Laura Lane Mcneal Biography & Facts
Books of Blood is a series of six horror fiction anthologies collecting original stories written by British author, playwright, and filmmaker Clive Barker in 1984 and 1985. Known primarily for writing stage plays beforehand, Barker gained a wider audience and fanbase through this anthology series, leading to a successful career as a novelist. Originally presented as six volumes, the anthologies were subsequently re-published in two omnibus editions containing three volumes each. Each volume contains four or five stories. The Volume 1–3 omnibus contained a foreword by Barker's fellow Liverpudlian horror writer Ramsey Campbell. Author Stephen King praised Books of Blood, leading to a quote from him appearing on the first US edition of the book: "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker."Books of Blood Volume 6 is significant for its story "The Last Illusion" which introduced Barker's occult detective character Harry D'Amour. The detective went on to appear in more of Barker's writings, the Hellraiser comic book series from Boom! Studios, and the movie Lord of Illusions (based on "The Last Illusion" and adapted by Barker himself).
Clive Barker's tagline for Books of Blood was: "Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." The opening story, "The Book of Blood", introduces the premise of the anthology series by revealing that a fake psychic is attacked one night by genuine ghosts and spirits who decide to make him a true messenger by writing stories into his flesh. This makes him a "Book of Blood" and the narration then invites the reader to read these stories. The UK editions of Volume 6 close with a story, "On Jerusalem Street", that features a man who pursues the fake psychic in order to skin him and take his Book of Blood. Thus, a framing story is created around the anthologies.
The stories range in genres. Some are traditional horror, some are described by Barker as "dark fantasy," some are comical, and "The Last Illusion" is notable for being a mixture of horror and noir while also introducing the occult detective Harry D'Amour. A common thread is that most of the stories feature everyday people in contemporary settings who become involved in violent, mysterious, and/or supernatural events. Barker has stated in Faces of Fear that an inspiration for the Books of Blood was when he read Dark Forces in the early 1980s and realised that a horror story anthology didn't need to have narrow themes, consistent tone or restrictions to be considered a proper collection. Instead, the stories could range wildly in genre and tone, from the humorous to the truly horrific.
Volumes I-III are sold as "The Books of Blood". Volume IV is sold as "The Inhuman Condition". Volume V is sold as "In the Flesh". And Volume VI is sold as "Cabal", which either includes four or five additional short stories, depending on the edition which you are able to find.
For some editions, Clive Barker illustrated the book covers.
Story list and synopses
"The Book of Blood"
The first story of Volume 1 acts as an introduction to the premise of the Books of Blood anthology series. This, along with "On Jerusalem Street", the closing story presented in UK editions of Volume 6, acts as a frame story for the series. The story mentions that the afterlife involves "highways of the dead" that sometimes intersect with the living world. A psychic researcher, Mary Florescu, has employed a quack medium named Simon McNeal to investigate a haunted house. Florescu knows McNeal is a fraud but is desperate to believe in the supernatural and also lusts after the young man. McNeal fakes visions as he has done many times before, pretending to hear names and stories told to him from beyond the mortal world. This time, ghosts and spirits decide to make McNeal a true messenger for them. As Florescu watches, the ghosts attack McNeal, carving names and "minute words" into his flesh, leaving him alive and otherwise uninjured but now with his body covered in stories – the stories of this anthology series. Florescu, attracted to McNeal, decides to nurse the young man and eventually transcribe his tales, thinking of him as a "Book of Blood" and her as his only translator.
This prologue, along with closing story "On Jerusalem Street" from Volume 6, was adapted into the film Book of Blood, written and directed by John Harrison.
"The Midnight Meat Train"
A man named Mahogany begins killing people in New York subway trains, identifying as a "butcher" in pursuit of "fresh meat." Office worker Leon Kaufman falls asleep on a late-night subway train to Brooklyn and awakens to discover Mahogany has killed people in the neighboring car and the train conductor is cooperating with him. After Kaufman kills Mahogany in self-defense, the train arrives at a secret station where strange creatures board and consume the bodies. The creatures, the "City Fathers", are the secret rulers of New York for centuries, claiming they "made" the city and have lived here since before the first humans of America. They pull out Kaufman's tongue to ensure his silence, recruiting him as their new Butcher tasked with bringing them fresh meat.
A film of the same name was released on 1 August 2008. The film greatly expands the book in a number of ways, most notably with the introduction of additional characters such as Maya, Leon's girlfriend, and additional events outside the main plot. Bradley Cooper and Vinnie Jones star in the film.
"The Yattering and Jack"
Jack Polo is a gherkin importer who is haunted by a minor demon called the Yattering. The demon is commanded to haunt Jack by Beelzebub, because one of Jack's ancestors reneged on a pact made with the demon lord. The Yattering is frustrated when its determined efforts to drive Jack insane are answered with good cheer and apparent obliviousness. Unknown to the Yattering, Jack is purposely ignoring the demon in order to simultaneously frustrate it and maintain his own sanity. The Yattering subjects him to increasingly severe torments, including killing his cats and terrorising his family, but these efforts all fail. Eventually Jack tricks the Yattering into violating its orders, allowing Jack to take advantage of a loophole and make the Yattering his slave.
In contrast to the other stories, this one is presented as a comedic tale. Barker wrote a screenplay adapting of this story for an episode of the horror TV series Tales from the Darkside (Season 4, episode 7; Nov 8, 1987).
"Pig Blood Blues"
Former policeman Redman starts working in a borstal, where he uncovers a deadly secret involving a boy named Lacey. Lacey claims that a missing boy named Henessey is not missing, but is present as a ghost. As Redman investigates, he finds that a giant pig in a sty on the grounds may be possessed.
"Sex, Death and Starshine"
Terry Calloway is directing Twelfth Night in a run-down theatre. He is having an affair with his leading lady, Diane Duvall, and ho.... Discover the Laura Lane Mcneal popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Laura Lane Mcneal books.