Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Wetbones revised and re-issued.... Tribute Part 1
I have been reading horror novels for a quarter of a century now. Since I discovered Clive Barker and Stephen King in the 7th grade I have read several hundred horror novels and equal number of science fiction. I have read horror novels that effected me emotionally like the family tragedy in King's The Shining, terrorized me like McCammon's vision of nuclear aftermath in Swan Song, Poppy Z. Brite made me squirm in disgust with Exquisite Corpse, and Barker expanded my thinking of the fantastic with The Great and Secret Show.
One novel has affected me on all those levels deeper than any other. John Shirley's 1990 masterpiece Wetbones. I think of this book as Requiem for Dream written by Lovecraft and directed by a young David Cronenberg.
John Shirley is a master at using the horror and science fiction novel as means of making a socio-political point. Wetbones is very much a horror novel about addiction, and while it drags the reader through a disgusting and hurtful gutter that reflects real life all too well it also has monsters.
Freaky as hell monsters, probably one of the sickest and most awful serial killers in print, without a doubt my favorite horror novel ever written. How about some other opinions...
"John Shirley is an adventurer, returning from dark and troubled regions with visionary tales to tell. Wetbones is a wild and giddy ride, confronting the reader with marvels and horror in equal measure. I heartily recommend a journey with John Shirley at your side."- Clive Barker
"In Wetbones John Shirley serves up the bloody heart of a sick and rotting society with the aplomb of an Aztec surgeon on dexadrine..." --ALA Booklist
"Some of the most gruesome imagery ever placed between two covers to catalyze a potent tale of physical, psychological and spiritual depravity and redemption...This is horror at its most visceral and true." Publisher's weekly
"Utterly convincing and terrifically fascinating...Wetbones is a knock-down, kick-ass piece of writing." -- Ed Bryant, Locus
"Wetbones is one of the reasons that John Shirley is one of my favorite authors of all time. He not only gets under your skin, he forces your mind to go to places strange and uncomfortable, yet unquestionably familiar. He scares me to my soul." - Filmmaker Sunni Brock
"When I was just out of high school I was a rabid fan of horror. I was already a John Shirley fan because of novels like Dracula in Love and Cellars, but, in my mind, horror was mostly about what what was done to people by others. Wetbones introduced me to a new concept - the horrors that people visit on themselves, and allow themselves to be subjected to. - Musician El Queso
"I've been reading John Shirley since his earliest stories and novels. I still have my Mark Ziesing Books edition of Wetbones. It's a great --and truly scary -- horror novel. One of the things that gives it it's power is that John keeps one authorial foot firmly planted in reality -- something that infuses gritty strength through much of his work, right up through his latest novel, BLEAK HISTORY." - Long time Shirley fan Robert Curry
"Wetbones has undoubtedly joined the pantheon of my favorite horror and science fiction works. John Shirley seamlessly blends social commentary with his horrors, without sacrificing fright or being heavy-handed and overly didactic." Ian Duncanson Librarian