Wednesday 10 April 2019

The A-Z Blog Challenge, Letter I

Letter I of My Favourite Books by title
Two authors - same genre
The first is Imajica by British author Clive Barker. Here's the blurb:

The Imajica - five Dominions, four reconciled. The fifth is Earth, cut off, living ignorant on the edge of a sea of possibilities, mystery and magic. Only a few know of the Imajica, and of the approaching moment when the Earth will be reunited with the other Dimensions. And they are both terrified and in awe of the prospect.

Racing to capture that moment are Gentle, a master forger; Judith, a beautiful independent woman; and Pie'oh'Pah, an assassin who deals love and death. Together they must embark on the greatest journey of all - through each of the five Dominions to the ultimate mystery - the First Dominion - where, in the City of the Unbeheld, their highest hopes, or deepest fears, will be realised.

How to describe Clive Barker books? It's always tricky. He is very much a horror writer, but it is also fantasy, but such extreme fantasy I usually say he writes about 'the fantastic', it's so beyond what is normally perceived as fantasy. He thus falls into exactly what I like in a book, horror and something beyond fantasy. He completes that for me.

There are actually a couple of his books I have yet to read, but I do own them - I have this idea that in just having them means they will magically soak into my brain and the story would be there! LOL Sadly this is not the case.

Imajica is one of two novels set in a 'dominion' which is like another dimension. Barker has created a whole other world, and people, and way of viewing our world. It is completely immersive (a common theme for me it seems). There is something about his way of creating worlds and stories that gives you the sense that it is not just fiction, that there might be a grain of truth in it - fed by such things as the rumours that Clive Barker says he's been to Midian (a place in his book The Cabal - later to become the film Nightbreed), that it exists as a place.

True or not, Barker is the master of weaving tales of intricate design, with something dark and light combined. He uses brutal, harsh words when writing the darker sides, which gives it a bluntness and shock value that other horror writers don't match. His writing is not for the light-hearted - especially such books as Hellbound Heart (later to become the film Hellraiser), but if you aren't afraid to be afraid and you can handle it, Clive Barker literally offers other worlds. And Imajica is exactly that.

The second book is Insomnia, by Stephen King. Here's the blurb: 

You'll lose a lot of sleep.

Ralph does. At first he starts waking up earlier. And earlier. Then the hallucinations start - the colours, shapes and strange auras. Not to mention the bald doctors who always turn up at the scene of death.

That’s when Ralph begins to lose a lot more than sleep. When he begins to understand why his hitherto mild-mannered friend, Ed, is getting out of control - dangerously so. And why his home town is about to become the new Armageddon.

An evil of unimaginable proportions has found a way in and Ralph has only one chance to beat it. The stakes are high - they always are when you’re playing for human souls. With a Joker in the pack … a bald one with a rusty scalpel.

Yes, another Stephen King book - they just keep coming, don't they? I know, but at least I'm consistent! 😉

This one stands out because now only does it talk about seeing auras - which I found fascinating - but it talks about these two little men called 'The Random and The Purpose', who run about killing off people! 

The main character, an elderly man, starts to see people's auras, and that they have these little sort of strings above their heads, which denote their life expectancy (which of course only he can see). Some are really short and so this little guy comes up and sort of cuts them to end their lives, (sort of like a grim reaper) but then there is another little guy that runs about cutting off people's strings that aren't due to die - like when a child gets hit by a car. I always imagined this little manic dwarf running about doing it! The story unfolds around this. 

It's a standard quirky Stephen King novel which I like the most from his collection. He dabbles in areas that others don't, playing with ideas and running with them.

Did you know that Stephen King didn't get published until he had written his seventh novel? That was Carrie. When he took the call from his agent, his agent told him to sit down, he didn't, so when he heard they were offering an advance of $400,000+ he slid down the wall onto the floor. At that time he was working two jobs, as was his wife, and they were trying to make ends meet.

Sadly gone are the days of these types of advances for debut authors. You have to be a celebrity or already established to get anything close.


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