It always seemed strange to me to wish somebody a, “Happy Halloween.” Probably because Halloween isn’t really about happiness, in the traditional sense. Still, I always love the ambiance of this season. I guess that probably means I have a dark side?
What I really want to talk about is horror. Growing up, the horror genre was not appreciated in my house. To be fair, I think it was heavily stigmatized by all of society. I blame splatterpunk and slasher movies. Stephen King’s early books didn’t help, either. For decades before that, horror was black and white monster movies. I loved the Gothic masterpieces: The Wolf Man, Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein. But by my childhood the genre had been over taken by blood and guts images so disturbing that the average Christian abhorred it. Consequently, I was taught that horror is bad and to not watch or read it.
But I couldn’t stay away from those amazing monsters.
Luckily, science fiction and fantasy have plenty of monsters in them. So I didn’t have to read or watch the stuff that triggered the “evil” label. I watched Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and various fringe horror shows. What I didn’t realize is how horror is a much broader genre than most people think. Most thrillers and all monster-based fantasy have elements of horror in them. Horror is really just about fear. Fear is one of the core human emotions. So how could any good story completely ignore it? That would be like making action movies with no romance in them– absurd! Over time, the horror elements in various stories I loved (like Ghostbusters) became more and more important to me as I more deeply explored the human experience.
Imagine my surprise when the first time one of my books reaches #1 on Amazon it’s in DARK FANTASY. To be honest, I wasn’t even entirely sure what dark fantasy meant. My publisher chose the categories. I did know it to be a sub-genre of horror. HORROR? But I’m not a horror writer. I don’t write about serial killers and psychopaths. The Actuator series is about an evil saboteur who kills billions of people in order to… oh wait. And there are vampires and werewolves in it. MIND BLOWN!
I’m a horror author? How did that happen? Shouldn’t it be on purpose?
The book also ranked in sci-fi and fantasy, as well as other genres like cyberpunk and steampunk. My earlier book, Exacting Essence, usually lists as paranormal. Most people insist the evil clowns make it a horror, though.
So I finally accepted I had embraced the forbidden thing. Finding out how broad horror really is helped. I still plan to write non-horror sci-fi, but I’ve come to accept how dark many of my stories really are. I even edited a whole anthology of it. It shocked me to discover, but isn’t that really the point?!!
Time for treats! Get this great anthology for just 99 cents to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve: PRIMETIME!
And if that’s too much for your budget, I have some free spooky stories you can find on my short stories page or get two free short stories (ghosts and zombies) in the FREE Actuator RPG manual. Here’s wishing you a HORRIFIC HALLOWEEN!