Monday, June 17, 2013

My top horror novels! Number 9: A Bizarro body horror novel...

And number 9 is

I enjoy doing top ten lists and I have meant to do this one for awhile. The art of the horror novel is a very special one for me. My first horror novel that I remember reading was The Stand by Stephen King, it was my seventh grade year(I still have that copy which has note in the inside cover to do a Social Studies report!). Skeleton Crew by King and Clive Barker's Books of Blood had a bigger impact on me personally were talking novels at the moment. Over the years I have grown to love the feeling of closing the book on a well written horror novel.

Generally you have been taken on a journey, often it is one filled with terror. The most important elements often come from well defined characters. For a horror novel to work to have to either care about the characters or imagine yourself in the shoes of the character. No story can be scary if you can't imagine yourself in the moment with the characters.

Imagine for a moment you lying in bed at 2 AM and someone starts to bang on the door. You will likely go to the door confused and sacred. In a novel that might not seem to be a scary moment but if you put yourself in the moment it will scare you. These are novels I find scary, and why. You may have read them already, and if not I hope you'll check them out. Leave a comment tell me what you think I missed.

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World." His next novel Bootboys of the Wolf-Reich is due to be released soon by Deadite press.

Number 10: (tie) Testament by David Morrell & The Girl next Door by Jack Ketchum

Number 9... A Perfect Union by Cody Goodfellow

This modern bizarro horror novel is like nothing else you have ever read. You can compare it to elements found in other horror novels. This novel feels like it started as a haunted house novel, but Cody Goodfellow is one of the most insane writers working today one of the most well read genre writers who doesn't fit neatly in standard genre fare. When Cody was writing it I once asked what he was working on. His reply. "A haunted house novel with bees that turn you into communists."

So it dips into Cronenberg worthy body horror and moments are hilarious and gonzo as an early Peter Jackson movie. While not a super scary novel this is the most strange and unsettling novel on the list. If you have a black sense of humor you will be laughing at the insanity of it all.

The man is a diabolical genius that fills his fiction with equal parts genius, gore, humor and genuine terror. Best of all this dangerous soup also has highly literate prose and well developed characters. When I read Cody's first novel Radiant Dawn I believed I was looking at the future of horror fiction in the same way those early readers of Clive Barker's books of blood were.

Perfect Union is a weird masterpiece. Influences ranging from Cronenberg body horror, Evil Dead style gore comedy to a fascinating political dissection of Marx and Thoreau make this a genius horror novel destined to be mis understand by the the masses but loved by the readers ready to get in the ring with Cody. It's not for everyone, The sex scene between tweakers in the opening chapter is beyond gross and a signal to potential readers....can you hang? Cody Goodfellow can disturb, offend and amuse in a single sentence, he has done all three to me in a speech tag before.

PU is the story of Drew who recently married Laura and agreed to go on a road trip with her hysterically funny twin brothers to help move their mother out of her rural Nor Cal home. Laura didn't talk about her family for good reason, mom was a commune hopping hippie and abusive enough give all three of her kids serious issues.

Mother lives near Utopia - a town founded by hippies and home to a failed communist compound that was moved into a an old aslylum. A new commune has grown out of the house, which uses radical biological experiments involving bees, mind control and the ultimate communist hive mentality taken to an extreme.

Goodfellow spins a mind bogglingly insane tale of body horror that manages to dip it's fingers in uncomfortable gore while invoking laughter and deep thought about issues of personal freedom. Who knew a book where a woman bites the heads of fetuses and throws them at people could also explore the failings of communism?

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