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, August 12, 2013
My favorite horror novel of all time!
Number one 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: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
Number 4: The Shining by Stephen King
Number 3: Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
Number 2 is: Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
And Number one is Wetbones by John Shirley
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 something like Requiem for Dream written by Lovecraft and directed by a young David Cronenberg. I have read this novel three times, it freaked me out each time. It is powerfully written novel about addiction. Written by an angry author trying to deal with the addiction he was still fighting to overcome. There is a serial killer, who controls the monster inside his victims that feed off their addictions. There are several moments that made me cringe and those uncomfortable feelings didn't dull the second and third time I read it. It is a supernatural story of monsters fictional and at the same time all too real.
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.
In 2010 the novel was re-issued including an e-book. I did a three part tribute on this blog, that was later used as a bonus feature on the e-book. Check out this two part interview I did. Well the second is filled with spoilers. Do check out this novel if you have not read it.