The Something?
January 21, 2009 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Help me remember the title of a book. Thankfully, more details within.

I'm trying to remember the name of a mild horror novel that I read perhaps 20 or more years ago.

Major plotline was about the intersecting stories of an Amish couple who decide to allow a man from 'the city' (possibly New York?) stay with them who wants some peace and quiet in which to finish a thesis. Intermingled with this is an elderly man who, when a boy, was murdered and resurrected by some sort of alien creature, and who is attempting to arrange the enactment of a specific ritual at a specific time that will free his alien inhabitant / master / whatever-the-alien-was-supposed-to-be.

The main character -- the man writing the thesis -- was something of a loner and, from memory, socially awkward, and I think there was something of a stumbling love interest with a woman who stayed in the city.

From memory, it had one of those normal mainstream horror names of "The Something!", though I could be wrong about that.

Does anyone else remember this book?

Thanks in advance!
posted by planetthoughtful to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a short list of sci fi novels involving or mentioning the Amish. It sounds similar to "The Silk Code" See anything familiar?
posted by Science! at 10:40 PM on January 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, Science!, but I don't think it's one of the listed works (I had a moment of excitement over "The Harvest", but it isn't the book I'm thinking of).

I'm hoping the specific clue of the couple being Amish isn't a dead-end -- it's possible they were Mennonite or some such similar religious group who shun technology and emphasise community etc.

Still, whatever the exact name, they were definitely of what I think of as the Amish tradition, and I remember that the main character caused a stir in the community because of his 'outsider' ways.

Also, I don't know if contemporary horror and Sci Fi blend together in a single genre. The story was definitely set in contemporary times (or contemporary for when the book was published, I imagine), and the only Sci Fi element was the alien, who didn't conform to the traditional flying saucer and deathray meme, but seemed to have something akin to supernatural powers. It used these powers to control or inhabit the elderly man who did its bidding. Again, not much was made in the book of the fact that the monster was from another planet, beyond explaining that it 'wasn't from around these parts', in a galactic sense.

Other details from a very vague memory: the alien arrived on earth hundreds of years in the past, and hid in a hollowed-out or burnt-out tree (I think). It was injured when it arrived on our planet, and was thus unable to leave of its own volition. In its injured state, it had to wait for a suitable assistant, which turned out to be a boy walking or playing in the woods. Again, this happened before the main storyline, so that by the point of the story unfolding, the boy was now an elderly man, who was probably much older than he appeared. The elderly man was essentially evil, and I think killed or contemplated killing people on a regular basis as he went about bringing the monster / alien's plans into fruition.

But again, thanks for your input, Science!
posted by planetthoughtful at 11:12 PM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: Sounds like The Ceremonies but it has been a while since I read it.
posted by archaic at 4:40 AM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @archaic: that is definitely the book! Thank you so much for helping me find it again!
posted by planetthoughtful at 6:02 PM on January 22, 2009

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