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Stories With Spine

Photo (c) Richard Büttner: http://www.munichphotos.com/

Everyone who loves scary stories has favourite elements they can’t get enough of. Some want to drench themselves in blood and gore, others get their kick out of creepy, enclosed spaces. And if you are like me, it is skulls and bones that send a thrill of delight down your spine.

So when I was researching monsters for the next Kalbrandt Institute Archives book, naturally there would be skeletons involved.

Expanding The Horizon

While dead bodies are the classic stuff of horror, our beloved genre of fear and death tends to limit the role of skeletons to atmospheric purposes. An old battlefield littered with bones for effect, that sort of thing. At best, a few grinning skulls in a corner get to warn the Hero (m/f) that the current locale is a Dangerous Place™, but otherwise a dead body is only interesting when it’s fresh. Or still moving.

But bones have so much more potential than that. A dead bag of flesh must have died recently, whereas bones, under the right circumstances, can be millennia old. That time span alone opens a world of possibilities. But it also changes the questions that the audience wants to know the answer to.

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Resolving Unresolved Resolutions

Guest Post by Cael Kalbrandt

 

It’s January 8th, high time to assess the damage done to your New Year’s Resolutions. Come on, be honest: have any of them even made it this far?

Didn’t think so. And don’t bother denying you made any. Even the half-hearted ones count for the purpose of this little treatise.

new years resolutions

Changing Digits

It’s human nature to ride the current of a momentous change. When your whole world is upset, for good or for bad, the ensuing chaos makes it easier to introduce other changes. Or you dig in and hold on to what you know. Humanity is fickle…

For some unfathomable reason, changing a digit on a calendar is considered so momentous, it warrants making radical changes. Never mind that the digits on the calendar change all the time. Every. Single. Day. Yet for some people it’s impossible to quit smoking on October 3rd or start going to the gym on April 25th.

Fair enough, I say. If January 1st is genuinely the only opportunity you see to make changes in your life, take it. It would be a waste to sleep off your hangover, wake up on the 2nd and realise you’ll be stuck in this rut for another 364 days! 365, even, if it’s a leap year.

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Fair Game for Self-Publishing

Little did I know that one business trip would change everything for this shy self-publishing author.

Frank furt Buchmess Book Fair self-publishing

“It’s huge,” my friend warned me before I left. “I’ve been there, and really, you’ll need days to see it all.”  She was, of course, talking about the…

Frankfurt Book Fair

As it turned out, needing days hadn’t been an exaggeration:

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Where Has The Horror Gone?

In the age of mass media, horror enthusiasts needn’t go to a bookstore or cinema to get their fix. And for once, it’s not the Internet that is to blame.

horror

A Dying Fire

Every day and every night, the syndicate news channels spew one horror story after another. There is enough drama to satisfy our every craving for fear and terror. And should the world fail to be on fire, the news writers add drama to whatever is happening with a few choice words: calling a collision a “car accident” doesn’t turn any heads, but “disaster” still gets a response.

It’s no secret that we are desensitising at an alarming rate. Hundreds get killed in a natural cataclysm, yet we shrug and check our Facebook status. News outlets desperately try to fan the flames of this dying fire by using ever more superlatives, but fact remains that the number of people who give f*** all about anything is dwindling faster than ever before.

You can only fan a flame so many times before it starves.

Horrific Methods

Unfortunately, the horror side of the entertainment industry feeds off that same dying fire. The audience isn’t scared – or even mildly uneasy – unless they care. Unless they empathise with at least one of the characters and their situation. The artists’ job is to make them care. Feed the fire, as it were.

But that has become an uphill battle in all media.

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Comparing Virtues – Part 2: Watching TV

Last time in this modern debate of reading a book versus watching TV, we discussed some of the benefits and problems of reading books.

Now it is time to take the argument to the screen.

Photo: espensorvik via Flickr

Effortless Entertainment

More than anything, watching TV is effortless. Where computer games require interaction and movement (of your thumbs, at the very least), TV doesn’t even require you to stay awake.

You sit, you consume,