Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

From the Speakers: THRILLER by Michael Jackson

I'm a big fan of the horror genre. There are lots of different ways to define horror: books that scare you, make you jumpy, make your imagination go haywire when everything is quiet, give you creeps, etc. Personally, I think the best written ones, the ones that take the most skill, are those that make you think long after you close the covers, books that make you wonder, "What if what happened to those characters happened to me?"

My definition of "horror" is loose. Scary moments can occur in any genre: science fiction, mystery, fantasy, contemporary. Horror is great because it's the thread that ties all genres together.

So, in honor of today's special occasion, the top 5 horror novels I've read:

5. BAND OF BROTHERS by Stephen Ambrose: What's scarier than jumping out of a plane onto a beach at night where Nazi's are trying like hell to kill you and all of your brothers in arms? It could be painfully over for you or your best friend at any moment. Ghosts and goblins are frightening, but if I had lived through what they did, I don't know that I'd ever be scared of anything again in my life.
4. HAUNTED by Chuck Palanuik: Delightfully disturbing the whole way--the actual story wasn't all that scary, but what the people did to each other was troubling to the extreme. The story's frequent nonchalance added a lot to the feeling it left you with. Great book.
3. A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin: Also not particularly scary in itself, but there were parts that sent a chill up my spine. The nature of the Others is that they are unknown; people say we are scared of the dark because it's unknown, but the Others are like darkness with swords. Not to mention how the characters in this story do some things that exemplify the worst in people.
2. PET SEMETARY by Stephen King: Demented kids are always scary, but the "king" of horror did a wonder on me with the image of the main kid being hit by a truck. Yet, the truly scary part of this book was how the father reacted, how you watched him lose his mind in an effort to get his son back, and my question to myself: Would I have acted any differently?
1. CONGO by Michael Crichton: Perhaps it was because I was younger when I read this one, but CONGO stuck with me. I think it was the feeling of pure helplessness--what are you going to do protect yourself? Fight back? A joke. Run away? No chance. Something has decided that you will die, violently, and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

As you can see, few actual "horror" stories made my top 5 list. That's what I love about horror. Now, I'm about to go write a science fiction story . . . and scare your pants off!

If you have suggestions for scary books I should read, let me know! I definitely want to read the scariest books I can find.

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