Photo: is of my partner Cari and I with Clive at the 2005 Stoker awards in L.A.
New Clive Barker novels are always a cause for celebration, and considering the Halloween release of Mister B.Gone we horror geeks were stoked. If the Harper Collins marketing is to be trusted Mister B.Gone would hail the return of Clive Barker to horror. This is a dark and brutal book but if you were looking for the more straight forward style and tone of the Books of Blood this new book is not what you are looking for.
I should be clear, I enjoyed Mister B.Gone and yes the book is indeed horror. So were most of the books Clive had written since the Books of Blood. The Great and Secret Show and Everville had metaphysical fantastic elements but were certainly horror. What genre would Coldheart Canyon and Sacrament be if they were not horror?
Many traditional horror geeks have been turned off by Barker’s recent novels because he charted a more fantastic path since he published Weaveworld. While Mister B.Gone is a great little novel it is more of a horrific dark fantasy than Coldheart Canyon or Sacrament.
Those two novels have much more to do with the Books of Blood than this new novel that starts out in hell itself and is narrated by a lower class demon.
Mister B.Gone is worth your time, it’s beautifully packaged to resemble an old rotting book with an interactive narrative that jumps from first to second person and makes the reader themselves a character in the story. At first the repetitive warnings to the reader to burn the book got annoying but in the end the pay-off Barker was building to made it all worth it.
I think the return to form many fans are drooling over is still yet to come. After years of teasing us in interviews the latest rumor is that Barker will release the Scarlet Gospels in August 2008. the rumors began with Barker hinting in interviews that recent Asian horror films had inspired him to gone back to writing short horror fiction. We were told to expect a new collection whose title short story would be the Scarlet Gospels a story said to include the death of Pinhead.
Barker annoyed by the unending pillage of this character in endless Hellraiser sequels decided killing his abused creation seemed like a fun project. That would be cool enough but then he told us that the story would include Harry D’Amour who appeared in the art novels as well as his last film Lord of illusions. This deepening of the Barker mythos is very exciting for his fans who have stuck with him.
Considering the intersection of all these elements it shouldn’t be a surprise that this short story got out in front of him and ended up as a 230,000 word novel. Word! Come Clive I love Mister B.Gone but we need the gospel according to Clive!
Lets not forget the Book of blood and Midnight Meat Train are before cameras right now. Welcome back Clive...even though I know you never left.