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Horror: a genre doomed to literary hell?

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  • Horror: a genre doomed to literary hell?

    For a while now, so-called "literary" and "genre" fiction have been moving from outright opposition to a cautious rapprochement... But horror – the third aspect of "speculative fiction" – has had markedly less success. Yet it might be the genre most tractable to our contemporary concerns...
    Stuart Kelly @ The Guardian

  • #2
    Yes, I read this yesterday... I'm not a big reader of modern horror (note: I'm not including supernatural romance or dark fantasy in this discussion as neither to my mind is horror fiction), but I have to say that yet again the Guardian shows a lack of understanding of anything that falls immediately outside its field of artistic vision. Horror, to my mind, is the genre of the outsider, whereas the Guardian is the newspaper of the insider: it's hardly surprising that the latter shouldn't "get" the former. This piece seems to suggest that both fantasy and SF are in a far more healthy place today, being given a "literary uplift" by the likes of Mieville, Banks et al... Hmmm... no offense to these authors but neither of these genres was in need of a literary uplift of any sort, I'll take the Pepsi challenge with the likes of them against PKD, Gene Wolfe, etc any day of the week. I'm not saying that there's no room for development of the horror tales, but thinking that the answer could be found in the hauntology movement seems unlikely to me (a movement built around nostalgia) . The article also totally ignores the new wave of ghost story fiction that has largely evolved from Thomas Ligotti's fiction to be found in the small presses, which makes me doubt the author's knowledge-base. If these horror authors aren't stressful maybe that's a sign that they're ahead of the trendy authors name checked in this article? I fear what the author really wants is a load of prosaic socio-political subtextes dumped all over the narrative. I'm not saying good horror can't have an awareness of these things, but I don't believe that they have a great place in horror fiction. To my mind they already have far too great a hold in F&SF.
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    • #3
      Horror comes in and out of the mainstream consciousness ever few decades. I think some of the most memorable works in literature include horror and Gothic novels and that will continue to be the case as time goes on.

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      • #4
        Any artical on Horror should at least menton Poe and when talking about modern Fantasy Pratchard, Gaiman,Wolf and of course Mike. As for Stephen King a lot of his best stuff isn't Horror for example The Dark Tower is equal parts Western, Fantasy, Sci/Fi, Crime, Horror and even has Dr Doom robots. The thing about The Dark Tower is that King has said it's his LOTR when in actual fact it's way better despite the week ending IMHO. Plus if you want good Horror you can always watch Buffy or read Hellblazer Trades to get your fix.
        Last edited by flutegirlrockz; 11-13-2012, 04:43 PM.

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