When I started writing for Pajiba, I was but a young man, full of dreams and hope. Somehow I’d never realized that Clive Barker was an author and one that I should read. I’d heard his name, but it had been in the context of “Clive Barker’s What What” in video games and movies. So I thought he was a producer or a brand name and didn’t investigate further. Honestly, most of my stories about how I learned about various pop culture things can be summarized as inexplicable ignorance and misinformation followed by late blooming appreciative enlightenment. Insert your innuendo in your endo right here.
In fact, one of the articles I wrote in my first few months on the site was a review/comparison of the movie Hellraiser and the novella The Hellbound Heart. It’s here, and it’s so old that none of the pictures or most of the HTML even work anymore. Of course there’s a single comment from TK down at the bottom even though none of the comments transitioned from the old system to Disqus … what I’m saying is that TK can bend space and time.
In any case, Barker is fantastic. Hellbound Heart is fantastic. An entire pile of his novels and especially his short story collections are just wonderful. Then there’s that other pile, that has been the one most frequently added to over the last two decades, the pile that just doesn’t work as well. For instance, the Quiddity novels started out fantastic, and then got really really weird. Somewhere the dense core of horror mutated into magical realism, and it just didn’t work for me. Clive Barker is an excellent author when he’s writing horror. Not so much when he seems to be channeling a creepy version of Neil Gaiman.
So I’m very excited that Barker is getting back to my favorites, with a sequel to Hellbound Heart called The Scarlet Gospels. Pinhead is back, because as Barker said last year: “Pinhead needed to say goodbye. He had a farewell speech to make. It was truly as simple as that”. Such words to tell us. Here’s the plot blurb:
“The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker’s most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D’Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with bated breath for years, and it’s everything they’ve begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker’s horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories. The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?”
It’s a full length novel rather than a novella, and it’s slated for release in the next few weeks. And the first couple of chapters are available online to read here, in fancy PDF form nonetheless.
(source: Daily Dead)