Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker, 2001
My favorite quote: “There’s always some light in the darkness, somewhere.”
Notable characters: Todd Pickett, the failing movie star; Tammy Lauper, his number one fan; Katya Lupi, the 20s-era movie star
Most memorable scene: Katya and the snail, because Jesus f*cking Christ … Only Clive Barker, I tell ya … That’s certainly not the only shuddery scene to be found in Coldheart Canyon, but that’s the one that makes me shiver even still
Greatest strengths: Coldheart Canyon, like a lot of Clive Barker’s work, effectively blends horror, tenderness, glamour, perversion, erotica, beauty, and repulsion. I don’t know how he does it, but even when I don’t like the plot, if Clive Barker wrote it, I’ll read it — and with great pleasure
Standout achievements: In Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker shows off many a writerly skill, but his ability to seamlessly bounce between old and current-day Hollywood without confusing the reader or losing their interest is at the top of my list.
Fun Facts: The character of Jerry Brahms was inspired by Clive Barker’s close friend, actor Roddy McDowell
Other media: N/A
What it taught me: I discovered Coldheart Canyon many years ago when I was still dreaming of being a writer myself, and as I read it, I remember wondering what genre it was supposed to be. On one hand, it was like a horror story, on the other hand, not so much. It certainly wasn’t anything like Hellraiser, after all. But as I kept going, I realized I didn’t care, that it didn’t matter what box it belonged to because it was GOOD. So, I have to say, that’s what Coldheart Canyon (and Clive Barker) taught me: that a good story is a good story, and in the big scheme of things, genre doesn’t matter. Just write the story you love — and make it good — and let other people decide what shelf to put it on
How it inspired me: Looking back on it, I’m sure I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration for my own work from Clive Barker in general — and Coldheart Canyon in particular. Ghosts, orgies, orgies with ghosts … yeah. This one definitely inspired a few things from me …
Additional thoughts: Coldheart Canyon is a long book — a damned long one. But it needs to be and personally, I like it that way. When any story is placed in the capable hands of writers like Clive Barker, size definitely matters … and as far as I’m concerned, the bigger, the better.
Haunt me: alistaircross.com
Read Coldheart Canyon