Author Portrait: Clive Barker

While Clive Barker first and foremost is a writer and novelist, he shot to worldwide fame with the release of 1987’s Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart from the same year. Not only was the movie unlike any other horror movies that had come before it; Hellraiser introduced one of the most memorable, iconic and enigmatic charaters on the horror scene, period: the notorious Pinhead. Clive also injected clever dialogue and true, original plot into the movie (which he also directed), and the film’s cult status was inevitable.

Since then Clive has published a host of novels, such as: The imaginative Weaveworld; Cabal, where us humans are shown for the monsters we are; the sprawling The Great and Secret Show and Everville, together forming the “Books of the Art”; The Thief of Always, which echoes the writing of other brilliant authors such as Neil Gaiman; and Galilee, which takes American history and runs with it (quite fast and far). The collection Books of Blood is also important as it meant immediate success for Clive Barker in the world of literary horror, nabbing both the World Fantasy Award as well as the British Fantasy Award.

Most of his novels have a number of things in common, such the way supernatural beings have everyday and sometimes mundane issues – they talk, think, plan, bicker, doubt themselves, love and fight. And more often than not, in terms of their looks, they’re pretty strange and original. Clive Barker also never shies away from topics such as murder, blood, orgies and sex, which typically play a great role in his works and usually are shown in all their (literal) details. Violence and suffering follows the same rule – expect a no-hold-barred approach to pain. As for plots, they’re often bigger than life; his books are brimming with protagonists and storylines. Clive Barker’s writing is not for the queasy or narrow-minded.

Another stand-out feature of Clive Barker is his writing itself – his prose. Clive is a hugely talented author who doesn’t underestimate his audience’s reading skills, and his books are beautifully written – a nice contrast to his often gruesome tales. Along with the sometimes complex plots, this means that some books can be challenging, but Clive doesn’t use those pretty words for nothing. It’s all about setting an atmosphere – the unique Barker tone, if you will – so once you’ve been sucked in by his storytelling, you won’t notice the passages of “flowery” writing.

If you’re new to Clive Barker and want a few good starting points, try the Books of Blood collection or Cabal. If you’re up for something more meaty, go for The Great and Secret Show and Everville.

And brace yourself.

/ Ruefus

Don’t miss our free desktop wallpapers that celebrate Clive Barker and his books "The Great and Secret Show" and "Everville"!
Free Desktop Wallpaper Clive Barker Raising Hell (Hellraiser and Pinhead) Free Desktop Wallpaper Clive Barker, "The Great and Secret Show" and"Everville"

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