Klein, T.E.D. 1947- (Theodore Eibon Donald Klein)
Klein, T.E.D. 1947- (Theodore Eibon Donald Klein)
Born July 15, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Richard (a watch company executive) and Norma (an art teacher) Klein. Education: Brown University, A.B. (magna cum laude), 1969; Columbia University, M.F.A., 1972. Politics: Independent. Religion: Atheist.
Home—New York, NY. Agent—Kirby McCauley, 124 West 60th St., New York, NY 10023.
Writer, editor, and educator. Dexter Regional High School, Dexter, ME, English teacher, 1969-70; Paramount Pictures, New York City, assistant story editor, 1972-75; editor-in-chief, Rod Sterling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, 1981-85, and CrimeBeat magazine, 1991-93; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, adjunct instructor of English, 1994—; Sci-Fi Entertainment magazine (Herndon, VA), editor, beginning 1995.
Harvey A. Baker fellowship, Brown University, 1969; best novel award, British Fantasy Society, 1985, for The Ceremonies; World Fantasy Award for best novella, 1986, for Nadelman's God.
The Ceremonies (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1984.
Dark Gods (four novellas; includes Black Man with a Horn and Nadelman's God), Viking (New York, NY), 1985.
Raising Goosebumps for Fun and Profit, Footsteps, 1988.
Reassuring Tales, Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2006.
Also author of the screenplay for the film Trauma directed by Dario Argento, 1992. Author of introduction to Slow by Ramsey Campbell, Footsteps, 1985; Dagon, and Other Macabre Tales by H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham, 1986; Stories from the Twilight Zone by Rod Serling, Bantam, 1986; Seeing Red by David J. Schow, Tor, 1990; and Dark Love, edited by Nancy A. Collins, Roc, 1995.
Contributor to anthologies, including First World Fantasy Awards, edited by Gahan Wilson, Doubleday, 1977; Shadows II, edited by Charles L. Grant, Doubleday, 1979; New Tales of the Cthulu Mythos, edited by Ramsey Campbell, Arkham, 1980; Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauley, Viking, 1980; The Dodd, Mead Gallery of Horror, edited by Grant, Dodd, 1983; The Mammoth Book of Short Horror Novels, edited by Mike Ashley, Carroll & Graf, 1988; Horror: 100 Best Books, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, Carroll & Graf, 1988; Borderlands, edited by Thomas F. Monteleone, Avon, 1990; Cthulhu 2000, edited by Jim Turner, Arkham, 1995; Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House, Harperprism, 1996; and Eternal Lovecraft, edited by Jim Turner, Golden Gryphon, 1998. Contributor to Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, edited by Jack Sullivan, Viking, 1986.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Writer's Digest, New England Monthly, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Magazine, Weird Tales, and Washington Post Book World.
T.E.D. Klein is the writer of a small but highly regarded body of bizarre and unsettling fiction. His most impressive work is probably the 1984 horror novel The Ceremonies, a five-hundred-page tale that Klein derived from an earlier, forty-page story, "The Events at Poroth Farm," which he published in the early 1970s. The original story deals with a teacher whose indulgence in supernatural fiction likely affects his perceptions of peculiar events at a remote New Jersey farm. But the novel, set in New York City as well as rural New Jersey, also concerns a naive, virtuous young woman who is tricked into performing a series of evil supernatural rites.
A contributor to the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers noted a significant difference between Klein's original short story and the considerably elaborated novel when he affirmed: "‘The Events at Poroth Farm’ involved merely some strange goings-on in an obscure New Jersey community; [The Ceremonies] has, as it were, comsmicized the idea to suggest a threat to the world at large." The contributor also noted similarities between The Ceremonies and Arthur Machen's "The White People" and described Klein's novel as "a conscious adaptation" of Machen's tale. Critiquing The Ceremonies for the New York Times Book Review, Arthur Krystal noted the novel's "shrewd characterizations" and "piquant contrasts between city and country dwelling," and called the plot development "both artful and slow."
Klein preceded The Ceremonies, which appeared in 1984, with four novellas eventually collected in 1985 as Dark Gods. "Petey," the first of the four novellas, relates various events at a housewarming party while simultaneously intimating that menacing evil awaits in the nearby woods. Another novella, "Children of the Kingdom," concerns the likely existence of pale wormlike creatures in urban places ranging from laundry rooms to subways. "Black Man with a Horn," meanwhile, is a Lovecraft-like tale about which Bern Williams wrote in the New York Times Book Review: "The virtuosity of this macabre concoction cannot be denied." Williams also voiced praise for Dark God's fourth tale, "Nadelman's God," which he called a "deft novella" which communicates the idea that "man creates his own gods and his own terrors." In the story, a cynical poem about a cruel deity inspires a deranged reader to fashion a worshiper from trash. Williams expressed enthusiasm for the entire volume, describing Dark Gods as "quite a banquet for horror mavens."
Among Klein's other publications are "Dr. Van Helsing's Handy Guide to Ghost Stores," a series that originally appeared in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, and the booklet Raising Goosebumps for Fun and Profit, both of which examine the nature of weird fiction.
Almost twenty years would pass before Klein's next book was published. In his 2006 collection of short stories titled Reassuring Tales, the author presents tales of horror, science fiction, and the oddly fantastic. For example, "Curtains for Nat Crumley" features a lonely man who steps out of his bathtub and enters a different house and becomes a serial killer. In another tale, "Magic Carpet," a fearful flyer loses faith in the power of flight with disastrous consequences. Rick Kleffel, writing on the Agony Column Web site, noted that the author "plays out an entire life in the space most writers need to set a living room scene." Carl Hays noted in Booklist the rather minimal output from Klein over the past twenty years but added that this collection is "impressive enough to reestablish him as a major voice."
Klein once told CA: "Writers in what is popularly called the ‘horror’ field seem to share at least two essential character traits: an overactive imagination and a certain propensity toward paranoia. I'm probably no exception; I've worked in the field as both a writer and an editor, and I've been a fan of the genre all my life. But unlike most fans, I take no particular pleasure in being horrified. I sit through movies such as Alien with my hand held in front of my eyes, and I'm no longer enticed, as I once was, by books that promise to make my flesh creep and my blood run cold. Nor do I regard my own fiction as especially scary (though perhaps it has its moments); what I'd prefer to arouse is, at most, a vague uneasiness—and even, at times, a nervous laugh.
"My interest in writing originated as, quite straightforwardly, an act of imitation, an attempt to duplicate for myself some of the excitement I'd felt reading such masters of the genre as Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Walter de la Mare, and H.P. Lovecraft—writers of the past whose work is relatively stylish, atmospheric, and, by today's standards, restrained, and who inspire, at their best, not so much a feeling of fright or dread (or, as with so much contemporary horror, disgust), but one of awe, a hint of vast forces beyond the reach of human understanding. Machen's tales, with their air of dark, pagan mystery, were on my mind when I wrote The Ceremonies, and there are echoes of Lovecraft and James in Dark Gods, which uses modern-day New York as a stage for ancient horrors."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 34, Thomson Gale (Detroit), 1985, pp. 70-71.
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit), 1998, pp. 329-330.
Schweitzer, Darrell, editor, Discovering Modern Horror Fiction, Starmont House, 1985.
Winter, Douglas E., Faces of Fear, Berkeley Publishing, 1985.
Booklist, September 15, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Reassuring Tales, p. 34.
New York Times Book Review, July 29, 1984, Arthur Krystal, review of The Ceremonies, p. 20; August 4, 1985, Bern Williams, review of Dark Gods, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of Reassuring Tales, p. 59.
Agony Column,http://trashotron.com/agony/ (February 7, 2007), Rick Kleffel, review of Reassuring Tales.