What is it about the unknown that terrifies, yet enraptures, readers of Dark Fantasy/Horror? I count myself among them. Some of my first favorite books were stories of supernatural fantasy, and to this day I can’t pass up a good horror story. This week, we’ll be taking a look at some Dark Fantasy authors, most notably Anne Rice, Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz and Clive Barker, whose collected works are enough to keep you up late into the night with every lamp and light blazing.
Anne Rice is most notable for her vampire book series that began with Interview with the Vampire in 1970. And while I enjoy this series of books, I’ve recently sworn off vampires considering the over-abundance of them in the genres of late. Anne Rice is a prolific writer whose works span a variety of dark fantasy/horror types, including the aforementioned vampires, witches (Lives of the Mayfair Witches), Werewolves (The Wolf Gift) and other elements of the supernatural. Though lately she has had a very public battle with religion, her most recent book The Wolf Gift sees Rice returning to her original dark fantasy/horror roots with great success.
Merely saying the name Stephen King conjures images of horror for many. Few authors have so consistently frightened readers with their stories as King has done for years. Some of his greatest known stories of horror include: The Shining, The Stand, Carrie, It, The Dark Tower series, The Langoliers, The Green Mile and many, many others. King’s work runs the gamut of horror and dark fantasy elements, including monsters, the supernatural and epic storytelling. He has also written under the nom de plume of Richard Bachman, with stories like The Running Man and The Regulators.
Dean R. Koontz is a very familiar author to me. I once spent an entire summer reading every book he had ever written. In many ways, he was among the first experiences I had with dark fantasy/horror novels, and to this day I often think of many of my favorites whenever I am writing my own works. Koontz is perhaps best known for the Odd Thomas series, though he had much success with earlier books such as Lightning, Phantoms, The Door to December and Strangers. Like Stephen King, Koontz also wrote under a nom de plume, writing several books as Leigh Nichols.
Clive Barker’s deviant mind and stories have kept me awake late into the night many a time in the past. He is perhaps best known for his movies, though he is a masterful storyteller in his own right. His works Weaveworld, Imajica and The Books of Blood have given me hours of thrills and chills. For those looking for a more traditional dark fantasy, I highly suggest his book Abarat.
There you have it. Any one of these stories by the masters of dark fantasy/horror is guaranteed to leave you breathless and jumping at every bump and knock in the dead of night. Most of these tales are available in both print and electronic formats from a variety of sources, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble (for you Nook users).
Join me next time as I delve into the world of Modern Fantasy. As always, keep reading, and may all your stories be epic.