Monday, August 27, 2012


Penpal, the novel by Dathan Auerbach was originally written in a series of posts to reddit ( you can read the stories here but I would suggest you purchase a copy of the book. It became increasingly popular due to it's realism and eery, yet familiar imagery that was all too relate-able to almost anyone. It began as a series of posts that detailed creepy events from the "authors childhood". As the stories progress you learn that these spooky incidents are not at all unrelated. After reading the first three stories in one night I found something happen that hadn't happened to me in years: I couldn't sleep. It was too scary. As someone that relishes fear through literature and movies, this was a blast.

     Though not as scary the second time through (partially because I read the entire series only at nights the first time through) the novel is one of the finest examples of horror I've ever read. It isn't supernatural, it isn't overly gory or explicitly violent, however it is too familiar. The story centers around a boy as he grows up. The descriptions, the locations and the events are very familiar to anyone that grew up in North America. The author relates things that we've taken for granted such as hearing the pulse in our ears or the noises one might hear when exploring the woods. He takes these things and gives them a completely rational explanation that is more horrifying than you might expect.
     After encouragement from the online community, Auerback posted a proposal on Kickstarter to turn his series of terrifying short stories into a novel. His goal was met and surpassed almost immediately. The stories change very little, mostly in formatting from the web to the novel version. However there are some juicy alterations and extra tidbits in the book that were later additions. Self publishing has come a long way, and this book is a prime example of how someone's hard work can certainly pay off. This is a story that people love and voiced their desire to see it turn into something that they could support. If this sounds like something that interests you I highly recommend reading the original reddit thread (linked at the top of the post) and then buying it off amazon by clicking here. It is available as both a paperback and a kindle version.


  1. This is awesome! I remember first reading through them, and they are great stories. /r/ nosleep is my favorite subreddit. But what I think is even better is the idea of an entire community getting behind one person's work. His fan-base sprang up overnight. This has happened a few times with Reddit, but every time it is like finding a diamond in the rough. Have you read through /r/ RomeSweetRome? It started as a question - could a modern military battalion wipe out the entire Roman empire? A person wrote a story on the prompt and it has now been picked up by a movie studio (Warner Bros I think?)

  2. I haven't read RomeSweetRome, but that's awesome! It's great to see projects funded by the public rather than a few people deciding what is presented to the mass market.