My GOD Madness Heart! Where the FUCK you been for the last 10 years? I’ve been in desperate need of strong gripping horror narrative, and frankly, I’m disappointed it took you so long to feed my cravings. THIS MONKEY DOESN’T FIX ITSELF!
Wow, my friends. It took me a while to get this review of R.S. Belcher's second installment of the Brotherhood of the Wheel series, and I do apologize, but here it is. To paraphrase a couple of lovable hillbillies, it's a doozy of a book! So let's dive right in, shall we?
The horror genre is going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment. Between the latest Halloween reboot/sequel and the hit new Netflix adaption of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, the horror genre is absolutely thriving right now.
I noticed this book as I was browsing WHSmiths at Birmingham Airport. I always like to take a gander at the books they have in their recommended, best selling, and half price sections. However, this book was harmoniously shoved with the magazines on the other side of the library section. That’s what caught my eye, the fact that it was propped in such an odd place. The front cover pulled me in further, telling my brain to reach out and grab it. Furthermore, Stephen King had read it. Stephen King. Anything recommended by him must be good, I thought. So, of course, I did pick it up, to the bemusement of my partner who was going to pay for it.
We all know that New Orleans is a city filled with the supernatural. From The Originals on CW to Anne Rice’s novels to AHS: Coven on FX and all the books, movies, shows, museums, and stories in between, they sure showcase that. But if you're planning a trip to the Big Easy yourself, first grab a copy of New Orleans Vampires by Marita Woywod Crandle. Instead of the made-up, TV-perfect vampires we know and love, Crandle will take you into the world of real vampires in New Orleans. And while they may not always be as glamorous, or as beautiful, as our favorite vampires of TV and books, they are the real, truthful, traditional vampires of New Orleans—and it's best to know who to look out for on your nightly strolls through the French Quarter.
If you are a fan of modern urban fantasy/horror and don’t know the name R.S. Belcher, allow me to introduce you. If you do know Belcher, congratulations on being one of the cool kids. But don’t worry, we can all be cool kids together in our enjoyment of some very fine lit. Brotherhood of the Wheel is one of my absolute favorite urban fantasy novels for several nuanced reasons.
What is it that scares readers most about Edgar Allan Poe’s literary works? Is it the fact that Poe leaves so much of the horror to develop in the reader's minds? In one of Poe’s most famous works, The Raven, the horror is in the unknown darkness surrounding the narrator, but what each individual reader sees in the darkness is up to them. In The Fall of the House of Usher, which was first published in 1839, Poe again does not tell readers what to fear. Is it the House of Usher itself? Is it the Usher siblings’ strange behaviors? Or is it their diseases? Ultimately, it is the Usher siblings’ disease, which is subtly revealed to be a form of vampirism, that is meant to scare readers the most. Poe delicately uses vampirism in a few of his works to show, “the essentially vampiric nature of human relationships, including love and lust both normal and incestuous, and develops his theme to observe the lesion of vitality inherent in the creative or artistic process. Vampirism, with its terrible energy exchanges and exactions, is ultimately Poe's analogy for a love that persists beyond the grave - an all-consuming, necrophiliac passion that cannot be sated until an undead reconciliation is effected” (Dead Brides). Roderick and Madeline have been each other’s only companions for so long, that neither can imagine their life without the other, so while the setting of the House of Usher may add to the creepiness of the story, the vampiric nature of Roderick and Madeline Usher is Poe’s ultimate scare-tactic for his short story The Fall of the House of Usher.
We are all guilty of it as much as we may deny it. We have read Twilight, or The Vampire Diaries, or Vampire Academy, which all had spin-off movies and television shows. But when did vampires become lovable creatures that readers want to have bite them? When vampire stories first emerged in the Victorian period, vampires were scary, awful, creepy creatures. People were afraid of them, not in love with them (Stevenson 198). Now however, vampires are a part of popular culture with people fawning over Team Stefan or Team Damon or any of the other vampire love triangles adorning our bookshelves and televisions. Perhaps this is because society itself has changed over the last two hundred years since “Some of what Victorians found horrible now seems pretty cool. For example, where they (vampires) once seemed creepily strange and deviant, they now seem freethinking and uninhibited” (Stevenson 207). A vampire’s unwillingness to submit to common societal graces during the Victorian period made them outcasts and were thus scary to those on the inside of society, whereas now, being the outcast is considered cool and interesting (Melton xvii). Joanna Russ’ short story, My Dear Emily from 1962, shows the beginning of this transition from fearing to loving vampires through the character of Emily.
Mary, Mary quite scary, how does your writing go? With lightning strikes and cadaver parts, and pretty skulls all in a row. Mary Godwin’s mother made her a writer, but didn’t live long enough to raise her. Mary Wollstonecraft, a girl who had always argued that women were meant for more than the home and confinement bed died there, her very womb poisoning her from the inside out. Mary had been born of death, a fact she never really could forget.
Over the course of two centuries Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has risen serious questions about science, life, morality and what makes a human. These questions can be argued and have been as to whether or not Shelly leaves us with satisfying answers by the end of the novel. By creating both Victor Frankenstein and the creature Shelley rises the most debated question of who is the true monster between the two. Lawrence Lipking however highlights the other side of the debate by mentioning the questions Shelley leaves us with such as “is Victor an idealistic hero or a destructive egotist? is the creature a natural man or an unnatural monster? what moral are we to draw from this strange story?” (Lipking 422-423). Lipking’s essay entitled Frankenstein, The True Story discusses that Shelley simply rises unheard of and profound questions especially for her time but leaves us with no satisfying answer for any of them. In contrast to Lipking I believe Shelley’s answers are ambiguous and are satisfying to an audience because of it.
The American Gothic needs to be understood in the following ways:
Religion and science finally collide to portray two very different and horrific interpretations of the super natural and what it means to be obsessed with the temptation of the unknown. Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and Matthew Lewis, the author of The Monk, both capture the horror of temptation and the pursuit of uncovering the unknown in their 18th century gothic literature classics. Amongst embarking on a literary exploration in an effort to expose the stakes of gothic literature in present day, this paper will compare and contrast Victor, from Frankenstein, and Ambrosio, from The Monk, to illustrate how gothic literature represents obsession and temptation through the frameworks of science and religion.