Forbidden Tomes: BOOKS OF BLOOD by Clive Barker, an Introduction

Yesterday, I found something miraculous: a used copy of Clive Barker’s BOOKS OF BLOOD, Vol. 1-3. I’ve been searching for this collection for an unseemly amount of time. And at last, I am able to explore Barker’s infamous world.

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I can’t do a full write-up of the Books of Blood yet because, clearly, I haven’t made it through the whole thing. Barker’s themes and ingenious writing style, however, are apparent from the first page. I hunted for this book for so long because I wanted to see how Barker handles queer theory and ideas within horror fiction. My expectations were met, then surpassed.

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Clive Barker is maybe the first mainstream author to include queer themes in his genre work without dressing them up or disguising them. He openly and brilliantly eviscerates the notions of sinful sex, otherness, and damnation that come along with queer identity. I can’t explain how happy it makes me to find an author who does this, because I still see it so rarely.

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Horror and Gothic are genres that have historically involved queer people – don’t even try to tell me “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” don’t have homoerotic subtexts – but rarely has this been talked about in the open. I believe it’s time to celebrate queer identity in horror. Clive Barker is certainly a way to start.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis of the Books of Blood, as well as the LGBT themes of horror.

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