this conversation Chuck and I roam all over the blasted map of his fiction. We talk about transgression and provocation, about extremity in life and story, about bad reviews, toxic interviews and toxic masculinity. And yes, we talk about “Guts.”
     
    This was a privilege. I hope you are shocked and appalled.
     
    Enjoy!
     
    Other books mentioned:
     
    Fight Club (1996) by Chuck PalahniukHaunted (2005), by Chuck PalahniukLullaby (2002), by Chuck PalahniukDiary (2003), by Chuck PalahniukRant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey (2005), by Chuck PalahniukAdjustment Day (2018), by Chuck PalahniukCold Comfort Farm (1932), by Stella GibbonsRosemary’s Baby (1967), by Ira Levin“The Lottery” (1948), by Shirley JacksonInterview with the Vampire (1976), by Anne RiceGeek Love (1989), by Katherine DunnMost Delicious Poison: From Spice to Vices – The Story of Nature’s Toxins (2023), by Noah WhitemanThings Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (2021), by Eric LaRocca 
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    Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com 
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    • 1 hr 23 min
    179 – Ally Wilkes & The Ethics of Eating Your Friends

    179 – Ally Wilkes & The Ethics of Eating Your Friends

    Are you hungry? 
     
    If so we have a chewy, salty, deeply flavoured feast for you this week. Ally Wilkes returns to Talking Scared to discuss the icebound horrors of her new novel, Where the Dead Wait. It’s a tale of Arctic exploration gone very wrong, complete with haunting, human suffering and the morbid fascination of cannibalism!
     
    Don’t pretend that hasn’t whet your appetite.
     
    Ally and I get into the raw details of consuming human meat, we talk about queerness in historical horror fiction, we discuss the nature of haunting and how a historical horror novel can have links to a sci-fi horror classic, and we talk reminisce about the time Ally nearly died on a Himalaya in an appalling coat.
     
    Jolly good fun wot wot!
     
    Enjoy!
     
    Other books mentioned:
     
    All the White Spaces (2022), by Ally Wilke 
    The Shining (1977), by Stephen King
    What Cares the Sea (1960), by Kenneth Cooke
    The Secret Sharer (1910), by Joseph Conrad
    Frankenstein (1818), by Mary Shelley
    Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition (2000), by Scott Cookman
    Sundial (2022), by Catriona Ward
    Dead Silence (2022), by S.A. Barnes
    Ghost Station (2024), by S.A. Barnes
    Indianapolis: The True Story of the Greatest Naval Disaster in US History (2018), by Lynn Vincent and Sarah Vladic
     
    Support Talking Scared on Patreon
     
    Visit the Talking Scared site
     
    Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com 
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 15 min
    178 – Jenny Kiefer & A Solid Foothold in Horror

    178 – Jenny Kiefer & A Solid Foothold in Horror

    The first new book coverage of 2024 – and it starts us off on suitably horrific footing.
     
    Jenny Kiefer’s debut novel, This Wretched Valley, has been getting a huge amount of early buzz in horror circles. It’s the story of four unlucky adventurers, who head into the Kentucky woods and meet all manner of nasty sh*t. 
     
    It’s a tightly wound tale of misadventure, that takes at least some inspiration from the Dyatlov Pass mystery. And if you don’t know what that is… boy have you got a wiki hole to disappear down.
     
    Jenny and I talk about writing and selling a brutal debut, arthouse horror influences, the terror of climbing and research serendipity… plus, what she thinks happened to those poor Russian hikers over 60 years ago.
     
    Enjoy!
     
    Other books mentioned:
     
    The Ruins (2006), by Scott SmithThe Laws of the Skies (2019), by Grégoire CourtoisDead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident (2013), by Donnie EicharThe Marigold (2023), by Andre F. Sullivan 
    Support Talking Scared on Patreon
     
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    177 – John Langan & Fishing For Mythologies

    177 – John Langan & Fishing For Mythologies

    To kick off a new year of Talking Scared, I’ve gone and hooked us a big guest, with a whopper of a story.
     
    John Langan is the author of The Fisherman. It’s one of the great works of supernatural fiction written this century, but its story doesn’t end at its back-cover. The strange mythology of The Fisherman extends beyond, swimming further downstream, to pop its monstrous head above the surface in John’s wider universe of short stories and novellas.
     
    In this special episode, we talk at length about The Fisherman – about the classic books, real-world legends and cultural beliefs that inspired it, and about the process of building a  whole new mythos.
     
    John is the poet-scholar of horror. This is the class you wish you’d taken in college. 
     
    Enjoy!
     
    Other books mentioned:
     
    House of Windows (2009), by John Langan
    “Mother of Stone”, in The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (2013), by John Langan
    “Bor Urus”, in Sefira and Other Betrayals (2019), by John Langan
    Our Share of Night (2023), by Mariana Enriquez
    The Croning (2012), by Laird Barron
    The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All (2013), by Laird Barron
    Pet Sematary (1983), by Stephen King
    “The Monkey’s Paw” (1902), by W. W. Jacobs
    Absolom, Absolom (1951), by William Faulkner
    “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928), by H.P. Lovecraft
    The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (1988), by Roberto Calasso
    “Development” (1889), by Robert Browning
    Ironweed (1983), by William Kennedy
    Come Closer (2003), by Sara Gran
    Motherless Child (2012), by Glen Hirshberg
    Screams From the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous (2022), edited by Ellen Datlow (contains “Glen Hirshberg’s “Devil” and John Langan’s “Bludzuger”)
    Furnace (2016), by Livia Llewelyn
     
    Join the Laird Barron Readalong
     
    Support Talking Scared on Patreon
     
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    Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com 
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 46 min
    176 – The Best Horror Novels of 2023

    176 – The Best Horror Novels of 2023

    Another year done. We squeaked through without another plague or a nuclear apocalypse (don’t tempt fate Neil!!) and along the way, oh the stories we read! 
     
    The only thing left to do after mopping away the chalk pentagrams, is to run you through my very favourite books of the year. The so-called Best Horror Novels of 2023, as chosen by me. Ten of them to be precise, cos humans are obsessed with round numbers. Mwaha, in fact I talk about thirteen!!
     
    Thanks again for listening and supporting the show. You give my addled rants a semblance of purpose, and it’s appreciated.
     
    Onward into 2024 and its multitude of horrors!!!
     
    Enjoy.
     
    Support Talking Scared on Patreon
     
    Visit the Talking Scared site
     
    Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com 
    Support the show

    • 55 min
    175 – The Ghost Story Deep Dive, with Alan Baxter, Lauren Bolger & John Langan

    175 – The Ghost Story Deep Dive, with Alan Baxter, Lauren Bolger & John Langan

    Dickens said that Christmas Eve was a time for ghost stories, and who am I to argue?
     
    It is my show though, so I get to pick the ghost story – and I picked Peter Straub’s classic novel of the name. A tale of old men with horror in their youths, seductive evil and a town besieged by winter and… worse things.
     
    It’s a slippery beast though, this novel. So to really help pin it down, I needed help. I called and help came, in the form of Alan Baxter (author of Sallow Bend, The Gulp and many more), Lauren Bolger (Kill Radio) and John Langan, whose novel, The Fisherman, continues what I think is Straub’s American gothic legacy. 
     
    We talk about the book in granular detail – it’s monsters, it’s politics, it’s storytelling and, of course, it’s ghosts. It’s about as jolly a time as you can have talking about ancient evil visiting small towns. But enough about Santa.
     
    Light the fire, pour a drink, enjoy! You’ve earned it.
     
    Support Talking Scared on Patreon
     
    Visit the Talking Scared site
     
    Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to talkingscaredpod@gmail.com 
    Support the show

    • 1 hr 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
176 Ratings

176 Ratings

erlking ,

Smart Conversations about Horror Novels

It’s a grey, rainy day in Georgia—perfect for curling up with a podcast about horror novels. You can’t do better than Talking Scared with Neil McRobert. Smart, erudite, incisive questions and lively chat . If you like wide-ranging conversations with horror writers you need to check it out. Margaret Atwood, Catriona Ward, Stephen Graham-Homes, Tananarive Due, Victor Lavalle, and Stephen King are only some of the famous names, Neil talks with debut novelists and masters of the craft. Great stuff.
Watch out—your book budget is going to explode.

Old LeechLB ,

Incredible Who’s Who of Modern Horror Writers with an Intelligent, Engaging Host

I just found Neil McRobert’s fantastic podcast and it has instantly provided me with nearly endless hourly of quality conversations with many of today’s best horror literature writers. I love that the focus is nearly entirely on horror lit instead of branching out too broadly into the world of horror cinema. I have learned so much in a short time about so many authors and books that I only really knew by their titles previously and that many people considered them good. I have been avidly following the horrorlit subreddit for quite awhile and Talking Scared provides a perfect companion to that informative thread. Many of the recommended authors from that thread have extensive interviews on Talking Scared and listening to those have allowed me to get a much clearer understanding of which books I should read and which books may not appeal to me. Neil’s recent interview with John Langan hooked me (pun intended) to give the podcast a try and I am so happy that I did. Neil is a great guy, well informed, funny, and intelligent. I highly recommended this podcast to anyone wanting to learn more about the incredible world of modern horror literature. Thanks, Neil!

Dififjfdy ,

Simply great

This podcast is a must listen for all fans of horror literature! Who doesn’t want to hear from the authors who write the books we love. Great podcast

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