Several months ago, I connected with horror writer, blogger and social media maven A.R. Braun. His bio and a link to his collection of short stories follows this very insightful post about whether horror authors have to sell their souls to prosper. Even if you’re not a fan of horror fiction, A.R. is a good guy to know. He plays fair online, consistently drumming up visibility for his tribe using Twitter’s well-known “Follow Friday” shout-out. A.R. is blunt, direct and you always know where he stands on the subject matter at hand. We should all be that honest. He also knows his stuff when it comes to horror fiction, which is why it’s probably time for me to step aside and let the man speak….
I’ve heard over and over on the Internet certain comments about horror being one of the “Jobs of the Damned” (Fearnet.com) and read posts on Twitter about how one horror aficionado can’t believe a certain horror author is a Christian. Then I thought about all the trouble I’ve had getting published past the fluke stage, and unlike some people, I don’t believe it’s because of a lack of talent. People that say such things are often writers of boring books I can’t get through, so I won’t lend much credence to that. Another author asked me how I got into “demonic horror,” and I was taken aback.
Looking at the history of early-man horror, it’s easy to see why someone would think thus. The infamous Aleister Crowley, a.k.a. the “The Beast 666” and “the wickedest man who ever lived,” founded The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a coven that also included as members horror authorsAlgernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen. Stephen King said of Machen’s tome The Great God Pan “I think ‘Pan’ is the closest the horror genre comes to a great white whale.” H.P. Lovecraft called Blackwood’s short story “The Willows” “the finest supernatural tale in English literature.” Did one have to be in a blackened club to get these accolades? Lovecraft has said in his stories that Christians utter “whiney prayers.”
Ironically, Crowley was kicked out of the Golden Dawn for intense wickedness, such as publishing his rivals’ secrets in the Argentinum Astrum (Silver Star), a publication Crowley founded. Arthur Machen eventually left the Golden Dawn, though his interest in the coven was never deep. He repented and became a High-Church Anglican, incorporating Celtic Christianity into his thinking. In this sense, he’s like me, for I got serious about my writing as a Satanist. Later, I repented to Christianity.
We’ve all heard of the faith of King & Koontz: the former believes but doesn’t go to church and the latter is Catholic, where one can sin all one wants as long as one confesses. I certainly am not the guy to judge either man, but I will say this: an on-fire, Bible-belting Christian would be hard-pressed to succeed in this field. He’d have to be a kind person in real life, but have a truck-driver’s mouth as far as the written word.
As far as my prosperity is concerned, I guess time will tell.
Sources for this blog post include Alamantra’s page and the endnotes in Stephen King’s Just After Sunset.
A. R. Braun is the author of the self-published short-story collection Horrorbook: Twenty-two Tales of Terror, and he has ten short-story publications. He’s also working on a screenplay.