Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Five Habits of Highly Offended People

Taking a cue from Carlton Mellick III's blog post, The 7 Types of Bizarro Fiction Haters, I decided to profile the five most common types of Extreme Horror haters.

1. The Spooky Guy. "I like spooky, creepy, atmospheric horror stories. Extreme Horror isn't atmospheric enough for me. They don't spend pages and pages describing the scenery and the weather and the shadows on the wall and the sound of doors slamming and creaking floorboards. Obviously, it's because they aren't very good writers. It's much harder to describe shadows and fog and strange noises in the night then it is to describe scenes of evisceration."

Because obviously we see evisceration everyday. It's the shadow of trees and dark storm clouds that we see so seldom. It takes real talent and imagination to describe them.

2. The Gross-For-The-Sake-Of-Grossness-Shock-For-the-Sake-Of-Shock-Gore-For-The-Sake-Of-Gore-Guy. "The entire story serves no purpose but to shock and appall. That's not real horror. That doesn't take talent. In real horror, the entire story serves no purpose, but to terrify. That's a far nobler endeavor."

But don't a lot of people find gross, shocking, gory things terrifying? And why do you think a story written with the sole intention of making the reader cry or laugh or sentimental or angry is somehow more indicative of genuine artistic ability? Let's see you try to freak someone out with a story. Let's see you make today's jaded readers cringe and shudder. There's enough people writing bad Extreme Horror to lend some credence to the opinion that writing good Extreme Horror ain't easy.

3. The Morality Policeman. "That's disgusting! Writers of Extreme Horror have no moral compass. They are all sick, demented, perverts who should be locked away for the safety of society!"

Really? You're an adult and you really believe that people are what they write? You think Anne Rice wants to drink blood and Thomas Harris really wants to eat people? You think it takes a twisted mind to write about twisted murders? So when Stephen King wrote that scene in Firestarter where the government agent dresses in women's underwear and sticks his arm in the garbage disposal while masturbating he should have been locked up for that? You really think Stephen king is a menace to society? What about writers of more mundane murders? Are they exempt or should we lock up Agatha Christie too?

4. The Puritanical Guy. "I don't mind the violence and gore. Mutilate, eviscerate, dismember, and torture all you want. Just don't put any sex in it. That's just disgusting and it makes me uncomfortable. The human body isn't meant for sex it's meant for annihilation! Now that's entertainment. Sex is just... blech!"

Grow up and see a psychiatrist about those issues, missionary man.

5. The Literary Guy. "All genre fiction is inferior. Genre's are literary ghettos where we send our less fortunate, less talented authors. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror authors are all hacks. If they weren't they'd be writing literary fiction and be in Oprah's Book Club. When you can spend two pages describing the dew on a leaf or write a story about a man or woman from a third world country who finds their humanity through a heroic struggle, then you're a real writer."

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is as much about the human experience as THE KITE RUNNER. So is SUCCULENT PREY for that matter. A good story should show extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and it doesn't matter if those circumstances are real or imagined. Just because you've never been attacked by a zombie or a psychopath doesn't mean that isn't part of the human experience. Our fear of monsters is as real as our fear of starvation, disease, and war. It is part of who we are. And writing about these monsters and how we overcome them has as much relevance as a story about Black women working as nanny's during the Jim Crow era.

And dragging out scenes with pages of endless, unnecessary descriptions that don't serve to advance the story or further engage the reader is not the mark of a true author. Keeping a reader turning the pages, breathless with anticipation and leaving them thinking about the book for days after they put it down, that's true art.

So, fuck those whining, hating, conceited, literary snobs. Fuck them in their upturned noses. They can all kiss the darkest part of my ass.


It seems like years since J.F. Gonzalez and I penned this brutal little tale together. Well, it has been years, but now it's back in print! On the eve of the publication of our second collaboration, THE KILLINGS, HERO has been rereleased as a trade paperback from Deadite Books. If you haven't read it, get it! Here's a brief synopsis:

Adelle Smith has lived her entire life for the betterment of mankind. A Civil Rights Activist in the Sixties and Seventies, she has spent most of her adult life attending marches, giving speeches, and lending a hand to anyone in need.
But on the very evening she is to be acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her humanitarian efforts, a stroke leaves her partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Now Adelle's in the care of a ruthless hospice nurse, who sees not a hero before her, but the cause of her many hardships growing up as a child of interracial parents, someone who decides to give Adelle her very own brand of "Physical Therapy" consisting of pain and suffering, mental cruelty and torture.
And now, after a lifetime of helping others, Adelle needs help, quickly, before another round of brutal treatment snuffs out her life.

Available now at!