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Memorable Books

I was going to post the book review for C.L. Polk’s debut novella, Witchmark, but then I remembered that it first has to appear in our next issue of Gamecca Magazine first which means it will have to wait until next month. It’s a contract thing. Anyway while I’m still working through Robert W. Chambers’ The King In Yellow for the next review (I’m halfway through don’t worry), I thought perhaps I should talk about books for today.


There’s this part of me that wishes I had impeccable memory and can recall the contents of a book thoroughly enough to sound… well like a scholar. I know it sounds pretentious but have you heard people talk about books like they were literally living in them? Character names. Places. Events. Linking scenes and quotes between books to draw revelations I would have otherwise completely missed. I want that ha ha. Although in my defense, I spent way too much of my youth reading Stephen King so I could probably do that with a couple of his books (looks at the collection of The Dark Tower novels).

Memorable Books

While I may lack that ability to fully recount a book’s contents, here are some memorable books I’ve read over the years that I remember well and still think of to this day. Some I can draw correlations across other books while others just changed my worldview:

1. The Program – Gregg Hurwitz

The Program Gregg Hurwitz

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

3. Kill Baxter – Charlie Human

4. Once – James Herbert

5. Endgame – James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton

6. The Bachman Books – Stephen King as Richard Bachman

7. Books of Blood – Clive Barker

8. Beyond the Pale – Mark Anthony

9. Three – Ted Dekker

10. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline


Do you have any books that have stuck in your mind or you still recall to this day? Perhaps any book that changed your mind, thoughts, world view?

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The Hellbound Heart – Recommendation

Clive Barker is widely acknowledged as the master of nerve-shattering horror. The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within. It was also the book behind the cult horror film, Hellraiser.

In a quiet house on a quiet street Frank and Julia are having an affair. Not your ordinary affair. For Frank it began with his own insatiable sexual appetite, a mysterious lacquered box- and then an unhinged voyage through a netherworld of imaginable pleasures and unimaginable horror… Now Frank- or what is left of Frank -waits in an empty room. All he wants is to live as he was before. All Julia can do is bring him her unfulfilled passions…and a little flesh and blood…


First of all, not for the faint-hearted. Second of all, not for the squeamish, easily disgusted, or those with an overactive imagination. Lastly, it’s definitely not Stephen King so don’t even use that as a gauge for your own propensity for horror fiction. This is other level horror.

Also, I took the time to finally watch the (in)famous Hellraiser movie and man is Clive Barker sick. Like wow haha. It’s a completely different kind of horror compared to Scream (I’ve watched all of them, and I just finished the Netflix series), Wrong Turn (meh), Silent Hill or a number of other’s that I watched. I’m planning on watching every “Hellraiser” movie and also Books of Blood. Can’t be a Barker fanatic if I haven’t even seen/read all his works right?

 

Books of Blood by Clive Barker – Recommendation

 

 

 

A collection from the master of horror … trust nothing except your fear…

Here are the stories written on the Book of Blood. They are a map of that dark highway that leads out of life towards unknown destinations. Few will have to take it. Most will go peacefully along lamplit streets, ushered out of living with prayers and caresses. But for a few, the horrors will come, skipping, to fetch them off to the highway of the damned …Gathered together for the first time in one volume, here are fifteen mind-shattering stories from the awesome imagination of World Fantasy Award winning author Clive Barker. They will take you to the brink – and beyond…


 

Clive Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Rubie (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. Educated at Dovedale Primary School and Quarry Bank High School, he studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University and his picture now hangs in the entrance hallway to the Philosophy Department.

Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, writing in the horror genre early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 – 6), and the Faustian novel The Damnation Game (1985). Later he moved towards modern-day fantasy and urban fantasy with horror elements in Weaveworld (1987), The Great and Secret Show (1989), the world-spanning Imajica (1991) and Sacrament (1996), bringing in the deeper, richer concepts of reality, the nature of the mind and dreams, and the power of words and memories.


I’ve been meaning to get these books for a while now. I remember seeing Volumes 1 – 3 at the school library back when I was around 13 or 14. I devoured the book and was haunted by it. More than a decade later I still rate Clive Barker as my favourite, pure horror writer. I’ve ordered these books again to add to my collection.

Why did I take so long?

Fantasy Horror writing – The Golden Man

Fantasy101

I wrote a story for Patreon. It sends shivers up my spine. I saw this story unfold before my eyes and with my imaginative mind you can imagine how this scene played out:

It was at that point that he wished Master Toburin had guided him through the fundamentals of turning invisible. As a fledgling Aziza, he was yet to gain the stamina needed to use forest magic, and his wings were nothing more than protruding bone on his bare back; but invisibility was an aptitude they could all accomplish young. Fighting the tumbling lithelillies in his belly, he slowly peered around the trunk.

A metal man stood between the trees staring off into the distance. Only, he couldn’t have been a man as his golden body flickered in the sun, much like the blades Pyre had seen the Aziza warriors use in their training. It was peculiar how the man was as still as a rock. A human looking head, dark as the Roobon trees back home, was seemingly stitched upon a golden neck. It sent a tingle up Pyre’s spine and he looked back to see if someone was behind him. Satisfied there was nothing, he turned around and came face to face with two lifeless eyes, wide and unseeing, yet boring into him with darkened pupils as red as the forest leaves.

His breath left him immediately.

And then the story proceeds towards a *shivers* interesting climax. Now this is all moving towards my short story The Last Robot on Earth and I’m playing around with a couple of genres. LRE TV presents… is a short story about a game of Man vs Machine, but you soon realize that the main character is not a man. Which I could explore into a deeper revelation of what it means to be human, and it would still remain a fun adventure reminiscent of Gamer or Hunger Games and like books/movies.

This particular story takes place in a Fantasy setting, hence the use of words such as lithelilles, which we would say butterflies, or Bloodshrub, which is a shrub with blood red leaves, and Roobon trees that are regular deciduous trees. You get more of a feel of it in the fuller short story but I think this excerpt is still pretty self explanatory.

What I’m also trying to tie in to this short story, is something I’ve always wanted to write but haven’t had the right idea to process; Dark Fantasy. In fact the draft name for this story was LRE Fantasy Horror (because I’m useless at titles) and I drew up a couple of starting points to guide the process. Honestly, I am quite happy with this final piece which I have unimaginatively titled The Golden Man.

If you would like to support my writing endeavour as a patron on Patreon, please click the link below. Rewards include a short story of your making, including the making of, sources, first drafts, revisions etc.

Patreon/NthatoMorakabi

In my research, I found this fascinating open question interview with Clive Barker, who is the man behind The Books of Blood, Candyman, Hellraiser and plenty other – interesting – horrors. Funny enough he mentions that his book signings never had kids but I remember reading the Books of Blood volume 1 back in Grade 7 or 8. I was reading Stephen King at this time too. Yeah. I know. Don’t judge me.

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