Tag Archives: Horror

Review: Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin

Disclaimer: This is not normally a review blog. I do not consider myself well enough educated, or analytical enough to review things on a regular, or even semi regular, basis. With that in mind, I’m still going to post a review of this anthology, for reasons which will become clear in reading it.

Disclosure: I have written for Anne and Jared’s geek culture blog Pornokitsch twice in the past. There is a working relationship of sorts between us, but at no point has there ever been anything transactional in the nature of it. I wrote for Pornokitsch because what they asked of me sounded fun and interesting; I neither asked for, nor received, payment in cash, goods, services or in any other considerations.

With those two notices out of the way, to the review! Onwards!

Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, is a small press anthology with distinctive and unusual roots. The fledgling Pandemonium Fiction is a writer’s cooperative, which for its début release is working with the Tate Britain and the Clarke Awards in releasing an anthology inspired by the work of the Romantic artist John Martin, an man of unique talent and unusual historical significance (or lack thereof, depending upon fashion). Proceeds from the sales of the collection are split between the contributors and various other literary causes; in this the case the Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

The anthology collects original works by of eighteen of the brightest rising stars in SF, fantasy and horror, including such luminaries as Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Lauren Beukes, Sophia McDougall, Kim Lakin-Smith and Chrysanthy Balis, all apparently given one simple instruction. Look at Martin’s work, then write. The results are varied, wildly imaginative and brilliant. The stories within all follow the themes, settings or atmosphere of Martin’s work perfectly and, in one particularly clever case, use the exhibition itself as the starting point of a searing reaction to the confused, inarticulate, consumerist nihilism of the London riots and the reactionary, pro-vigilante discourse that followed them.

Some of the stories are quite obviously set on this world, some equally obviously are not, while others retain a pleasant ambiguity about setting. They  vary in tone from comic (The Architect of Hell, Chislehurst Messiah, The End of the World) to bleakly depressing (OMG GTFO, Πανδαιμονειον, ), taking detours at touchingly human (Closer, The Day or the Hour, Another Abyss), gloriously dark (Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion) and achingly romantic (Not the End of the World). The apocalypses portrayed range from implied in the setting (Deluge, The Last Man), to explicit on the page (Deluge again (trust me)); from the literal apocalypse, to the deeply and intensely personal (A Private Viewing) end of an individual’s world; from the biblical (Evacuation), to the mysterious (At the Sign of the Black Dove), to the science fictional (The Harvest, The Immaculate Particle) to the gloriously unclassifiable (Postapocalypse). Although I’ve highlighted certain descriptors with particular stories, they all fit several of the descriptors mentioned and none of them are one dimensional.

The first thing to note is that Pandemonium contains no dead wood; no filler, obligatory inclusions, or unnecessary stories. Every work in the collection, as well as being individually superb, sings for its supper; serves a particular purpose within the thematic framework of the anthology and is placed with great care at a specific place within the book as a whole to aid in the pacing, structure and emotional response of the reader. A short story collection can, of course, be read out of order; Pandemonium is one that merits a full reading in sequential order at least once. To do otherwise is to miss the thematic subtleties and structural cleverness of the editors.

This is a rare thing to say about an anthology, but there were no stories I disliked; nothing which I thought to be weak, or badly written; nothing which I found myself trawling through, wishing only to get to the next story. There were, of course, stories which stood out for me personally or which took me so much by surprise that they still linger days later. I’ve highlighted a few below, although it bears saying that even the stories not chosen are worthy of highlighting in their own right.

(Some spoilers between the asterisks)

***

Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion, by Archie Black

I thought that Archie Black’s ‘Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion’ was a relentlessly black, magnificently downbeat exercise in the stripping away of humanity; the ambiguously detailed historical apocalypse is mirrored perfectly by the descent of the narrator into depression, despondency, barbarism, degeneracy and, ultimately, death. This story was a particularly pleasant surprise, as before starting Pandemonium I’d never heard of Archie Black, even second hand; I’ll certainly be keeping a very close eye on her career from this point on.

OMG GTFO, by S.L. Grey

I’d heard of the gestalt entity that is S.L. Grey, usually in glowing terms, before reading Pandemonium, but this was my first encounter with them. ‘OMG GTFO’ took me by surprise, not for the high quality (which met my absurdly high expectations and proves that hype isn’t always unjustified), but for the cynical nihilism on display within it. Horror, despite accusations to the contrary, is often the most human of genres; with each survivor, we reject death; with each monster defeated or contained we reject chaos; with each boundary or moral line not crossed, we reaffirm our humanity.

Not so, in ‘OMG GTFO’. What at first comes across as a sly parody of religionist insistence that there are no atheists in foxholes and the idea that the stick serves a deity far better than the carrot for bringing in the sheep, quickly and neatly sidesteps into a pitch black insistence that humanity is kept human by only the thinnest of civilised veneers and at the end of it all, we’re all fucked anyway. Hell exists all right, we live here. Wonderfully thought provoking.

Deluge, by Kim Lakin-Smith

Kim Lakin-Smith’s ‘Deluge’ surprised me in multiple and confusing ways. First of all, for the fact that it is, nominally at least, my ‘least favourite’ (please note the semantic difference between ‘least favourite’ and ‘don’t like’) story in the collection, yet it absolutely point blank refuses to leave my head. Secondly, for the fact the story was not set at the bottom of a deep, oceanic abyss; I have never read a story which left me with such a strong sense of pressure, compression and abyssal depths; each mention of air, desert, rain,wheels, wind or sand in the text hit me like a drop of cold water in the face, reminding me that the story occurs on dry (very dry) land.

This isn’t for lack of clarity on the part of author, I should point out; short of her coming to my house and sprinkling sand in my sock drawer, the desert environment couldn’t be made any more unambiguous by Ms Lakin-Smith. Saying that, every sentence of ‘Deluge’ felt as disorienting as sounds heard while underwater. Louder and closer than is strictly comfortably, yet always more distant than you think.

While I can quite easily, and truthfully, tell you that despite being exceptionally well written the story didn’t quite click for me, I can simultaneously, and with equal truth, tell you that I’m deeply fascinated with reading more about Wakatire and would eagerly snap up any further stories set there, as well as hunting out the author’s other works with great haste. As I said, confusing. Like all top quality writers, when a story doesn’t click you doubt yourself and your understanding of it, as much as, or more than, the story itself.

Not the End of the World, by Sophia McDougall

‘Not the End of the World’ by Sophia McDougall, is the final story in Pandemonium and the perfect story with which to close out such a volume. A subtle, heart warming, heartbreaking and devastatingly human end to a roller-coaster of an anthology.

Equal parts historical tale, tender romance, ghost story, war story and urban fantasy, Ms McDougall paints intimate portraits of six disparate characters with remarkable deftness, lightness of touch and brief, yet illuminating, intimacy. Through meticulous use of repetition, exactingly precise use of vague recollection of earlier passages and events and effortless shifts from a chatty, intimate viewpoint to a broad and poetic narrative prose, she takes the reader from the domestic claustrophobia of Friedenstrasse 77, through the timeless space of what could well be an eternity passed in what may be only nanoseconds and, finally, to a rejection of the comforts of routine, mundane, unchanging now and a willingness to embrace the future, even though that future may contain horrors not yet known, uncertainty, or instant and painful death.

Failure to embrace change is a failure to exist fully and the end of the world in ‘Not the End of the World’ comes not for Elly with her rejection of eternal safety in a never ending present, but for those who remain in Friedenstrasse 77, preserved forever, but as untouchable and unliving as Frau Holl’s precious ornaments. Sophia McDougall achieves as complete and satisfying an emotional transformation in  one short story as many writers struggle to illustrate in an entire novel, which is remarkable.

***

(Spoilers end)

Why do I feel the need to review this anthology, when I read so many things and review, well, none of them? Because this anthology feels, forthcoming mockable hyperbole duly noted, like the beginning of something special. Not a beginning for Pandemonium Fiction, this may seem cold (Sorry Anne and Jared!) but imprints start or stop every year, but of a generation of writers, and two hugely gifted anthologists, about to hit the big time. There’s a famous photograph taken at Sun Studios in Memphis, which shows the young and not yet famous group of musicians, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, gathered around a piano having fun. This collection has that same feeling of fresh, new and limitless potential. Even taking the vagaries of publishing into account, I find it hard to believe that at least a few of the writers here won’t go on to become huge names. I will take huge pleasure in watching to see which ones and cheering all from the sidelines.

It’s worth noting that I started writing this review five hours before writing this final paragraph and most of that time was spent agonising over which few stories to highlight individually and wish I had the space to write about the fourteen that remain. With that firmly in your mind, you should be heading over to Pandemonium Fiction and making sure that you get your copy of Stories of the Apocalypse just as soon as it goes live. It will surely be talked about a lot in the coming weeks and months.

Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse is released on November 4th 2011 in ebook format and in a limited edition hardback run available for purchase at the Tate Britain.

Unsung Genre Heroes – Horror: Graham Masterton

In horror, or ‘Dark Fantasy’ as some bookshops are starting to call it these days (with justification, perhaps – that’s for another post, though), there’s a bit of a fetish for transcending the genre; writing a book that appeals to the lit-fic crowd. If you’re lucky enough to be translated from another language – John Ajvide Lindqvist, Koji Suzuki – or sell an absolute buttload of copies – Stephen King, Clive Barker – then it happens almost automatically. If you have a knack for spare, almost McCarthyesque, prose then you might escape the genre doldrums and be, somewhat sniffishly, accepted as a ‘real’ writer. Peter Straub and Christopher Fowler have and it looks like Joe Hill is well on his way towards that too. If you just want to give people a ripping yarn with a few scares and shocks in there, though, you might end up unjustly ignored by anyone except horror buffs. Along with a few of his contemporaries – F. Paul Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, James Herbert – Graham Masterton has ended up in just that situation.

A cut down biography of Masterton’s writing reads something like this. He started out as a journalist and jobbing writer, before becoming the editor of Mayfair and UK Penthouse. He wrote a couple of sex instruction manuals before his first novel, The Manitou, was released in 1976. Since then, he’s written primarily, although by no means exclusively, in the horror genre as well as continuing to release sex instruction manuals.

Now that we’ve established who he is, it’s time to get to the crux of this post; why I’m writing about him. I’m writing about him because he deserves it. For more than thirty years, he’s been writing effective, efficient, occasionally brilliant horror novels, as well as a selection of solid crime, historicals, thrillers and the occasional foray into ‘true’ fantasy. So far, he’s published more than eighty novels and almost as many short stories and is still going strong. The man must be doing something right, so what exactly is it?

The first part of it, is his mastery of formula; knowing exactly how a given type of story should progress, where the beats need to be, how to hook a reader and then drip feed them shocks, twists, revelations and action at exactly the right pace to carry them all the way to the end. In case you think that’s faint or grudging praise, try finding a writer or critic who isn’t filled with respect and admiration for Elmore Leonard or Donald E. Westlake; believe me, you’ll need to travel a long way to find one, and those guys are fellow masters of formula.

The second part of it, is his prose style. It’s unfussy, uncomplicated and gets the point across effectively in the minimum number of words. When you’re reading a Graham Masterton, you rarely pick out a turn of phrase or sentence and say “That’s a typically Masterton way of putting that”, in fact you don’t even notice him at all, merely the story he happens to be telling. By no means every critic, and certainly not every writer, will tell you that’s something to aim for, but Masterton is masterful at putting the story first. So far as he’s concerned, the reader is to be entertained first and foremost. If you have to scurry for a dictionary to look up a word, he’s not doing it right; if you lift your eyes from the page and say “what a beautifully constructed sentence”, then you’ve noticed him and it’s distracted you from the story. Because of that, he takes the “murder your darlings” approach to its extreme. The only idiosyncrasies in a Masterton story are those of the character, most notably in his Manitou novels, where the voice of Harry Erskine has remained consistently recognisable for thirty five years. The same thing applies in his Jim Rook series of horror novels for young adults. Rook is recognisable and it’s immediately apparent you’re reading a novel about him, but, once again, Masterton himself is almost invisible. To quote Elmore Leonard, he “leaves out the bits that people skip” and does it consistently and superbly well. The man is a pro.

The final part, is his meticulous attention to detail. He quite obviously goes out of his way to learn about the subject his story deals with and that always shows on the page. In most cases, that research is channelled into making an element of mythology or folklore scary, but he weaves sometimes quite sizeable infodumps into his stories with skill and flair, almost always phrasing them as stories within the story and the infodump itself becomes entertaining in its own right; something a lot of far bigger selling authors have still to learn. Now, I’m not saying that all of the mythology in his stories is strictly true to the source, Trotting Coyote wouldn’t necessarily make the greatest villain (Charnel House) without some serious tweaking to fit the tale in question, but they make an excellent jumping off point for learning more about the myths in question.

So, if you’ve read this far then you obviously haven’t encountered his writing before, and might be wondering where to start. Maybe try a few from the selection below and see what you think.

Horror Fans
The Manitou series (Manitou, Revenge of the Manitou, Burial, Manitou Blood, Blind Panic)
Flesh & Blood
The House That Jack Built
Prey
Any of his short story anthologies (Scare Care, Fortnight of Fear, Flights of Fear etc.)

Never read horror, but willing to give it a go
The Jim Rook series (Rook, Tooth & Claw, The Terror, Snowman, Swimmer, Darkroom, Demon’s Door, Ultimate Evil)
Black Angel (A mixture of horror & detective fiction)
The 5th Witch (A mixture of horror elements and urban fantasy)
The Devils of D Day (Mixes horror and action thriller quite nicely)

I read fantasy, but don’t mind the odd scare mixed in
The Night Warriors series (Night Warriors, Death Dream, Night Plague, Night Wars, The Ninth Nightmare)
The Hidden World
Walkers
Edgewise (One of many Masterton tales which are based on Native American mythology)
Descendant (Volume one of proposed Vampire Hunter series)

I read mostly crime, but don’t mind it being creepy in places
The Sissy Sawyer series (Touchy & Feely, The Painted Man)
Trauma
Holy Terror

There you go. The man’s a true pro and an unsung hero of the horror genre. I hope you’ll try at least one of the books I’ve recommended above and also hope you’ll get as much pleasure from them as I have over the years. Happy (if somewhat nervous) reading!

Visit Graham’s home page to learn more: http://www.grahammasterton.co.uk/

A List of Horror Stories You Should Really Seek Out (If you haven’t already)

Because I’ve been talking a bit about horror lately, as well as having posted a few amateurish examples of my own work on here, I’m going to go ahead and pretend that people give a stuff about my opinions and post a list of short horror stories which I think people should have read by now, if they haven’t already. I specifically listed shorts because I firmly believe that with horror stories, unlike so many other things, shorter is always better. The order is simply the sequence I listed them in, not an order of preference.

1. Eric the Pie – Graham Masterton I can’t recommend this horrible and horribly effective piece of suburban grand guignol highly enough. One of the best splatter stories I’ve ever read. Even better, you can download the PDF for free at Graham Masterton’s website, here, along with several other shorts should you so desire.

2. The Signalman – Charles Dickens A creepy and effective morality tale from a man high school literature lessons may have mistakenly taught you to hate. Hunt out an anthology that contains this story immediately. I promise you won’t regret it.

3. Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad – M.R. James I’ve listed this one, but in truth I could have picked any James story. He was a genuine master of the low key story of creeping terror and slowly mounting tension. I chose this one, mainly for the evocative title. Just seeing it listed on the contents page of any anthology is enough to send an anticipatory shiver down the spine.

4. Pickman’s Model – H. P. Lovecraft Most people would immediately go to one of Lovecraft’s many tales of cosmic horror, or else The Rats in the Walls, but I chose this one because of its simplicity and the surprisingly deft way in which Lovecraft layers his prose from the simple opening to the hysterics of the denouement.

5. The Jury – Gerald Durrell I can’t say for certain whether this is genuinely a great horror story, or simply made more effective for being sandwiched in between Durrell’s signature gently humourous travelogues. Well worth seeking out anyway, since even if my memory has made it seem scarier in retrospect, you’ll still have Durrell’s thoroughly enjoyable memoirs to read.

6. We’re Going Where The Sun Shines Brightly – Christopher Fowler An unpleasant little tale, about unpleasant things happening to unpleasant people. Typically English in sensibility, brilliantly executed and nicely ambiguous in tone. Nothing gets explained satisfactorily either, which is always a bonus for me with short works of horror.

7. The Fall of the House Usher – Edgar Allan Poe A masterpiece of American Gothic. A lot of people claim it’s derivative of Poe’s earlier works, but since I read this one first, after seeing the Roger Corman film adaptation on television one night as a child, it remains my favourite.

8. No Sharks in the Med – Brian Lumley A typically English tale of a smug bugger getting his comeuppance.

9. The Lottery – Shirley Jackson Like I wasn’t going to list this one? If you like horror, especially modern horror, then this really is required reading.

10. Troll Bridge – Neil Gaiman Some people may argue that this is fantasy, due to it being a retelling of an ancient faiy tale, but they can get stuffed. Fairy tales were the horror stories of their day and this one is no different.

That should be enough for you to be getting on with, if you’re far enough from the horror mainstream to have managed to have read half or less of the stories above, get busy finding them. You won’t regret it.

I couldn’t have put it better myself. (Seriously, I couldn’t)

Over at the prodigiously talented Christopher Fowler’s blog, he has something to say about the twee-ification of traditional horror monsters, as well as the impact of a certain series of novels about sparkly vampires and puppyesque werewolves. Go over there and read it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until you get back before I weigh in with my less eloquent two’pennorth. Here’s the link:-

Has Horror Been Eclipsed?

Are you back? Good. Here’s a rambling and barely coherent post detailing what I think on the matter.

I have no problem whatsoever with books for younger readers falling into the horror categorisation. The late Robert Westall managed to scare me witless more than once, with novels like Urn Burial or The Scarecrows, novellas like The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral and too many of his short stories to list here. Westall wrote almost exclusively for younger readers and his horror work was aimed squarely into that demographic as well. The legendary and greatly missed Pan and Armada books of Horror were staple checkouts on my school library card. Youngsters like to be scared. I was reading Graham Masterton and Stephen King before I ever picked up a Charles Dickens novel (Although The Signalman was one short of his I’d read at a very early stage. Horror anthologies are great for that.), M. R. James before I ever read Shakespeare and the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe long before I picked up a John Donne collection. Just when I was hitting the age when teenagers slump into self-absorbed ennui and a sulky insistence that the old guard of any specific artistic movement or genre is irrelevant to them or the modern world (roughly sixteen), I read Fowler’s Spanky and realised that horror never stops evolving, because the things that scare us as a society change over time.

What do the Twilight saga, The Dresden Files, the Anita Blake or Sookie Stackhouse novels, tell us about our current society? They tell us that the old guard are once again, no longer relevant to the current crop of people in their mid-teens, just as writers like King, Herbert, Masterton, Laymon and Koontz (some would argue against his categorisation as horror, I won’t entirely disagree with them) ceased being relevant to me in my teens and twenties. The unavoidable fact is that the things which scared us (born after the sixties spirit had died, but before Thatcherism and Reaganomics were entrenched), simply don’t scare them. They find the fear of isolation and disconnection as silly as those of us who grew up in the eighties and nineties found fear of the Outsider, the Mutant, the one who’s Not Like Us. The Cold War was still going on, but the feelings of mutual antagonisation were rapidly cooling and we all knew it. We feared being separated from our society, from our safe little comfort zones, far more than we feared an outsider destroying it. The fears of the generation who became adults under the ever-present threat of The Bomb simply weren’t our own.

To someone who grows up often going for days without meaningful social contact outside of school, because connection doesn’t always occur face to face thanks to mobile phones and instant messenger services, to someone who grew up in the closest thing to a multicultural society history has ever known, a world where novels, music and films from our notional “cultural enemies” are readily accessible and where any sizable town or city has areas almost entirely given over to the culture our enemies supposedly come from, both fears are equally silly. A faint loneliness is an ever-present and The Outsider is just like us, for the most part, because there’s little mystery to another culture if you don’t want there to be one anymore. Our monsters are no more scary to the current younger generation than Faeries were to me. They’re the fear of the generation before last, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents were scared by the folk tales of the Dwarves of the Simonside Hills, Redcaps stalking the Northumberland moors, or the lingering presence of some unspecified evil imprinted on the very brickwork of their house.

Todays teenagers see nothing to fear in the monsters of the generation before last, except a lingering hint of danger. Enough to make it alluring, but not enough to make it terrifying. They toy with vampires, werewolves and the like, as easily as we toyed with the notion of Faeries, Redcaps and Changelings. Writers like Robert Holdstock, Neil Gaiman and Mark Chadbourn almost brought that fear back, but the cultural resonance was gone and they found themselves on the fantasy shelves, rather than the horror where they would have been in the past. That’s where the current paranormal romance/let’s chin a vampire novels will end up in the long run. The horrors of old, become toys for a new generation.

The current fascination with all things zombie perhaps suggests at an undercurrent. A faint ripple on the surface that hints at something lurking underneath. Zombies carry too much cultural baggage to ever become truly scary again, but the reemergence of the traditional symbolism of the post-Romero zombie is maybe an indication of where the future of horror lies. Fear of conformity and faceless consumerism is part of it, just like it was in the sixties and seventies, but something else is buried in there and the zombie doesn’t truly express it, just like the vampires, werewolves and various other traditional monsters didn’t quite express it for us. Our generations had Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell coming into his full bloom as a writer and the emergence of Christopher Fowler to crystallise our fears for us. Monsters old and new wrapped in layers of modern symbolism. The new generation is waiting for someone to crystallise their fears for them, a strident new voice like Barker and Fowler were for us, or one of the generation previous spotting a seam to mine which still holds relevance, just like Ramsey Campbell did in the eighties and early nineties. You won’t find three more different writers, but the thing they all have in common is that they caught the mood of what scared a generation. No-one has done that for this one yet. Sooner or later, there will be another Hellbound Heart or Books of Blood, another The Hungry Moon or The Doll Who Ate its Mother, another Spanky, Disturbia or Psychoville, but until then we’ll all just have to admit that horror is floundering a bit because, as sad as it is to say, no-one has really nailed this generation’s fears so completely that they can bust into the top of the bestseller lists and carry a new generation of horror writers behind them. Until someone can say in all honesty that their tales of terror owe little beyond a basic shared cultural history with those of the previous generation (which is the bracket the authors I’ve stated I admire greatly as the “new direction of horror” in the last two decades of the twentieth century now lie in), this will remain the case. Horror won’t die out, it never does, but it perhaps needs a new voice, or an old voice with a new story to tell to shake it out of its funk.

Of course, everything I’ve written above could just be pontification and hot air. Horror might be just having one of its cyclical slumps, when people are scared enough of the real world that they want some gentle escapism in their written fiction, just like it did from the thirties through to the early seventies thanks to a global depression, a world war and a few near misses when a third one world war almost broke out. It was being written, and written well, in that time, but people just wanted something else right then. Mostly something glossy, as the success of novels like Valley of the Dolls and the like will attest. The more worrying side of that era’s cultural and social development was dealt with primarily in speculative fiction, from writers like Matheson, Wyndham, Bradbury, Ellison and to a lesser extent Heinlein, Niven, Aldiss and Clarke. Stephen King and his contemporaries and imitators (both conscious and otherwise) captured the mixture of disenchantment with the post-war enthusiasm, Cold War posturing and paranoia and the baby-boomer’s fear of what came next at just the right time. Barker, Campbell and Fowler captured the disenchantment with Thatcherism, the cult of self and the fear of isolation at exactly the right time, while riding on the publishing coat tails of mega sellers like King, Koontz, Herbert and, in the early days of the horror boom at least, Masterton, when horror was still very close to the mainstream consciousness. Maybe it’s just a couple of years too soon for the next wave to capture post-millennial angst, disenfranchised consumerism, the terror of  sudden and unanticipated poverty and fear of the new era of conformity and conservatism (in a societal sense. Not in the sense of the Conservative Party) we currently live in. Who knows? It would certainly explain the way that for the first time in decades, written SF&F are nearer to the mainstream than horror is, why a trilogy of mystery thrillers dealing with the darker side of consumerism and corporate culture are flying high in the bestseller lists and why sales of celebrity autobiographies have never been higher. A bit of light escapism, or else unease dealt with in a manner that doesn’t seem somehow slightly ridiculous. Horror is still waiting in the wings, ready to step back into the spotlight, just as soon as someone breaks the newly installed glass ceiling and sells a metric fuckload of books, seemingly out of nowhere. Just like Carrie did. Just like The Hellbound Heart did… Just like Twilight did.

Bonus musical clip:-

Just because I feel like being a bit of a facetious dickhead (I know, it shocks me too), here’s some evidence that perhaps making monsters less scary and suitable for kids isn’t an entirely new phenomenon.