Peter Straub (1943 – 2022)
An Obituary by Paul Flewitt
Peter Straub is a name often synonymous within horror circles with Stephen King, their names inextricably linked after their collaboration on The Talisman. In fact, King was instrumental in Straub’s early career, and assisted him in gaining the traction to become one of the greats of horror, science fiction and fantasy.
Straub initially struggled to find his niche in the literary world, until a chance conversation with King led him to write something darker, more visceral which would appeal to the mainstream horror audience of the mid-70’s. What arose from that conversation was the gothic horror, Julia (75) backed up with If You Could See Me Now (77,) before he penned his first mainstream hit with Ghost Story (79.) This trio of releases would birth a career which would see Peter Straub win several awards, including Stokers, Worldcon and International Horror Guild Awards.
When conventions became a big thing in the 80’s and 90’s, Straub was a mainstay. I have seen many posts this evening from author friends who met the man at various conventions, and their contacts with him describe a man generous with his time, gracious in his dealings with younger, aspirant writers and ever willing to offer advice and insight. According to one, Peter Straub would hang out in the lobby with the rest of the convention attendees, chatting and sharing tales. That, my friends, is precisely how a writer should be.
Following the success of Ghost Story, which was adapted for the screen in 1981, he became entrenched in the horror genre until, in 1984, he released the collaboration with Stephen King, The Talisman. This title holds a special place in many horror fans’ hearts, and it was later backed up with Black House (01.) Other notable works include Shadowland (80,) Floating Dragon (83,) Koko (88,) The Throat (93,) The Hellfire Club (96) and Lost Boy, Lost Girl (03.)
Straub was also active as an editor of anthologies, offering the opportunity for rising talents to appear in books alongside the greats of the genre. This was Peter Straub giving back to the horror community in the best way he could. Much can be said of Straub’s work, and by far more eloquent writers than me. Needless to say, his work stands the test of time. He carries on the tradition of writers like MR James and HP Lovecraft, existing on the literary end of the horror spectrum. He was a thinking person’s writer, writing with an atmosphere and flair achieved by only the very best storytellers. To call him a master of horror is an understatement, because he is among the finest American literary voices of the last fifty years.
More than this, Peter Straub is a loss to the horror community itself. Those who met him on the convention circuit, reached out to him online, and enjoyed interaction with him will miss his support, guidance, and friendship.
Peter Straub died after a long illness on September 4th 2022. He leaves behind a wife, two children and a rich legacy of creation.
And so passes a legend.
Peter Straub 1943 – 2022
Paul Flewitt is a horror and dark fantasy writer from Sheffield, UK, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Paul began publishing in 2012, beginning with the flash fiction story, Smoke, for OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes anthology. He went on to pen further short stories, including Paradise Park, Climbing Out, Apartment 16c and Always Beneath.
In 2012, he also published his first novel, Poor Jeffrey, which was received to much critical acclaim.
Paul cites writers such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert and JRR Tolkien as inspirations on his own writing.
Paul continues to write, contributing to Matt Shaw’s The Many Deaths of Edgar Allan Poe anthology in 2020 with The Last Horror of Dear Eddie. He also began releasing free short stories and fanfiction on his Wattpad account for fun.
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