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Friday, August 06, 2010

Horror Fiction – Part II


Several weeks back, we listed some of the winners of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards. The association’s website also has a fascinating essay, "What is Horror Fiction?". The essay quotes Douglas Winter, author of the anthology, Prime Evil, "Horror is not a genre, like the mystery or science fiction or the western. It is not a kind of fiction, meant to be confined to the ghetto of a special shelf in libraries or bookstores. Horror is an emotion."

If the only requirement for horror is that it elicits emotions of fear or dread, then books such as Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones could be classified in this (non) genre according to the essay’s author.

The essay laments the marketing niche invented by Stephen King in the 1980s, which tended to foster imitation rather than evolution, but sees a broader definition of horror fiction as it evolves in the 21st century with topics such as nanotechnology gone amok, etc.

“Just as our fears and terrors change with time, so too will the definition of horror, not just from age to age but from person to person,” the essay concludes.

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