Is horror a genre, or is it an aesthetic? This guest post by Elizabeth Twist, a writer and life-long horror fan, seeks to answer that question and suggest a new understanding of “horror” in film and fiction.
I am a horror fan and much of what I write is horror – or at least, I think of it that way. I am frequently subject to the following exchange:
Well-Meaning Interlocutor: “What do you like to read?”
Me: “I enjoy horror.”
W-MI: “Oh, I hate horror. It’s disgusting and awful. How can you like it?”
I enjoy challenging people on this point. When they say they hate horror, often they mean they hate gore porn or slasher movies. Though I personally appreciate even the gorier manifestations of horror, the reality is, you can find horror in all sorts of flavours. Do you like the original Twilight Zone? Did you thrill to Poltergeist when you were a tween? Ever dip into Stephen King’s massive oevre? Love the spooky chills of classic movies like The Innocents? How about your annual viewing of A Christmas Carol? Any fond memories of Scooby Doo? Casper the Friendly Ghost? Beetlejuice?
All of these works have horror elements. Some are firmly placed in the horror canon; others merely dip their toes in the horror pool.
The problem lies in definitions. For many people, horror is “that gross stuff I don’t like.” It is as if we each have our own sliding scale of what we can handle and what we can’t, and for those who haven’t thought it through, horror is anything that exceeds their tolerances.
It is time for a new understanding of horror. Read the rest of this entry
Our weekly quick round-up of news and factoids, articles and more that struck our fancy, tickled our interest, and had us scratching our heads. For readers, writers, and genre fans of any form.
World Weaver Press opened to unsolicited queries on May 1. Our open submission window started on Tuesday and we already have an inbox full of interesting queries. The window will remain open through the summer then close again until 2013. Additionally, our Ralan.com listing went live this week.
This is my pick for top article of the week — highly recommended: Dear Speculative Fiction, Elizabeth Bear writes an open letter to the genre of science fiction on Clarkesworld this month wherein she soothes and cajoles but ultimately suggests that the fun has gone out of the relationship when spec fic started taking itself too seriously. Bear writes:
I’m as guilty as anyone of taking myself too seriously.
But for you, it’s become an addiction. You seem to think that nothing fun can have value; that only grimdark portentousness and dystopia mean anything. You wallow in human suffering and despair, and frankly—it makes me tired.
I remember when we were younger. You were so clever, so playful. So much fun. We had some good times. You could make me laugh and think at the same time. You made my pulse race.
You can have a sense of humor too. It’s okay. We’ll still like you. We’ll still take you seriously. We just think it’d be best for all of us if you could let yourself unbend just a little.
I know. It’s easier to get people to take you seriously when you’re all grit and pus and urban decay—or all gut wounds and bureaucratic incompetence, for that matter. It seems like a quick route to street cred. But the thing is, real people generally aren’t miserable all the time. Even in horrible situations, they find ways to take a little pleasure, to crack jokes. Dying people and homicide cops and soldiers are generally really funny.
I want us to have a little pleasure again too.
Meanwhile, “These are your kids on books” poster goes viral according to GalleyCat. It’s a great poster that you may have already seen on Facebook and Twitter, possibly on the World Weaver accounts as we’ve shared it on both places!
It’s not writer’s block, it’s a series of obstacles the writer has to overcome — or at least that’s the understanding io9′s “The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)” will leave you with. But even if you’re not keen on reading about writers’ issues, the article is chock full of fabulous old school covers from pulp fiction magazines. It’s worth checking out for that alone.
The most spectacular supermoon in years will grace the skies on Saturday. According to this Smithsonian article, the moon will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than when it is on the far side of its orbit.
People have joined in our “who was your first vampire?” discussion all week! See the post that started it: “You never forget your first vampire.” Lestat, Lost Boys, Nick Night, Angel, Spike, Dark Shadows, Bunnicula, Nosferatu, Dracula(s), and a cartoon that I’d almost forgotten, the vegetarian Count Duckula!
For more links to interesting articles and genre related cartoons, check out World Weaver Press’s Facebook page, updated daily.