Ginger Nuts of Horror
The library was home. The library was a world away from the school it sat in the middle of. It wasn’t big and it wasn’t old in a classical Victorian way. It was a pre-fabricated space with off-white walls and grey carpet. But it was quiet in there; seemingly at peace unlike the rest of the school – to my mind, anyway. It was where I spent my lunchbreaks while other pupils went outside, come rain or shine, to play football, fight or do other things I wasn’t interested in.
I only had a few friends at this time in my life and the library was one of them. Now, my reading wasn’t exclusively of a literary caste. I was young and finding my way so I read a lot of Doctor Who novelisations by Target, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, and non-fiction books of mythology, ghosts and the supernatural. Like I said, I was finding my way, but I was picking out the right material to solidify the direction I would take creatively in later years. I read very little based on recommendations from others instead I often homed in on cover art. If it had a cover that appealed to my nascent sensibility then I would give it a go.
The book that crystallised my taste for horror and the morbid was a battered tome in hardback with the peeling plastic sheets we all remember from school libraries. The cover was an image in black-and-white that might have been a pile of seething maggots, a rotting head, or an over-ripe demon arising from someone’s nightmare.
I picked it up and began to read.
Monsters, Monsters, Monsters was the title and it introduced me to horror writers of the classic breed; such as J.P. Brennan, Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, E.F. Benson, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Old Gent – H.P. Lovecraft. The title was also not remotely misleading as there were devouring slimes, microscopic invaders from outer space, vulture-headed phantasms, lonesome sea-creatures and the Outsider himself waiting for me in its sallow pages.
As an anthology, it not only gave me a taste for horror, but also for its ability to interweave with other genres and take inspiration from them. But, most importantly, it impressed upon me the necessity for originality. Even though these were stories by old masters, they still haunt me now because of the unique variety of the creatures in the stories. Given the current focus on zombies and variations on the apocalypse, one could be forgiven for thinking our genre can become somewhat one-note at times. Helen Hoke demonstrated through her careful selection of material that this does not have to be the case.
Monsters, Monsters, Monsters was the book that made me – and I think it will go on making and unmaking me for years to come.
ABOUT G.R. YEATES
G.R. Yeates is an author of horror fiction who has self-published a number of novels, novellas and short stories; including the critically-acclaimed Vetala Cycle trilogy. He was born in Essex, England in 1980 and was brought up in dilapidated seaside towns along the South-East coast during the recession years. He studied English Literature and Media at university before spending a year in China teaching English as a foreign language. He lives in London where he continues to write often and sleep little.
FOLLOW G.R. YEATES ON FACEBOOK
FOLLOW G. R. YEATES ON TWITTER
For more great interviews and reviews follow the links below