Science Fiction Horror
It is more than fitting that the first science fiction novel was about a zombie flesh golem. That’s right, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein! Frankenstein is considered to be the first Science fiction novel and was published in 1818. As you would expect, however, most of the early science fiction was more about future wonders and alternate history than it was horror. Early science fiction included things like mobile houses on rails, gas lamp jewelry, a hollow earth, and balloon rides to the moon. Science fiction included grand adventures under the sea and into the center of the earth. These concepts have withstood the test of time and we see them resurface in modern literature and many are classics.
Enter H.G. Wells and The War of the Worlds published in the UK in 1898. This was the first alien invasion story, and its sequel the first alien occupation. The element of horror in this story was best displayed from Orson Welles radio broadcast. Radio audiences across America were terrified that the end of the world was upon them. Today, horror continues to compliment science fiction very well. Common horror themes include human extinction, alien invasion, alien terror, dystopian societies, robot take overs, and of course the zombie apocalypse!
A large fantasy world is typically filled with epic heroes and horrible monsters. The best monster adversaries instill fear and horror in their readers, and they terrorize the fantasy world in which they live. They inhabit the dark corners, looming ever so close to peaceful settlements, biding their time before releasing their terror. So for every comely fairy that frolics near the beautiful waterfall that casts a rainbow over a group of flowers, there is a slumbering wart covered troll in his dung and bone strewn cave on the hill overlooking a caravan road. For every unicorn that peers about nervously among tall trees with beams of sunlight penetrating the canopy of leaves, there is a group of nasty goblins armed with crude bows and spears hunting it.
The root of fantasy is after all from mythology. Good old fashioned horror stories passed down from generation to generation. There are stories as new as the witch in the woods, or as antiquated as Hercules and the host of horrors that terrorized mankind. Mythology comes from every culture and every corner of the earth, modern and ancient.
Science Fiction and Fantasy in Horror
Vampires and Zombies have since ventured from their science fiction and fantasy worlds to take on the horror genre by storm. Zombies literally have, with the Zombienado and zombie tsunami. They have come a long way from being a mad scientist’s creation, prowling graveyards at night, acting as minions of a necromancer usurper, or guarding treasure of a long lost king. At least zombies have not invaded the romance genre yet, like their vampire counterparts. Well, they have not taken off yet anyway. I will just leave zombie romance at that.
Science fiction has further gone horror as soon as aliens became fearsome predators. A perfect setting for a horror story is an isolated space station or space ship deep in space all by its lonesome. Then one by one crew members disappear only to be found dead later in a horrific fashion. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror all fit comfortably together for amazing stories.
When someone says horror movie, the first thing that pops in my mind is a movie about senseless killing from a demon possessed psychopath. Yes, a slasher movie! A movie that is weak on the plot, usually several sex scenes just before the unsuspecting couple meets their demise, and a whole lot of killing. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but when I want to get entertained, there needs to be a solid plot to keep me interested. Trying to scare me every scene or every page just does not work, but instead gets predictable and boring. Then there are all of the sequels, several of the big ones reaching the teens over the course of their lifetimes. I know I titled this horrible horror, but I do not mean that in a demeaning way. At one time they were entertaining, but because of the rapid release of them we all got fatigued from them. That is a large reason while they stopped making it to the big screen and went straight to video. These days, I rarely watch them. They no longer have the effect that they used to,
The Best Horror
In addition to the horror set in fantasy and science fiction settings, there have been some fantastic horror stories. Edgar Allan Poe and his poems and short stories are among my favorite and were the hook that pulled me into the genre in the first place. After Poe, Stephen King’s work is outstanding and is the very definition of the horror genre in my opinion. The characters, plot, and ideas are some of the best in literature. When someone says horror novel, his work is what comes to mind.
However, my all-time favorite horror novel is The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. The reason that it is my favorite is because it felt so real to me. When I read this book many years ago, I believed that it could happen, and that it was real. It really scared the crap out of me. And for that reason, it remains my favorite of all time.
That is what I look for in horror, and that is what I intended when I wrote Seraphim of Prey: Harbinger. Harbinger will be available FREE on Kindle starting March 26th.