Author Topic: Clive Barker  (Read 1875 times)

mobias

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Clive Barker
« on: July 11, 2020, 11:43:01 AM »
I'm a huge Clive Barker fan. During lockdown, with nothing much to do, I dug out some of my old Clive Barker books and gave them a little flick through. His second novel Weaveworld was pretty much the first book I ever read and remember being really sad when I finished it because I was so enthralled and captivated. I then read the Great and Secret Show and Imajica cover to cover too. This was the late 80's and early 90's so I got these books as they were released. I remember it being a big deal when Imajica came out. Barker was very much at the top of his game then and his global profile was huge coming off the back of directing Hellraiser and the less successful Nightbreed. He was very much viewed as a kind of horror polymath because he was also a genuinely good painter and illustrator. 

After that he moved to LA and seemed to get more interested in the dark underbelly of Hollywood and LA culture and I lost interest in him after that. I guess I just grew out of him a bit too. I never read any of his later books and I've not heard great things about them. Its a real shame he never really lived up to his early promise. He was like a bright fire that burned too brightly early on maybe.

I didn't realise he had been so ill in the last few years and had almost died. I was shocked to see recent pictures of him. I'd been to a few of his book signings in the early 90's and so met him briefly a few times and he was such a nice, cool, good looking young guy back then. All in all its a bit of a sad story.

Any other Barker fans here on CAB?

Twit 2

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 11:46:15 AM »
I remember loving The Books of Blood as a teenager. Do they hold up?

Sin Agog

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 11:52:45 AM »
Only Clive Barker thing I'm particularly into is one he co-wrote with someone.  It's the short story in which a couple of western travellers in Eastern-Europe encounter two warring towns who, every now and then, roll up their people into towering peopleballs that are so vast that most of the people on the bottom get crushed, and have at it.  It's one way to write an analogy for the final days of the soviet union. 

mobias

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2020, 12:08:43 PM »
I remember loving The Books of Blood as a teenager. Do they hold up?

Not sure. You can't go far wrong with a good horror short story though so quite probably.

The plot summery for the Great and Secret Show makes it sound like one of the most bonkers stories ever told https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_and_Secret_Show. I definitely remember it being the least good of all the Barker books I've read. I'd definitely recommend Weaveworld. Limmy posed on Twitter that he got the audiobook version of it and really enjoyed it. I might check that version out. 

Alberon

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 04:19:24 PM »
I've read a couple of his more recent novellas/short novels. There's one which is a Harry D'Amour/Cenobite one which basically left me feeling he has no fucking clue anymore. Absolutely dreadful.

I really enjoyed Weaveworld and the others from around that time, though.

Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2020, 04:57:29 PM »
I remember really enjoying his A-Z of Horror series on BBC2, it's a real shame it's not available in full anywhere.


mobias

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 05:43:03 PM »
I read a recent interview with him where he admitted to working as a really high end rent boy in the gay community to fund his life until he started making decent money from his books.

He's led a more colourful life than Stephen King I suspect.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2020, 06:40:31 PM »
really high end rent boy


I mean, I'm sure he was a perfectly nice chap, but he doesn't exactly leap out as "really high end".

My opinion of his books is pretty much the same as Alberon's, though. Loved his early stuff, but wow does his recent stuff suck.

mobias

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2020, 07:23:22 PM »

I mean, I'm sure he was a perfectly nice chap, but he doesn't exactly leap out as "really high end".


Reading between the lines it was within the S&M community. Different rules there I think.

Mister Six

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2020, 09:13:29 PM »
Read the original Books of Blood and loved it, but aside from the Hellbound Heart I hadn't read much else until I picked up The Scarlet Gospels last year. Yeesh, it looks like his writing really deteriorated after his illness.

The book is a lot of fun for the first half, and blisteringly paced - it's basically his version of a Marvel or DC movie, with Harry D'Amour going up against Pinhead - but the characterisation is even flakier than it used to be[1] and the relentless pace means its characters never really take stock of what's going on or experience anything other than the most superficial reactions to what's around them (if that). Also, it just kind of peters out, as Harry and his gang of barely-sketched-out pals follow Pinhead around a rather mundane vision of Hell and the plot more or less resolves itself without their intervention.

It's still fun enough as an airport novel or something, but compared to his earliest works, it's a big disappointment.
 1. Based on BoB 1 and HBH, his prose really only comes alive when the grisly stuff is happening.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 09:27:02 PM by Mister Six »

samadriel

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2020, 11:14:19 AM »
Edit bug

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2020, 12:52:50 PM »
Quote
Only Clive Barker thing I'm particularly into is one he co-wrote with someone.  It's the short story in which a couple of western travellers in Eastern-Europe encounter two warring towns who, every now and then, roll up their people into towering peopleballs that are so vast that most of the people on the bottom get crushed, and have at it.  It's one way to write an analogy for the final days of the soviet union.

In The Hills, The Cities from The Books Of Blood, Volume One. I don't think that he co-wrote it, though.

shiftwork2

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2020, 10:57:44 AM »
In The Hills, The Cities from The Books Of Blood, Volume One. I don't think that he co-wrote it, though.

This really sticks in my mind too.  Several stories from The Books of Blood still loom large and I read them 30+ years ago.

Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2020, 08:11:22 PM »
The Thief of Always is a big favourite of mine and I read the Abarat books but I haven't read them in a while so maybe I need to reread those. Didn't know he'd been ill, but did wonder why Kry Rising, the fourth book in the Abarat series hadn't been released yet.

I used to collect the Hellraiser comics when I was younger, but my mother made me give them away, which was a shame because they had good stories especially "Jihad" which was a cross over with Nightbreed. I looked them up online recently and they were quite expensive to buy back.

mobias

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2020, 06:57:49 PM »
Didn't know he'd been ill

Very ill. Spent about a week in a coma and apparently was only given a small chance of survival but he pulled through.

He does not look a well man though.


Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2020, 11:29:48 PM »
I'd definitely recommend Weaveworld. Limmy posed on Twitter that he got the audiobook version of it and really enjoyed it.

This is one of the more unlikely pairings of reader and book I could have imagined.

I've only read Hellbound Heart, Books of Blood and Weaveworld and loved them all, especially Books, which I never wanted to end. This thread has reminded me I need to read more by him so I ordered Cabal.

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2020, 11:49:29 PM »
Loved cold heart canyon when I was a teen

Couldn't believe how sexually explicit it was! I think I was so shocked I stopped reading it for a while. I think Stephen king was the wildest thing I'd read at the time

Anyone else read that one? Does it hold up?

mobias

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2020, 07:24:08 PM »
I haven't read anything beyond Sacrament. I really recommend everyone reads Imajica if you've never read it. I think most people including Barker himself regard it as his best book. Its an absolutely epic dark metaphysical fantasy novel. Imagine His Dark Materials was written by Clive Barker and thats pretty much it. Its really about 3 or 4 novels in one. Its a big read. I'm sure I remember reading that later editions of it were edited down to make it a bit shorter. If you fancy reading it and are going to track down a second hand copy of it it might be worth trying to get an earlier edition of it.

Twit 2

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2020, 06:42:11 AM »
Very ill. Spent about a week in a coma and apparently was only given a small chance of survival but he pulled through.

He does not look a well man though.



Maybe red just isn’t his colour.

zomgmouse

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Re: Clive Barker
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2020, 04:59:12 AM »
Recently read "The Forbidden" (the short story that got turned into the Candyman films). Found it intriguing in its exploration of myth and our fascination with it, drawing you in together with the protagonist in a mad search. Need to read more.

If anyone wants a soft copy of The Books of Blood let me know.

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