Clive Barker has been to hell

Image Credit: Clive


So I recently finished reading Clive Barker’s most recent, “The Scarlet Gospels.” Actually it was a little over a month ago, but I’ve been swamped recently so I’m just now getting back into my rhythm here on ye olde personal website. Love the new day job, but I gots to keep my other side going too.


I have always liked Stephen King, not simply as an acknowledged master of the horror genre but also as a writer’s writer who just never stops producing. Writers write, and Stephen King steadily writes, regardless of whether his last book was a smash-up success, or maybe not so much. It’s always on to the next story, the next stop on his imagination.

But when I first read Clive Barker, it was like I suddenly knew what hell would actually feel like. And King, who has praised Barker to the skies, is fully aware of Barker’s gifts. It’s not like he doesn’t know. It’s not like anyone who knows how to read, I mean really read,  doesn’t know. You know a master when you see one. With the best of Stephen King, I always enjoyed the ride. There were great characters, and always the right amount of perversity and sick twists that made a fan of horror grin.

But when I read Barker, I can’t always say that the word ‘enjoy’ is the first one that comes to mind as a descriptive term for what I have just experienced. King writes about horror as someone with the perception of someone with an incredible imagination. Barker writes about horror as someone who has lived through it all and is simply recounting all that he has seen. I would never want to take a stroll through Clive Barker’s imagination.

With King, I never felt like what I was reading was anything I had to be worried about, and thank God for that. But with Barker, I start to think much more seriously about maybe leading my life as a better person. Because if this  is where I’m headed if I screw up my life, then…


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