Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Best Book of Horror?

I hate questions like that.

“What is your favorite movie?” “Who is your favorite author?” “What is your favorite food?” Questions that often are impossible to answer, or does have an answer but needs a complex explanation. They are limited and doesn’t do the topic justice.

That’s why I love to ask them.

And the answer to the question is not something I can deliver with ease. I have read a lot of horror fiction in my days, often in different sub-genres or categories. So in order to answer that question, I would have to give separate answers depending on what genre we’re talking about, or even make a “top five list” so I won’t miss something out.

I can, however, tell you one book that had a huge impact on me:

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Stephen King’s It

Except for The Dark Tower series, I consider It to be King’s greatest novel. This is a study of horror, how anyone’s individual fears can influence your way of life… and how people choose to forget certain episodes of their lives, because the memories are too painful. It’s also a beautiful tale of true friendship and powerful bonds that neither different paths of life or memory can erase. And of course, the representation of man’s individual fears in this novel is the grotesque Pennywise the Dancing Clown, who forever will be an argument why you should be afraid of clowns and their false, mocking smiles. This creature is the focalpoint of the story, but interestingly, he is most often hidden in the background. The story is as much about the horrific creature as it is about the group of friends, their bond to eachother, and the confrontation with their own painful unresolved problems and memories.

Of course, there are many more books I could write about (and I will), but this was the first one I had in mind for the beginning of my blog…

…And yes, I know, it’s a slow start.

But the summer is almost at an end, and the darkness of autumn will soon be upon us…

My Amateurish Literary Career

To be honest… I didn’t read that many books when I was a child. Being a literary student, that may be an ironic statement.

There were some books I found enjoyable. Ture Sventon, for example, is a Swedish book series by Åke Holmberg, where the plot revolves around a lisping private detective in the heart of Stockholm, battling against his arch nemesis Ville Vessla (“Ville the Weasel”). Astrid Lindgren (you American readers perhaps recognizes one of her most famous works Pippi Longstocking) is one of the most profilic writers in the Swedish literary world, as well as one of the most beloved media personalities in our country. These, and a couple of others, I enjoyed… but that was all. My main focus was cartoons.

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I didn’t discover horror fiction until I was in my teens. When I was 13, I read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and from that day I was obsessed. It wasn’t long after that I discovered H.P. Lovecraft. (Yes, I know, the obvious cliche about those two legendary writers being the first ones you were introduced to. I wish I could be more original.)

But the one who pushed me over the edge, so to speak – and the one who sparked my interest in writing stories of my own – was Edgar Allan Poe. This master of the macabre and grotesque awoke something in me that I hadn’t considered in all my life:

I wanted to create stories.

It was something in his beautifully orchestrated language, his poetic, horric images, and the detailed portraits of insane minds that fascinated me more than both King and Lovecraft. I have always loved stories about monster or alien creatures, but Poe was nothing like that. He focused on the human psyche, insanity, horrific sights and experiences that may be real, but just as much psychotic imaginations or allegorical representations.

From that moment on… I started my amateurish literary career.

Do I have anything published to show for it?

No.

But someday I will.

That’s one of the main reasons for my search.

Anyone who has the same quest? Or has already reached that state?

How Did It Begin?

My love for the macabre already began in kindergarten.

I know, I’m starting my blog by presenting myself as a psychopathic loner with homicidal tendencies… but don’t worry, I have never tortured small animals in secret, and a criminal record has always been nonexistent. Did I present myself as a more boring human being? I guess that’s up to you to decide.

Anyway. One of my first coherent pictures I drew when I was in kindergarten, was a ship in the process of being crushed by an enormous green water dragon. I don’t have it left (or any other similar pictures from that period), but the interest grew. When I was six or seven, I loved the Adam West Batman series from the 60s, so naturally I wanted to make a story of my own. I finished it, with my mother providing the text. Well, this is the Joker’s deadly trap I put Batman in at the ending:

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Yes, it’s supposed to be Batman being tied to a wagon, heading for a plastic/iron image of the Joker with a spike through his mouth. Not any bloodshed either, I might add. But in the later years, I discovered the world of nature documentaries. Like any other boy, tigers, leopards and sharks were my favorites. Several pictures depicted lions or cheetahs ripping the throats of gazelles. Since it was animals and not humans that slaughtered each other, my parents didn’t find any reason for concern for my sanity, I suppose.

When I was about ten years old, I started watching thrillers and horror movies, with my father’s blessing. With one condition: that I watched them together with either mother or father. That didn’t stop me from spending a night or two watching any late night horror flick, but who hasn’t?

So… that is where it began. My descent into darkness, if you will.

And since I still haven’t tortured small animals in my loneliness, I would say it’s entirely a good thing!