Monday, 30 April 2012

Ghosts and Fringe

Here is such a cool post:  Neil Gaiman interviews Stephen King.  It was for the UK's Sunday Time Magazine, but because the paper is locked, Neil kindly posted the full interview on his blog.  How could anything be better than two of the favourite writers of our generation sitting down to talk writing, fame, and family?  I have to read Stephen's new book 11/22/63, which is coming out in paperback on July 5. 

Here are some reviews from bloggers so far on 22/1163:
Becky's Book Reviews
Book Den
Rhapsody in Books
Bibliophile By the Sea

Continuing the theme of horror:
Ghosts......Emily over at Telecommuter Talk has a lovely post on the kind of ghost she likes to find in stories she reads. It got me to thinking, because I loved Caspar because he was a friendly ghost and Emily didn't, about the nature of ghosts and what we want in our ghost stories.   I write ghost stories too (like Emily),  as well as read them voraciously.  So, what she wants to know is, do you like your ghosts malevolent, or friendly?  Let Emily know.....For myself, I love a ghost story.  The scarier the ghost, the creepier the setting, the better the chill and the goose-flesh feeling.  It's very difficult to write a good ghost story, and while Emily quotes MR James (I am in the midst of reading a collection of his ghost stories), I myself think The Haunting of Hill House (by Shirley Jackson), The Shining (Stephen King), and The Woman in Black (Susan Hill) are three of the most frightening novels featuring ghosts ever written. They each came close to inducing a real state of fear in me, so much so that I had to keep checking that the doors were locked and no one could get in.  Stephen, in the interview above, talks about writing a sequel to The Shining, called Dr Sleep.  Danny Torrance, all grown up, and still with the shining.   Let me tell you, I don't care if it's in hardcover and weighs 20 pounds, I will find some way to buy it the day it comes out and get it home, and lock myself in my house to get it read uninterrupted. Then there's Joyland, about a serial killer in an amusement park. That one is creepy just to think about!  Oh, I can hardly wait!  So I have to say Emily is right:  malevolent ghosts make the best horror stories. 

I do have to say that I love sad ghost stories too.  I think I just love ghost stories, period.  If you like ghost stories, is there a kind that you prefer? Victorian?  Modern?  Angry ghosts, vengeful ghosts, sad ghosts?  How about haunted things?

Some recent books featuring ghosts that I really enjoyed are:
The Secrets of Pain - Phil Rickman (Oh, I haven't reviewed this one yet, bad me, this was so good and eerie and one of the best sense of being haunted books I have read recently)
Maureen Johnston's The Name of the Star (this was particularly frightening and riveting, I loved it, still have to review it)
Dark Matter - Michelle Paver - this was terrifying and fabulous and yet another to review.  Go read it if you haven't.
Anya's Ghost - Vera Brosgol  (graphic novel, the ghost is not who you expect, very good)
The Ghosts of Belfast - Stuart Neville - modern thriller with an ex-soldier of the IRA haunted by the ghosts of the people he killed.  It was much more moving than I would ever expect.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror - Chris Priestly  Oh yes, this was another good novel of ghosts and hauntings and shadows that move......
Tamsin - Peter S Beagle- that judge!!!!  talk about malevolent!  a wonderful ghost story

There is something vulnerable that I think ghosts make us feel.  They penetrate our fears and reveal that death does exist.  I don't like when madness is linked to horror, as if the mind has to break down before it can see the other side, or see things here that a normal mind can't see.  It makes me wonder who is making the rules up, who has decided that ghosts don't really exist?  And why is it more sane to not see them?  less scary, yes, but isn't it the scariest when the person is sane, and see ghosts?  I think so.

What are some of your favourite ghost stories?  Let me know, and Emily, please.

And now for something completely different:
Fringe is renewed!  Yaaaay!  For 13 episodes only, though it does let the writers wrap up my favourite show on tv.  Friday's episode saw a tear or two when they had to close the bridge to the other world.  I am constantly amazed and surprised by Fringe, even after 4 years, even when I think the episode is slow, or the story is familiar, there is all the delights of watching variations of our characters in other worlds, and how they are different.


DesLily said...

you have a good list going there! The only two I have read is Name of the Star and Tamsin.
as for your question which I might like best, that would be a hard call but I probably lean towards victorian, but a good story is a good story no matter where or when.

Debi said...

I must come out of my cave more often--I didn't even realize that Fringe was still on! I watched it when it first started but then life got in the way. I always figured I catch up on DVD someday, but I really had no idea it was still going.

As for ghost stories--well, I'm woefully under-read!

Sam said...

Thanks for that interview link...great fun to read that.

Susan said...

Deslily: "A good story is a good story" - I like that, Pat! You are so right. I like ghost stories from anywhere, any time in history..... :-)

Debi: Yes, it's still on! And still good! Maybe now that you're resting with your ankle, you can catch up a little? lol not that I want to add anything for you to do!

Sam: You are so welcome, and it was a fun interview, wasn't it?

Kailana said...

I really must get around to watching Fringe...

Susan said...

Kailana: you didn't watch any when you got it out from the library (or Netflix)? Oh, it is really good!!! IF you lived closer I'd lend you my copy :-)

Kathleen said...

Thank you for sharing the link to the interview with Stephen King. I loved reading it and never get tired of hearing him talk about his craft. He just always seems so grounded to me and such a hard worker. I guess that's why he's managed to write so many books.

Susan said...

Kathleen: you are very welcome! I have his book ON Writing, which I bought long ago as soon as it was out. I've read just about everything he's ever written, except a few of his later novels (Rose Madder, Dolores Claiborne) that weren't horror and didn't interest me. Otherwise, I read what he writes, so I was curious about what he had to say - and how he talks about writing has helped me with my writing, too.

I really enjoyed the interview as well, it was great fun, wasn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed it too :-)