Wednesday, 26 September 2007


To cite David Bowie (again):

Inspirations have I none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
And love is not loving

Fantasies are about inspiration so this is a sad thing...innit? What to do then? I may write about something that interests me. Yes, what a splendid idea!

This is something I haven't said anything about before, I think. I do love a good horror story. Yes, that is true. A good horror story makes me fascinated, intrigued and excited. Not scared. I don't like really scary stories, the ones with blood and terrible crimes in them. I don't like gory stories. No, I like the subtle ones, the mysterious and fantastic ones.

One of my favourite authors is Howard Philip Lovecraft (isn't it a lovely surname for a writer of horror fiction?). He may not be the most brilliant writer in the sense of literary style but his imagination surpasses most writers I know about. I will not be dismissive about his writing style. It is brilliant in its own way. He is known to many people nowadays through role playing games and computer games and as the creator of the so called Cthulhu mythos. Read about it in Wikipedia but be aware that HPL never talked about a mythos and would, most likely be quite bored with it had he known about it.

His are stories about cosmic horror and the dangers of knowing too much. What we know about the world is just a fraction of what there is to know. There are hideous truths hidden and we are better off not knowing them. They are too hideous to know for human minds.

Another writer worth mentioning is Arthur Machen, a Welshman with a very vivid imagination. He thought that all good writing is about creating ecstasy in the reader. I know what you are thinking and I am sure his definition of ecstasy is more subtle. He wrote some really good stories and I can recommend The White People, without doubt one of the best short stories I have ever read.

A third name that springs to mind is Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, an Irish writer who created such stories as Uncle Silas and the short but brilliant Green Tea. If you ever want to read a great vampire story, far better than Bram Stoker and many modern writers, read Carmilla by Le Fanu.

So why haven't I said anything about Edgar Allan Poe? No, it is not because he is Merican. Lovecraft was Merican too. No, it is because he is not a particular favourite of mine. He has written some brilliant pieces, such as Ligeia and Berenice, so maybe he is worth mentioning after all.

I will stop now without telling you what it is I find fascinating with good horror stories. Maybe I will return to the subject later.


Manorlord said...

Interesting segue. Horror and the stronger sort of sadomasochistic creations (in word, image or film) have a lot in common -- we face our darkest dreams (or nightmares) -- both creations of the id. These elements are married in the Grand Guignol --

Dove said...

I too enjoy horror in film and books. Would be interested in following up on some you have mentioned. Read some Lovecraft years ago but these days I spend too much damn time on my computer!


Janice said...

Interesting thought manorlord but my interest in horror does not correspond with hard core sadomasochistic creations that much, really.

Dove, Lovecraft has written some really lovely stories. I can recommend some...chuckles.