Thursday, December 23, 2010

Be My Victim: A Discussion with Laird Barron on Literary Horror and Anti-Intellectualism - Laird Barron and Lee Thomas

"LT: And it has become increasingly difficult to know who you can believe when it comes to recommendations. When I first dove into horror publishing about nine years ago, I had no idea there was such a thriving small press. I'd visit message boards and read glowing recommendations for books and authors I hadn't heard of. If the threads on those boards were to be believed - and I believed them - I expected to be reading absolutely brilliant, cutting edge horror titles. The books came. I read them. Soon... sadness ensued. A few of the books were excellent, a couple were good, but most were page-meet-flame infuriating. I began to see the friendly (if misguided) support, and the back scratching that was going on. Checking review sites didn't help much, because many of the reviewers were reviewing friends, or were authors themselves, and there was the distinct impression said reviewers didn't want to alienate anyone in the publishing food chain. So all reviews were positive to the point of raves. The incestuous nature of the community became apparent, and I began to see how difficult this wire was to balance. Difficult because new writers need support. They need encouragement, especially from their peers because many folks in their long-term support system - family, friends - might not understand or appreciate their fascination with dark material. But so much of this support now occurs in public, sometimes highly visible forums, and it is promoting a product - a book. These acts of kindness to a talent-in-the-making can be acts of cruelty to a reader."

4 out of 5