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Posted on Monday, June 27, 2005 - 09:20 am:   

In fiction, is there an optimum level of Horror that truly terrifies? A maximum, after which it simply disgusts or self-defeats? A minimum under which it is not Horror fiction at all?

And have all Horror subjects/styles now been exhausted within those two parameters?

Is there no upper level of horror description that can be self-defeating? If there is no such level, that means there are some reading tastes that ever search for the ultimate gross-out and, therefore, the level will continue to rise to cater for an ever-renewable upper parameter till the end of the world?

But what about the lower parameter, too?

If you see the ultimate horror as a central pillar or core ... and radiating from that core ... the further one goes from that core, the clearer or more crystallised (yet more permeating of the area through which one sees it) the core becomes and potentially more horrific.

This changes slightly my earlier mini-essay on The Ominous Imagination orginally worded as:

My greatest love in fiction is the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core that I find in most sorts of literature, old and new, literary and otherwise.

For me, this core should be and is being expanded by the current vogue in fiction genre-crossing and genre-betweening (Interstitiality), i.e. acting like a magnet, and making other fiction traditions conducive to the 'Horror' spirit or, as I would like it to be called, The Ominous Imagination. Indeed, I believe, most good fiction is (and has always been) imbued with and steeped in this type of imaginative spirit, in any event.

This is really what, when articulated, I have been trying to do in ‘Nemonymous’, especially if you ignore its radical aspects of Anonymity etc. for a moment. All issues contain stories each of which are representative of a different fiction genre/tradition as well as stories that, actually within themselves, contain various genres/traditions -- but all, inevitably, with the Ominous Imagination.

Those who publish genre-specific outlets in the Horror fiction field, for example, perhaps allow the hard-fought beach-heads of 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' to crumble and separate out, thus allowing these particles of fiction already gathered for the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core to escape from that core because such genre-narrowing outlets tend to crystallise that core AS a core rather than as a magnet.


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