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The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction
     

The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction

3.5 9
by Clive Barker
 

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"I wonder if the reverse is not also in some way true. That the artist is constantly working on an elaborate and fantasticated self-portrait, but at the end has drawn, unbeknownst, a picture of the world." -- Clive Barker, "Private Legends: An Introduction"

Clive Barker, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, playwright, artist, producer,

Overview

"I wonder if the reverse is not also in some way true. That the artist is constantly working on an elaborate and fantasticated self-portrait, but at the end has drawn, unbeknownst, a picture of the world." -- Clive Barker, "Private Legends: An Introduction"

Clive Barker, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, playwright, artist, producer, director, screenwriter, and one of the world's master storytellers, writing in the haunting and moving traditions of Poe and Dickens, invites us to join him on a dazzling, wondrous journey through the worlds of his imagination and to experience visions, dreams, love, terror, heaven and hell, and revenge.

As we read, we discover and explore the dream-sea Quiddity and the islands of Ephemeris; the five Dominions of the Imajica, of which the Earth is but an imperfect facet; the rapturous world woven into an ancient, threadbare carpet in a derelict house in Liverpool; Hood's Holiday House where each day contains four seasons and children's wishes may come true; the Sky Room of Galilee, where the creation of the universe may be witnessed; and the clubs and bars of San Francisco and New York, in which all manner of sexual adventures lie in wait.

In these stories, the real and the miraculous are within a breath of one another, life gives way to death, and death to life; doorways open into other states of existence, and each doorway leads us back to our own dreams and fears.

The Essential Clive Barker is an irresistible narrative compendium that superbly represents the impressive quality and range of Barker's fiction, spanning more than twenty years of writing. It contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories, all personally selected by Barker, and offers a privileged insight into a remarkable writer and his art.

Editorial Reviews

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A writer of stunning imagination.
Locus
The premier metaphysicist of contemporary fiction.
Washington Times
[Clive Barker] is a mapmaker of the mind, charting the farthest reaches of the imagination.... His ambition and audacity are unparalleled; we know that we are in the presence of a vision that is genuine, unique and lasting.
Jorge Luis Borges
A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Over the years he fills a given surface with images of provinces and kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fish, rooms, instruments, heavenly bodies, horses, and people. Shortly before he dies, he discovers that this patient labyrinth of lines is a drawing of his own face. —The Maker
New York Times Book Review
[Barker's] extravagantly unconventional inventions are ingenious refractions of our common quest to experience and understand the mysterious world around us and the mysteries within ourselves.
Washington Post Book World
"Barker has an unparalleled talent for envisioning other worlds.
Kansas City Star
Barker just keeps getting better—and he's doing it not just by perfecting the horrific craft but by transcending the genre itself, moving eyond his grisly early tales to embrace epic fantasy and elements of science fiction. . . Barker may brandish a razor in one hand, but he brandishes art in the other. The Essential Clive Barker serves as an introduction to a rather dangerous but oh-so-enthralling gentleman.
J. G. Ballard
A powerful and fascinating writer with a brilliant imagination ... an outstanding storyteller.
Library Journal
Barker (Galilee) takes a thoughtful approach in this anthology of excerpts from his short stories, novels, plays, and screenplays. Illustrating 13 themes prominent in his work, including terror, love, art, and memory, the selections cover Barker's evolving career from works of horror to dark fantasy to his latest genre-combining novels. The introduction offers insights into the selected themes, Barker's philosophy of writing, and the events that inspired him to write. Each theme also begins with a short introduction that places the selected works within that theme's context. While many of the novel excerpts are quite short, they do stand on their own. The uninitiated reader will find the selections intriguing, not frustrating, while the reader familiar with Barker will find new perspectives on his complex works. But with no new material included, demand may be low. Recommended for larger public libraries.
Washington Post
[Clive Barker] is a mapmaker of the mind, charting the farthest reaches of the imagination. . . . His ambition and audacity are unparalleled; we know that we are in the presence of a vision that is genuine, unique and lasting.
Publishers Weekly
Barker's prodigious delivers magicians, doppelgangers, Boschean creatures of staggeringly various descriptions and a pantheon of gods and godesses seduced by power and redeemed by love.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
A writer of stunning imagination.
The New York Times Book Review
[Barker's] extravagantly unconventional inventions are ingenious refractions of our common quest to experience and understand the mysterious world around us and the mysteries within ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062034649
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/23/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
663,181
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Doorways

We pass through doorways all the time; they're so familiar to us we fail to appreciate their mythic resonance.In the language of the fantastic, doorways present the reader with passage into other worlds, other times, other states of being.The most widely known example is probably in the film of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy tentatively opens the door of her house and discovers that she has been living in a black and white world, and that the experience that awaits her on the other side is rainbow-colored.What more perfect analogy for the power of the imagination?

In the chapter that follows there are very few literal doorways; but all the selections describe moments when a character discovers that the rules of the world are changing in front of his or her eyes.Nothing will ever be the same again.

Cal Mooney topples from the wall of a yard and falls into an enchanted carpet.Private detective Harry D'Amour stumbles into a place of passage between this world and Quiddity, the dream-sea.A boy called Will Rabjohns discovers that killing a living thing is also a doorway; a place in the world where everything changes.This, of course, is the reverse of the scene from Oz.Some color goes out of the world when Will is taught to kill.

Most of the journeys these characters are about to take are outlandish.But the experience isn't completely remote from us, is it? We've all crossed a threshold or turned a corner and come upon some revelation that has changed our lives.A face to fall in love with; a library filled with undiscovered books; a doctor, making a small, sad smile as he risesto beckon us in . . .

From Weaveworld

The birds did not stop their spiraling over the city as Cal approached. For every one that flew off, another three or four joined the throng.

The phenomenon had not gone unnoticed.People stood on the pavement and on doorsteps, hands shading their eyes from the glare of the sly, and stared heavenward.Opinions were everywhere ventured as to the reason for this congregation.Cal didn't stop to offer his, but threaded his way through the maze of streets, on occasion having to double back and find a new route, but by degrees getting closer to the hub.

And now, as he approached, it became apparent that his first theory had been incorrect.The birds were not feeding.There was no swooping nor squabbling over a six-legged crumb, nor any sign in the lower air of the insect life that might have attracted these numbers.The birds were simply circling.Some of the smaller species, sparrows and finches, had tired of flying and now lined rooftops and fences, leaving their larger brethren--carrion-crows, magpies, gulls--to occupy the heights.There was no scarcity of pigeons here either; the wild variety banking and wheeling in flocks of fifty or more, their shadows rippling across the rooftops.There were some domesticated birds too, doubtless escapees like 33.Canaries and budgerigars: birds called from their millet and their bells by whatever force had summoned the others.For these birds being here was effectively suicide. Though their fellows were at present too excited by this ritual to take note of the pets in their midst, they would not be so indifferent when the circling spell no longer bound them.They would be cruel and quick.They'd fall on the canaries and the budgerigars and peck out their eyes, killing them for the crime of being tamed.

But for now, the parliament was at peace.It mounted the air, higher, ever higher, busying the sky.

The pursuit of this spectacle had led Cal to a part of the city he'd seldom explored Here the plain square houses of the council estates gave way to a forlorn and eerie no-man's land where streets of once-fine, three-story terraced houses still stood inexplicably preserved from the bulldozer, surrounded by areas leveled in expectation of a boomtime that had never come, islands in a dust sea.

It was one of these streets--Rue Street the sign read--that seemed the point over which the flocks were focused.There we more sizable assemblies of exhausted birds here than in any of the adjacent streets; they twittered and preened themselves on the eaves and chimney tops and television aerials.

Cal scanned sky and roof alike, making his way along Rue Street as he did so. And there--a thousand-to-one chance--he caught sight of his bird. A solitary pigeon, dividing a cloud of sparrows.Years of watching the sky, waiting for pigeons to return from races, had given him an eagle eye; he could recognize a particular bird by a dozen idiosyncrasies in its flight pattern. He had found 33; no doubt of it. But even as he watched, the bird disappeared behind the roofs of Rue Street.

He gave chase afresh, finding a narrow alley which cut between the terraced houses halfway along the road, and let on to the larger alley that ran behind the row. It had not been well kept.Piles of household refuse had been dumped along its length; orphan dustbins overturned, their contents scattered.

But twenty yards from where he stood there was work going on.Two removal men were maneuvering an armchair out of the yard behind one of the houses, while a third stared up at the birds.Several hundred were assembled on the yard walls and windowsills and railings.Cal wandered along the alley, scrutinizing this assembly for pigeons.He found a dozen or more among the multitude, but not the one he sought.

"What d'you make of it?"

He had come within ten yards of the removal men, and one of them, the idler, was addressing the question to him.

"I don't know," he answered honestly.

"Maybe they're goin' to migrate," said the younger of the two armchair carriers, letting drop his half of the burden and staring up at the sky.

The Essential Clive Barker. Copyright © by Clive Barker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Jorges Luis Borges
A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Over the years he fills a given surface with images of provinces and kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fish, rooms, instruments, heavenly bodies, horses, and people. Shortly before he dies, he discovers that this patient labyrinth of lines is a drawing of his own face.
—author of The Maker
J. G. Ballard
A powerful and fascinating writer with a brilliant imagination . . . an outstanding stroyteller.

Meet the Author

Clive Barker is the bestselling author of twenty-two books, including the New York Times bestsellers Abarat; Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War; and The Thief of Always. He is also an acclaimed painter, film producer, and director. For twelve years Mr. Barker has been working on a vast array of paintings to illuminate the text of The Books of Abarat, more than one hundred and twenty-five of which can be found within this volume.

Mr. Barker lives in California. He shares his house with seven dogs, three cockatiels, several undomesticated geckoes, an African gray parrot called Smokey, and a yellow-headed Amazon parrot called Malingo.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles
Date of Birth:
October 5, 1952
Place of Birth:
Liverpool, England
Education:
Liverpool University
Website:
http://www.clivebarker.info

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Essential Clive Barker 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just a bunch of excerpts from his books, nothing new or even substantial. Total waste of money if youve read this stuff before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eighty-two page sample consisted of a tedious introduction by the author simply blathering on. Never actually got to read a sample.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The setup of the book is interesting. Each chapter has a theme with samples to match. Each section is mind-blowing. When he tells his stories, he shows us images that form from his words that engrave themselves into our imaginations. There was one of his images that showed itself in my mind's eye that refused to leave until we met face-to-face. His words don't tell stories...they show them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
IT was great having each chapter with a different theme. This is great for fans as well as it has some new short stories and commentary by the man