X is for Xploitation (from A-Z of Horror)

Genre makes a most reliable noose ? Perhaps. It certainly keeps the bookstores from having to think too deeply. Books with black covers and black spines signal themselves strongly as horror. Fantasy books are notable for obligatory castles, white horses and scantily-clad buxom nymphets and the use of the words "saga" or "quest" on the covers. But where does Galilee sit most comfortably? Or Sacrament? Or Thief of Always?

"My journey has been fairly diverse anyway, I've written of a gay hero, I've written ecological stuff, I've written for children. If I were Tom Clancy - God help me - writing techno-political thriller things, and I changed in this radical way, there would be great outcry from readers. But my readers are more dreamy. They've always been willing to step into Oz or Narnia or Prospero's island."

Who Needs a Niche?

By Laura Dempsey,Dayton Daily News, 1998

"I'm always disturbed when I feel as though a piece of pigeonholing alienates a potential readership. I think there's no question that if you call a thing a horror novel or if it's marketed as a horror novel, or if, as the writer, I talk about it as a horror novel, there's a whole readership that will not simply open the book."

Love, Barker Style

By Randy Myers,[New York ??] Times, 30th July 1998

"[One] morning at the American Club in 1987, when Eddie Bell, who was running HarperCollins - as he still does, it was then Harpers, it was then Collins, I'm sorry - bought a large novel of mine called 'Weaveworld', which was a fantasy novel, and I realised that... the fact that having done all this horror work, I could now change genre and would get the support from a publisher to do so. And that became exciting - because it's pretty much what I've done ever since; I've written for children, I'm writing a huge book with 400 oil paintings which I'm also doing for children right now, I've written the kind of stuff that 'Galilee' is - invented world fantasy, in other words, I think that, you know... we were having a little tussle there at the beginning about the introduction to Clive Barker, and how weary I get about the flayed flesh nonsenses. It's absolutely a part of what I have done; it's just a small part of what I've done. And I haven't really worked out whether it's because it's the first thing I did, or because, those things, as you rightly said before, carry such... are so vivid, they sort of get into the mind's eye and stay there...whatever the reason, people still want to say, 'Oh, he's the guy who did... ', you know, and the great thing with my publishers, with Collins, has always been the incredible support they've given me to go and do other things."

Transcript of interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, 9 November 1998

By Brian Hayes

"It's really important that we see that fantastic fiction - whether it be horror fiction, science fiction, fantasy fiction, the fiction of the imagination - is also a fiction of spiritual investigation. [It has] that responsibility. Clearly Danielle Steele isn't going to take on that. I do think that imaginative fiction has always, to some extent, investigated or explored these areas. As I've said many times, this is a fictional form in which you can talk about God, the Devil, and the works of both. It is an area whereyou can talk about good and evil. It is an area where you can talk about physical frailty and obsession, and how sexuality changes us and how passion and desire in its most extreme forms can alter our view of the world. It's not a tame, domesticated genre. It doesn't resemble the 'adultery on canvas' novels or the pieces of polite fiction that the A S Byatts and the Anita Brookners of the world provide - which is not to say those aren't fine pieces of fiction, they are. They just deal much more in the minutiae of reality. What fantastic fiction does, in dealing with unreality, is to reconfigure the possible. What it does is make us stretch the limits of our imagination and say, "OK, what if...." In Imajica: what if there was a man who didn't realise, but was the half brother of Jesus Christ? In Weaveworld: what if every dream of perfection, every dream of Eden, every dream of the perfect world from which we havebeen exiled - Arcadia, fairyland, whatever you want to call it - had been woven into a carpet and hidden away because its enemies were coming, and supposing one person found that place and wanted to release it again? What if you had a puzzle box that could open the doors to hell? The fantastic doesn't deal exclusively with monsters - and I think we've got to be very careful of the word 'monsters'. The fantastic deals with things which do not look like us. It deals with the ab-human, in-human, the sub-human, the super-human. The word monster is a pejorative, and it's going to be impossible to educate people out of the view that it's a pejorative. I would prefer to say that the fantastic reconfigures our sense of the human."

The Magic Show

By Nick Vince, Clive Barker's Hellbreed, Vol 1, May 1995

"One doesn't tag Stanley Kubrick as a science fiction director simply because he has made several fine sf films... I want to write comedies, erotic fiction, horror fiction, fantasy, detective fiction. At the end of the day, I want them to look at my mortal remains and say 'God, he did a lot!'"

Clive Barker

By Kim Newman, Interzone, No 14, Winter 1985/86

"There's nothing I hate more than formulaic writing of various kinds - you know, the kind of thing where you feel the author has just basically put his brain on hold and has just filled the spaces. I think it's important, particularly in fantasy writing, because we have so much to fight for as far as the genre is concerned, we have so many detractors; we have so many people who think the genre is negligible, or entirely redundant as an art form, that I think it's important that one produces stuff which is fresh and well-written."

Weaving Words With Clive Barker

By Leigh Blackmore, Terror Australis, No1, Autumn 1988

"The word 'fantasy' has now become pejorative... In fact, fantasy fiction has repeatedly through the ages addressed very serious subjects; Moby Dick is a fantasy, Midsummer Night's Dream is a fantasy, The Tempest, Paradise Lost, and they contain great moral complexity and depth. So fantasy should not be maligned. Fantasy as a form can contain great depth. Not claiming that 'Weaveworld' is the definitive - it isn't, but it's certainly an attempt on my part to address the possibilities of fantasy, rather than simply its superfice. It can be about life and death, it can be about eroticism transformed to magic, it can be about mystery 'held onto'... it's important to address these subjects. And I think fantasy can do it better, because finally, we live a quarter of our lives, a third of our lives, perhaps... in dreamland. And in our dreams, we explore and deal with our lives in metaphorical terms... which are parallels to, analogous to the conditions and the fears and the hopes that we have in our waking lives... I would say that in the same way, fantasy is a confrontation with our waking lives, at its best.The problem is, in a genre which is full of phallic swords and that kind of thing, it's important to establish female power and female potency, and the eroticism which comes with that. And it needn't all be 'goody-goody' stuff, I mean Immacolata particularly; she's kind of sexy, yet dangerous at the same time. And yet a virgin, which makes her all the more sexier of course. One of my favourite scenes in 'Weaveworld' is when Jerichau makes love with Suzanna, in which his words become poems, which is a kind of image of eroticism which is potent I hope in part because it is anti-chauvinist. Because here is a man who is very vulnerable and very much in love. And of course Cal is very much in love with Suzanna, but it's a non-sexual love, under those circumstances... She has so much power in the book. She's the one who makes the plot turn 90 degrees in places... I love the Venus Mountain sequences because they are very sexual, and yet they are very erotic in a curious kind of way. But also they're absolutely such strange sequences."

[ ]

By Ste Dillon, Adventurer, 1987

"In the beginning was indeed the word. But only one genre takes such conspicuous account of the void from which that word was uttered.Genre makes a most reliable noose; a man could strangle himself a dozen times attempting to separate the threads of one fictional form from another."

Speaking From The Dark/Keeping Company With TheCannibal Witches

Essay by Clive Barker, (i) Daily Telegraph, 6 January 1990 (ii) Deadline, No 23, October 1990

"There are more crossovers between the genres than most people concede or are interested to think about. Here ['Cabal'] is the perfect example: to write a fantasy in a horrific mode, with fundamentally the same story structure as a classic fantasy...I want to liberate the terminology [Horror / Fantasy]. I want people to stop thinking of it this way. People going to 'Peer Gynt' or 'The Tempest' don't think: I'm going to see a fantasy. It would never occur to you that a play with magic in it was a 'fantasy' - or if it did, it would not be in the pejorative sense of the term, meaning escapist, unliterary, non-confrontational, and so on. Part of that is a packaging problem, the problem of where it goes on the shelves, which is a publisher's problem, not ours. 'The Tin Drum' is a fantasy; Borges writes fantasies; Salman Rushdie's books are all fantasies - but they go on the shelf with literature....Looking at the overview, looking at this whole thing about this longing in fantasy being the longing for the other place: the longing for the other place is a longing for another condition, not for a place, I suspect. And I think that condition is as available - arguably, and in outline, at least - in horror fiction just as much as in fantasy fiction. Certainly, in my horror fiction, characters are drawn with the same romantic, passionate devotion to transformation as Cal and Suzanna are in 'Weaveworld'....I get a lot of criticism from my intellectual friends who say it's about time I wrote an 'art' book. But why? It becomes an act of masturbation, a fruitless thing, if you are preaching o the converted. I believe that the genre we are working in actually can get to people who think they think a different way - who do in fact think in a different way from us... ....So as to what we do: I think we continue to do what we are doing, and we do it with a kind of evangelical zeal.This fiction is all about desiring other experience. It's all about wanting more than our bodies apparently limit us to. At this point, fantasy and horror fiction completely overlap."

Every Fear Is A Desire

In London, September 1988 by Lisa Tuttle, Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden

"I think the depth of meaning which the genre can plumb is underestimated. I think we're talking about weighty matters: love and death and transformation. Beauty in destruction. Beauty in transformation, I prefer. I'm interested in paradox. Pleasure rooted in pain. Life rooted in death. Failure and success. The fact that there are an awful lot of books which share the genre that are about giant whelks is not my problem. It doesn't mean that I have to pertain to that level. I think that any genre one investigates to the fundamental structures can carry a motherlode of meaning... The energy of a genre lies in its popular life. I'm pleased people are writing theses, but I'm writing for the guy on the train. I think it's important to respect the punter, and I hope that one can deliver material which is going to be entertaining and demanding."

Clive Barker

By Kim Newman, Interzone, No 14, Winter 1985/86

"Why... do I put such a high value upon subversion? There are many reasons. The most pertinent here is my belief that fantastic fiction offers the writer exceptional possibilities in that direction, and I strongly believe a piece of work... should be judged by how enthusiastically it seizes the opportunity to do what it can do uniquely. The literature of the fantastic... can reproduce, at it's best, the texture of experience more closely than any 'naturalistic' work, because it can embrace the complexity of the world we live in. Wanting an encounter with forces that will challenge our lives - that will deliver us once and for all into the regions of the gods... yet so fearful that we are negligible things and so far beneath the concern of such powers that any confrontation will simply kill us. Charting that ambiguity is, I would suggest, a function that the fantastic genre uniquely fulfills."

Stephen King - Surviving The Ride

Essay by Clive Barker, Kingdom Of Fear (book [ ])

"One should probably not be surprised that this area of fictional endeavour is often treated with contempt. The function these stories serve is too raw. It requires an admission of vulnerability in the experience; a willingness to confess to nightmares, in a culture that increasingly parades banality as feeling, and indifference as proof of sophistication... .so this kind of fiction is indulged [in as ]... a secret vice. It's on the shelves in greater and gaudier displays than ever, of course... but it's still perceived, for the most part, as gutter entertainment, ignored by critics who sayit's beneath their pen, while reading it beneath their desks."

Introduction - Night Visions 4

Essay by Clive Barker, Night Visions 4

"It was a commercial gambit to give them ['Books of Blood'] that title. The first three volumes were sold to Berkley and the second three to Poseidon. Poseidon, because they were a different publisher, didn't want to use the same title, obviously, so we took a title from one of the stories and called the collections by those titles. They put very classy covers on them and the whole package was very upmarket, very elegant. On the other hand, the Berkley covers have got Halloween masks and worms on them. And they were fluorescent yellow and red with 'Be Thankful You Can Scream... At Least You're Still Living... '... .It's tough, but on the other hand it might be nice if one could get the crossover audience and not have to be ashamed of the genre in which one writes. I want to confuse them. I'm writing horror fiction and then I will do something that will be categorized inevitably as fantasy fiction. Then I'm doing some erotic fiction and it will be characterized as these things... The only genre I don't want to deal with is the Western. I have no interest in it whatsoever. Otherwise I'm interested in historical fiction - I want to do a 'bodice-ripper' very much."

A Little Bit Of Hamlet

Barker at UCLA 25 February 1987, by Dennis Etchison, Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden

"I get disappointed by that [horror label] too. That isn't saying that I don't look forward to spilling some literary blood when I do my Pinhead story and there are some damn scary portions of 'Cold Heart Canyon' but, there is no part of me that wants to go back and be a horror author. What I'm trying to do is a kind of literature which doesn't really have a name: it's Barker. You read a Barker book. And, I feel as though I'm working really hard to jump out of the box which booksellers like to put you in. A number of times I go in a bookstore and say, "please don't put 'The Thief of Always' and 'Imajica' in the horror section. And I say this to my fans generally: if you have a relationship with a manager of a book store and you see the Barker books in horror, go up to him or her and say, "I don't know if you read this guy but he doesn't write horror." And to which the manager will say, "well where do you think he should go?" And: "Fiction, just put him under fiction. He writes fiction, he writes fantasy, he writes for kids, yeah some horror, but any one place you put him will be misrepresenting him." And that's the argument that I make when I go from place to place. It's not that I'm antipathical of the horror, it's just that it is only one part of what I do. You know it's just not terribly interesting to me to get up in the morning and scare people."


By Craig Fohr and Kelly Shaw, Lost Souls, March 2001 (note - interview took place 14 December 2000)

"I have never liked the division between horror fiction and fantasy fiction and science fiction. There is a fantastique genre... in the sense that itexplores something which is unlikely, to say the least - something which is an imagined thing... Now, in one sense, all authors reinvent the world, but some of us do it with more enthusiasm than others, with more desire to see the world shaped to our particular longings and anxieties.
"I do not consider myself a horror writer any more than I consider myself a fantasy writer or science fiction writer. I am a writer who works in my imagination. The only difference in the world in literature, it seems to me, is between the guy who writes out of a perceived reality and the guy who creates one for himself."

Talking Terror With Clive Barker

Barker during Hellraiser SFX, by Douglas E. Winter, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, Vol 7, No 2, June 1987

"[How can imaginative literature be escapist] when in fact it is confrontational. They [critics] think it is easy because there are no ground rules; I fact it is more difficult because there are far more rules... you've got to make it work on a profounder level."

Some Harsh Words For The Critics From Ballard And Barker

By Rodney Burbeck, Publishing News, 24 July 1987

"I see no reason to apologise for any kind of generic formation. As you know, you go back to some of the most striking images, the most lasting images, in cinema, and they come from horror films. Some people think horror films are some sort of second-class filmmaking, and the only way we can hope to bypass that thinking is by being proud of the fact that we do it. We had a screening at USC for 'Hellraiser', and we had 600 - 700 people cheering in their seats. That's what I want to do, and I'm not going to be apologising for it. I'm a populist."

No Apologies

By John Wooley, Bloody Best of Fangoria, No 7, 1988

"I don't believe that movies, our movies, fantasy movies, science fiction movies have to be empty -headed spectacles. I don't believe they have to be things were you check your brain at the door and just go in and enjoy the special effects. They can be about something... The reason why so many of these movies lodge in our heads and lodge actually in our culture is because they have resonances which are perhaps deeper than we realize.There's nothing wrong with cheap thrills, but cheap thrills and meaning are not mutually exclusive."

Horror Visionary

By Michael Beeler, Cinefantastique, Vol 26 No 3, April 1995

"I'm very attracted to situations in which the imagination is allowed full range; the liberation of the imagination. And some of that will be defined horror fiction, some of it will be defined as fantasy fiction, some of it may be defined as science fiction. I'm not sure it matters. Certainly it doesn't matter to me personally. And having just experienced the success of a book - 'Weaveworld' - which broke my own category in the sense that I'd come in as a horror writer and was writing fantasy, and it turned out to be - has turned out to be so far - my most successful book, I suspect that it matters less to the audience than we think it does. If an author has got sufficient profile, sufficient identity, then the chances are that the reader will follow him... I think the reason people were reading the material in the first place was not simply because it was visceral but because there were imaginative elements which have carried over into the fantasy fiction and will carry over into any other area that I write; whether it be erotic fiction, or science fiction or whatever else, it will be the imaginative thrust; the imaginative enthusiasm is a constant. I want simply to be known as a writer of the imagination and it becomes an adventure to find new ways to express that imagination and worlds, not so much to conquer as chronicle."

Babel's Child

By Mark Salisbury, Fear, No 2, Sept/Oct 1988

"We are gradually winning the battle; my new novel, Everville, got a wonderful notice in The New York Times' book review section. What we've seen over the years is various genres coming out of the cold. First it was spy fiction, then science fiction. By and large, horror fiction is the most difficult to domesticate because part of the point is that it's one step ahead - or behind - everybody else's taste. And I'm not really convinced I'd like it to change. There's something very healthy about horror fiction being always a little bit on the outside. It's the wild-dog genre."

Lord Of Illusion

By Charles IsherwoodThe Advocate, 21st February 1995

"At root, these tales are initiations into the secrets of our shadow selves, I believe genre stories are not just useful, they are vital."

Clive Barker's Lurid Fascination

By Dan Lamanna, Cinescape, No [ ], January 1995

"The term fabulist was primarily used about South American magical realists - Marquez, Borges and so on. But I think it has a wider application. One of the dictionary definitions is a liar, which doesn't hurt! The maker of fables, the maker of fictions which are clearly fabulous in some way or other, seems a more useful catch-all for the kind of work that I do than, certainly, 'horror' fiction, which I've moved out of and yet haven't, because maybe I was never there in the first place. Certainly any science fiction fan would not feel too positive about me describing myself as a science fiction writer. And fantasy doesn't quite fit either, because fantasy is all too often associated, in the reader's and book-buyer's mind, with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and with a kind of alternative-world fiction which really doesn't have a huge amount to do with the here and now. The idea of fable is attractive because fable uses metaphor to appeal to the reader's sense of his or her self in the real world, and to analyse and illuminate the real world. I suppose classically our first encounter with fable is Aesop, in which animals talk and do remarkably human things, and at the end of it, in the best of these fables, we are led to some kind of illumination through a description of some fantastical activity or other And so that's pretty much where I'm coming from as far as fabulism is concerned."

The Edge Interview

By David Alexander, The Edge, 1991(note : online at

"I want to say the cliché's almost part of the genre; the door, the zombies, the brain and so on. They are part of a tradition of story telling which I find myself involved in and I love and value. There are tools, things which represent other things, where a demon is raised in the narrative; it's a representation of a certain kind of human beingless certain facet of our nature, which has to be dealt with by another facet of our nature, which would be the good guy. I'm giving a very crude example of good verses evil. Plainly, one of the reasons why we enjoy this kind of fiction is because it allows all the many people who are inside us to speak. Some of those people are very bad people, because all of us have secret selves, all of us have dark secret selves, and it's important to allow those dark selves to speak if not as loudly, at least to be given their day. So, it feels to me as though the zombies, the walking dead, the demons, the things that arefaintly reptilian; all these images which are so much a part of fantastic fiction, are not things that I believe that are out there in the real world but they are, I think, in a much realer place than the world and that is the space in our head. "


By [ ],Lost Souls, Issue 1, [June] 1995 (online at

"I think the fantastique as a genre... or horror fiction, allows us [these episodes of heightened language]. Fantasy fiction at its best allows us that. Children's fiction ... I'm doing a lot of children's fiction now and I'm aware that you get the freedom to take this linguistic jump into a space where you get great density of imagery and you get this kind of delirious stuff which is wonderful to write."

Burning Chrome Live

Clive Barker interviews William Gibson, 13 December 1997 (note : online at the Lost Souls site)

"All I've done is take a genre mired in Victorian values into a post - Last Exit to Brooklyn world. Horror fiction tends to be reactionary. It's usually about to return to the status quo -- the monster is the outsider who must be banished from the sanctum. But over and over again, I've created monsters who come from the outside and who call out to somebody to join them in the sanctum."
"This is a great time for the fantasist. People's minds are open and eager. It astonishes me how many people find the paranormal so normal. Of course, they're also talking in a lot of nonsense. Have you seen that chat show, The Other Side? Housewives talking about giving birth to alien babies at 9 o'clock in the morning. And they call me a fantasist!"

Clive Barker Raises Hell

By Gregg Kilday, Out Magazine, March 1995 (note : online at the Lost Souls site and at the Midian site)

"I don't like labels terribly. There's that section in book stores that has Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and Clive Barker, and at Halloween they drape fake cobwebs over it. Just today in a bookstore a guy who works there said, 'I'd never read you because I'd always thought you were scary, but I just read The Thief of Always and I loved it.' I feel as if labeling keeps people from books they would enjoy."

People Online

By Laura Kay Smith, [27] July 1998(note : online through the Lost Souls site)

"May we open this celebration of the work in your hand by defining two kinds of fantastic fiction? One, the kind most often seen in horror novels and movies, offers up a reality that resembles our own, then postulates a second invading reality, which has to be accommodated or exiled by the status quo is it attempting to overtake. Sometimes, as in any exorcism movie - and most horror movies are that, by other names - the alien thorn is successfully removed from the suppurating flank of the veal. On other occasions the visitor becomes part of the fabric of 'everyday' life. Superman is, after all, an alien life form. He's simply the acceptable face of invading realities. The second kind of fantastique is far more delirious. In these narratives, the whole world is haunted and mysterious. There is no solid status quo, only a series of relative realities, personal to each of the characters, any or all of which are frail, and subject to eruptions from other states and conditions. One of the finest writers in this second mode is Edgar Allan Poe, in whose fevered stories landscape, character - even architecture - become a function of the tormented, sexual, anxious psyche of the author; in which anything is possible because the tales occur within the teller's skull."


By Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman's Sandman : The Doll's House, 3rd April 1990

"Sex is very important to everybody, anybody, and I don't think that it's treated particularly well in imaginative fiction; I'm not talking about horror, but also about science fiction and fantasy. By and large the imaginative genre tends to be a little bit behind everybody else in their sexual politics, I their view of the richness of human sexuality. You know, you can pick up a lot of Sword and Sorcery books and their attitude to women would not have been out of place in the 1940's. I think there is a fear of sexuality, especially of female sexuality, but generally of any sexuality that is a little away from the white, straight male's point of view. Most fantasy is written by white, straight males. You see it a bit now, what with women science fiction and fantasy writers coming along, gay writers coming along, but not to a large extent. I think that the white, straight male's kind of imaginative fiction will do anything it can to diminish the power that sexuality has, particularly female sexuality. One of the things I've written about often is the power of women, the power of the goddess. Imajica is a novel devoted to that idea, to the rise of the Goddess; The Great And Secret Show and Everville contain very strong female characters; my new novel Galilee also has a very powerful female character; Sacrament has a gay male who is very comfortable with his gay sexuality. I think that as an Outsider - and I do feel like an Outsider - it's very important to be putting very different points of view in front of readers, that it isn't just playing into the same old prejudices.
"There is a conventional kind of horror fiction which very much deals with happy endings, deals with wrapping things up... I don't favour those because I think they are a lie! I don't think life is like that. The truer moment of catharsis is in the moment of embracing, when you say, "You know, this ambivalence simply describes my life, there's no use trying to destroy it. It is a description of a protean human being who is aging, who is changing, who is falling in love, who is falling in lust, who has a bad stomach and a headache. That's who I am, so what the hell is the use in trying to run away from that?" In my case, horror fiction is a way for characters with whom audiences can hopefully identify to go and confront these things, to say, "Oh, I see, the issue is not about destroying these things but about recognising them and accepting them for what they are." I think a happy ending is where you are honest and there is a terrible dishonesty in the idea that you control the demon out. The demon is you; it's am expression of your fears and your hopes, your excesses, your decadences. Maybe I'm more in love with my monsters than other authors are."

Addicted To Creativity (Part 1)

By Bill Babouris, Samhain, No 70, November 1998br />

"I think that one of the problems that is studied and explored in horror fiction is the problem of the paradox of the body. The body is a source of delight to us, from childhood onwards, satisfying our appetites, whether they be sexual or for food or even for sleep. Sensual satisfactions are directly related to our bodies, our nerve endings. Those same nerve endings are, under different circumstances, a source of great agony to us. You can stub your toe, you can cut yourself, there are any number of ways that the body can be damaged, from the minor all the way up to the fatal. We have all got this physical machine that our consciousness occupies, the vulnerability of which is in direct proportion to how much of a source of pleasure it can be. The pain/pleasure principal, as any exponent of sado-masochism will be the first to argue, is about defining the barrier between the two. I've always found this fascinating. However, for the most part it has been subdued in the movies, with the exception of directors like Cronenberg."


By David J Howe, Starburst, No 110, October 1987

"I think a lot of people like to label things and in turn a lot of people are turned off by labels, and that bothers me, that disappoints me. Anything that demands a sense of wonder to embrace - I want very much for the people who read this kind of fiction, who see these kinds of movies to go and understand how pervasive the fantastique is... The imaginative life is part of us all as children and... our dreams are still full of that as adults. It's not like the people in these stories are so distant from us, because our lives are full of a sort of 'casual surrealism'."

Weird Tales Talks with Clive Barker

By Robert Morris, Weird Tales, No 292, Fall 1988

"I think we should cancel the word genre, I think we should throw the word genre out. We are not a genre, which suggests a small or perhaps even somewhat besieged condition - we are a continent and, actually most of the smaller things which came along afterwards like naturalism, realism, these things are a mere 200 years old, to pick up Ramsey's word, they are striplings. How long has naturalistic fiction been around - maybe 300 years?
"We are in a tradition which began, we may assume, around campfires as stories were told and gods were made and goddesses were worshipped and the fundamentals, the primal concerns of human beings, were laid out. Fuck genre - this isn't about genre, this is about the fact that we are writing and painting and making in film form expressions of the profoundest issues of the human heart!"

Guest Of Honour Speech

Impromptu speech by Barker at the FantasyCon banquet, Nottingham, 24 September 2006 (note - full text here)

...other comments

Ramsey Campbell : "If any contemporary writer can lead the genre into new territory, he can - indeed, already has. Stephen King has characterized the horror genre as essentially reactionary and normative; so far as I'm concerned as a writer, he's wrong, and Barker clearly disagrees too. Barker is a writer who's prepared to go all the way, wherever the logic of his imagination may lead him. He seems to me to be the first true voice of of the next generation of horror writers, and I greet the news of his first novel The Damnation Game with cheers and eagerness. I'm proud to have introduced him. the genre needs him."

Campbell's Column

By Ramsey Campbell, Halls Of Horror, Issue 29, Vol.3 No.5, [October] 1984

Del Howison : "Clive is like David Bowie. He constantly reinvents himself - I think that's almost for sanity reasons... When you've accomplished something, why would you want to repeat yourself? Clive constantly has broken new ground, whether it's his artwork, writing or filmmaking.
"Cocteau didn't limit himself to one thing, and Clive hasn't done that, either."

'Freakz' Alive, Clive!

By Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News, 14 October 1998

Jane Johnson (Editor, HarperCollins) : "Clive and I often feel we are fighting in the same corner, against the easy prejudices of an industry in which sameness is prized, and anything with a touch of imagination to it is regarded as weird and outré...
"He's a writer who makes no concessions to external influences - to the marketplace, to readers, to his publishers. He writes what he wants to write when he wants to write it, and is in that way alone one of the most genuine and honest writers I know.... When you enter Clive's novels, you are entering a world in which literally anything may happen in front of your eyes, and that is both a terrifying and a thrilling prospect."

The Relaunch of Clive Barker

By Jeff Zaleski, Publishers Weekly, 24 September 2001

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