Literary Essay: Ray Bradbury – The October Country

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So, Ray Bradbury’s The October Country — Is it pioneering dark fiction or classic horror fiction?

Ray Bradbury is one of America’s most distinguished writers. The author of acclaimed works Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, he has attained the status of legend deservedly. His death in 2012 brings disheartening loss to a great many loyal fans and readers.

The October Country is perhaps one of Bradbury’s least heralded accomplishments. The collection of stories includes staple-pieces put to film in his television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, which aired many years ago and featured guest stars like Star Trek’s William Shatner.

Ray Bradbury’s The October Country may well be one of dark fiction’s earliest manifestations. Quite unsuitably, Bradbury’s short stories in this collection were dubbed horror stories, but that instance is rarely sufficient to describe just how expansive this body of work is in comparison to horror fiction before or since. After closer inspection, Ray Bradbury’s The October Country is successful at unsettling readers more so than traditional or contemporary horror fiction. Continue reading

Book Review: “Wormwood” by Poppy Z. Brite

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Poppy Z. Brite was a rising horror fiction writer at the time her collection of stories, Wormwood, was published. Also the author of horror novels Lost Souls and Drawing Blood, Poppy Z. Brite’s use of metaphor, poetic language, eye for detail, and uncanny character portrayal was quietly being lauded at the time, and Wormwood’s publication and reception would cement her reputation as horror’s pre-eminent practitioner. Continue reading