Monday, May 14, 2018


DARKER THAN YOU THINK by Jack Williamson

Will Barbee, an alcoholic small college town reporter, is pulled into a noir-ish nightmare of witchcraft and  lyncanthropy. The deeper he goes, he discovers horrifying secrets about the history of mankind and about himself.

Or, is it all in his head? Has the beautiful, red-headed April Belle bewitched him into devilish deeds, or is his unconscious mind simply playing out his jealous desires?

Written in 1948, by now most of the surprises in the story were predictable. But Williamson works with the suspense of Barbee not understanding what is happening, while the reader does. And that works, too. When will Barbee figure it out? What choices will he make?

Williamson, being a science fiction writer, injects the lycanthropy with pseudo-physics and it suspended my disbelief well enough. It's tricky to try to justify any trope with real world rules.

Near the end, there are reveals. Some worked. One in particular I didn't feel had been setup at all, though.

I don't know if certain writers were influenced or even had read DARKER THAN YOU THINK but there are threads seen later in THE OMEN and ROSEMARY'S BABY, to name a few.

I enjoyed DARKER THAN YOU THINK for its craft and darkness. It deserves its status as one of the great horror and/or werewolf novels.

DARKER THAN YOU THINK is also available via Audible.


  1. I'm glad you liked it. I've put off my comparison of the book and magazine versions until I get grades finished and posted, which should be later this week.

    You pointed out that most of the surprises were predictable. I think that will be true of a lot of Williamson's work, since he started writing in the late 1920s. Many of the tropes we take for granted were things he thought up.

    1. I don't have a copy of the novelette, so I'm looking forward to your post.

      Also struck me that DARKER THAN YOU THINK would make a good John Carpenter movie. I see bits in the novel that remind me of moments in some of his movies.