I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org
A new shift is about to begin. The warden for the week’s #GraveyardShift is…
Man, this was HARD! I decided to only have one book per author, and then I tried to think of books that had some profound effect on me. Not only stories I loved, but books that affected the way I think as a person and the way I create as an author. The first one was easy.
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
This is probably my all-time favourite novel. It’s a perfect example of the dark fantastique I’m always striving for in my own work. It bridges fantasy and horror so seamlessly, you can’t see where one ends and the other begins. And the yarn it spins is epic in scale, yet so personal in detail. This is close to the perfect book.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin
I re-read this book (the whole series, in fact) every few years. It’s the book that made me realise epic fantasy could be deeply personal as well as dark as well as hopeful. And Le Guin’s writing is just a joy to get lost in. It’s also proof that truly epic fantasy doesn’t have to be 500 pages or more per volume.
It by Stephen King
Maybe not his best and it’s problematic in places, but this is a book that came into my life at just the right time. It genuinely scared the shit out of me, but it transported me too. This is the one that made me a rusted-on King fan, even though it’s not my favourite book of his (that’s probably Pet Sematary).
Magic Terror by Peter Straub
This is a novella collection, to add some variation to my 8 allowed books. They’re all amazing, but one in particular really got under my skin. It was a tough choice between this and Koko by Straub for inclusion on this list, but this one got in purely because all the others are novels, with the exception of…
North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud
I’m a huge fan of short fiction (I love reading it and writing it) so I had to include at least one collection on this list. And honestly, I could make a list of 8 single-author collections and still feel bad for leaving so many important ones out. But I settled on this one simply because it came along at a time in my own short fiction writing career where I was feeling a bit directionless and reading this kinda put me back on track. So not only is it an amazing collection (honestly one of the best you’re ever likely to read) but it also directly helped my own creative process, so here it is.
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
It was a toss-up between this and Last Call by Tim Powers, but I chose this one because it’s got pirates and let’s be honest, pirate stories are cool. Of course, it’s actually way more than a pirate story and while it was the inspiration for a Pirates of the Caribbean film, it’s so much better than any of them. And I say this as a huge fan of the films. This is a truly magical and imaginative novel, and so thoroughly readable.
Dawn by Octavia E Butler
My one nod to science fiction on this list. I do enjoy SF, though I’m a horror and fantasy guy at heart. But this book stunned me with its originality and its genuine horror. This is a terrifying book, not least because it’s so damned feasible. And Butler’s language and prose is exquisite. (A close second for my SF novel inclusion was Dune by Frank Herbert, but Dawn edged it out for the reasons above.)
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
This is a huge and beautifully detailed book that is one of the most imaginative things I’ve ever read. The amount of worldbuilding and alternate culture contained in here is breathtaking. And the story goes places you don’t expect. Even when you think you know what’s going on and you’re sort of right, you’re actually also wrong. This book is an incredible achievement and a master class in what’s possible with fiction.
Master of Puppets by Metallica
This is a seminal album in my own personal history and a seminal album in music on a historic scale. I discovered it in the late 80s, not long after it came out. I found my way to metal through the classics of the time, like Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and so on. Then the first time I heard this album, something new opened up inside me. The melodic intros and blistering riffs, the incredible solos and the stories told within the songs. For me, this album set my path in what I liked about music in general, but heavy metal in particular. I have a very wide taste in music, and my collection is eclectic, but I’ll always be a thrash boy at heart.
I’ve been a guitarist (albeit not a particularly good one) for thirty-odd years. I used to play in a band and the one thing from my past that I truly miss is being able to play live with other people. There’s not enough time to do all the things in life that move me, but I do miss being in a band. I still play, though, at a hobby level. I’ll jam along to backing tracks I find on YouTube, play songs for my son, and so on. So if I was alone in a graveyard, I think I’d find great comfort in having a guitar to hand.
Back from self-imposed exile in Canada where he fled to avoid the law following the blood-stained events in Manifest Recall–the first instalment of award-winning author Alan Baxter’s latest supernatural thriller series–Eli Carver returns to the states with thoughts of starting over. But an accidental encounter on a train with a mysterious woman, one he soon learns has her own dangerous past, threatens to unravel his well-intended plans.
Upon their arrival in New York, the duo quickly finds themselves entangled in an ongoing war between two rival crime syndicates. And with the ghosts of his own past continuing to torment him, Eli finds himself taking the darkest of turns as he’s drawn down a perilous path into a world of ancient religion and deadly occult rituals.
Alan Baxter is a multi-award-winning author of horror, supernatural thrillers, and dark fantasy. He’s also a martial arts expert, a whisky-soaked swear monkey, and dog lover. He creates dark, weird stories among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia where he lives with his wife, son and hound. Find him online at www.warriorscribe.com or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook.