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Books Of Blood, Volumes One To Three (1998)

Books of Blood, Volumes One to Three (1998)
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4.15 of 5 Votes: 2
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0425165582 (ISBN13: 9780425165584)
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English
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berkley books
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Books Of Blood, Volumes One To Three ...
Books Of Blood, Volumes One To Three (1998)

About book: This is the original Clive Barker. There are 6 books in all that encompass eighteen stories. The collection is often found broken down in to two collections. This is books 1-3.Some of the short stories have been made in to movies such as Candyman, Rawhead Rex, Midnight Meat Train, Lord of Illusions.Not for the squeamish!!!Plot ***Spoilers***Volume OneThe Book of BloodThis is the frame story for the entire Books of Blood series. A psychic researcher, Mary Florescu, has employed a quack medium named Simon McNeal to investigate a haunted house. Alone in an upstairs room, McNeal at first fakes visions, but then the ghosts really do come for him. They attack him and carve words in his flesh, and these words, claims the narrator, form the rest of the stories, stories written on a literal, living Book of Blood. This prologue, along with closing story "On Jerusalem Street" from Volume Six, was adapted and directed into the film Book of Blood by John Harrison.The Midnight Meat TrainA down-and-out man, Leon Kaufman, falls asleep on a New York subway train, only to wake up at a secret station beyond the end of the line. Kaufman encounters a man named Mahogany, who has killed and butchered several people and hung their bodies up on the train. Mahogany remarks that he will be forced to kill Kaufman to guard his secrets. Kaufman fights Mahogany and kills him in self-defense, but then the train doors open and strange malformed creatures board the train. The creatures eat the dead passengers, then force Kaufman to serve them as their new butcher, cutting out his tongue to ensure his silence. They tell Kaufman that Mahogany was getting old and could not do the job any longer, and that Kaufman now has a new career. It is also revealed that the creatures have also been the secret rulers of New York City for centuries. The police have always covered up for the creatures. Kaufman finds he now has lifetime employment. The Yattering and JackJack Polo is a gherkin importer who's haunted by a minor demon called the Yattering. This demon is commanded to haunt Jack by Beelzebub, the "Lord of the Flies", in retaliation for an ancestor of Jack's who did not fulfill his part of a deal he made with Hell. Despite its determined efforts to drive Jack mad, the Yattering is frustrated by his good cheer and apparent obliviousness. Unknown to the Yattering, Jack is well aware of the demon and what it is trying to accomplish. He purposely ignores the demon to frustrate it and to keep from going insane. Bound by the powers of Hell to stay in Jack's house until it succeeds, the Yattering subjects him to increasingly severe torments, killing his cats and terrorizing his family, but all fail. Eventually Jack tricks it into leaving the house and attacking him, and by violating the orders of its demonic masters, the Yattering becomes Jack's servant. Unusual for Barker's early work, this story is unabashedly comic. It was made into an episode of the horror anthology TV series Tales From The Darkside.Pig Blood BluesA supernatural story set in a borstal. A former policeman named Redman, who starts working there, uncovers a deadly secret and a boy named Lacey is the centre of it. Lacey claims that a missing boy by the name of Henessey is actually there on the grounds of the facility, in the form of a ghost. As Redman unravels the mystery he finds that things are not what they seem and the giant pig in the sty located on the north end of the grounds is actually possessed by the soul of Henessey, who transferred his soul into the pig in order to live forever. "This is the state of the beast. ...to eat and be eaten."Sex, Death and StarshineTerry Calloway is directing the William Shakespeare play Twelfth Night in a disused and failing theatre called The Elysium. The production is not going well, but Terry is in a distracted affair with his leading lady Viola, Diane Duvall. She was on a soap opera and is a wonderful blow, but, on the stage, is dreadful. A mysterious, rather theatrical man in a mask, Mr. Lichfield, tells him that his wife, Constantia, would have done better. However, aside from the problem of his wife being dead, Terry cannot replace Diane Duvall since her popularity would have such a positive effect on the show's publicity.Days pass, and Terry worries about the play, but Mr. Lichfield reassures him.Then, the day of the show Mr. Lichfield catches Terry and Diane in the middle of sex (and after an embarrassing moment for Terry in which he leaves) confronts her about her lack of "style" on the stage and states that his wife will play the role of Viola on the following day's opening night. Diane uncovers the face behind the mask and finds that Mr. Lichfield is actually the walking dead. Mr. Lichfield then kisses Diane and she slips into a coma. His wife is introduced as the new Viola while Diane is taken to intensive care. However, Diane returns later and finds Terry, stating that they need to "finish". After believing that Diane has recovered, Terry realises that she is in fact dead, while she is giving him fellatio. She finds out that he knows, and dispatches with him.The play is performed to a packed house, however, once the performance is finished (and the blinding stage lights are extinguished), the actors realise that the audience were in fact ghosts and corpses in diverse states of decay. The former trustee, newly dead Tallulah, who had been stoking a fire during the production, burns the theatre down. Every living player in the production is killed.The story ends with several of the actors and Terry joining Mr. Lichfield and Constantia on the road as ghost actors—as they've decided to devote their life, and death, to the art.In the Hills, the CitiesTwo gay men, Mick and Judd, go on a romantic but strained vacation in Yugoslavia. In an isolated rural area, there happens an astounding event: two entire cities, Popolac and Podujevo, create massive communal creatures by binding together the bodies of their citizens, with almost forty thousand people walking as the body of a single giant, as tall as a skyscraper. It's a ritual that occurs every ten years, but this time, things go wrong, and the Podujevo giant collapses, killing thirty-eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty five citizens horribly.They come upon the smashed bodies of Podujevo and a ravine awash with blood, but at first do not see the City of Popolac walking behind nearby hills. Meanwhile, in shock, the entire population of Popolac goes mad, and in losing their individual minds actually become the giant they are strapped into. Popolac wanders the hills aimlessly. By nightfall many of the people who made up the giant die from exhaustion, but still it walks.Mick and Judd are told the truth about the giants by a local man who tried to steal their car in order to catch up with Popolac and reason with it before it collapses and destroys the people who compose it. But they at first do not believe his story. They seek shelter at a remote farm, but Popolac blunders right into the farmhouse that night. Its giant foot kills Judd by accident. The elderly farm couple, who saw Popolac, go crazy with fear. Mick, seeing Popolac, goes insane too, but wants to join Popolac. He climbs up the tower of ropes and bodies, and is carried away as it walks into the hills to its fate.Volume TwoDreadA young student, Steve, becomes acquainted with an older student named Quaid. Quaid is an intellectual with a morbid fascination with fear. He eventually shows Steve how he, Quaid, kidnapped a vegetarian woman and imprisoned her in a room with merely a steak for sustenance, only releasing her when she finally overcame her dread of eating meat in order to prevent starvation; she eats the meat even though it has spoiled. Steve becomes Quaid's next candidate for his experiments, held captive in a dark, silent room, forcing him to relive a childhood period of deafness that terrified him. Steve is driven insane by this forced sensory deprivation and eventually returns to Quaid's house and butchers him with an axe. Quaid's experiments, all along, were to try to help him understand the nature of fear, but ironically his experiments in phobias made his own worst fears come to life.Every one-hundred years, a race is held in London. Satan sends one of his representatives to run it against the (unsuspecting) human runners. If Satan's minion wins, then he, Satan, gets to rule the Earth. An athlete taking part in the event, Joel, begins to realise the true meaning of things and what is at stake when his fellow human competitors begin to fall, savaged by some unseen beast. We also learn of the deal a satanist, Gregory, makes with Hell. He has staked his life and soul on this race. Meanwhile, Joel does not win the race due to a struggle with Hell's shape-shifting runner, who bites off Joel's face. However, the last surviving runner jogs past them to the finishing line. Hell loses out once again. Gregory is hardly surprised when he is punished for his overconfidence by being gruesomely slain.Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And TestamentJacqueline Ess is a housewife who attempts suicide after becoming bored with her life. She recovers only to find that she has an ability to change people's body shapes simply with her mind. She accidentally kills her therapist and then - somewhat less accidentally - kills her husband, simply by willing their bodies into tearing apart or folding in on themselves. One man becomes obsessed with her and tracks her down. Jacqueline eventually becomes a prostitute, her abilities giving her the power to give men the ultimate sexual experience, albeit one that always proves fatal. She has by now lost control of herself and has to be watched while sleeping in case she unconsciously mutilates her own body. The man obsessed with her eventually makes love to Jacqueline and they willingly die together by Jacqueline's powers.The Skins of the FathersDavidson is stuck in Arizona after his car breaks down. He then witnesses a bizarre parade of freakish monsters. It turns out that these creatures mated with a woman in a nearby town six-years previously and are intending on reclaiming the child, which they promptly achieve. Davidson reaches the town where a posse of gun-toting locals are eager to set out to slay the monsters. Everything goes wrong, however, and Davidson and just a few other survivors end up with a horrific fate; they sink in quicksand which then hardens when they are half-buried (one man is left with just his face exposed, the rest of him in the solidified ground) and are left for dead in the burning desert heat.This was used in a scene in the movie, Lord of Illusions, which is in turn based on a book by Barker.New Murders in the Rue MorgueLewis is a seventy-three-year-old man who goes to Paris after his friend, Phillipe, is arrested for butchering a young woman. Phillipe eventually commits suicide in his cell after babbling about an orangutan who committed the murder he had been arrested for. Lewis does not believe it until he sees the primate - dressed like a human, completely shaved, and wielding a razor - for himself. The beast had been raised by Philippe, a notorious eccentric, as a strange experiment on Edgar Allan Poe's classic story.Volume ThreeSon of CelluloidAn escaped convict dies behind a movie screen. After his death, his cancerous tumor gains sentience, over the years, from the strong emotions of the movie theater's audiences and torments the few people that remain after a show. The sole survivor of the massacre is seen some time later, having tracked down the murderous entity which was roaming the country after possessing the body of a young girl unaccounted for after the events. She covers the creature with acid, killing it completely.Rawhead RexAn ancient, malevolent monster, magically imprisoned underground, is accidentally awakened in the town of Zeal, Kent. Rawhead is a nine-foot humanoid with a huge, toothed head, and is extremely ferocious. Rawhead goes on a rampage, killing and eating people, including two children. He corrupts the local Verger, who surrenders to the violent, depraved impulses that Rawhead represents, and who helps the monster slay the Vicar, Coot.Rawhead sets Zeal alight, and is eventually overcome by Ron, father of one of Rawhead's victims, who uses a talisman to stall the beast until he is overrun by a mob of enraged village folk. The talisman depicts a pregnant woman, Rawhead's antithesis and the only thing he fears.Rawhead Rex has a structure similar to Alien or The Thing from Another World, but uses a disturbing rural setting. It touches on themes of maleness and femaleness and the decline of rural England. Confessions of a (Pornographer's) ShroudRonnie is a strait-laced Catholic man who is set up to look like the king of a pornography cartel. He kills some of his enemies, but is murdered by their cohorts. Awakening as a ghost, he possesses the shroud that covers his body in the morgue, and in the shape of the shroud takes revenge on the rest of his enemies. In a gory finale, he enters the mouth of the man responsible for his ordeal and turns him inside out, literally.Despite containing graphic descriptions of acts of extreme violence, the story is written as a black comedy, revolving around the visual gag of a real ghost looking like someone wearing a bedsheet over his or her head.Scape-GoatsA yacht is stranded on the beach of a deserted island. The island is located at a point in the North Atlantic ocean where converging undersea currents bring all the human bodies of sailors and those who drown in the sea. The hundreds of bodies littering the ocean floor, unfortunately for the stranded crew, aren't as dead as they should be.Human RemainsA young gay prostitute is hired by an archeologist. During the course of night he stumbles into the bathroom to discover a Roman-esque statue of a man lying in the bath. Over the next few weeks he has the sense of being followed and being haunted by a doppelgänger. At the same time, his mind and body transforms; he becomes cold and lifeless, no longer needing to eat or sleep. He finally discovers his doppelganger, the statue from the bath, at his father's grave, crying in sorrow, while he is unmoved. It becomes clear that the doppelganger has become more convincing as a human than he is, and he wanders away, allowing it to continue living in his persona.

based upon the evidence of Books of Blood 1-3, Clive Barker sprung into the literary horror world fully-formed, a writer all grown up, already past the awkward growing pains of an adolescent period that other writers of his stature and widespread appeal suffered through before reaching their full powers. his ability to construct and sustain an intriguing narrative, his resonant themes, his stylistic flourishes, his use of irony and dread and gore and comedy, his strength at detailing truly real and deeply developed characters' lives, his expertise at creating an entire world within the space of a story... these are all the traits of an author writing at his peak, and so early in his career.the stories within these collections are truly sensational: their power comes from his consistent strength at conveying sensual, physical sensation. this is not to mean that he writes sexy horror stories; rather, he is a writer who knows how to write "body-based horror". in many ways, these stories parallel the themes and goals of the films of David Cronenberg - the body as something alien, the body as a sacred space, the body as a target or vehicle or ideal, the body turning against itself.Peter Straub - an intellectual writer - locates his horrors within the mind: a place of murky motivation and potential evil, a site of invasion and transformation; his horrors are often as ambiguous and as ambivalent as mindspace itself. Stephen King - an emotional writer - places his horrors in scenarios that are wellsprings of sentiment and feeling, often squarely within the family unit or painful adolescence or the various dreams and ambitions of the heart itself; his horrors are often explicitly tangible things that exist to tear apart humanity's most beloved institutions. unlike those two, Barker's horrors are centered in the body as a battleground, a place where the mind and the heart are often at war. his horrors blur the boundaries of right and wrong; the various transfigurations that occur throughout his stories are often so dreadful because they are both unnervingly ambiguous and disturbingly familiar, intimate on a physical level - and in the end, almost infinitely unknowable. his bodies are places of both terror and wonder.Barker illustrates how the body can be a site of fearsome splendor and violence in the collection's first story: The Book of Blood, in which a fraud's appealing body exists first as a landscape encouraging erotic contemplation and then as a horrific diary of the dead. in the masterful Dread, a psychopathic guru lives to sadistically push his trainees past their base physical fears, and eventually meets his match in a student who has learned his lessons all too well. the horror of Jacqueline Ess comes from the terrifying protagonist's ability to wield utter control of the body itself. New Murders in the Rue Morgue revisits the classic story with a new (and rather sympathetic) focus on the idea of what truly, physically, makes a man? and in Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud, the story serves as both an ironic commentary on pornography's rigorous mono-focus on body parts and as a clever rejoinder to the idea that a meat-based body is even necessary to create horror - let alone to enact bloody vengeance.the author's themes remain intact and even more visceral in those stories that are straight-up, traditionally structured servings of familiar, monster-based horror. The Midnight Meat Train features ancient, physically mortified beings who must be paid their due in flesh and has a classic "ambiguous" protagonist who finds his goals in life may soon be adjusted in favor of a more transformative purpose. Pig Blood Blues is wonderfully bizarre (its malevolent foil... a demonic sow!) and explicitly depicts potential physical change and transformation as an undeniable terminus for its victims, villains, and hero alike. and the now-classic Rawhead Rex has a monster whose mind dreams of domination and whose physical body yearns for both freedom and the flesh of children; his achilles' heel, his personal horror... the fertile woman, the menstrual cycle.Barker can also do comedy with an expert touch. The Yattering and the Jack is laugh-out-loud funny, a wry tale of a lower-level demon vs. The Most Boring Man in the World, a man who apparently has no terrors or temptations based in the flesh or other physical things. the quaintly nostalgic and drily amusing Sex, Death and Starshine sees the decay of the flesh and a rotting life existing beyond the grave as, well, not so bad, really.there are a few stories that are less successful, although they are by no means abortions. Hell's Event - Deadliest Marathon Ever! the entire world is at stake! - centers its horror within a runner's body. Son of Celluloid finds a lonely cancerous growth making its own body and invading a fading movie palace. Scape-Goats' horrors rise from the undisposed corpses of the long-dead and their reaction to a quartet of obnoxious tourists who obliviously pay their bodies no respect.there are three stories that are now amongst the finest modern horror stories that i've ever had the pleasure of reading. The Skins of the Fathers is an often amusing send-up of gun-toting hick americana. more importantly, in its unsettling tale of the male gender's First Fathers and their practice of holy/unholy procreation, it decribes not-so-alien physiognomies in detail - but makes the key decision to replace disgust with awe, to replace the Terrible Other with Ancient Adam (and his many brothers). Human Remains is a mordant and moody story of the escalating relationship between a street hustler/ wannabe gigolo and a being that seeks to not just mimic (and protect) that hustler's body, but also endeavors to recreate that poor fool's history into a life that contains emotional depth - rather than a life of empty ambition, callowness, and apathy. my favorite story of all 3 books is In the Hills, the Cities. this is a truly awesome tale, in all sense of the word "awesome"... a mind-boggling, bizarre, many-leveled account of two very different travelers and lovers, of two very similar rural villages, of an archaic tradition that replaces a many-bodied battle with two very unique bodies, of bodies coming together to create something greater, something terrible - something that the two travelers choose to either turn away from in horror or to embrace as a new form of physical being. the story is amazing.__________musical accompanimentCoil: Gold Is the Metal, Hellraiser ThemesDJ Spooky: Songs of a Dead Dreamer
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Reviews
DJ TweakyClean
I actually read Books 1 and 2 last year around this time to get into the Halloween spirit, but saved Book 3 until now. I honestly wasn't sure after finishing the eleven stories in Books 1 & 2, if Barker could finish off the collection with the same audacious mix of terror, eroticism, gore and wit that made me understand how he deservedly became one of the most praised writers of horror literature (including the famously used quote from Stephen King, "I have seen the future of horror.."). It is the final five tales that have me convinced the three books, originally published as individual mass market editions in 1984-85, brought one of the most remarkable debuts in modern fiction. Favorite Stories include Pig Blood Blues, In the Hills the Cities, Dread, Rawhead Rex, & Human Remains.
Andrew
I've heard all my life that Stephen King's genius as a horror writer is making the familiar terrifying. Clive Barker's genius as a horror writer is making the terrifying familiar. This collection of short stories, tenuously held together by the precept that they are the stories carved into the flesh of a fake medium by vengeful ghosts, has no part of King's familiarity. Instead, it plunges the reader headlong into the multiple worlds of the unfamiliar and horrific, but brings the unspeakably evil so close to home that you can't help but identify with it, and in so doing give a piece of yourself up to terror. Of course there are a few duds here ("Sex, Death and Starshine", in which a theater troupe is haunted by a ghost that only wants to kill them to make them an undead group of performers, for instance), but the vast majority of the stories are so creative and so horrific that you can't resist. Highlights include "In the Hills, the City", in which two entire Eastern-European cities band together for a centuries-old rivalry the likes of which no man has ever dreamt of in his most horrible dreams, and "Dread", in which a demented philosopher forces his victims to face their worst fears in order to become more perfect human beings. This is definitely not a book for the squeamish. It's full of graphic mutilation and nightmare-inducing ideas. But it truly marks a turning point for horror, where mere ghost stories and rabid dogs would no longer be enough to scare an increasingly jaded readership. It is the point that allowed for luminaries like House of Leaves and The Ruins, where strangeness and unimaginable horror became the norm.
Kevin Cole
When Clive Barker was introduced to America in the Eighties, he was touted as the dude so extreme that even Stephen King--Stephen F****** King, the bane of soccer moms with teenage boys--genuflected before His British Horror Majesty.And for once, the hype was right.I was immediately blown away by Barker's sex and violence, which shocked even my depraved sensibilities. And each story only to seemed to get crazier than the last one. Eventually, I was just worn out and haven't read Barker since.I admire the guy, though. What he lacked in sympathetic characters--people you wanted to identify with--he more than made up with pure imaginary genius. They put pictures in your head that never go away. Not just the extreme stuff, but things like Yugoslav peasants bundling together to make a leviathan while two British gay guys are trying to enjoy a holiday; a billionaire trying to create a Hell on Earth in the confines of an enormous mansion; a potion turning humans into sex-crazed monsters to the point where holes in brick walls....See, I'm just paraphrasing and already you're corrupted.
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