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Old 12-12-03, 12:28 AM   #1
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What Clive Barker book should I start with?

I am looking at getting a Clive Barker book and was wondering which one of his books I should start with. Does he have any particular books that stand out from the rest?
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Old 12-12-03, 12:33 AM   #2
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For my money, start with the earliest... get the first three Books of Blood. Simply the best horror short stories published in the '80s.
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Old 12-12-03, 09:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mutley Hyde
For my money, start with the earliest... get the first three Books of Blood. Simply the best horror short stories published in the '80s.


After those, wet your whistle with Cabal, Damnation Game, The Hellbound Heart, and then jump into his bigger epic books like Weaveworld and of course Imajica.

At one point he was one of my favorite authors, but I've had great difficulty getting into his post-Sacrament material for some reason. It seems that his writings changed drastically in scope after that book.
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Old 12-12-03, 11:47 AM   #4
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Books of Blood are quite good, Damnation Game is good if fairly flawed. Most all the rest is overreaching non-horrific fantasy. Cabal, Weaveworld and later are all pretty boring Fantasy that he seems to think is a bit horrific. It's about as horrific as an average episode of HR Puffinstuff and based around the same premise.

I don't even consider his work anymore.

I wouldnt get rid of Books of Blood though. They are quite good.

As a novelist, I think he's fallen into the paidbythepage trap that made King unreadable for me. Middleaged women drive the novel market so you get books all written to middleaged women's liking.
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Old 12-12-03, 12:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by sicklerice
Most all the rest is overreaching non-horrific fantasy. Cabal, Weaveworld and later are all pretty boring Fantasy
I still consider Imajica an equally enjoyable and unusual fantasy novel, one with beautifully bizarre characters and locales. Still, in my mind it is probably the point where Barker began what I consider to be his downward slide away from his trademark style of horror/fantasy into something often unreadable.

Everville had some fine moments, but like you stated, suffered from Barker's growing obsession with intolerable length. Whereas King (a writer I still eagerly read) can blather on in his books, he does write in quick, easy to digest chunks. Barker, on the other, has that thick, eloquent prose that defies you to read it quickly, and when the narrative drags the read becomes a chore rather than a treat.

Sacrament, which I believe was one of his first post-coming-out works, show a marked departure from horror, which was one of the reasons I gravitated toward his early writings in the first place. I began his humongous Galilee, and bailed after a couple of hundred pages. Too many long, slow ponderous passages. Likewise with Coldwater Canyon.

A shame, really
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Old 12-13-03, 12:03 AM   #6
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Clive Barker is The Man

I've been a follower of Clive's since "Books of Blood" and I have to agree that he's no longer a horror writer. He tends to deal more with "the dark fantistique" as he calls it. I admire him greatly for his artistic choices in fiction writing. He has certainly alienated some fans due to his open sexuality and his move from horror towards fantasy.

He's a wonderful wordsmith with an incredible wit and intelligence that permeates through his writings. His vision is well-crafted and eloquent. He spends a lot of time researching and writing for his novels so that he can put out novels of top quality. He doesn't churn out a paint by numbers rehash every 8 months like certain hack horror writers. He has story ideas and concepts for books that he's planning on writing as far as ten years from now.

Clive's a true renaissance man; he writes prose and poetry, plays, he's involved in film, he draws and paints, he's the true depiction of an artiste.

His most brilliant novel is the First Book of The Art, "The Great & Secret Show." If this doesn't spin you for a loop and a half, I wouldn't bother. Few other contemporary authors can match the literacy and vision of Barker.

He is the man and "The Great & Secret Show" is his tour de force.
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Old 12-13-03, 12:12 AM   #7
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Well I just picked up "Books of Blood vol 1-3". I will have to wait until I finish the "Best of Lovecraft Black Seas Of Infinity" before I start to tackle Barker's book. I am pretty sure I will enjoy it. Thanks for the recommendations.
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Old 12-13-03, 12:30 AM   #8
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is Cabal the same character from Nightbreed?
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Old 12-13-03, 01:03 AM   #9
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If I'm not mistaken, Cabal is what they made Nightbreed from. I never read it though, so don't take that as gospel.
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Old 12-13-03, 01:07 AM   #10
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Yeah, that's the case...

Quote:
From Publisher's Weekly, via Amazon

Comprised of a novel and four long stories, this volume is classic Barker, full of lurid, bloody imagery and action involving large-than-life characters. It's great fun and provides plenty of thrills or giggles, depending on how seriously you take it. In the novel, Cabal , Boone, a recovering psychotic, is cleverly manipulated by his psychiatrist, Decker, into believing that he has committed several savage murders. Decker, of course, is the villain, but Boone does not catch on. Considering himself unfit for human society, Boone flees, eventually to come upon Midian, a large crypt inhabited by the Nightbreed, dead souls in shape-changing bodies, neither good nor evil, who turn Boone into one of their own.
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Old 12-14-03, 06:49 PM   #11
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Re: Clive Barker is The Man

Anything up to Sacrament is pretty good (I even liked Sacrament alright, but it wasn't his best), especially Books of Blood and The Great and Secret Show. Galilee and Coldheart Canyon I own but they haven't really caught my interest.

There is one book since Sacrament I really liked a lot: Abarat. It's kind of a kid's book, but Clive Barker is good at those (Thief of Always is also pretty good).
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Old 12-15-03, 03:44 PM   #12
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Well I jumped in with Weaveworld.

In addition I've read The Great and Secret Show, Everville, Imajica and Coldheart Canyon.

I seem to be working backward. Next up will be the Books of Blood.
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Old 12-27-03, 12:19 PM   #13
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I've only read:
- The Books Of Blood (there are 3 volumes of short stories, fast reads and highly recommended)

- In the Flesh (4 short stories, including The Forbidden which was made into "Candyman", a great great movie)

- Cabal ("Nightbreed", the movie, was made out of Cabal; it also contains the short story, The Last Illusion, which was made into "The Lord Of Illusions")

- The Hellbound Heart ("Hellraiser" movie, 'nuff said).

They are all really good. I'm not a big fan of his newer stuff, he went from horror to weird fantasy. I've tried to read a few of them, but I couldn't really get into it.
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Old 12-27-03, 01:09 PM   #14
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darqleo, you need to read The Inhuman Condition, if you haven't already. It's actually volume IV of the Books of Blood (In the Flesh is volume V). Cabal is volume VI, which includes, as you said, The Last Illusion, and three other stories, The Life of Death; How Spoilers Bleed; Twilight at the Towers.

If anyone wants a comprehensive volume, they can hunt down the U.S. omnibus, published by Stealth in 2001, which includes all six Books of Blood in their entirety.

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Old 12-27-03, 01:13 PM   #15
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Dang, didn't know about that. I'll have to check it out, thanks!
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Old 12-27-03, 01:35 PM   #16
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You got it bud. I still need to read vol. VI one of these days. I'll have to pick up a copy of Cabal at some point, then I can knock these out. I still say the first three books are stellar, whereas books 4 and 5 slid downhill a bit. Maybe that's why I never hustled to get Cabal.
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Old 12-30-03, 06:47 PM   #17
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The Books of Blood are great, but I prefer Vols I-III. The writing for Vol IV-VI got better but the horrors became more psychological and I didn't like them as much.
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Old 01-06-04, 10:12 AM   #18
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I've read only a few of Barker's works... But one thing I can tell you is to stay away from Neil Gaiman's American Idols. Its one of the most poorly written books I have ever read.
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Old 01-06-04, 11:56 AM   #19
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Originally posted by jayson1017
I've read only a few of Barker's works... But one thing I can tell you is to stay away from Neil Gaiman's American Idols. Its one of the most poorly written books I have ever read.
Why would a dislike of Gaiman's book (I take it you mean American Gods?) come up in a Barker thread?
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Old 05-09-17, 03:41 PM   #20
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Re: What Clive Barker book should I start with?

Imagica, Weaveworld.
Best fantasy books ever!
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