This year for The Month of Horror I thought it would be fun to do something a little different. As you may or may not know, in addition to being a huge fan of horror, I also love Greco-Roman history (and the fiction that goes along with it). The Voyage of Odysseus by Glyn Iliffe got me thinking about the fire at The Great Library of Alexandria. So many works of literature were lost forever that fateful day. What if there was a modern equivalent? How many great works of literature would be lost? So, I am calling it the 2052 crash of the internet. All data on the internet, and every single device and all backups have simultaneously been wiped clean. All electronic records in the world are gone. The fallout would be devastating. Which five books would you want to survive, to be studied in 500 years’ time, as representing early 21st century horror?
I have put this challenge out to some great authors. Whose books would they save? Who represents the direction that horror is going right now. I thought it would only be fair to propose my own five books. Easy enough of a challenge; what are the five best horror books that I have read since 2000? So, I made my list and saw the problem. What about this author or that one? My list heavily leaned towards a particular subgenre of horror. I want to be fair and save a representative section of what is going on in horror right now. You see, I believe that horror is experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment. I don’t think that there has ever been a point in history where more books have been available to more people. Independent publishing is largely responsible for this. Anyone can publish a book. We no longer have a small group of five publishers deciding what is “fit” for public consumption. The bar has been raised and the authors have responded.
So for my list, I decided to focus on what I consider to be the five subgenres of horror that are the most important to me: zombies, human monsters, non-human monsters, religious/ghost stories and post-apocalyptic/dystopian. I’ll admit it, there are some subgenres that are missing, some others that I have made two where I should only have one. But it’s my list and this is what I am doing. If you don’t like it, make your own bloody list.
There are some strong contenders for this selection. When we think of zombies, we all go back
to Romero. He has created the modern concept of “the zombie”. There are some authors who
have made the zombie their way, others who have kept to the tradition. But I am going to pick
Mira Grant’s Feed. She has kept close-ish to the tradition, but with her own vector point. She
pays homage to Romero with her character names. I could cheat and take the Newsflesh
Trilogy, but I’ll stick with book 1. It has everything - high tension, fabulous comic relief, and
one of the most kick-ass shocks that I have ever read. Plus, I love the idea of leaving future
generations in the lurch…they will never know what happens next. Buahahaha!
There is no denying that Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs) demonstrated that people
are far more terrifying than any monster, either from nature or myth. Ania Ahlborn has
picked-up where Harris has left off. Brother was one of the most suspenseful books that I
have read in recent years. It had so many twists and turns, and I’ll admit that I never saw
that twist coming. Brother is a perfect example of literature that reveals the monsters that
we can be.
The good old monster story. I had to make a choice, do I follow the monster style of
Benchley (nature monsters) or Stoker (mythical monsters)? I chose Stoker, hard choices
have to be made. For this subgenre, it’s Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz. There are some great
options available, but Janz kept the violence factor high and as I’m sure there will be shifter
romances to survive. Jonathan Janz will remind everyone that werewolves belong to horror.
Religious / ghost stories:
For me, these are some of the scariest. They are based on our traditional fears. I think we all
know someone who has had some kind of encounter with the supernatural, something they
couldn’t explain. I’ve got my own. These are the stories in the tradition of The Exorcist. For
me, I’m going with The Red Highway by Robert E. Dunn. This story really got me. The
levels of horror, the comparison with The Bible. Dunn mixed it all together with a historical
Post-apocalyptic / dystopian:
The Fireman by Joe Hill. Hill has really demonstrated himself to be a fabulous storyteller. I
think many people would argue that his father is the best horror writer of the 20th century.
Hill is poised to dethrone his father. The Fireman has it all, a completely original
apocalypse, incredibly developed characters and a story that truly shows us the horrors that
people can cause.
Well, those are the books that I would save. I hope future generations enjoy…I know I did!
Month of Horror 2016
2 Book Lovers Reviews