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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2008 - 08:48 pm:   

Am I the only one that thinks this seems like the sort of big statement you'd make at an AA meeting?

What's going on!

The big photo surrounded by a supportive family.

It's like he's making a confession and glad to get it off his chest at last.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2008 - 09:26 pm:   

I called it a tirade, recently. Reading it again today it seemed ok. Sorry, Rams.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.179.94
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2008 - 10:23 pm:   

I think it's a splendid introduction, and a refreshing one, given how many writers one encounters today who are all to eager to distance themselves from the "horror" label.

It's nice to see Ramsey's family, too - I've never seen them all together.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 12:12 am:   

It most certainly is not a confession. Of what? Try reading it again.

Is it the opening sentences quoted as the title of this thread that are causing the problem? Anyone recognise a similarity?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 12:53 am:   

It's a big statement all right. I make it on behalf of my field.
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Richard_gavin (Richard_gavin)
Username: Richard_gavin

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.157.28.165
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 05:26 am:   

Ramsey wrote: "It's a big statement all right. I make it on behalf of my field."

And the majority of the field thanks you for it, Ramsey.

I agree with Huw; there's far too much prudish recoiling from the word horror, especially by practitioners of the form. One of the things I've always liked about Ramsey is that he's never strayed or turned his back on the field. Yet, look at the man's body of work. Its diversity evidences just how maleable and far-reaching horror fiction can be when it's executed with skill and care.

Best,
Richard
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.183.134.210
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 10:47 am:   

I wouldn't expect anything less from such a modern master such as Mr Campbell. The genre meeds more like-minded souls.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 11:56 am:   

I enjoyed the madness of it. Ramsey is my favourite madman.

Not that he says anything unreal.

There's a street in my city that I'm sure is not real.

I'm going in like Ramsey, to find out. If I don't return then you'll know what happened. If I do return and I seem different, then you also know what happened.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.151.135.41
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:32 pm:   

Ramsey first made the same statement around 1975, so it's certainly not a confession or soul-baring. I take it to be a statement that the filed should not be subdivided into mutually exclusive camps, in the way done both by readers of Fangoria ('horror equals gore, end of story') and by some neo-traditionalists ('ghost stories are not repeat not horror, the former is literature and the latter is filth'). It's an admirable piece, I think.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.151.135.41
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:34 pm:   

Albie, if you don't come back but the street becomes different, we'll appreciate your self-sacrifice. It will be known as Rue Albie in your memory, and people will go there from all over this world and the next to read the griffitti on its decaying walls.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.151.135.41
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:35 pm:   

Graffiti, sorry.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:43 pm:   

I think Ramsey's new intro is magnificent. A reassertion (if nen were needed) of his intent regards writing fiction. More writers of Ramsey;'s stature need to embrace the "horror writer" tag and snatch it away from the mindless hacks who try to claim it as their own.

Joel has it right when he says that the field should not be subdivided. Horror is a broad chuech - perhaps the broadest of all genres.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:43 pm:   

broad church, even.

(sigh...these fat boxers fingers of mine)
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:48 pm:   

Hear-hear
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:03 pm:   

Mr. Campbell wrote:

'However, the field is capable of much more, and frequently succeeds as satire or as comedy (however black), as social comment, as psychological enquiry, and perhaps best of all when it aspires to the awesome, the sense of something larger than can be directly shown. One reason I stay in the field is that I haven稚 found its boundaries.'

And we are grateful for the work and look forward to more of it! I completly agree with the above statement and remain an avid reader.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:05 pm:   

Talking of scorn of the genre and defences of it, some of you may be staggered by this from the review of Conrad's The Unblemished from SFX:

"Everyone thinks they've got a novel in them. Some people do, and around 23% of those who try will come up with something we'll enjoy reading. The other 77% seem to drawn to horror fiction."

Yowch!
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:09 pm:   

" broad church, even."

Funny you should talk about a broad church as that is what I found down that street that isn't real.
A posh house that was built for monks 200 hundred years ago. Broad and as before unseen by me. I bet it didn't exist until I found it.

Suberting the horror tradition of it once existing but now no longer does, yet is seen by me.

I keep abreast of recent upgrades in architectural bogeyman antics.

(But I MUST go back there! I MUST!)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:17 pm:   

"Everyone thinks they've got a novel in them. Some people do, and around 23% of those who try will come up with something we'll enjoy reading. The other 77% seem to drawn to horror fiction."

Unfortunately, this sounds about right to me. At least in the small press.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:20 pm:   

Who says that? Not Campbell!
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:23 pm:   

But to get back to me and my street I made up with weirdness...

d

Welcome to my pointless meanderings
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:27 pm:   

'Unfortunately, this sounds about right to me. At least in the small press.'

I don't know if that is completly true for me. I do find that the standard in the small presses publishing horror and the dark fantastic is mostly very high. Since not too many people are reading, the small press has to stick with the quality. Not always true of course, as there will be crap produced and released, but still...
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.179.94
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 02:41 pm:   

Albie, good luck on your expeditions.

Have you read Jean Ray's 'The Shadowy Street' (aka 'The Tenebrous Alley')? If not, I think you'd like it. It's weird in the best sense of the word. He also wrote the equally good 'The Mainz Psalter'. Great stuff.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.151.135.41
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 03:14 pm:   

SFX is mostly read by the kind of SF fans who think an original novel is a novelisation in advance of a TV series or film that hasn't been made yet.
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Richard_gavin (Richard_gavin)
Username: Richard_gavin

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 65.92.53.6
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 03:45 pm:   

Joel wrote:
"SFX is mostly read by the kind of SF fans who think an original novel is a novelisation in advance of a TV series or film that hasn't been made yet."

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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 04:17 pm:   

Thank you, Dorothy Parker!

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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 79.70.90.1
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 04:31 pm:   

I remember some editors in America saying horror should be called Dark Fiction and I thought WTF! On my site it says horror writer and I mean it. Horror can be anything from disturbing to slash.
Wholeheartedly agree with Ramsey's comment, "Horror is a branch of literature."
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.179.94
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 05:57 pm:   

SFX is pretty shallow - they give mediocre films 5 star ratings all the time, and their reviews of Asian movies are usually way, way off the mark.

DEATHRAY is a much better mag.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 12:23 pm:   

Problem is, some people who are young and may want to read some gory fiction could be put off from more psychological horror forver if they buy it by accident and don't get what they want.

I would say rename slashier fiction rather than classical horror. I think I'm right in saying that subtle horror came first and earned the title of horror.

Didn't it? What was the earliest form of horror fiction? Could we deal with the fact that it might have been more like Hutson or Guy N Smith?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.98.9.4
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 04:58 pm:   

Grendel and Beowulf strikes me as being a great early horror story. I wouldn't say it was subtle though...
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Michael_kelly (Michael_kelly)
Username: Michael_kelly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 207.188.67.247
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 05:12 pm:   

I think it is a great introduction. Elegant, reasoned, and passionate.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.234.125
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 06:05 pm:   

OEDIPUS REX was 5th Century B.C. Athens' THE SIXTH SENSE.

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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.234.125
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 06:10 pm:   

[walking away from the arena]

"Holy crap, Fisticuffs! Did you see that twist coming?!"

"No way, Testicles! We gotta see that one again from the beginning...."

"Is it out on dvd yet?"
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 06:23 pm:   

If you go into the children's fiction section of your bookstore, you'll see a very good way of shelving books: alphabetically. Thus do you get ghost stories next to social realism, science fiction and fantasy alongside books about dirty underpants. Sounds good to me.

Not all of Ramsey's fiction is horror; not all ghost stories need to be horror tales, though some disagree; not all horror stories need to be ghost stories.

But we know this. So I'll shut up.

More power to your writing arm, Ramsey, wherever your books are shelved.
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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 07:01 pm:   

"I think it is a great introduction. Elegant, reasoned, and passionate."

Yes, it is.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2008 - 11:46 am:   

Sigh. If only the adult section was as interesting as the kids one...
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 11:06 am:   

Which book was first labelled specifically HORROR though. I bet you'd struggle to find out.

And if took a census of the general public which authors would turn up?

King? Never Ramsey or Aickman or anyone subtle.

I would say King was pretty much down the centre on styles of horror.
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Stephen Melling (Steve_melling)
Username: Steve_melling

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 87.113.4.87
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:29 pm:   

Does anyone who attended the 2006 bfs convention in Nottingham remember the Clive Barker panel? Such was the downbeat conversation - because of Clive's meanderings, I think - it was likened by an audience member to an AA meeting. Clive Barker quipped: "Yeah right, my name's Clive Barker and I'm a horror writer..." something to that effect anyway.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 08:59 pm:   

Steve - I found Barker's pane incredibly inspiring (despite the banal questions he was asked - thank God he went off on a tangent).
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 09:00 pm:   

Hang on - I'm talking about the Q&A session.
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.93.30.31
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 09:34 pm:   

And Barker is getting well again after being ill for a while -which is excellent news. Waiting for my Earthling limited of Hellbound Heart any day now! (One of my favourite novellas.)
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.144.18.147
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 09:10 am:   

Clive Barker not well?

What was up with him Karim?

gcw
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 09:32 am:   

He made the following statement on his website:

"Over the past couple of years at signings, people have often come up to me saying, 'Your voice doesn't sound too good, are you OK?' So, to all those people who have shown me kindness and concern, I would like to say 'Thank You'. There was an issue - I have had polyps on my throat which has constricted my breathing and affected my voice - and this has just recently been addressed, with great success.

"I am feeling far healthier and more energetic! I may be a little less talkative for a short while, but it's all good news and I want to make a point of thanking all of you who have shown concern - it has been much appreciated..."


http://www.clivebarker.info/newsmarch08.html
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 11:51 am:   

More like steroids if you ask me.
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 01:02 pm:   

He could probably kick your ass with his buttocks Albie :-) No wait that was China Mieville. ;-)
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.249.109.131
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 11:25 pm:   

I really liked the article. It's nice to hear a promenant writer proclaim that he writes horror without trying to hide it. I love horror fiction, Ramsey Campbell's in particular.
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Tom English (Deadletterpress)
Username: Deadletterpress

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.54.92.149
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 03:10 am:   

Hey, Matt! Nice to see you here!
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.249.109.131
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 03:30 am:   

Hey Tom,

Good to see you here as well. Have you got a chance to relax yet after all that work getting Bound For Evil all put together and sent out? It looks great!

Matt
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 12:05 pm:   

Surley literature is a branch of horror, and not the other way around. Well, considering what passes for literature is people doing nothing out of the ordinary.

I doubt anything Ian McEwan every wrote anything that would have made it to Greek mythology or campfire story telling.

Surely "literature" is just boring middle class soap opera horror.

(that's not a question. It is a demand. Step aside, coming through!)
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Tom English (Deadletterpress)
Username: Deadletterpress

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.54.92.149
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 06:20 am:   

Matt,
Not really. See how long it took me to respond? Btw, did you receive that art from AK?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 09:18 am:   

Albie; apparently Cement Garden was a bit horrory. I read bits and it sounded like Ramsey. Also Enduring Love sounded a bit horror-like, too (the balloon bit in the film was horrible, anyway).
I think the fate of horror, what did for it, was to be accepted, which I think it was. This acceptance let it out of its pen and it dissappeared into everything else, it's litle head bobbing up now and then in unexpected places.
Need to email you, btw; been on kidwatch all week as it's the school hols, and not had any time (same goes for anyone else not hearing from me!).
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.193.32
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 09:46 am:   

I'd certainly say that THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS could qualify as horror. Haven't read any of his others yet, philistine that I am.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.159.65.204
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 11:18 am:   

'Surely "literature" is just boring middle class soap opera horror.'

Albie, don't you believe it. British (and specifically English) 'literary' fiction has long suffered from what Al Alvarez calls 'the gentility principle': everything is viewed through a filter of middle-class detachment and politeness. But the exceptions are impressive and important, especially in recent times. Irvine Welsh's TRAINSPOTTING is the tip of an iceberg of new Brit fiction that loooks to American and European influences in representing the darker side of life. Try James Kelman, Janice Galloway, Niall Griffiths, Richard House, Joolz Denby, Philip Ridley, Gwendoline Riley, Ron Butler and others. The dark, blood-spattered streets of Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Bradford, East London. Not a cosy vicarage tea party anywhere in sight. Most horror fiction is safe and nostalgic by comparison.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 12:13 pm:   

You mean miserable literature?

But that is soap opera. Well, maybe more Sopranos than Eastenders. They are ordinary events happening to ordinary people, aren't they? I've never read their books. But genre is pretty specific enough, it seems, that I can make assumptions.

None of their books involve anything Ligottian, do they? Examinations of a supernatural aspect to misery and evil? They are just people having shit dumped on them. Or in other words: the everyday.

I mean, if they do involve such supernatural aspects then they straight away become horror fiction. Or crime fiction, if the plot is centered around murder etc. Rather than the supposed genreless catagory they have aspired to by their every word.

Unless it's the middle class bit you are arguing. These books may involve the lower classes but are they written by them? That's my point. They are written by the middle class for the middle class.

Even Irvine Welsh seems beyond the gutter.
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 90.203.130.47
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 12:23 pm:   

As if no-one's guessed, I actually find it's more horrible sometimes when whatever dreadful goings-on are viewed, not exactly with a filter, but from a middle class point of view. But then they alwaya say write what you know, don't they?

"Surely "literature" is just boring middle class soap opera horror. "

But surely the one thing horror should never be is boring - if it is then it's failed
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 12:33 pm:   

I use the term boring because I assume the real events would take place in a real world to realish people. Which I would instantly find dull.

Sorry, humans. I prefer you when you are merely eyes viewing the impossible.

Or the merely fantastic.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 12:37 pm:   

I mean, a story doesn't have to be badly written to be of no interest. I'm sure these books are fine for some.

But the news headlines are about as near as I like to get to people's dirty laundry.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 01:30 pm:   

But isn't horror fiction largely written by the middle class? Mine is.
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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 04:27 pm:   

I don't want to get trapped in an A-level sociology debate on social stratification, but I have to ask:

Aren't most published authors middle or upper class?
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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 04:31 pm:   

I think words like working class, middle class and upper class are emotive, loaded and hard to define. [A level sociology hat off/]
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 04:35 pm:   

And on the horror versus literature argument, let's remember that Christine Campbell Thompson declared as an anthologist that she had set her face against literature. Most of the contents were rock-bottom rubbish.
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.249.109.131
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 05:07 pm:   

"Matt,
Not really. See how long it took me to respond? Btw, did you receive that art from AK?"


Yes, I did and I very much appreciated it. I'm trying to find a picture frame to for it, so I can put it on my wall in my writing room. It was neat to have such a telented artist read my story and do artwork based off of it. My first published sale went so well with you and Dead Letter Press that now I may be a bit spoiled.
Thanks again,
Matt
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Tom English (Deadletterpress)
Username: Deadletterpress

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.54.92.149
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 10:32 pm:   

Matt,
Spoiled? By moi? Nah! Let's just say I'm a "golden rule" kind of guy.

Alas, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before some insensitive editor breaks your creative heart. But get even with that editor: keep on writing!
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.249.109.131
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 - 11:45 pm:   

"Alas, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before some insensitive editor breaks your creative heart. But get even with that editor: keep on writing!"

I'm working on some stuff now that I hope to have done in time for the May 1st deadline. So we'll see how it goes. There are so many great writers in the horror field that I always assume mine will be a long shot but the deadlines keep me trying.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 12:27 pm:   

It's not the middle class bit that's important. That was just a dig. It's the "soap opera" bit that's key.
Horror, as Ramsey writes it, is not middle class soap opera. Although THE LAST SAFE PLACE was enough so that I stopped reading it.

Ramsey's horror isn't really about people's relations to other people. Shock horror!

Although it does have that element. For me it's about one man handling a version of himself that has been vomited up into an external bogeyman.

Or it is simply about being attacked by a maniacal form of the outside world. Soaps are about people and other people, all normal, even if some of them are mad or evil.

There's no working stuff out in Horror. No dealing with things and getting on with life. The bogeyman comes to life and you die. End of.


Why does literature have to be seen to be probing and cathartic? I've never heard anything wise while watching review programs when they are discussing contemporay fiction. I haven't learned anything that I didn't already know about people when I read so called literature.

Didn't these people go to school? Didn't they get what people are like? Of course. They are middle class. I forgot.

Literature writers seem completely entranced by tiny facets of humanity as if they have only just encountered them. Which is probably true.

They are like children. In my opinion.

Ramsey doesn't patronise us by focusing in on these little things. When he makes a character he assumes we already know enough about people that they can be mad or neurotic or bad or completely dysfunctional.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 12:37 pm:   

It is semantics. The term "literature" has been stolen by a type of fiction, rather than simply being a term that denotes good writing.

Although I would say that Ramsey's fiction contains just enough of that Ian McEewen type of thing to elevate it.

Just enough.

I guess I just don't give a fig about human feelings that have been around forever. My mind is full of weird feelings that spring from nowhere and are impossible to conjure willingly.

A lot of them were put there by the likes of Campbell. Some are my own.

They don't have names. They aren't a genre in Waterstones.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 06:44 pm:   

>>it, is not middle class soap opera. Although THE LAST SAFE PLACE was enough so that I stopped reading it.

Hmm. You probably didn't get onto the chav estate, which may well have predicted the Shannon matthews case somewhat, then.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 06:46 pm:   

>>They don't have names. They aren't a genre in Waterstones.

Give it time. There's a horrible lives biography section in some now. You know, A CHILD CALLED IT, TIS, UGLY, REARED IN THE DONKEY'S DROPPINGS, etc.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 12:25 am:   

Yes, that Monty Python sketch sort of literature. All seriously very horrible and tragic lives made annoying by their being herded into a catchpenny form.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 03:54 pm:   

Some of them are pure bullshit, Tony. It's fun spotting them. One was about a supposed jewish girl fleeing the Nazis, but she got found out recently as a fake. The bit where she was reared in the forest by wolves [No shit, she really wrote that] after escaping one of the concentration camps was investigated and found to be . . . like the res tof the book . . . a fib.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 03:56 pm:   

Mind, if Ramsey expanded his essay at the start of FACE THAT MUST DIE to book length, I'm sure it would be an enormously powerful read. And probably a bestseller too. Not sure what he'd call it, though. Horror?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 09:19 pm:   

A Tragic Life Story?
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 11:52 am:   

">>it, is not middle class soap opera. Although THE LAST SAFE PLACE was enough so that I stopped reading it.

Hmm. You probably didn't get onto the chav estate, which may well have predicted the Shannon matthews case somewhat, then."

Yep, that's why I stopped reading. No offence, Ramsey, but do you really know what's going on in the head of a chav?

I hope not.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 11:57 am:   

What I'm trying to say is that stuff that is too near real life isn't going to expand you. If it is designed to do anything it is to manipulate you. To instruct you on how to be more middle class.
And if it is more like horror, than it IS horror. Just BAD horror.

Also, if you want to read some really bad prose try the first few pages of McEwan's ENDURING LOVE.

Pyew! I can still smell them.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 01:54 pm:   

"do you really know what's going on in the head of a chav?"

Very little, apart from a large white screen showing images of casual violence; a runway with disembodied tracksuits walking up and down, jiggling; spotty bums glimpsed through grubby windows; empty prams blown by fart-stinking winds along Farm Foods carparks. Fire. The smell of hubbabubba chewing gum. The sound of an old lady giggling as she masturbates with half a cucumber bought from Morrisons.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 02:24 pm:   

"No offence, Ramsey, but do you really know what's going on in the head of a chav?"

Well, the Fancy family was based on the kind of people my wife met (and meets) routinely while she's teaching. I should think I've as much insight into them as into John Horridge, say, or Hector Woollie.
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.249.109.131
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 05:37 pm:   

>>> Well, the Fancy family was based on the kind of people my wife met (and meets) routinely while she's teaching. I should think I've as much insight into them as into John Horridge, say, or Hector Woollie.

Just out of curiosity, where did you get the inspiration for Smilemimme from The Grin of the Dark? that was a very real feeling character.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 07:13 pm:   

>>based on the kind of people my wife met (and meets) routinely while she's teaching.

A teacher friend of mine says she tries to marry up the kids' tattoos with their parents' on parents' evening.
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Mark_lynch (Mark_lynch)
Username: Mark_lynch

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.74.96.200
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 07:19 pm:   

Albs, surely writing's about using sympathetic imagination to picture the lives and thoughts of others.

James Herbert has a good line about it's harder to write down than up. By which he means it's easier for him, from his East End background, to write about a "toff" than it is for a "toff" to write about a "chav". To over simplify what he says. I think he's probably right. Ramsey himself has pointed out something similar, in the work of a guy writing a vampire series, whose working class characters weren't to be believed.

If anything, I think the protrayal of the family in ONE SAFE PLACE has gained in impact because fo the people in such society that it depicts. And don't forget the scene under the bed . . . Who'd've thunk you could have such a case in real life?!
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 07:19 pm:   

"Just out of curiosity, where did you get the inspiration for Smilemimme from }The Grin of the Dark?

From far too many people who infest the Internet, but none specifically.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:16 pm:   

Well, I don't know how you depicted the Fancy family. Maybe I shouldn't assume it is how McEwan or Tony Parsons would have done.

Although I felt safe to assume you gave it a political angle. In so much as you presented the middle class understanding of chavs; be it a wrong or right understanding.

Books that have a social agenda, that are about people interacting with people, seem suspicious to me. In the same way that those christian horror books about the end of the world (LEFT BEHIND) are obviously laden with an agenda about painting a picture of what people are like, in their eyes.

What's the difference with McEwan or Parsons? Aren't they writing about what happens when the middle class do something lower class? Aren't they instructing the middle class how to be middle class? Aren't they stuffed with subtle references to what books and what wine to drink?

Hidden amongst the usual "I'm not getting on with my wife or my life" plot?

In the same way that the lower classes would read a car magazine or watch SHAMELESS?

When our parents have stopped teaching us how to be what class we are who do we turn to for the latest upgrades, if not Tony Parsons and the BNP?

Some would say Ramsey is teaching the middle class how to feel about fear and evil and the void left by religion and meaning.

Which is fine because you are dealing with stuff that is personal to each individual. How I deal with death will only ever affect my imagination of death.

But people like Parsons teach people what it means to interact with other people in a middle class way, and it seems like programming to me.

In the same way as Eastenders is.

You don't watch/read fiction about real, everyday events. You either go and have a real life and do it for real as you were meant to as a human being or you indulge in wild fantasy as an occasional escape from the real, or you indulge in ideas like death or madness which are both real and unreal; as a means to feel superior to every other idiot.

Now, I want to smell burning books by the end of the morning.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:27 pm:   

"You don't watch/read fiction about real, everyday events."

I do. Not all the time, certainly, but not none of the time either. For instance, La Notte, which I watched yesterday in the great new Eureka restoration, is very much about them, but they're transformed by Antonioni's style.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.197
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:34 pm:   

But isn't storytelling absolutely central to most people during their lifelong developmental? Isn't it the main thing that shows how to "go on" in everyday life? Is there any difference between reading a book about some issue you're concerned with, and going down the pub to talk it through with your mates: aren't both processes simply about lending narrative cohesion to our lives? And both strategies will involve tacit social agendas, just as parenting does, etc. There's no escape from that.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:39 pm:   

But what do you take from it?

Surely anything like this is a faux experience warped by the director's and author's agenda.

They are hardened plastic events sticking to you. Masquerading as realistic. SIMULACRA.

The agenda fuelled by god knows who or what.

Like living for some time in a world made by someone you don't even know. You wouldn't let a complete stranger choose your clothes for you...yet you'd allow a stranger to play this dream in your mind?
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:42 pm:   

"But isn't storytelling absolutely central to most people during their lifelong developmental? Isn't it the main thing that shows how to "go on" in everyday life? "

Exactly What I'm saying. But who is Tony Parsons to direct your view of human interaction and expectations?

Of course, some might say that there is nothing or no one qualified to do that. And natural events happen naturally.

If nobody told us who to be would we be anything at all?
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:43 pm:   

My former response was to Ramsey, of course. The latter to you, GF.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.197
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:43 pm:   

Without storytelling, we simply wouldn't develop as people. And our cultures, via the medium of parents or guardians et al, get there first, spinning its tales inside us before we know any better. So you could argue that our *own* experience is just a simulacrum. Unless you want to bring the notion of a soul into it. Wink, wink.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.197
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:46 pm:   

>>>But who is Tony Parsons to direct your view of human interaction and expectations?

Let's not presuppose a 'hypodermic' model of such influence. People can sift through whatever sources they draw upon, make judgements about their worth. That's a choice we have. But better that than live in a vacuum in which no other voices reach us, no?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.77.197
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:51 pm:   

>>>Like living for some time in a world made by someone you don't even know.

Personally, I think that its fiction's strength and that for that reason it should be cherished. Imagine being trapped in the 'agenda' you were set at birth!
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 01:08 pm:   

Sure, our parents get there first. And we can only hope that their model of a human is one that will do us good.
We can hope that they didn't learn their ways from a writer who imagines a great deal of what he puts out about people.

And can we filter what we see and learn? Sure.

I'm not saying these books are dangerous. I just wonder why they would be read as entertainment.
And why they crop up so much on Newsnight Review.

Might it be that the people who make these shows are the same people who read the books?

Aren't the reviewers writers of these kind of books too?

Yep.

The initial question is why horror is seen as lower class. I'm ticking the box next to discriminatory middle class authors.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.121.214.11
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 02:58 pm:   

What's the difference between listening to your mates tell stories down the pub about what they did last week and reading fiction set in the real world? Assuming that people embellish their stories in the pub to make them more interesting... there's not much.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 03:12 pm:   

I didn't mean listening to others tell stories. I was referring to the way we story our own lives by seeking recourse to the opinions of others.

"This happened to me recently. Am I right in thinking..." etc.

Thus the story is constructed between ourselves and others, and I guess a similar process is at work when we read books. Almost unwittingly, we seek hedonic relevance, the better to make sense of our experience which, without a narrative form, makes little sense.

I'm not saying that's all fiction does, but I am saying it's a major motivational factor in our choice of reading material.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 04:38 pm:   

"But what do you take from it?"

A great deal of aesthetic pleasure and, I must admit, a sense that as a writer I owe more to Antonioni than I realised. The sense of urban alienation in this film (which I first saw when I was sixteen) is often close to terror, and I imagine that fed into my early post-Lovecraftian stuff.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 09:05 pm:   

If I'd seen LA NOTTE when I was sixteen, it would have been life-changing. Seeing A CLOCKWORK ORANGE at that age was damage enough. If I'd seen Antonioni's films then, too, I think my brain would have exploded.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 11:54 am:   

Gary- I would say that you know your friends better than you would a film maker or an author. Hence you get a more complex and necessarily contradictory view of what they may say to you. Isn't that why people devour the works of certain authors and directors? To get that better view of their world and opinions?

Ramsey- As I thought, you take more from it than a story about a man dumping a woman. Aesthetic pleasure. Which you could have taken from a source that had no human relations in it?
Alienation. Don't you feel that all the time anyway? Or is that just me. Why would you want to feel alienated? (I mean, sure, why would I want to feel scared. But then, adrenaline is moreish. I don't think darker emotions like alienation come with a similar injection of brain chemicals. Having said that, people do like to feel sorry for themselves. If you are using this film to spark off a set of weird emotions, being a cocktail of adrenal and grey emotions, then that's fine. I would get that. I don't think most people read Tony Parsons for that exploratory reason though)

Are you saying that the relationship break down in the film wasn't asking you to alter your view of the world? It wasn't trying to convince you of the auteurs' opinions?

Can you guarantee that it wasn't doing so on a level that you wouldn't be aware of?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 12:03 pm:   

"Ramsey- As I thought, you take more from it than a story about a man dumping a woman."

Well, that isn't what it's about - almost the reverse, in fact.

"Aesthetic pleasure. Which you could have taken from a source that had no human relations in it?"

I honestly don't see the problem. Why not have it from both, and many other sources too?

"Are you saying that the relationship break down in the film wasn't asking you to alter your view of the world? It wasn't trying to convince you of the auteurs' opinions?"

I shouldn't think so. It communicates a view of the world, like any fiction, but sharing that doesn't mean adopting it.

"Can you guarantee that it wasn't doing so on a level that you wouldn't be aware of?"

Obviously not, but so what? I just don't distrust fiction or art as a matter of course.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.236.131
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 12:22 pm:   

Doesn't that devalue art and fiction, if it is only so effective that it dents your surface temporarily and does not have any greater impact?

The invention of the story was concerned with teaching. Elders passing on what to be afraid of: gods, animals etc.

But also passing on what is expected of you.

Why would it change?

Distrust would surely lead us to examine better what we put in our minds. I mean, is anyone even scientifically examining this phenomena?

And what more subtle a medium than literature and art and such films that share that shelf?

What more subtle than a film that replicates real life in a sensory way and gradually takes you into the message of the film?

Isn't that how your fiction works? a seduction and then the message? the advert for your product? Those feelings of yours you want us to share?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 12:32 pm:   

Perhaps I should have said I don't distrust my own ability to read a text critically (which doesn't mean negatively, you understand).

I honestly don't believe I can predict or control a reader's reactions to what I write - I've had far too many instances where this clearly hasn't happened - and so I don't try. I suppose I'm trying to communicate as clearly as possible the imaginative experience I'm engaged with in writing a new piece. I'm sure my view of the world gets in there - how could it not? - but I'm not asking anyone to agree with it (as Ken Loach seems to, in my view).
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 12:44 pm:   

This is all very interesting and it reminds me of a saying which I'll paraphrase:

Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll never forget.

Fiction *involves* in a way that non-fiction does not, and is perhaps the most powerful way of affecting people.

Still, I'd argue that it's only when such material gets beyond, as it were, one's intellectual buffer and into habitual behaviour and attitude that any significant change has been affected. Maybe that's what our psyches are in part for: to provide a hesitation between experience and response in a way that, on the whole, animals lack. As I said above, the 'hypodermic' model of influence is pretty naive; we have choice.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:19 pm:   

"as Ken Loach seems to, in my view"

AHA! The culprit!

But example needs no direct invitation.

"Perhaps I should have said I don't distrust my own ability to read a text critically "

You mean the more overt side of text or film... as well as the subtler aspects you know to look for.

But you of course have said that things slip through.


"Fiction *involves* in a way that non-fiction does not, and is perhaps the most powerful way of affecting people."

But of course you are leaving real life out of this.
Although, I can't say that everything I've learned about people and life was forced in by my mother's striking hand or voice. Learning how to be, outside of fiction, can be as simple AS reading fiction. As subtle.

So we can blur the two closer together.

After all, life is just a very detailed film and our minds are rambling texts.

Although the distinction is trust. We trust the world to be there every morning. And we trust our minds to have the usual words running through it.

Anything else would be an invasion or madness.

Yet books and films we trust to an extent that we let them in, and we let ourselves into them, on the knowledge that we have the power to go back to ourselves and our world.

Although we all accept that it isn't as clear cut as that now. There is bleeding that we sometimes encourage and sometimes deny, and sometimes are unaware of.

Interesting.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:20 pm:   

I feel like I opened a panel in my head and now I can't get all the screws back in.

I hope I don't ruin the thread.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:22 pm:   

"I hope I don't ruin the thread."

And there we have a clear example of how fiction sneaks in. Ambiguity. Surely, Ramsey, your fiction is designed to slip through that net of choice.

Tee hee.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:25 pm:   

But you only use your powers for good.
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Albie (Albie)
Username: Albie

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.195.244.67
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:27 pm:   

I'm sure Tony Parsons would never use adjacent imagery to add suggestion to his plots.

Would he?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:30 pm:   

>>>Yet books and films we trust to an extent that we let them in, and we let ourselves into them, on the knowledge that we have the power to go back to ourselves and our world.

I strongly suspect that we let frequently fiction in as a substitute for the aspects of life we're wary of (mistrustful?). We can close the book, but when we set wheels rolling in everyday life, we're invariably stuck with them.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:31 pm:   

Er, doh. "...that we frequently let fiction in..."
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:34 pm:   

I guess the difference is that we have no choice but to trust the world being there, since it's an inarguable fact. Whereas books are like personal experiences within this context, a text within a text. We trust them to the extent that our concrete status in the world will remain once we're ducked in and out.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 01:41 pm:   

>>>I can't say that everything I've learned about people and life was forced in by my mother's striking hand or voice. Learning how to be, outside of fiction, can be as simple AS reading fiction. As subtle.

Indeed. But some would argue that everything we learn is storied. That the whole world is socially constructed. That knowledge is but a web of discourse authored by some human agency.
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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 07:12 pm:   

I'm always cautious about "social constructs" after the famous Social Text spoof.

More here:

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/sokal.html
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 09:24 pm:   

the whole world is socially constructed. That knowledge is but a web of discourse authored by some human agency.

I don't even know what that means. Are there any monsters in it?

;-)
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.24.122.40
Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 08:13 am:   

Griff, I can well believe how that occurred. It reminds me of John Searle's rather brilliant reflection on the notion that language constructs worlds:

"That's rather a silly idea."

I'm no defender of social constructionism in its extreme form, but even I can recognise the 'straw man' position here:

"Cultural studies, it was claimed, advanced a destabilizing idea of cultural relativity that professed all forms of knowledge (voodoo, astrology, chemistry, etc.) to be of equal worth, because all were 'socially constructed.'"

Most people working in this field are eminently sensible and doing interesting work - the Loughborough group, for instance.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.24.122.40
Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 08:14 am:   

Zed, didn't Bramley Library have that book on Foucault you were after?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 09:46 am:   

:-)
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.42.48.249
Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 07:35 pm:   

Ramsey - if you are still here - how would you like a reader to react to your work?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - 03:31 pm:   

This news story I read today immediately brought to mind a particular Ramsey Campbell story.... (Can you name which one?)

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/mystery-illness-solved-family-discovers-home -meth-lab-184815233.html
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.26.122
Posted on Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - 10:49 pm:   

I can't make these things up, Craig!

"Ramsey - if you are still here - how would you like a reader to react to your work?"

Ah - I was in Rhodes then without my password. I'd say however they feel it, Tony - I don't try to dictate the reader's response.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.17.50
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - 01:43 pm:   

But some kind of disquiet would be a welcome response!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.186.70
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 09:27 am:   

I just read a very depressing article by a reporter, Tom Davies, in 1979, saying how the film Alien was a kind of psychic black rain on humanity. Do you feel horror is good for us? How would you define the benefits of 'disquiet'? I tried to, in response to that article, but couldn't - even though I knew they were there!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.184.110.113
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 12:51 pm:   

Welcome back Tony!

For me at least good horror provides a safe scare, a welcome catharsis, a way of bringing out the darker emotions in a controlled way. I remember thinking last night watching Sinister that I hope all the films at the festival this weekend aren't as effective as that or I'll be a nervous wreck at the end of it. (Luckily there are plenty of comedies floating about as well.)

Watching/reading horror is a challenge to the creator of the work to scare you. The fact that you know they're trying to do that acts as a barrier to the fright part of the brain n any case. When it works, it's a great achievement. It's much more difficult to scare a person who knows you're trying to scare them than it is to make someone laugh that you've just told you're trying to make them laugh.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.25.54
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 01:09 pm:   

I find disquiet - certainly in art - revivifying. It's a way of shining a light on reality, physical and especially psychological. But I certainly wouldn't confine it to horror.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.61.227
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 01:59 pm:   

Odd as it may sound, reading my first Lovecraft story at age 11 - The Thing on the Doorstep - provided a feeling of relief: here was someone whose reality was even more nightmarish than my own. As to why my world should have been so bleak at such a tender age, I can't explain. More than anything else the sense of hysteria in the story struck a big chord and I wanted to read more stuff written by this guy asap.

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