All posts by Brian James Freeman

This Month’s Question: Why Horror?

As I mentioned the other week, my new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content.  What I forgot to mention was that last month’s column ran before my blog was launched, so I’m going to post that content here today to catch everyone up.

The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of horror/dark suspense authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from.  Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at FEARnet.com.

This month’s question is: why horror?

Given the immensity of the gulf between what we desire and what we must live with, given also our own dread of what lies in us of both monstrosity and transcendence, horror was an inevitability.
— Peter Straub

Because there’s nothing so extreme — from there you can work your way back to courage, loyalty, community, tenderness.   Then there’s that old sex ‘n death thing….
Jack Ketchum

Horror is a genre in which I can throw characters into dire situations, strip away the veneers of their self-imposed personas, and then explore with them their most basic human emotions and reactions.
Elizabeth Massie

I misspelt “humor” on the application.
Kealan Patrick Burke

I read horror for the same reason I read any other kind of fiction. I want strong stories about interesting and sympathetic people. The bonus with horror, as with science fiction, is that the writer can conjure a world of his own to comment on our world. Ramsey Campbell and Christopher Fowler are two good examples. They twist reality into hyper-reality so that a visit to a pharmacy can become a horrific comment on the medical system. Their monsters are not only the great dark Them, they’re also Us.
Ed Gorman

Why horror? … Indeed. Because horror in all its manifestations says … and sometimes whispers … the deepest, darkest secrets about what it means to be human…. Horror addresses and, when brave, confronts the twin terrors of existence … and non-existence.
Rick Hautala

Horror! What a rotten name for an amazing genre. Because Horror’s great appeal isn’t just the screaming and the gore–it is a voyage into our spiritual natures. It asks questions about that “otherness” that’s so important in our lives, but which we cannot taste, touch, smell, see or hear.  Horror allows us to encounter that dimension, which we intuitively believe in, but lies just beyond our fingertips.
Simon Clark

Because, as–for instance–H. P. Lovecraft so deftly asserted, the greatest fear we can experience is, not the fear of the dark, or the fear of death, mutilation, rape by monsters, impregnation by para-dimensional abominations, or what have you, but the fear of the unknown.  No genre transfigures this fear more potently to the reader than the horror genre.  Even in great “literature,” I’ll contend.  True, great literature often exists on a much more important level than horror (though not always!) but it seems to me that horror must stimulate the reader’s mental pressure points more effectively and more consistently than other genres. It must!  And with that mental stimulus comes the provocation that makes us ponder our inner-selves.  Provocation is the key, and it can be just as legitimate in horror as any other field of creativity.  I very passionately appreciate the works of, say, Faulkner, Kafka, Sartre, Marquez, etc., and regard their literary contributions as paramount and more significant than even that of the most astute horror writers.  Ah, but horror is so much more fun, isn’t it? And the provocation of thought that it induces in us is just as functional.
Edward Lee

Haunted houses, bloody footprints, hitchhiking ghosts, and devil dogs–the stories I heard in the backyard as a kid were the first stories that made my imagination boil, and there was something about them I understood. Or wanted to, because those stories always left questions. Did that really happen? Could it happen to me, and what if it did? The tale became a springboard to an answer or conclusion that made the reader/listener reach, and that’s a very good thing.
— Norman Partridge

Why not?  Nothing wakes you up in the morning or lets you know you’re alive like a good scare does.
Brian Keene

It’s not that I made a conscious decision to write in the horror genre.  It’s just that when I wrote, what came out of me didn’t fit anywhere else.
Ray Garton

The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012

I received my contributor’s copy of The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012 from Book-of-the-Month Club and they’ve really hit a home run again this year.  The theme is The Dark Tower and the cover is a cool 3-D hologram, but this flat scan doesn’t really do the effect any justice:

Editor Jay Franco did another incredible job editing the calendar.  He’s always terrific to work with and you should definitely check out his blog.  (He wants me to mention that he’s an infrequent blogger, but I think that just means he puts more thoughts into his posts than most people.)

This year Jay brought together a great group of contributors and they really cover a lot of ground, which is impressive considering how BIG a topic like The Dark Tower is!  Contributors include Matt Bergin, Peter Brett, Justin Brooks, Myke Cole, Matthiew DeVirgiliis, Samantha Etkin, Jay Franco, Brian James Freeman, Robin Furth, Stephen Jewell, Daniel M. Kimmel, Fotini Marcopulos, Jon Oden, Micol Ostow, Tricia Pasternak, Rome Quezada, Jeff Somers, and Bev Vincent.  My piece is called “Why the Dark Tower Series Isn’t Finished Yet” and I discuss The Wind Through the Keyhole, the next book in The Dark Tower series.

Here is the official sales copy from the Book-of-the-Month Club:

If you’re a fan of Stephen King, chances are you avoid pet cemeteries, you have a healthy fear of clowns and when you think of the Man in Black, it isn’t Johnny Cash who comes to mind. But there’s so much more to the Master of Horror, and in our Club exclusive Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012, you get to spend a year inside his sinister universe. Packed with essays, juicy details and fascinating trivia, this year’s calendar is also full of excerpts from all the Dark Tower books, articles from professionals he has influenced and more. Plus, it features quizzes—like Mid-World Word Trivia, which tests your knowledge of High Speech—and notes on the future of the series. This calendar is packed with so much, it’s scary!

Read more on their website today!

Stephen King Library 2012 Desk Calendar Table of Contents

Preface:                        “What is Mid-World by Robin Furth
Dec. 26 – Jan1st:            Walking the Line/Introduction by Jay Franco
Jan. 2 – 8th:                        Excerpt 1 from The Gunslinger
Jan. 9 – 15th:                       A Dark Tower Release Roundup
Jan. 16 – 22nd:                    The Dark One Would Never Expect It by Jay Franco
Jan. 23 – 29th:                     Time Keeps on Slipping into the Future by Bev Vincent
Jan. 30 – Feb. 5th:               Excerpt 2 from The Gunslinger
Feb. 6 – 12th:                       Dad-A-Chum Yum! by Matt Bergin
Feb. 13 – 19th:                     Introduction to High Speech by Robin Furth
Feb. 20 – 26th:                     Coming-of-Age by Peter V. Brett
Feb. 27 – Mar. 4th:               Excerpt 3 from The Drawing of the Three
Mar. 5th – 11th:                     The Ka-Tet: A Closer Look by Jay Franco
Mar. 12 – 18th:                      Floating Doors by Jay Franco
Mar. 19 – 25th:                      High Speech Primer, Part II by Robin Furth
Mar. 26 – Apr. 1st:                 Excerpt 4 from The Drawing of the Three
Apr. 2 – 8th:                 Writing in the Dark: Stephen King, Terror and the Sublime by Micol Ostow
Apr. 9 – 22nd:                        Running Time by Daniel M. Kimmel
Apr. 23 – 29th:                      The Fiction Within the Fiction / Trivia
Apr. 30 – May 6th:                 Excerpt 5 from The Waste Lands
May 7 – 13th:                        Your #1 Fan by Jay Franco
May 14 – 20th:                      High Speech Primer, Part III by Robin Furth
May 21 – 27th:                       A Dark Tower Cycle by Rome Quezada
May 28 – June 3rd:                 Excerpt 6 from The Waste Lands
Jun. 4 – 10th:                          Blaine the Jeopardy Brain by Matthew DeVirgiliis
Jun. 11 – 17th:                       Jae Lee to Illustrate The Wind Through the Keyhole by Jay Franco
Jun. 18 – 24th:                       Faith and the Father by Samantha Etkin
Jun. 25 – Jul. 1st:                   Excerpt 7 from Wizard and Glass
Jul. 2. – 8th:                            High Speech Primer, Part IV by Robin Furth
Jul. 9 – 15th:                           Mid-World Word Trivia by Fotini Marcopulos
Jul. 16 – 22nd:            The “N.” Mobisodes & Graphic Novel: A Unique Approach to Adaptation by Jay Franco
Jul. 23 – 29th:                        Excerpt 8 from Wizard and Glass
Jul. 30 – Aug. 5th:                  The Dark Tower: Treachery, The Graphic Novel by Jay Franco
Aug. 6 – 12th:                         Tie a Black Ribbon ‘Round My Soul by Jon Oden
Aug. 13 – 19th:                       Making a Comic Book Stand by Stephen Jewell
Aug. 20 – 26th:                       Excerpt 9 from Wolves of the Calla
Aug. 27 – Sep. 2nd:                We, the Constant Readers by Fotini Marcopulos
Sep. 3 – 9th:                           Other Rolands by Bev Vincent
Sep. 10 – 16th:            Test Your Memory: Release Dates / Trivia
Sep. 17 – 23rd:            Excerpt 10 from Wolves of the Calla
Sep. 24 – 30th:            The Dark Tower: How Meta is That? by Justin Brooks
Oct. 1 – 7th:                 High Speech Primer, Part V by Robin Furth
Oct. 8 – 14th:               Of Knighthood and Nostalgia by Myke Cole
Oct. 15 – 21st:             Excerpt 11 from Song of Susannah
Oct. 22 – 28th:             Walking the Path of the Beam by Tricia Pasternak
Oct. 29 – Nov. 4th:                 Random King Trivia by Fotini Marcopulos
Nov. 5 – 11th:                         One Morning in Dallas by Jay Franco
Nov. 12 – 18th:                       Excerpt 12 from Song of Susannah
Nov. 19 – 25th:                       Cort: Man-at-Arms [A Brief Bio] by Jay Franco
Nov. 26 – Dec. 2nd:                The Ka of Villain Decay by Jeff Somers
Dec. 3 – 9th:                           Hey, Little Sister[s] by Jay Franco
Dec. 10 – 16th:                       Excerpt 13 from The Dark Tower
Dec. 17 – 23rd:                       Regis Ex Machina by Matt Bergin
Dec. 24 – 30th:              Why the Dark Tower Series Isn’t Finished Yet by Brian James Freeman
Dec. 31 – Jan. 6th:                 Excerpt 14 from The Dark Tower

My Halloween Post on Kealan Patrick Burke’s Blog: My Nightly Meeting With the Grim Reaper

author kealan patrick burkeAward-winning author Kealan Patrick Burke was kind enough to ask me to write something about Halloween for his blog.  After a week of false starts, I finally realized I had the perfect topic based on something that has been happening to me every time I’ve gone for a run this past week.

So if you’d like to read about my nightly meetings with the Grim Reaper, head on over to Kealan’s great blog — and while you’re there, please feel free to comment, say hi, and sign-up for Kealan’s updates.  He has a lot of great projects in the works.

A Preview of the UK edition of 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Photos)

Today a copy of the UK hardcover edition of 11/22/63 by Stephen King, which is due out on November 8, 2011 from Hodder & Stoughton, arrived on my desk. Here are some photos for our friends across the pond:

Continue reading A Preview of the UK edition of 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Photos)

A Preview of 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Photos)

A copy of the hardcover edition of 11/22/63 by Stephen King, which is due out on November 8, 2011 from Scribner, landed on my desk this week. Here are some photos of this massive new novel to whet your appetite:

Continue reading A Preview of 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Photos)

Author Justin Cronin Answers Five Frequently Asked Questions About The Twelve

Over the weekend I asked Justin Cronin — author of the internationally bestselling novel The Passage — some of the more frequently asked questions about the sequel to that book, which is titled The Twelve and should be out in 2012 if all goes well.

Brian James Freeman: So how is The Twelve coming along?

Justin Cronin: You know that whine from under the aircraft when the pilot drops the landing gear?  The Twelve is making that sound.

BJF: You’ve mentioned that the next two books each go back to Year Zero.  Can you give a little more detail about why?

JC: Because you didn’t see everything that was going on then.  Some things you only glimpsed from the corner of your eye without knowing how important they were, how much bearing they would have 97 years in the future.

BJF: Any additional hints about the plot for The Twelve?

JC: If I’m not mistaken, I just gave one.  Here’s one more: Lawrence Grey.  Here’s another one: I like spy novels.

BJF: Will The Twelve be around the same length as The Passage?

JC: Mercifully no.  About two-thirds to three-quarters of the length.  Which is not to say it will be short.  That’s not short.

BJF: Are you traveling again to research locations, or did you cover all of that in your prep work for The Passage?

JC: I did a fair amount of travel, but mostly within Texas, and some in eastern New Mexico.  If you know eastern New Mexico, and you know The Passage, you might be able to guess why.

The Exorcist: The 40th Anniversary Revised Limited Edition Announcement

UPDATE: The book sold out less than 30 hours after being officially announced!  Thanks to all of the collectors who ordered a copy!

Here is the latest news from Lonely Road Books, which I thought might be of interest:

The Exorcist: The 40th Anniversary Revised Limited Edition
by William Peter Blatty
featuring original artwork by Caniglia

Earlier this year, William Peter Blatty announced that he had revised his original manuscript for THE EXORCIST to be published as a special 40th Anniversary edition.

Lonely Road Books will be publishing a deluxe, oversized, slipcased and signed Limited Edition of this version of the book next year. This edition will feature full-color artwork by Caniglia and will be limited to just 374 copies of the Limited Edition and 26 copies of the Lettered Edition, making it an extremely collectible edition.

The Exorcist: The 40th Anniversary Revised Limited Edition

About the Revised Special Edition:
For the special 40th Anniversary Edition of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty has returned to the manuscript, reworking portions of the book that never satisfied him. Due to financial constraints and a pressing workload at the time, he was forced to forego a desired revision. “For most of these past forty years I have rued not having done a thorough second draft and careful polish of the dialogue and prose,” Blatty says. “But now, like an answer to a prayer, this fortieth anniversary edition has given me not only the opportunity to do that second draft, but to do it at a time in my life—I am 83—when it might not be totally unreasonable to hope that my abilities, such as they are, have at least somewhat improved, and for all of this I say, Deo gratias!” Among the changes, Blatty has added a chilling scene introducing the unsettling minor character of a Jesuit psychiatrist.

About the Book:
The Exorcist, one of the most controversial novels ever written, went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one.

Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

ReservePurposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful special Limited Edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

About this Special Edition:
With an oversized page size and an extremely low print run, this special edition will feature a high-quality paper stock, a deluxe binding selected from the finest materials available, and cover artwork and original illustrations by Caniglia. This stunning special edition will be like no other book in your collection.