Horror writer and bookseller extraordinaire R.J. Crowther Jr. has some interesting observations about horror readers, drawn from years of intense firsthand experience.
(If I write dark fantasy edged with horrific elements, which is how I think of myself, RJ is horror with the hardstuff. If we were both Stephen King novels, for example, I would be THE STAND, and RJ would be, say, CELL*. Or does that make sense to anyone other than myself?)
*Speaking of, Poppy Z Brite made these observations about the novel, which resonated with me and nicely demonstrate how, love him or like him or hate him or just sniff haughtily in his general direction, King tends to be about much more than many people take him for (or, for that matter, any ‘Horrorwriter’ in general):
I always look forward to the second reading of a new King novel even more than the first, but I found little comfort in it. People seem to be responding to Cell as if it were just a big, fun, goofy zombie tale, with the twist that the zombies aren’t dead but brain-fried by their own cell phones. To me it seems a deeply sad and pessimistic story about manmade disasters and the inadequacy of our response to them. Form two lines … we’ve got a lot of you to process before sundown. Indeed. Plenty of us still haven’t been processed yet, and will be about as screwed as the phoners when we are. I could easily be imagining this subtext, but according to the dates he always includes at the ends of his novels, King was finishing Cell in the immediate aftermath of K, when the mind-bending suffering and desperation and sheer numbers of refugees was all over the news. I certainly didn’t imagine the references to “fucking FEMA,” which has become a single word in my head: fuckingFEMA.