Today’s bit of ridiculous bloviation is a piece in the Guardian asking whether horror is DOOOOOOMED because it’s not literary enough. To which I say: What?
Of course literary authors are writing horror. Victor LaValle’s The Devil in Silver is on PW‘s top ten best books list for 2012, and it’s very much a horror novel. Justin Cronin’s The Passage is post-apocalyptic horror, complete with jump-and-startle moments familiar to any horror movie fan.
Of course authors who come from within the genre are writing superbly creepy horror novels that are of equal quality to any “literary” title. Some names off the top of my head: Glen Hirshberg. Ted Kosmatka. Sarah Langan. Robert Jackson Bennett. Laird Barron. Lee Thomas. Peter Straub. I omit Caitlín R. Kiernan only because she hates to be called a “horror writer” but she writes wonderful dark fiction that any horror fan would love and any New Yorker reader would appreciate.
Also, how exactly is a commercial genre doomed if it stays commercial? Isn’t the whole point of commercialism that you sell a lot of books? Is this some new meaning of “doomed” with which I was previously unacquainted?
Prose quality is not the only measure of a book, or of a genre–but if it were, horror would measure up just fine.
Hat tip to Andrew Porter for the original link.