Thursday, March 21, 2013

James Herbert RIP

I've just found out, via the BBC, that the British horror/ dark fantasy author James Herbert has passed away at the age of 69.

In the UK, certainly, he was one of the writers responsible for the horror boom of the 1970s and 1980s with such novels as The Rats and The Fog which were, in many ways, the forerunner of Splatterpunk, with their graphic depictions of violence (although, as Herbert himself pointed out, they were never as graphic as people assumed them to be).

Together with Stephen King he was one of the writers who ignited my love for horror and fantasy and I am sorry to hear of his passing.

As a teenaged boy I read his novels avidly and always got a delicious thrill from them. Later, when I re-read them (particularly The Fog) I was struck by how well-crafted they were and how he managed to drag the reader along and immerse them in situations that were often terrifying and always - in context - utterly plausable: London under siege by mutated rats that fed on human flesh, a strange fog that drove ordinary people to violence and madness, the sole survivor of a plane crash driven to revenge by the ghosts of his fellow passengers, the revenant of Himmler and the spear that pierced Christ's side... Herbert brought the horrific into the everyday and helped to bring horror out of the gothic and into the contemporary.

A godfather of modern horror and dark fantasy, he will be sadly missed.

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