At the Mountains of Misperception

Oct 8, 07:06 by IROSF
Comment below!
Oct 8, 14:49 by Daniel M. Kimmel
Interesting. As someone teaches film genre I know the line between SF and horror can get blurry, as with David Cronenberg's masterpiece "The Fly." I'm not a big reader in the genre but will follow favored authors (Dan Simmons, John Shirley) into it. I look forward to you casting a spotlight on the field.
Oct 8, 15:04 by Nicholas Kaufmann
Thanks, Daniel! The line between horror and many genres is pretty blurry. I like to point to the film adaptation of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as a good example of this. On the surface it's clearly a police procedural, but the atmosphere of dread and the chills it provokes (in me, at least) give me no qualms about labeling it a horror movie too. (The novel is a different matter for me. It reads much more like a procedural and doesn't evoke the kind of chills that the film does. Interestingly, the opposite happens with Harris' previous novel RED DRAGON. The film--MANHUNTER--plays like a straight up procedural, but the novel is terrifying!)
Oct 8, 15:39 by Nick Mamatas
I would say that horror is sufficiently capacious that the question of a line is often immaterial. The Fly is SF and it is horror in a way, that say, the extremely terrifying Nineteen Eighty-Four isn't. Sometimes it's a matter of sensibility.
Oct 8, 16:54 by Nicholas Kaufmann
Absolutely, Nick. That's an excellent point.
Oct 8, 16:55 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
I am excited to see a regular column on horror. After the 'boom' of the late seventies and eighties, horror seemed to be defined by a handful of authors (King, Rice, Koontz) when the astute reader knew there was so much more. I am glad that there will be an opportunity for the wider spec-fic audience to become more familiar with horror.

On a side note, Simmons' The Terror is probably the finest horror novel I have read in years and Conrad William's The Unblemished (which I am currently reading) is giving me more chills than King et al ever did.

Again, three hurrays for Dead Air!
Oct 8, 17:17 by Nicholas Kaufmann
Dafydd, can you believe I haven't read THE TERROR or THE UNBLEMISHED yet? I'm entering a shame spiral even as I type this! I have copies of both, though, and hope to get to them soon.

Anyway, thanks for weighing in, and I hope you will enjoy Dead Air!
Oct 8, 18:12 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
The Terror has a special place in my heart; growing up in Canada, the Franklin Expedition was unavoidable and it remains one of the great mysteries (even though we know that they all died). It is itself full of horror (the HMS Terror floated for several years through the Arctic completely without crew!) and makes a perfect setting for Simmons' particular brand of horror (and if Tim Powers wrote horror, I have no doubt that he would have made great use of it). Having seen much of the Canadian High Arctic I can tell you that either Simmons toured the region extensively or he has the world's best imagination for landscape for he has captured the vistas of the north in perfection. This is a must read, and barring my reading of Drood I would say that it is his best novel; even better than The Hyperion Cantos.

The Unblemished is horrible, really, really, really horrible; by which I mean it is magnificent. I am reading it slowly, savouring the blend of unreality, gritty urbanism and out-right awfulness. If you like horror (and I mean really like it) you simply must read The Unblemished. The prologue alone might just give you nightmares.

I am certain that I will love your new column and I expect to spill lots of pixels on the forums.
Oct 10, 23:44 by Lois Tilton
This is an oversimplification, but if genres defined by their subject matter, such as fantasy and its subset SF, are on a vertical axis, horror can be seen as lying on a horizontal axis, that of affect or emotion.

So that some works of fantasy intersect the horrific axis, others the weird axis, others the wondrous axis of affect.

Likewise, some works on the horrific axis intersect the fantastic subject matter, others the mundane, others the action/adventure.

Or so I see it.
   

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