The issue, I believe, with various people's opinions about which works of fiction are scary--and whether fiction is scary at all in some cases--are due, mostly, to what each individual finds horrific. For me, what is truly scary, is the idea that you could be walking along on a regular day and everything seems normal, and then something odd happens. At first, you might not notice, but the oddness will grow and the veneer of the mundane world will begin to slip, and you will come face-to-face with dangerous things you can't reason with, that defy rational explanation. My greatest fear is to sink into such things and become lost, that perhaps such things are more "real" than those we perceive on our happy little trips to the grocery store or the bank. Now that's scary. But others find other things scary. What about the man who stands outside your window at night grinning insanely? Or the spiders that hatch in dark corners of the house and crawl into your ears and mouth while you're sleeping to lay their eggs? Or perhaps the asteroid that is surely speeding toward the Earth with its grinning moonface of death and extinction? But most, unfortunately and unhealthily, attempt to deny and hide from their fears. As far as those naysayers who say fiction is not scary are concerned, all I can do is sigh and shake my head. If you have the imagination for it, there is fiction out there that will terrify you. You have only to look...
So these are a few titles to begin with. I'll have more for you soon enough. ;)
5/19/2013 04:44:31 am
Great selection of books to use as examples, Keith. I found a couple on your list that I haven't read yet, but agree wholeheartedly with your assessment on the others. For example, The Turn of the Screw, is one that I just recently read for the first time, and couldn't believe how effectively this one provoked a fear response based on how much we "don't" know.
5/20/2013 01:30:28 am
Kimberly! I'm very fascinated with the "empty space" writing technique, where things are happening in a story that are not told directly but implied. I have found that, if done right, it is the things we don't know that are the scariest. The Haunting of Hill House does this beautifully as well, where the fear we feel is for the impending horror that is coming, rather than the horror itself. Horror, I've read, is the feeling of revulsion we get from a deeply unpleasant occurrence, while terror is the feeling of dread and anticipation we get before the horror. It is "terror fiction" I aspire to write. Greg Gifune writes "terror fiction" and does it beautifully.
5/20/2013 10:07:07 am
Yes, Greg Gifune is a master when it comes to inspiring that feeling of "terror". I feel there is a definite difference between "terror" and "horror". While I enjoy both immensely, I've found that I've become more fond of the "terror" variety as of late. What we DON'T know yet, is really the most fascinating part of the read. I haven't read the The Haunting of Hill House in quite some time, but have recently added it to the top of my TBR lists. As for Greg Gifune.....I'm just happy he has such an impressive backlist! I like to use his stories for a "guaranteed" great read. I find that the stories with a bit more of an ambiguous ending, tend to stay in mind longer. :)
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An award-winning author known for blending elements of fantasy with horror in his surreal, literary style. Author of WITHIN, A GAME FOR GODS and VIOLENT HEARTS.