Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Monday, July 22, 2013
My Top Ten Horror novels #4, which Stephen King novel made my list...
My number 4 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
Number 8: The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
Number 7: The Keep (Adversary cycle #1) by F.Paul Wilson
Number 6 : Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z.Brite
Number 5 is: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson.
Number 4 is The Shining by Stephen King:
There are probably a dozen novels by King worthy of this list. I decided when I started this process to not repeat authors. I knew Richard Matheson and King might dominate the list. I considered The Dead Zone and The Stand, both of are two of King’s best overall novels, but not traditional horror. I considered Pet Semetery,King was so frightened by Pet Semetery that he almost didn't finish it I considered The Long Walk, Gerald’s Game and I am a huge fan of Salem’s Lot.
All that said I think The Shining is King’s best horror novel and just right on my list at the number 4 horror novel of all time. I first read the Shining as a young adult and most of the horror elements worked for me. The creepy setting of the empty hotel, the ghosts, the things pushing Jack Torrance to insanity. This novel is a classic haunted house tale that has genius setting that perfect isolates it’s characters in a inescapable situation.
You can see why Stanley Kubrick bought the film rights as it is a perfect gothic horror settings. I am with King in not being a huge fan of the film. It looks awesome, and has great moments, but for me Jack Nicholson ruins the movie, by seeming insane from the first scene.
As an adult re-reading The Shining the element of the family unraveling meant a lot more to me. I felt bad for Jack Torrance and felt dread knowing what was coming. To me this is the gut wrenching terror inducing element that makes this novel so scary. Re-reading you know Jack is losing it, and it is a trainwreck that you can’t turn away. The ghost story of the overlook is like a wonderful spice adding flavor, as is the shine storyline about young Danny Torrance.
This is a perfect time to read it as the sorta sequel about Danny Torrance Doctor Sleep is on the way. Below is the cover on my first copy of the novel.