Incarnations

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Overview

Legions of Clive Barker fans will relish three early works from the wicked imagination of one of the best-known fantasy/horror writers of the decade.

Incarnations  is a cross-disciplinary marvel, a great, glorious feast of the imagination taking us on a journey through wildly varied theatrical and emotional terrains, from the pain and intrigue of domestic transgressions to the monstrous horrors wrought by war; from lustful garden liasons to subterranean cannibalism. Barker ...

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Overview

Legions of Clive Barker fans will relish three early works from the wicked imagination of one of the best-known fantasy/horror writers of the decade.

Incarnations  is a cross-disciplinary marvel, a great, glorious feast of the imagination taking us on a journey through wildly varied theatrical and emotional terrains, from the pain and intrigue of domestic transgressions to the monstrous horrors wrought by war; from lustful garden liasons to subterranean cannibalism. Barker uses unpredictable rhythms that draw less from theatrical convention and more from life itself, with apocalyptic spectacle and intimate reality sharing the stage as equal and sometimes indistinguishable partners.

The three works that make up Incarnations - Colossus; Frankenstein in Love, or the Life of Death; and The History of the Devil, or Scenes from a Pretended Life -- combine the shock and magic and heartbreak that has made Barker's unique vision a compelling force in all the media he has touched.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061053290
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Barker

Clive Barker is the best-selling author of eighteen books, including his first book for children, The Thief of Always. He is also an acclaimed artist, film producer, and director. For four years Mr, Barker has been working on a vast array of paintings to illuminate the text of The Books Of Abarat, over one hundred of which can be found within this first volume.

Mr. Barker lives in California with his partner, the photographer David Armstrong, and their daughter, Nicole. They share their house with four dogs, five goldfish, a parrot, fifteen rats, innumerable wild geckoes, a cockatiel, and a parrot called Malingo.

Biography

Nothing ever begins....Nothing is fixed. In and out the shuttle goes, fact and fiction, mind and matter woven into patterns that may have only this in common: that hidden among them is a filigree that will with time become a world.

It must be arbitrary, then, the place at which we choose to embark.

Somewhere between a past half forgotten and a future as yet only glimpsed."

And here is as good a place as any to begin with Clive Barker, the author of strange and scary stories such as the novel that begins above, Weaveworld. Barker is probably best known as the creator of the Hellraiser franchise -- which began with the novella The Hellbound Heart; later became the 1987 horror classic that Barker directed; and was then a comic from 1989-1994. He accomplished the print-to-film-to-comic trifecta again with Nightbreed, the film version of which was released in 1990.

Barker drew attention with his early '80s story volumes, Books of Blood. His first novel, The Damnation Game, not only put him on a par authors such as Stephen King but earned praise from those same authors. He is widely admired for weaving into his scary stories complex themes about human nature and desires.

In addition to crafting his signature novels, a chilling amalgam of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, Barker is an accomplished artist. (His comic Ectokids is in development as a movie project at Nickelodeon.) He has also written for children -- a fact that surprises readers familiar only with his disturbing adult oeuvre. But, in fact, his children's tales (The Thief of Always, Abarat, etc.) are among his most imaginative.

No matter what his audience or medium, Barker's stories are effective because it's clear that he takes his work, and his genre, very seriously -- and expects the same from his audience. In an interview with Barnes & Noble.com, he told us "[Fantasy and horror] liberate us into a world in which our frustrations and our repressions can take an exoticized form, rendering them more safely and also, if we dare, more approachable."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Education:
      Liverpool University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

The Painter, The Creature and The Father of Lies: an Introduction

The dictionary defines incarnation variously as the action of being made flesh, the assumption of a bodily form (particularly of Christ, or of God in Christ) and as the creation of new flesh upon or in a wound or sore: thus, a healing. I cannot imagine an apter title for this collection of plays. Story-telling has always been for me a process of putting on skins; of living lives and dying deaths that belong to somebody else. And the more unlike me I look with these borrowed faces the more interested I am to see the world through their eyes. The thrill of living for a little time as a visionary painter like Goya, or as the Devil, or — as in Frankenstein in Love — a murdered fan-dancer blithely awaiting the end of the world, brings me back to my desk in the certain knowledge that I am venturing where my daily life would never take me. I am, if you will, addicted to incarnation.

Let me say here and now that reading these plays does not require a degree in theatre arts or a burning ambition to tread the boards. The words are laid out a little differently from a novel or a short story, but the three tales that unfold in the pages that follow are fueled by many of the same passions that shaped Imajica, or The Damnation Game or The Books of Blood. More of that later. First, I would like to offer a brief history of how these dramas, and this edition, came into existence.

The earliest of the plays, The History of the Devil, was written in 1980, for a theatre troupe I had co-formed along with a group offriends in London: The Dog Company. Frankenstein in Love was written two years later, and performed by the same company in both Britain and Europe. Colossus has different origins. It was commissioned in 1983, and became a project for a large and eclectic group of young people brought together to create an original theatre work. It has been my intention to set about collating versions and editing all three texts for several years, but somehow the time has never been there to do so. With hindsight, I think this wasn't simply a question of opportunity. There was in me a certain reluctance to go back and examine work I'd done before the publication of the books — pieces I'd been proud of at the time — in case I discovered I hated them.

My anxieties misled me. The experience has not only been pleasurable but positively enlightening. It's aroused memories not only of the first productions of the plays but of my earliest encounter with the theatre, which was that most English of entertainments: the pantomime. For those of you not familiar with this extraordinary ritual, let me offer you a thumb-nail sketch. Panto is a Christmas entertainment, usually based on some bastardized fairy-tale, in which the ugly old woman, the Dame, is traditionally played by a man (often a well-known comedian) and the hero is played by a long-legged, thigh-slapping girl. Add a few music numbers, a couple of specialty acts, some smutty double-entendre for the adults and a singalong (complete with song-sheet) for the kids, and you have the mix. It is not, needless to say, the most coherent form of entertainment, but to a child born and raised in drab, post-war Liverpool as I was, Panto offered a glimpse of magic and spectacle that would fuel my dreams for weeks before and after my visit. And in truth there is much in the form I admire. Its artlessness, for one; its riotous indifference to any rules of drama but its own; its guileless desire to delight. And of course beneath all its tartish ways there is buried a story of primal simplicity: good against evil, love triumphing over hate and envy.

This was one of the two formative theatrical experiences of my childhood. The other — and in some senses more influential experience — was that of the puppet theatre. Like so many imaginative kids whose lives would take them into the theatre, my first taste of working behind the footlights was as a puppeteer. I made a cast of hand, rod and marionette puppets, and then proceeded to write elaborate vehicles for them. My father, who is a fine carpenter, built a stage and painted a variety of backdrops. One I remember with special clarity: a quay-side, with tall ships at anchor, sails unfurled or unfurling in preparation for a voyage.

And voyages I took. My cast was fairly generic, if memory serves. A sword-welding hero, a princess, a skeleton, a Devil, a hag-witch, a dragon. But they were all I needed to create exotic tales of midnight crimes and magic rituals, of horrendous jeopardies and last-minute escapes. There was a good deal of cruelty in the stories I created. This isn't so surprising, given that my earliest exposure to the world of puppets was Punch and Judy shows: short, brutal tales of how the devious and unrepentant Mister Punch kills his own child, beats his wife to death and then inexorably murders the rest of the cast (one at a time; the Punch and Judy man only has two hands) with his truncheon. My puppet tales also contained a measure of supernatural stuff, the appetite for which I trace to my paternal grandmother, who had a healthy nineteenth century appetite for the macabre.

This was, please remember, at a time and place when only a few of the neighbors owned television sets (we didn't) and comics were rare treasures. It isn't so surprising then that I found an audience of local kids for my entertainments. They would gather in the alley behind our house to watch my one-man epics, and though I'm sure time has improved the reviews, the shows seemed to find favor.

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

The Painter, The Creature, and the Father of Lies: An Introduction
Colossus 1
Frankenstein in Love or The Life of Death 149
The History of the Devil or Scenes from a Pretended Life 243
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2001

    Yet another masterpiece from the father of horror

    Incarnations was a pleasant surprise when I first saw the book. This proves once again that Clive Barker is a very versitile writer, incorporating humour, horror and the human condition into these three very well writen plays. Mr. Barker takes full advantage of his writing talent even in his early works, such as these plays prove. I highly recommend this book for those who are both theatre buffs and Clive Barker fans.

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