{Book Review} The Great God Pan: Arthur Machen

The Great God Pan: Arthur Machen

Reviewed By Steve Stred

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (7 Jun. 2018)

The Great God Pan was released way back in 1890 and was revised and re-released in 1894. At the time (as most things in this genre were) it was labelled satanic and sexually provocative and from there its lore grew.

I’d only heard about this novella a few years back and when it was offered up as a Kindle Freebie recently I snagged it. It’s a fast read, but be warned – the style of prose is not what we typically read nowadays.

In fact, how this read to me was as though I was listening to Professor Trevor Bruttenholm from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy world explain a case he’d been involved with.

Because of this reliance on really long paragraphs filled mainly with dialogue, the novella tends to falter and stutter, growing ever closer to the ‘boring’ realm at times.

This could simply be a case of this particular reader not enjoying how it was written, but I really struggled a few times with the way the story was told.

As expected, I found nothing provocative and when I was finished I hadn’t been mentally corrupted. The significance of the usage of the god Pan at the time plays more into why the story has grown and was such an influence on the gothic and paranormal releases to follow.

One aspect I really did enjoy was the ‘story within a story’ narrative. The usage of experiments to bridge the gap or pull back the veil would have been highly offensive when this was written, especially at a time when numerous séances and psychics were beginning to populate the scientific world.

Machen does a decent job of creating a creepy vibe and still wanting the reader to carry on, even during some of the slowdowns, but overall this novella just lacked what I enjoy 130 years later.

The Great God Pan

‘I will not read it; I should never sleep again’

A doctor performs an experiment on a young woman that goes horribly wrong, and a series of increasingly strange events follow: sinister woodland rituals, disappearances, suicides…

Viewed as immoral and decadent on first publication in 1894, Machen’s weird tale has since established itself as a classic of its genre and has been described by Stephen King as ‘one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language’.

You can buy The Great God Pan from Amazon UK & Amazon US

Steve Stred

Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.

Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.

On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.

Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.

Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.

You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred

You can visit Steve’s Official website here

The Stranger

Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?

Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.

Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?

But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.

While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.

The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.

The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.

Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.



Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.

But what if it’s not…

What if there is something out there?

The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”

With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.

Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.

Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…



The Stranger. 

You can buy The Stranger from Amazon UK Amazon US

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.