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Heh heh. I know it sounds stupid, but these children's horror books have a lot going for them. At one point, RL Stein was the best-selling author in America, and there are reasons. These books are remarkably enjoyable--some of them actually read like mini-novels--and are a must-study for those writing fiction for pre-adolescents.

The books are written so that a "scare" happens in each chapter. Most of them are fake scares that unravel in the first sentences of the next chapter, but it does keep the intensity up, ensuring the books are never boring for kids. And there's usually a "real scare" in the end, something genuinely creepy that avoids the feeling that nothing really happened in the book--some of these real scares are quite clever.

Stein is also a master of dialog--he writes very simple dialog that communicates the emotion and tone of the speaker in the words themselves, without a lot of description necessary in the dialog tags.

The stories move along very quickly because of the shortness of the books--the characters are always either DOING something, or deciding to do something; there is no lag. They're made to hook children and keep them hooked, and the same idea can be applied even to fiction for adults.

I reread "The Phantom of the Auditorium" and "Ghost Beach" the other day. The "Phantom" is actually the book most responsible for me being a writer today, and it still has an inspirational effect. For those of you who enjoyed these books when you were younger, you might check them out again for the sake of nostalgia. And as for the children's fiction writers out there, maybe you should take a look to see why they're so good.

If nothing else, RL Stein deserves credit for getting thousands of children to read. Good stuff.


Senior Member
i have a mini (mebbe not the mini) collection of 'goosebumps' books. :p
They are very entertaining.


Senior Member
My brother used to read a lot of them, and I read a couple way back when. Still got a couple of RL Stines.


I fear my enduring memory of Goosebumps is the ill-made television adaptation. Rather soured the entire thing for me.


Senior Member
I don't remember a television adapation... I'm guessing that's a good thing that I don't remember.


I saw one episode of that--"The Cuckoo Clock of Doom." But that was one of my favorites of the books, and I was young enough I'm sure I loved it.


Vampire Breath? ... What number is that one? I don't think I ever read it.


Senior Member
My favourite was "It came from Beneath the Sink." It had a great (if somewhat grim) ending too.


Senior Member
I used to love Goosebumps... At one point I had all of them (which was like 60 or so). I think my favorite was Say Cheese and Die! but there are quite a few I really liked...

Actually, I got into Christopher Pike's Spooksville series and read that religiously for a couple years.

Really good series for kids... It got a lot of kids to start reading. You grow out of them really fast, though. It got the point where I'd read one of them in an hour and a half, and that's less than the length of a movie...

And the TV series sucked. It sucked like nothing has sucked before. It was truly terrible...


Senior Member
Goosebumps is always a decent, quick read. The scariest ones are the ones about the garden gnomes and the puppets. That's just creepy. :shock: The TV show wasn't great, the only scary part was actually the intro with the weird music and the dog with the glowing eyes.


WF Veterans
goosebumps got me into reading. I never read regularly intil I started reading goosebumps.

My favorite is probably Monster Blood. I actually liked most of them hard for me to choose. I kind of want to dig my goosbumps collection out of the garage go on a goosebumps binge.


Senior Member
I think I have almost all of the old school Goosebumps. My favorite was the amusement park one, but I forget what it was called. I also have posters, the "choose your own scare" adventure books, and even Goosebumps pogs. I'm getting nostalgic, maybe I'll go dig up these relics again and relive my twisted childhood...


I actually picked up Piano Lessons can be Murder and the swamp werewolf one translated into Chinese when I was in China--they are pretty popular over there. Of course, the title translation of the first was a little off--The Killer Piano Hands


Senior Member

I loved the Goosebumps books, and I have to admit to a certain guilty pleasure at the series. I think the one I liked best was about the kids staying at the house by the swamp, left alone, trying to get out and away from the monster in the house, turned out they kill it, get out, find themselves locked out after they realize there are more outside.

I liked Christopher Pike, too, but he got somewhat metaphysical/new age along the line. Kids' horror books are so underrated. They can be hokey, but oh so much fun when taken in the proper context.


Goosebumps, along with Hank the Cowdog, are the sources of some Mem-or-ies. My favorites were the Monster Blood "Trilogy". I liked Evan and Andy (Annnndreeeeaaaa), and their crazy adventures with the crazy aunt, the giant hamster, and the obnoxious Kermit (I can't believe I remember all of this), while not really scary, were always entertaining.