My friend Renda Belle Dodge of Pink Fish Press has posed an interesting question: Where are all the horror novels? She hasn’t been getting any horror genre submissions. I thought back – when was the last time I bought a book that scared the bejeezes out of me? It’s been awhile. I used to have hundreds of horror novels in my library – a wall of black and red spines (sounds icky, right?). Today I’m down to half a dozen classics I can’t bear to part with. So what happened to scary? Have we become so numb and jaded by the horrors of real life that we no longer crave a fictional shiver?
It’s not as if the ghosts, vampires, and zombies have exited stage left. They are everywhere. But these days they are sexy, tormented, antiheroes. Some even come with sparkles. They don’t however inspire terror. That being said, there are a few writers exploring new directions in the genre but they are few and far between. I enjoy the work of F. Paul Wilson. And I’m reading Six Years by Harlan Coben which is starting to give me a delightful case of the shivers.
Gaming has undoubtedly taken up some of the slack left by the demise of the true horror novel. (I hesitate to suggest that gaming is the perp.) Okay, so we’re killing zombies with a mouse but does that adequately scratch our innate primal itch for vicarious fright? Not being a gamer I can’t comment on that.
My question: What scares you? Is it an internal enemy that springs from your own overheated imagination – or is it an external creepy-crawly invading from another dimension or planet? I want to know. Because I love a challenge and NaNoWriMo is coming back around my way. I’d certainly enjoy creeping you out.
By the way, be sure to check out my tale featuring the ghost of Lord Byron – cover of which is above. Guaranteed not to frighten.