Other possible genres...

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Alan
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Other possible genres...

Post by Alan » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 12:30:24

From time to time I am wont to post speculative ideas up here as talking points... and here's another that occurred to me.

In his lifetime, DW proved he could write in many genres - what today would be called "occult fantasy," espionage, straight out adventure, crime, historical novels, and (perhaps arguably less successfully, but still often worth a read) short stories, science fiction and comedy. Now, imagine if some miraculous royal-jelly derivative or monkey gland serum had enabled him to live on well past 1977 with his undoubted creative powers intact, and he had decided to experiment with genres hitherto untapped. What genre/background would you like to see him try?

I have often wondered how he might go with a work set in the 17th century, with pirates, or maybe the English Civil War as a theme. Or maybe a straight out ghost story (not necessarily involving black magic or the darker powers) or a time travel work in the manner of Wells (he did dabble in this to a small extent of course with "Lucky" Adam Gordon) or even an American Civil War epic. Or am I just raving? Any thoughts?

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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 12:56:30

The accomplished DW might have met his match with a straight out, novel-length ghost story. Very, very few writers seem to have pulled it off with any success. Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson and Phil Rickman have done it, but I can't think of many more. And even with Straub's Ghost Story, the origin of the spooks lie in demonic forces.

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Post by Darren » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 17:09:59

Stephen King's The Shining and James Herbert's The Ghosts of Sleath are two of my favourite ghost stories. I remember as a teenager gripping the books as I read them.

Now you mention them I must check out Peter Straub and Shirley Jackson - they are two authors that all the modern great horror writers (including King) rave about but I never got round to.
Regards,

Darren.

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Post by shanedwyer » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 16:07:47

I can't remember ever having read The Shining- Jack Nicholson hamming it up in the film must have put me off. But I did enjoy The Ghosts of Sleath...unlike Herbert's enervating Crickley Hall.

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Post by duncanpaul17 » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 16:59:41

It is interesting to wonder what other genres DW could have written in and also what other periods he could have set his novels in.

One outlandish one that springs to mind, especially as the Devil Rides Out had its title changed in the US. is a western. I can imagine DW being very creative with background stories to the gunfight at the ok coral or tracking down Jessie James.

It would have also been interesting to see DW's thoughts on some of today's political issues and problems and seen if he had any suggested remedies for these.

There is also the possibility that more of his short stories could have had the basis for a longer tale like The Golden Spaniard.

However, although thinking about what other genres he could have written in, I still wish he had written more Black Magic Stories. It was mentioned at the Convention that it would have been nice to have read a Julian Day story in this genre.

Duncan

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Post by Darren » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 17:10:21

Shane - I didn't get on with Herbert's Crickley either - I threw the towel in halfway through.

It's interesting how you refer to Jack Nicholson "hamming it up". For many of the scenes Nicholson (and the others) provided (in some instances) over 50 different performances, pushing their acting skills in extreme directions. And when shooting finished Kubrick laboriously edited and picked through all different combinations of different takes until deciding on the performance he wanted. The classic scene where Wendy Torrence (Shelley Duvall) falls against the bathroom wall as the axe comes through the door is supposedly not her acting, but her just collapsing in utter depair and frustration at Kubrick's incessant demands for more takes in his search for perfection. And she pulls off an amazing performance in that scene.

It's my favourite film. But I didn't enjoy it on first viewing as I loved Stephen King's book, and it is so different. It was the second viewing a few years later when I got hooked.
Regards,

Darren.

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Post by Darren » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 17:19:02

duncanpaul17 wrote:However, although thinking about what other genres he could have written in, I still wish he had written more Black Magic Stories.
Duncan
So do I - especially as they are so good. And whenever I mention DW to people, those that have heard of him usually refer to him as the "horror writer".
Regards,

Darren.

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Post by Jim » Fri 13 Nov, 2015 00:28:33

duncanpaul17 wrote: I still wish he had written more Black Magic Stories. It was mentioned at the Convention that it would have been nice to have read a Julian Day story in this genre.
It must have been his least successful series, as he abandoned the plan to write six (?) novels, in which Julian got his own back on the men who had ruined his career. Surely it would have been easy enough to give one an occult theme...

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Post by duncanpaul17 » Sat 14 Nov, 2015 12:17:34

Jim,

I have a long standing, not proven and probably incorrect, theory that DW wrote the "The Irish Witch" and "They Used Dark Forces" to try and introduce his Black Magic readers to Roger Brook and Gregory Sallust.

If my theory is correct, it seems all the more surprising that he didn't get round to writing a Julian Day story with an occult background.

All the best
Duncan

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Post by ken68 » Sat 14 Nov, 2015 22:09:00

Yes Duncan, one of the many things I mean to ask Charles is was DW pressurised to write black magic stories for each character set or was it a more a case of keeping his novels in the limelight as that seemed to be a hot topic? The RB series seems to be planned out almost from the first novel and TIW is abut of a "detour" in the storyline.

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Post by Alan » Sun 15 Nov, 2015 13:40:14

I'm not quite sure it was as simple as that. A problem that faces any author is coming up with new plots. I an well imagine DW with a towel wrapped around his head thinking "What am I going to put Roger (or Gregory) through now?" and, naturally, as a writer of black magic stories, an occult-oriented plot may well have sprung into his mind. My guess is that if Julian Day had caught on with the public as much as Roger and Gregory, we'd have seen a JD occult novel, too - though remember, the Julian Day series differ from the others in usually having less happy endings... and I am sure DW would have hesitated to have evil triumphant on the final page!

What duncanpaul17 suggested certainly worked in my case - as a fan of black magic and occult stories, I started reading DW on the strength of these and at first thought that ALL his works had this background. I was somewhat disappointed to read "Dangerous Inheritance" to find no occultism in it (not to mention the Duke dying at the end of it) though before long I found that I was enjoying DW's stories even without the black magic angle. But I certainly got into the Gregory Sallust series through "They Used Dark Forces" and then went back and started at the proper place!

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