Monday, June 24, 2013

My Top Ten Horror novels, #8 Ecological horror...

And number eight 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

Considered by most to be one of the most disturbing and predictive sci-fi novels of the late sixties. This is dystopic novel is 100% eco-horror. I last re-read during in 2006 and it felt amazingly fresh and predictive even then. It is hard to explain this novel but it is an environmental nightmare that is so well written it is almost impossible not to be creeped out.

Set in a future that seems alot like the GW Bush years with a propped up moron president fighting many wars and living through several ecological disasters. From the back cover "The water is polluted, and only the poor drink from the tap. The government is ineffectual, and corporate interests scramble to make a profit from water purifiers, gas masks, and organic foods. Environmentalist Austin Train is on the run. The Trainites, environmental activists and sometime terrorists, want him to lead their movement. The government wants him in jail, or preferably, executed. The media wants a circus."

This is one of the most frightening novels ever written, made more so by how many of it's plot points have come true. The picture Brunner paints is a world destroyed not by a super weapon, but our daily actions. A true warning novel like other warning classics Alas Babylon or On the Beach.

Train makes the radical environmentalists of today look pretty boring. Taking hostages and threatening to kill them if change doesn't come. The reality is when you see the picture and how bleak it could be you understand the stakes.

Writing wise Brunner uses a disjointed experimental style that is a little hard to get into, but if you take your time with this novel you'll see why it is a classic.

No comments: