Monday, November 01, 2004

Horror's "genre creep"

The New York Times casts its eye over five recent horror books, and considers the current state of the genre:

"Horror isn't dead, but it is suffering from a case of what you might call genre creep. Before it became a full-fledged publishing niche in the late 1970's and early 80's, horror was simply a plot device -- and it's one today's writers have become comfortable exploiting. Blood and gore flow more often, and more freely, in science fiction and crime novels than they ever have, and romance authors increasingly toss witches and vampires into their confections. Horror themes are increasingly common in so-called literary fiction, too; the latest edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror includes stories by Dan Chaon and George Saunders. And it goes without saying that the horror themes in the Harry Potter novels, and in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events books, have had an outsize impact on juvenile fiction.

"Stories about haunted houses, undead creatures and everyday paranoia that takes strange and bloody turns persist, though they're now more likely to arrive in stores billed as 'dark fantasy,' 'supernatural fiction' or some similar fudge-phrase."