Book Report: Cabal by Clive Barker (1985, 1988)

Book coverClive Barker was all that in the late 1980s. He had a couple of movies out, including Hellraiser and, um, what’s that other one?

Well, this book collects a novella and several short stories. The novella, “Cabal”, talks about the Nightbreed. Ah, there it is!

At any rate, this book has on the outside edge of my to-read shelves since I cleaned up my library (::cough, cough:: three years ago). I read Barker’s Books of Blood (I, but that was before they needed Roman numerals) in 1994, and I’ve picked up a couple of his books here and there because every once and again, I think I’ll read some horror and maybe write some (which tends to come out more like H.P. Lovecraft than Stephen King or one of the modern Urban Fantasy people).

At any rate, this book contains:

  • “Cabal”, in which a mentally unhealthy individual is convinced he’s committed horrible murders, so he tries to go to a remote Canadian town where monsters are welcomed. Once there, he finds that he is not the monster he thought he was, but there are monsters in this world–human and otherwise.
  • “The Life of Death”, wherein a lonely woman becomes enamored with the thought of the dead and becomes a killer inadvertently and meets Death, although not in the way she expected.
  • “How Spoilers Bleed”, wherein some adventurers acquire land rights in the jungle and try to displace a native tribe only to fall under a curse.
  • “Twilight at the Towers”, wherein an espionage agent discovers he’s not just human, and that he has more in common with others of his kind than his handlers.
  • “The Last Illusion”, wherein an investigator with experience (not pleasant) with the occult is called to help protect the body of a magician from dark forces.

I mean, they’re okay stories, a bit gory as expected and with a touch of S&M (graphic at times) that spawned more than one Goth in the 1990s.

So perhaps I’ll read a couple more of these 1980s horror books that I’ve accummulated over the years. Back then, horror books (as with so many other books) were thinner, running 200 or 250 pages (this volume is 338, but broken over multiple stories, it seemed shorter), and horror books must have been fairly popular in book clubs, as you can see bunches of them available at book sales. For a little while, yet. I have to wonder if they’ll all disappear soon as the baby boomers finish downsizing and if another burst of availability will occur when the readers of Generation X start downsizing.

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