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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Horror Writers of the 90s

I have not yet finished reading Kathe Koja's The Cipher, though my Kindle informs me that I have 13% left.  Hate to say it, but I no longer care what --if anything-- happens and I no longer care if I've wasted my time.

I'm pretty sure that I did.

But I did go ahead and splurge on a bunch of eBooks from other horror writers I used to read back in the day, writers like F. Paul Wilson, Ray Garton, Richard Christian Matheson and David J. Schow.  Prior to the digital book revolution (which I am slowly coming around to) their books were hard to find, you know, from being long out of print, released by small houses, or various other 20th Century problems.

It's almost like they said to themselves, "If I re-release my old stuff, maybe that 15 year old kid who read it in 91 will want to buy it again a week before his 36th birthday."   Maybe.....

At any rate, I have been enjoying this stuff way more than I've enjoyed the best (?) parts of The Cipher

First allow me to provide you a small taste of what you will read in the Cipher, plucked randomly from the page I'm currently on:
"I did my best to ignore them all, sat finishing my meal: a warm ginger ale, chewy antique saltines, and raisins, a little red box of raisins and my eyes filled with quick and stupid tears: I remembered eating them in my lunch at school, saving the box to prop on my desk and pretend the Sun Maid was winking at me.  As I thought this the little face on the box came alive, melted like living wax to become Nakota's, complete with her customary impatient sneer, the basket she held filled not with grapes but tiny skulls."
Pages and pages of this kind of thing, elaborate descriptions of head and bodyaches, needless details on the horrible thing he's eating, and this horrible Nakota character.  Ugh.  She's so unpleasant that only a female writer could get away with creating her.

Not my thing....

This, the first lines of David J. Schow's story The Shaft, is more my speed:
I made it to the rail just in time to watch Chiquita destroy an aluminum umbrella table, face-first, five stories below the balcony on which I stood.  She missed the pool by a good ten feet.
Oh man, a breath of fresh air! It's coherent, vivid, and concise. It's even kind of funny, in a twisted way. Not a single word is wasted. Not a single extraneous detail is added. Koja's writing is often vivid, too...but --I'm sorry-- a vivid description of a woman splattering in an "aluminum umbrella table" is simply more interesting than a vivid description of "chewy antique saltines."

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