My first horror novel as a published author will be released in five months (Hollow Blood: Sleepy Hollow Horrors, Book One) and someone asked me why? After reading my rather meaty and provocative, futuristic After Eden thriller series, they wondered aloud how I could possibly dish out something in the schlocky horror genre. Well, I might have said the exact same thing, but there are two points.
I readily admit, from my point of view, that most horror entertainment is downright awful. Whether written or filmed, it is always of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel, Saw, or Friday the 13th variety. My tastes movie-wise are The Exorcist and The Shining; and on the more fun side, Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield; and I do like Japanese horror movies (though not most of their American remakes). My literary tastes are definitely with the classics, early Stephen King, and the like. The horror genre, as a whole, rightly deserves its not-so-prestigious reputation because for every Exorcist or Alien (its more horror than sci-fi), there are a thousand crappy horror movies made that last a mere week in the theaters, go straight to DVD, or end up on the SyFy channel. But when you have a good one, book or movie, it’s well worth the wait.
As any who have read my second After Eden book, Stars and Scorpions, I have already delved into the horror genre already. A lot of science fiction is now science fact. Genetic engineering, cloning, bio-warfare moved from the imaginations of fiction writers and into the realm of reality decades ago. Shelley’s Frankenstein explored the world of man creating life and its horror in her novel 196 years ago in 1818 as I explore it too (among many other things) in my own After Eden novels set in the 2090s and beyond. But you don’t need to have the creative mind of a fiction writer to know that at some point in the near-future we are going to be facing a lot moral decisions that we should never have been in the position to have to resolve in the first place.
That is why I have both Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley’s pictures featured. There are a lot of great mystery novels, series, heroes and villains out there, but it was the horror writer Edgar Allen Poe who was the first to introduce the modern mystery detective genre. Mary Shelley, from her Victorian-era upbringing which instilled conformity, convention, class, and honor, saw beyond to give us the horror landmark Frankenstein that also happened to introduce us to the genre of science fiction. Poe too contributed to this emerging genre with his work. One genre gave both to two others.
I like a good horror story when it can truly scare and creep you out. That’s what I enjoyed about it as a child and that’s what I look for as an adult. Most of it today grosses you out (that’s not said as a compliment) or, more likely, makes you close the book or turn off the movie because it’s so stupid, but that doesn’t mean the collective genre should be given up on. I will be do my best to add some quality to its ranks starting next year.
It’s the week so Happy Halloween!
#EdgarAllenPoe #MaryShelley #Horror
Austin Dragon is the author of over 20 books in science fiction, fantasy, and classic horror. His works include the cyberpunk detective LIQUID COOL series, the epic fantasy FABLED QUEST CHRONICLES, the international epic AFTER EDEN Series, the classic SLEEPY HOLLOW HORRORS, and new military sci-fi PLANET TAMERS series. He is a native New Yorker but has called Los Angeles, California home for more than twenty years. Words to describe him, in no particular order: U.S. Army, English teacher, one-time resident of Paris, ex-political junkie, movie buff, Fortune 500 corporate recruiter, renaissance man, futurist, and dreamer.