Bad Books and Other Scary Things
Mandi M. Lynch
Not that long ago, Joss Whedon (of Buffy, Angel, Firelfy and Avengers fame), released a bizarre/campy horror movie called Cabin in the Woods. I saw it in the theatre on Mother’s Day. With my mother. Who hates horror and hasn’t yet forgiven me for it. (Why she gave in to see that in the first place is beyond me.)
For those of you who have seen it, you’ll know what I’m talking about, for those who haven’t this isn’t much of a spoiler. When Marty pushed the red button, I would have liked the movie to end right there. What followed was enough blood and gore to fill an Olympic swimming pool. And an ending all wrapped up and tied with a bow. But had they stopped when he pushed the button…
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like my horror done in a way that lends itself to your own imagination.
Let’s take that scenario – some dude pushes a button. Think of all the ways that a story could end with that. What’s the button do? Who does it call? How will they react? Give that same prompt to a room full of writers, and chances are you’ll have enough different stories to do an anthology.
But that’s a good thing, right? I mean, every writer brings their own experiences and situations, they’ve got their own styles and their own ways to write. So, too, would every reader. For instance, if you’ve been lost in the woods in the dark with a pack of wolves following you, you’re going to look at White Fang a whole hell of a lot differently than I, having never been lost in the dark or with a pack of wolves, ever could. And even though that book isn’t horror, it may very well *be* a horror story to you.
UNESCO suggests that over 300,000 books were published in the US in 2010 (personally, I doubt that number is that low), and even if you read a book a day, you’re looking at one tenth of one percent of that. It makes narrowing things down pretty easy. For me, that means that Amish fiction is right out and even when I get within a genre I like that I can skip the vampires that sparkle for something a bit darker.
In the end, it’s all about preference. Just keep your ears open for recommendations and hope that the right book finds you. Life’s too short to read bad fiction.
Mandi M. Lynch is a writer, editor, publisher and photographer, among other things. Her writing can be found in various print and online publications including Clockwork SPells and Magical Bells (Kerlak) and Underwater New York (online). She lives just outside of Nashville, TN, with three cats, none of which write due to lack of thumbs.