Hanging About The Waiting Room
For those that know me, when I’m ever asked who or what inspired me most to become a horror writer, then no doubt the answer would be Clive Barker – and that is definitely true.
However, for those that really know me, when I’m asked what book (or author) had the biggest influence upon me, that made me want to pick up that pen and write, then the answer, hands down, would be The Magus by John Fowles.
Before I get shot down that this is not a horror book, granted it may not officially be classified as horror but boy as you read it, you’re sure bound to agree with me that it is very much a terrifying, unsettling and horrifying novel and would not be out of place on a shelf next to Campbell, Barker, King, Wheatley et al.
With this in mind then surely it is acceptable to call it horror?
The novel was originally published in 1965, but it was the revised edition (1977) that I first picked up during the 1990s. I remember reading it at University and when I finished it, there was definitely that ‘wow moment’ when I put the book down.
At about that same time, I started to write (or at least write seriously) and it was obvious (to me, if no-one else) how much influence Fowles had over me.
I’ll mention it here too, I set aside some time to re-read it every year – normally on the train down to the Cannes Film Festival – I never get bored of it and I swear the story gets better, the characters more richer with every re-reading.
Okay, so what’s the book about? What makes it so special?
Well, the story is of Nicolas Urfe, who goes to a small Greek Island to both grow up and to teach following a relationship he had with an Australian girl. Wandering about one day, a bored and disillusioned Urfe comes across Conchis, a Greek millionaire who begins to play games (the ‘godgame’) with him – first by goading him that he was a Nazi collaborator during the war.
This is just the first of the many stories (that become darker & darker and more elaborate) and games (mentally, physically and sexually) that Conchis plays on Urfe, so much so that Urfe is swiftly confused by what (and who) is real and what is not (it even seems some of the games are played whether Urfe is part of them or not – which adds a further confusion).
It also becomes apparent that the tales Conchis tells are not so much about his own life, but actually that of the young Englishman’s! The macabre twists and turns continue right until that final page, an ending which whilst has been attacked for being ambiguous, I certainly find quite satisfying.
So, when I think of my own work, the influence is obvious, especially in my collection of stories Within A Forest Dark (Dark Continents 2013) and my contributions to both Phobophobia (Dark Continents 2011) and The Demonologia Biblica (Western Legends, 2013) but perhaps most apparent in the story I wrote recently for Joe Mynhardt’s Fear The Reaper (Crystal Lake, 2013). I have much to thank Mr Fowles’ for and silently raise a glass to him whenever I have the opportunity –I think that because of Fowles I then seemingly moved onto the works of Umberto Eco, William Hjortsberg and recently Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
In closing, when I’m also asked if I ever had the chance to make a movie of someone else’s work, I would say that I’d love to give The Magus a shot. Yes, it was originally filmed in the late sixties, starring Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn – Caine hated it and I’m sure you’ve heard what Woody Allen said (“If I had to live my life again, I’d do everything the same, except that I wouldn’t see The Magus.”).
But I wouldn’t let that put me off – in fact, I already know who I’d have playing Nicholas (Eddie Redmayne) and Conchis (Anthony Hopkins) – all I need now is someone to give me a bag of cash and off to Greece we go.
So, if you’ve got a spare slot on your reading list, then I don’t think you can go too wrong with giving The Magus a try!
All the best and enjoy!
Dean M Drinkel
2013 was a brilliant year for author / director / editor Dean M Drinkel. First up, was the ‘Tres Librorum Prohibitorum’ series of horror anthologies for Western Legends Publishing: The Demonologica Biblica was published in March, garnering rave reviews; The Bestiarum Vocabulum was released late fall.
For Static Movement, Dean has compiled / edited Cities of Death (May), which will be followed by Demonology - mid 2014.
2014 also sees the sequel to the 2011 smash Phobophobia entitled Phobophobias, by Dark Continents Publishing.
DCP also published Dean’s own short collection of stories Within A Forest Dark.
Dean contributed stories to the Horror Society’s Best Of anthology and Fear The Reaper (Crystal Lake Publishing).
The Alchemy Press will publish Dean’s anthology ‘Kneeling In the Silver Light: Stories From The Great War’ during the summer of 2014.
Any spare time Dean has left is spent securing funding for his short film scripts Bright Yellow Gun and Splinter (which won the ‘Best Action Screenplay’ at the respective Monaco International Film Festivals of 202 and 2013) and on his horror screenplay set in Paris entitled The House Of The Flowers.
More about Dean can be found at: http://deanmdrinkelauthor.blogspot.co.uk/ or Issue #331 of Fangoria magazine
For more great interviews and reviews click on the links below
FILE UNDER HORROR NOVEL REVIEW