Posts tagged: ghosts
This week Romance Editor Chris talks about ghosts and Simone St. James’ An Inquiry Into Love And Death.
War, loss, ghosts: these are things that change you forever. But love is also on that list, and it leads to better places. Simone St. James knows that, and writes it beautifully.
Photo via Over The Front.
Chris shares her favorite books of 2012.
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. Below are my top 10 reads for 2012. They’re not ranked in any order, just listed alphabetically by author. If anyone has any to add, please feel free to do so. I can always use more suggestions for what to try next.
Editor Chris suggests some romance titles for this spooky season:
But it was a little harder than I thought to put together a reading list. I wanted to concentrate on books that are Romances first (ie: not Urban Fantasies) that are nonetheless well-flavoured with woo-woo.
Woo-woo, I found; spooky was tough. Going through books I was reminded that Romances contain a lot of scary things. Like being stuck in a job that traps and stifles you. Or sinking into debt. Learning how to grow past the scars of abuse. Losing your partner, or parents, or children. Even facing the giant chasm of loneliness to reach out emotionally for the first time. These are all damn frightening things; they just happen to ordinary people every day. But Halloween isn’t about the everyday: it’s about the extraordinary possibilities when the boundaries between the worldly and the uncanny blur.
(image: “The Three Witches” by Daniel Gardner)
Miguel Rodriguez kindly invited the Gutter’s own Carol onto Monster Island Resort to discuss the late Kaneto Shindo, and his films, Onibaba and Kuroneko. Listen here, if you’d care to.
Screen Editor alex watches The Dresden Files.
Sometimes you should just leave a talking skull well enough alone. Actually, you should probably always leave a talking skull well enough alone, but that’s not exactly what I was getting at. I’m thinking of Bob from Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels, and the unfortunate transformation he underwent in the tv adaptation, The Dresden Files.
Over at the Vault of Horror, B-Sol has a nice piece up about General Mills’ Monster cereals.
When we break it down, every single one of the General Mills cereal monsters is technically a dead person. Quite jarring to analyze it that way, but also quite true. They are based on beings which do nothing if not remind us of our own mortality. This is the basic source of the horror they all inspire; whether ghost, mummy, vampire, or flesh golem.
And so we do what we always do—we protect ourselves from what we fear, in this case using one of the most tried-and-true methods. We take away its power by turning it into something which is a parody of itself, a harmless representation suitable for small children—so far removed from its origins that one really has to do some mental gymnastics to make the connection.
Making figures of horror and representations of death cute and edible is a way of transforming the fear of death and the knowledge of its inevitability. But personally, I am always more aware of my sympathy for the monsters. The monsters represented in the Monster cereals—Frankenstein, a werewolf, a vampire, a ghost and a mummy—have become more sympathetic throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st. And I think that part of it is that those monsters, while capable of great evil, just can’t compete with human-created, industrially efficient horrors that marked the 20th Century in so many ways. And while a lot of people may not deal with the day to day reality of death all that often, we do have a great deal of immediate intimacy with human atrocity.
It’s not that I think that monsters have lost their power. It’s that maybe we—at least being horror creators and audiences—feel worse about humanity and see ourselves as more horrible than vampires, werewolves, ghosts and mummies. And I see this in the rise of the zombie as the monster of our time, and in “torture porn,” which explores the suffering of the innocent at the hands of other humans, not only reflecting death and decay, but also other horrors that we see around us and fear in ourselves.
Just some thoughts in response.