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Take Alien, the movie, (“In space no one can hear you scream”) and then look at the sequels, which are pure action SF, with multi-mouthed H.R. Giger monsters, bad-asses with exotic guns, cool technology (for the time), a nightmarish dead colony backdrop, and a pure horror ending. Did one of the aliens manage to get on board—planted in Ripley’s stomach—to bring death and destruction back to Earth?
|Nightmare by Abildgaard|
|Nightmare by Gauguin|
File Size: 514 KB
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books (May 1, 2006)
Winterdim (print edition) or Dryad (ebook) by Chris Howard
Print Length: 662 pages
Publisher: Lykeion Books (November 9, 2011)
When I think of horror, SF and Fantasy together as genres I tend to see a big bog between two slippery hillsides. You can't get from one hill direct to the other - SF and fantasy usually don't mix: their license to suspend disbelief comes from mutually opposed sources, science and magic. But both genres can slide down into the bog, representing the horror genre, as fast as you can say "demon"—or "alien."
The big difference between hills and bog is that the hill genres have the bog as an option—or in more common terms, they can offer the reader wonder as well as horror. The bog doesn't do wonder. Even if treasure is buried there, the emphasis is on the dead men's bones accompanying it. Comedy there may be, and entertainingly black, too, but wonder, no.
This doesn't mean that the bog is any worse than either hill genre, or that such traffic should be prevented by border guards. Indeed, where would the hill genres be without the darkness option? Someone like Nietzsche once remarked, either of Homer or Greek mythology, that, in paraphrase, the greater the light, the blacker the shadows it casts—you'll excuse the vagueness, I haven't turned up the quote for years, and it's too long to resort to Google, even if I cd. remember it right. Nevertheless, the idea rings true to me. The greater the wonder a fantasy text can evoke, the greater the horror it MAY evoke. And a fantasy text with unrelenting light and wonder wd. be somewhat like a medieval Christian heaven: great if you're immortal, but if you're still under the sun, eventually conducive to eyestrain and headaches rather than alleluias.
This assumes that the writer of such a roller-coaster story is "in control"—well, intentionally sliding up and down the hill, because who of us is ever "in control" of a story as we write? But unintentional slides can produce awkwardness, bathos, and at worst, audience hilarity when you wanted shudders. I recall a local Hamlet where the ghost walked a "battlement" above and behind the stage. Fine, except that ghost shd. be uncanny, inhuman, silent, unconnected to earth. As this one walked, the audience cd. see his feet shuttling below his robe. They cracked up, and the performance never recovered.
Evoking the spookiness of wonder's dark side is not easy, either. It helps to recall the dictum of Old Gothic best-seller Mrs. Radcliffe: "terror and horror are so far opposite that the first . . . awakens the faculties to a high degree of life; the other contracts, freezes and nearly annihilates them . . ." And for Radcliffe, terror's power lies in "obscurity and uncertainty." That is, let the reader imagine horrors and outdo your efforts, rather than present the monster full frontal and fail to raise a shiver.
|Peake’s Sketch of Flay|
Author Tananarive Due, who is dubbed as a horror writer, mixes fantasy quite skillfully in My Soul to Keep. This novel begins with the tale of “Jessica,” a young woman who falls in love, only to discover that the perfect man of her dreams is 400 years old...and the member of an Ethiopian sect of Immortals.This saga spans continues through three more novels (The Living Blood, Blood Colony and My Soul to Take) all are built upon a fantasy setting— spiced with bone-chilling horror and suspense.
D.K. Gaston, author of The Friday House, and Lost Hours, while not described as a horror author has elements of it deftly woven within his plots. Tad Williams does the same, when he inserts a larger than life sociopath in his epic fantasy series, Otherland.The fantasy framework of these novels is in fact necessary in order to construct “the world right beneath our noses,” that is the mainstay of speculative fiction. When horror is present, it adds a delightful bit of scary suspense to the mix—like popcorn and chocolate. And hey, who doesn't enjoy a little sweet with their salty from time to time?
New Maps and Charts page live on Saltwater Witch!
Maps and Charts relating to the Seaborn, Kassandra, and her family. I will be posting more, but starting out with three items, a map from the House Rexenor archives, Kassandra's "hand drawn" map of the Nine-Cities, and Kassandra's family tree.
I spent a few hours putting together a step by step guide to drawing mermaids. I did this for the Mermaids Group on deviantArt. Mermaids have become more popular than ever--there's even a "World Mermaid Awards" con in Las Vegas next month.
I did all the art on the iPad in the Brushes app, using the Pogo stylus. One of the cool features of Brushes is the ability to generate a video of every pen and brush stroke, so you can show off any painting from beginning to end. I posted the video on Youtube here.
Here's the finished piece (warning: breasts)
Here's the video generated by the Brushes app:
Here's the Step-by-Step tutorial--click for the full view (very long)
Do you have favorite characters who are monsters? One of my most likable characters is Ephoros from Saltwater Witch. I don't want to give anything away but I will say that I get more readers asking me about Ephoros than almost any other character.
I'm slowly making my way through the panels and art for Saltwater Witch chapter 2, redrawing and re-lettering everything. It's going to be good. If you haven't seen chapter 1 yet, here it is:
And here's Ephoros:
Click them all for the full view!
Finished up painting another mermaid this morning--in the Brushes app on my iPhone. This one's a little manga-ish, and have I mentioned how much I love the layering features in Brushes? I don't think I'd be able to do shading anywhere near as subtle without layers.
Are you a Brushes user? I'm wondering how many use a stylus? I bought one, used it for a couple paintings, about twenty minutes and have never picked it up again. I'm doing all of these drawings, sketches, paintings with my fingers. Took me a bit to get it down, but I use the tools--brushes sizes, textures, undo, layers so much that I just couldn't work with the stylus--holding it and constantly shifting to change brushes, transparency, paint colors--all of this is so much easier with your fingers than with the stylus.
Here's the video:
So, here's the full work and some detail crops. Click them for the full view.