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 15, 2013
My Top Ten Horror novels #5 Many of you wont think it is horror but...
Number 5 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.
This is a timely novel, but I promise you I first made this list before Matheson's recent passing. Considering the subject matter and Matheson's introduction where he states that he basically believed in the after life he writes about this book is probably the one everyone should read in tribute to the passing of this great story teller. I debated myself between this novel and his classic I Am Legend.
What Dreams May Come I am sure will be the most controversial novel on my list. Many will not even consider it horror. They would consider Matheson's classic vampire novel I Am Legend to be his best, and it is amazing. I Am Legend may be a bigger influence, it might be more traditional horror,it might even be a better novel but What Dreams may come moved me very deeply.
It is a romantic fantasy but there are moments of true horror that moved me deeply. The heartbreaking sorrow of Chris watching his still living wife suffer over her death is just one of the most horrible things I could consider. The idea of knowing then that your loved one is in hell itself, wow It requires a belief or a suspension of disbelief but if you ride with it it some of the most hardcore feelings horror there are. The love of the characters is all the heart of it.
You can't judge this novel by the film based on it. What Dreams May Come is a romantic fantasy but has several elements of horror, supernatural story of husband who dies and goes to heaven but has to watch his wife kill herself and end up in hell. The chapters where he goes to hell to save her is one of the best moments of horror Matheson or anyone ever wrote. Those chapters alone were so powerful to me that alone got the book on my list.