Halloween Extravaganza: Paul Flewitt: Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer Pt 6

Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer:
A Retrospective
Part 6

The Abarat series was several years in the making, conceived back in the late nineties with a series of epic-sized paintings. Barker had left the paintings hanging around the house, the collection steadily growing as other pursuits took his time. It wasn’t until the death of his father that Clive, surrounded by the paintings, decided that he had to do something with them. He had conceived the bones of the Abarat story as he painted; now he had to create the entire mythology.

Initially intended as a quartet of novels (since revised to five or six books), it is a tale with very familiar themes: the sea, the worlds beyond our own, and the sacred feminine. The difference here is that his storytelling is directed toward children, the creation of an epic story that would enrapture children and adults alike, in much the same way that Harry Potter and the Roald Dahl books had.

It was a story that would occupy him for many years, progress slowed by the need to create more paintings before the story could be written. The paintings would appear in the hardback copies of the books, captivating the reader as they read the tales. The undertaking is such that the work still isn’t finished today, its creation severely hampered by the coma and strokes of 2012 which left Barker significantly weakened (more on that later).

There were also other distractions as publishers and readers alike clamoured for new adult material. Barker had been working on a work entitled The Scarlet Gospels for years at this point, the story evolving and changing over the years before it reached its apotheosis.

Through all of this, for a decade, Barker’s attention was constantly taken by his new obsession: Abarat.

2002 – 2011, although movies and a separate novel appeared during this period, we shall forever think of as the Abarat years.

The Abarat Years (2002-2011)

Abarat, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War,
and Abarat: Absolute Midnight

Due to the fact that the Abarat series is unfinished, I will here offer only a very basic outline, and not an “in full” analysis of the work, as I have done with previous work in this article.

Abarat is the story of Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown. Candy is bored and ill at ease with her life in the Nowheresville that is Chickentown, where nothing ever happens and the only ambitions achievable are to work in the chicken factory that gives the town its name or to get out.

When she is given an assignment by her teacher to write a report giving five facts about the town, Candy can have no way of knowing how her research will change her life. She cannot know the ties that Chickentown has with the fantastic, being as it was the former harbour and trading town of Murkitt on the sea of Isabella.

Her first inkling of something more exciting than chickens in Chickentown is when she goes to speak to the manager of the town’s hotel, hearing the story of Henry Mirkitt’s demise in that very hotel and the cryptic note and sextant that he left behind: “I was waiting for my ship to come in…”

Little did she know how her life would change when, in a rage after her assignment on Mirkitt is torn to shreds by her teacher and she is sent to the principal’s office, she goes wandering on some scrubland on the outskirts of town. Here she sees a man being pursued through the tall, dry grass, a strange man with antlers on his head and seven heads sprouting from the branches. John Mischief is a thief from the Abarat Archipelago, pursued to the place he calls the Hereafter by Mendelssohn Shape. In desperation, Mischief asks Candy to go to the lighthouse (a strange folly which stands amidst the grass in the scrubland, totally misnamed by Mischief since they were many hundreds of miles from the sea), and play the oldest game in the world. Confused, Candy does as the brothers ask her and sets off for the lighthouse while they distract Mendessohn Shape.

She enters the tower and climbs the rickety stairs, listening keenly for the sounds of pursuit which meant that Shape was following. Only when she reached the room at the top of the stairs did Candy understand what John Mischief meant when he said it was the oldest game in the world. In the centre of the room, there is an inverted pyramid, and a strange ball in the cracks on the floorboard. Now she knows what must be done, but she hears Shape on the stairs. As Shape reaches the top of the stairs, which crumble under his every step, Candy throws the ball at the cup and runs out onto the balcony which runs around the outside of the tower. Shape follows and grabs her, but the balcony collapses and both fall and lay unconscious at the foot of the tower.

Candy is awoken by Mischief and his brothers. Shape is still unconscious nearby, but he’s stirring and there is little time to lose. They take her to see what it is that she has called forth by throwing the ball into the cup. A little way from the lighthouse, lapping up against a jetty, is the sea. Before Shape can catch up with them, Mischief asks her one final favour, to look after something that he brought to the Hereafter with him. He explains that the sea will carry him to the Abarat and safety, but that she must stay in the Hereafter where she belongs. To his dismay, Candy demands to go with the brothers to the Abarat. There is little time to argue: Shape appears and both the brothers and Candy jump into the sea and the currents take them away from the shore to the islands of the Abarat… and Candy’s life is forever changed.

The Abarat Archipelago is a collection of twenty-five islands, all of them associated with a different hour of the day and the twenty-fifth hour, the time out of time. The story follows Candy on her travels around the islands, and tells of the changes she goes through and chaos that she brings in her wake wherever she goes. We meet Jimothy Tarry and his army of Tarrie Cats; Rojo Pixler, the nefarious chairman of the Commexo Corporation and his demonic mascot, The Commexo Kid; Mater Motley and her army of Stitchlings; and Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, whose greatest ambition is to bring perpetual night to the Abarat.

We follow as Candy tries to understand the politics and struggles of the people of the islands, while trying to understand how she herself fits into the fabric of this fantastical world. It is a journey of change, discovery of self, of friendships, and loves found and lost.

The Abarat series is planned to stretch over five books in total, with only three currently published (hence my reticence to write a full summary at this point, but offer only a tantalising synopsis). What Barker has already presented is a work of young adult fantasy which rivals anything written by C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol, or Roald Dahl. Once again, Clive Barker proves that even in darkness, there is beauty.

Mister B. Gone (2007)

As implied earlier, Abarat is not the only work that Barker has produced in the Abarat period, although most of his time has been taken by Abaratian works. In 2007, Barker spoke about taking a break away from work on a novel called The Scarlet Gospels, writing a short novel called Mister B. Gone. Clive was living in the darkness of the Hellraiser world with Scarlet Gospels, and felt that he needed some brief respite. Mister B. Gone is still a very dark, sinister book, but not as epic in scale as Scarlet Gospels was conceived as being.

“Burn this book…”

That’s how the story begins, with the narrator imploring you to burn the book that you are reading. It is a demand that is repeated throughout the work, and many people have been tempted to do just that. Read on, though, and you find the history of a minor demon and “vicious little bastard,” Jakabok Boch. We read of how he was raised and abused in the shit piles of the lowest circles of hell, and how he came to inspire the printing of the first book… and how he came to be trapped within the pages of his own.

It would be impossible to give a full and in depth rundown of the entire story, as it is the transcribed ramblings of a tortured soul without a story, per se. It is the collected memories of the demon, Jakabok Boch, and must be read to be truly understood. Mister B. Gone would have worked very well as a Books of Blood story, although a little long in my opinion to have been included in a collection. Some fans deride Mister B. Gone as a throwaway scribbling that should have remained unpublished, but I feel differently. This book creeped me out. I read it in one reading while lying in bed, my wife sleeping beside me, and my baby daughter in the room next door. As the demon becomes more desperate, his demands more nasty and threatening, it feels that he is talking directly to you… whispering in your ear. I admire the book for that quality of writing.

Mister B. Gone was a Halloween release in October 2007, and quite fitting that it was published for that season, being as it was a welcome return to Barker’s horror roots. At the end, Jakabok Boch gives up on his imploring to burn the book, and just leave him on the shelf to gather dust… or pass it onto a friend. I know of several readers who have done just that and mailed the book to random addresses. To my knowledge, there are at least three copies of the book in the mail system, being passed from address to address, although I haven’t read of their whereabouts for several years… maybe they’ll turn up one day. Maybe one might drop on your doormat?


2007 and 2008 were busy years for Barker in the movie world. He worked on three adaptations of Books of Blood stories, with The Midnight Meat Train appearing in 2008, and Book of Blood and Dread in 2009. Barker worked as advisor on The Midnight Meat Train and Book of Blood, appearing on set throughout filming to assist the directors in capturing the story. Both are very faithful adaptations of the stories, with a career best performance from Vinnie Jones as Mahogany in The Midnight Meat Train.

It was a welcome change to have quality, faithful adaptations made from his work. They restored the audience’s faith in Barker as a creator of horror after the thievery and raping of the Hellraiser franchise since Hellraiser 3, but to date these are the last movies to appear adapted directly from Barker’s own work and involving him in production.

Maximillian Bacchus & His Travelling Circus (2009)

Originally written in 1974, The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus was finally published in 2009, with illustrations by Richard Kirk. Although he initially denied that the stories were based on anyone in particular, he did finally admit that Bacchus was based on himself, the ballet dancer Ophelia was based on Ann Taylor, and the perfect prince was based around Graham Bickley, who Barker described as “the most beautiful of people, a wonderful looking 18 year old.”

The book itself is very short, comprised of four stories which connect to each other. We join Maximillian Bacchus as his circus travels across the country to play at a King’s castle. On the way, the circus give other performances and fall into adventures, which Barker tells of in his trademark, darkly fantastic manner. They are each classic fables in the style of the The Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, and just totally wonderful.

With its illustrations and succinct storytelling, Maximillian Bacchus sits very well alongside The Thief of Always and the Abarat books as children’s literature.


And then, very abruptly, everything stopped.

2012 was possibly the worst year in the life of Clive Barker, the year which began with the ending of a court case that came about through an acrimonious split with long-term partner David Armstrong, and ended with Barker in hospital and close to death.

The court case and all the rumour I will leave alone, as tabloid and salacious as that subject is. I will, however, go into Clive’s illness as it continues to be a source of rumour and speculation among readers. It is strange that Clive’s long time absence from the public stage is still the subject of rumour and supposition, since Barker has been very open about what happened and the impact that his illness has had upon him.

Clive was busy at work on The Scarlet Gospels and the fourth Abarat book when he became ill. He attended what was a routine appointment for dental surgery, a routine procedure that millions of people will undergo each year. For Clive, it became a nightmare. He returned home following the procedure and collapsed unconscious. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital and diagnosed with toxic shock, which had caused him to have a stroke. He remained in a coma for a while, enduring three more strokes which left him debilitated and extremely weak. Clive being Clive, almost as soon as he regained consciousness he demanded to be unhooked from the machinery that had monitored him and wanted to get back to work.

Barker’s debilitation has been a source of great frustration for him since then. He is left pretty frail and struggled to leave his home in LA for several years. His usually prolific attendances at signings and conventions ceased, and his output of books also stopped. Abarat was hit the hardest, since he could no longer manage the huge canvases that were required of him. Interviews did appear from time to time, and the occasional photograph where he appeared thinner and far more frail than he had ever been.

None of this meant that he had stopped working. Quite the contrary. He still did what he could to complete Abarat (a project that is still ongoing) and The Scarlet Gospels. He was still selecting artwork to create the Imaginer series of books, which collects his visual art in book form. He also authorised the release of several Books of Blood stories in deluxe edition form.

At long last, after six years of absence, Barker made his first public appearances at conventions in 2018. Fans were glad to see him up and around, though were shocked to see him so frail. He has made further public appearances this year, and appeared briefly on a panel alongside Barbie Wilde, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Vince, and Simon Bamford. He may have been down for a while, but Barker is certainly not out.


Amidst his illness, there was much speculation about whether Barker would ever release another book. The general consensus among his hardcore fans was that they wouldn’t expect too much, such was the concern for his wellbeing. It was a welcome surprise in 2014 then, and one that was met with much excitement, when Clive began talking about The Scarlet Gospels on his Facebook page. A release date was soon announced for 2015.

Of course, Barker had been talking about The Scarlet Gospels for many, many years. The writing of this book was ongoing for around twenty years and had gone through many evolutions in that time. He first described it as a sprawling, epic history of religion and mankind… and hell, of course. What was delivered was something quite different: a horror-noir which charted the end of Barker’s most popular creation: Pinhead.

The work was met with mixed reaction from readers. Some applauded Barker’s return to horror fiction, his visceral approach to the work, and intent to shock. Others lamented the patchy quality of writing, with some positing the theory that parts of the story may have been ghost-written (a theory that I do not support). For certain, The Scarlet Gospels isn’t Barker’s best work, but it is still an enjoyable enough story and well worth reading for any Hellraiser fan.

The Scarlet Gospels (2015)

The last true magicians alive in the world are gathered together, resolved to face their doom together. They have been hunted and pursued, most of their colleagues already killed by one who thirsts for their knowledge. They argue over the best way to proceed, to fight or submit, but it is already too late. They hear the tolling of the bells and smell the sickly sweet fragrance which precedes his coming… and then he is there in the room with them. Pinhead.

The Hellpriest finds new and inventive ways to massacre all but one of the gathered mages, tearing them apart and even impregnating one with a demon-baby which is birthed within moments of its conception. The only survivor is reconfigured and remoulded to play Pinhead’s dog for the rest of eternity.

Harry d’Amour is drinking himself into oblivion after the end of a difficult investigation. He is reliving his first liaison with hell, and for that he really needed to be drunk.

As d’Amour is drinking away his sorrow and regrets, his partner and guide, Norma Payne, is visited by the spirit of a lawyer who had left behind a house of sin that he wasn’t too keen on his family finding. Beyond this sketchy detail he would tell no more until both Harry and Norma agreed to sign an NDA. Norma admonished the man, telling him that she would sign no such thing and nor would Harry, but the man displayed just enough humanity for her to want to help him. She agreed to set up a meeting between Harry and the dead man, and so Harry found himself in New Orleans.

Harry travelled to the house of the dead man, and in the investigation, discovered a library of the arcane. While in the library, he discovers an ornate box which draws him in. He knows precisely what this is and senses the power within the box, finding himself absently toying with it until the thing is solving itself. He hears the distant tolling of bells as his protective tattoos begin to burn a warning. Soon enough, the Hellpriest’s god appears and attempts to apprehend him, but Harry is well versed in the arcane and utters an incantation which will seal the divide between the world and Hell. Before the portal closes, Pinhead apprehends him and offers him a deal: kill his dog and he will make him an offer he cannot refuse. Unwillingly, d’Amour does battle with the dog and is close to being bested before a phantom comes to his rescue. He flees, leaping through a window and breaking bones in the fall as the house tears itself apart.

D’Amour is helped by the man who has guided him this far, his hurts treated by a voodoo mage. He experiences a day of delirium after drinking some potion that the mage gives him, but awakes more or less cured, although still in pain. He returns to New York to heal his hurts, but is soon disabused of any notion of rest.

He sets off to visit Norma at her apartment to update her on all that happened on his trip to New Orleans, but is stopped by a stranger who shoves a crumpled piece of paper into his hand before disappearing into the crowds. Harry finds a quiet place where he won’t be seen before unfolding the paper and reading the note, knowing that it is from Norma. He reads the words which immediately chill him to the bone: “Don’t go to my apartment. Its bad. I’m in the old place. Come at 3am. If you itch, walk away.”

D’Amour goes to a bar and waits, drinking until the place closes. He takes a cab and heads to the place that Norma directed him to. He knows the place, of course. It is the place where he and Norma first met. He gets out of the cab a block or two from the place, making sure that he hasn’t been followed before heading to the empty office block which was once home to his psychiatrist. He breaks in and heads up to the old office, but finds no sign of his old friend. He searches through the reception area and into the former consulting room. He is about to give up when he goes to the en-suite and finds the message that Norma has left: an arrow scrawled in ash on the window, pointing downwards. In the basement was a gentleman’s club, and that is where Harry heads next.

At the top of the steps which lead to the club, Harry’s tattoos begin to tingle. He flicks on the lights and heads into the place, calling out a challenge. The room before him seems deserted and silent, and he moves further in before things begin flying at him. He runs to the stage, trying to get some height and see who… or what… is attacking him. He threatens the poltergeists with an incantation, and begins to recite the words when Norma’s voice cuts through the air. The ghosts attacking d’Amour are hers, and they are present at her command. She calls them off, but tells them not to stray far in case Harry has been followed. She leads him into the back room and Harry sees that she has been living there for some time.

Norma explains that the lawyer led them into a trap and that she was fooled. “There are highways open that should be closed… and there’s something coming down one of those highways – or all of them – that means you and me, and a lot of other people, harm.”

It isn’t anything that d’Amour hasn’t already guessed, but his first priority is to get Norma out of the cesspit that she has chosen as her hideout and get her somewhere more comfortable. With that in mind, Harry leaves her to arrange her accommodation.

The Hellpriest was busy also, setting his plans into action. He was in the Monastery of the Cenobitical Order and arranging the first phase of his scheme. He had been summoned to the chamber of his superiors for judgement, and it was a prospect that didn’t please him. He turned to his dog and told him that, if the judgement went against him, all of his endeavours must be destroyed. The dutiful servant understood and promised that he would do his duty.

Together they made their way to the Chamber of the Unconsumed, where the leaders of the Order were gathered. Pinhead was accused of heresy, of researching human magic. Such behaviour was outside of the system, and the Cenobite Order was built on rigid systems. They had found books which had aided his research and the evidence against him was incontrovertible. The judgement of the Unconsumed was that the Hellpriest be banished from the Order to the Trenches; his belongings had already been taken and destroyed. All Pinhead said in response was “Thank you.”

He left the chamber and walked across the courtyard, pointing to a stand of trees and ordering his dog to wait for him there. Once the servant was outside the gates, the Hellpriest went about his business. He went to a row of buildings which stood under the wall and entered the last one in the row. Here is where he had done his work and laid out his plans. In an upper room was a birdcage filled with origami cranes, the identity of a Cenobite priest written on each one. He wrote out the last few names on the last few cranes before placing them in the cage with their brethren. He whispered the incantation he had learned and watched as the cranes became animate, their wings flapping against each other. He let the first few cranes free, watching to see how they would act. After a moment of testing their new found freedom, they set off to do their duty. The Hellpriest released more cranes, not all of them for fear of being discovered, but soon enough the cage was empty and the endeavour was underway.

He climbed up to the top of the walls and looked out over the city, where there was a revolution underway. He watched as the city walls came under attack from people with rudimentary petrol bombs. After a few moments drinking this sight in, he heard screams from much closer at hand. Now he turned his attention back to the monastery, where his work was being done.

He walked back across the courtyard and made his way up the steps to the cells, where he found the priests, priestesses, abbots, deacons, and bishops in states of extremis. Most were already dead, but one or two were still in the process of dying. He was well satisfied with his work until a brother he knew called out to him, calling him a traitor. This one was obese with dark glasses, and he accused the Hellpriest of his treachery and murder. Pinhead denied involvement, but the fat Cenobite didn’t believe him and caught him by his vestments. Only then did a convulsion rip through the Cenobite and he expelled blood from his mouth in a torrent, soaking the Hellpriest in gore. He turned and left the scene, making his way across the courtyard to the gates.

He was almost out of the monastery when the Abbott who had meted out his judgement called out to him, accusing him. Pinhead turned and once again denied involvement, but the Abbott called him a liar. The Hellpriest took hold of the man and began tearing his vestments away from his body. The Abbott had ordered the inquisitors to come and take the Hellpriest, and time was too short to complete the atrocity that he was currently committing. He dropped the Abbott and left him to his guards, leaving the monastery, and heading to the forest to meet with his dog.

Harry d’Amour went to visit his tattooist, Caz, in hopes of finding Norma a more comfortable place to stay. He tells Caz about his trip to New Orleans and the trap that had been set for him there, and how Norma had gone into hiding. The big man listened to all of this, promising to find a place for Norma to lie low in Brooklyn. Harry agreed to Caz’s plan and returned to Norma with food and brandy.

Harry is sleeping, Norma talking to the spirit of a man named Nails, when Caz arrives at the club with Lana, a friend of both Harry and Caz with more protective tattoos on her body than both men combined. She was a magnet for the supernatural, and had agreed to have Norma stay with her and keep her under her protection.

On the way to Lana’s house in Caz’s van, Harry’s tattoos were worryingly quiet. They were less than a mile from their destination when he screamed at Caz to stop and jumped out of the van. He looked down to the corner of the street that they’d just turned into and saw what could only be a mirage: standing on the corner, as if waiting for the bus, was his saviour from New Orleans, Dale. Harry called him and approached, and the man explained that his dreams had told him to be on that spot, at that moment. Suddenly, Harry’s tattoos flared up and he dropped to his knees. Something was coming, something big, and all of his tattoos were screaming against it.

When the sensation in Harry’s tattoos subsided, the introductions were made between Dale and Harry’s friends, and they became aware of a vibration in the air which rose to a fever pitch as they listened. There was a force in the air which blew out windows and cracked pavements. Without further discussion, the group armed themselves and waited for what was coming.

A doorway of fire opened up in the street before them and the Hellpriest appeared with his pet dog. Pinhead approached d’Amour, making him an offer to be his witness as he carried out plans that he had been making for most of a lifetime. He would be denied nothing, and the Hellpriest’s gospel would be one of total honesty… all d’Amour had to do was witness and write down the events that occurred from here on. Of course, Harry’s response was a “fuck you,” but Pinhead was not here to be denied. Even as d’Amour pumped bullets into the Hellpriest’s head, his dog had quietly circled the group and now held Norma Paine, a curved blade held to her belly and threatening to gut her if d’Amour made the wrong move. Still, Pinhead was wounded and bleeding his acidic blood onto the floor. The Hellpriest whispered an incantation which turned his blood into vicious darts which flew at d’Amour and caught his arm. D’Amour wrapped his jacket around his arms and charged at the demon, grabbing his arms and forcing them downward. More blood-darts flew from the Hellpriest as he roared in revulsion and rage, destroying Caz’s van and causing it to explode.

The Hellpriest was not as adept at the use of this form of magic as he had thought – there were too many variables in the situation and it was throwing his calculations off. Knowing that this encounter was not going the way that he had hoped, the Hellpriest called his dog and retreated… but not without a prize… He took Norma Paine back to Hell with him. D’Amour was rendered immobilised as the associations with past experiences overwhelmed him and for a moment he was unable to act. Caz screamed at him to move, to do something, and at last Harry sprang into action. He sprinted toward the portal that Pinhead and his dog had disappeared into and followed, the doorway disappearing as he entered.

Harry’s friends follow him through the doorway, and they find themselves in Hell. Upon their arrival, the friends feel distrust toward Dale, since he appeared just before the Hellpriest. They begin to walk toward civilization, but Dale stops and tells them that something wonderful is about to happen and they will trust him. Just then Lana begins speaking with a voice that isn’t her own, and it soon becomes apparent that it is Norma. The Hellpriest has beaten her severely, and she is close to death, but she tells the friends where she is and how to get to her. Too soon, Norma’s body calls her spirit back… apparently there is more that she must do in the world of the living.

From there the story becomes a pursuit to rescue Norma. They follow in Pinhead’s wake as he travels through Hell to the sanctum which holds the body of Lucifer, the Morning Star, who Pinhead believes to be dead. There, Harry witnesses as Pinhead violates what he believes to be the corpse of the fallen angel, ripping away the armour which he believes gave the devil his power and wearing it himself. As he is leaving, the devil awakes and, realising the violation wrought upon him as he slept, goes after the Hellpriest.

Meanwhile, Norma is dying. Pinhead has violated her and she has only moments to live. Harry finds her with his friends, lying on a beach, and promises to see Pinhead dead before he bears her body back to the world. Pinhead also finds them, and renders Harry blind as Lucifer appears and attacks the Hellpriest.

A battle ensues with both demons unleashing their power upon each other and tearing Hell apart. The friends rush to escape as the ground opens up around them and both demons lay each other low. Lucifer tears the armour from Pinhead’s body and destroys him utterly before turning his attention to the realm that he made for himself so many generations past.

The book ends with Harry blind and moving into Norma’s old apartment. He is emptying his office and one of his friends find the puzzle box that he took from the house of the lawyer in New Orleans. He takes the box from the man and hides it once again, keeping it safe from inquisitive hands. Now, Harry will take over from Norma as the interpreter of the dead.


And so to the future…

Barker has already announced that he has a new novel close to completion: Scarebaby. He has said that this will be another return to horror, and that it is the scariest thing that he has written in a long time.

He has also announced that he is developing two new television series: one based around his Books of Blood stories, the other a Nightbreed television show. Of course, these are in development and may never be made (there have been a few series pitched for both books in the last twenty years), but the signs are hopeful.

Clive has also attended more conventions and has further appearances planned for conventions next year.

It seems that Barker still has the energy and will to create new worlds, while revisiting the old favourites from time to time. What will he create next? Only time will tell, but what I hope this (rather long) retrospective proves is that he has already cemented his place as one of the most influential dark fiction authors of our time, as well as the greatest imaginer of the last thirty years. I’m sure there are many writers who feel, as I do, that we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for showing us that there are no limits to our own imagination.

“You have to trust your own madness…”
Clive Barker

Thank you for joining us through this 6-part retrospective. I hope you have enjoyed the work that author Paul Flewitt has put into this. Thank you, Paul, for sharing this with us.

Paul Flewitt is a horror/dark fantasy author. He was born on the 24th April 1982 in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield.

Always an avid reader, Paul put pen to paper for the first time in 1999 and came very close to inking a deal with a small press. Due to circumstances unforeseen, this work has never been released, but it did give Paul a drive to achieve within the arts.

In the early 2000’s, Paul concentrated on music; writing song lyrics for his brother and his own bands. Paul was lead singer in a few rock bands during this time and still garners inspiration from music to this day. Paul gave up his musical aspirations in 2009.

In late 2012, Paul became unemployed and decided to make a serious attempt to make a name for himself as a writer. He went to work, penning several short stories and even dusting off the manuscript that had almost been published over a decade earlier. His efforts culminated in his first work being published in mid-2013, the flash fiction piece “Smoke” can be found in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes: A Tribute To Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.

2013 was a productive year as he released his short story “Paradise Park” in both J. Ellington Ashton’s All That Remains anthology and separate anthology, Thirteen Vol 3. He also completed his debut novella in this time. Poor Jeffrey was first released to much praise in February 2014. In July 2014 his short story “Always Beneath” was released as part of CHBB’s Dark Light Four anthology.

In 2015 Paul contributed to two further anthologies: Demonology (Climbing Out) from Lycopolis Press and Behind Closed Doors (Apartment 16c) with fellow authors Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Stuart Keane, and more.In 2016, Paul wrote the monologue, The Silent Invader, for a pitch TV series entitled Fragments of Fear. The resulting episode can be viewed now on YouTube, but the show was never aired. The text for the monologue was published in Matt Shaw’s Masters Of Horror anthology in 2017.

Paul continues to work on further material.

He remains in Sheffield, where he lives with his partner and two children. He consorts with his beta reading demons on a daily basis.

You can find more information on Paul Flewitt and his works here…

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Halloween Extravaganza: Paul Flewitt: Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer Pt 5

Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer:
A Retrospective
Part 5

And so the new millennium dawned; that moment that Barker had written about, both directly and indirectly throughout the 1990’s. The new decade brought a fresh impetus and a new focus for Barker as he eschewed the epic for quicker, more linear books. This is hardly surprising, given that much of his time from here on would be dedicated to the Abarat series of books for children and young adults. Abarat is a much more ambitious project than it would at first appear on first glance. Each book incorporates illustrations which exist as canvases that Barker created himself. Some of these pages are huge, and take many hours to paint. The books are written around the paintings, so one cannot exist without the other. It is the work which still occupies Barker today, and 19 years on is still incomplete.

He did not turn his back on writing for adults. 2000 brought us Coldheart Canyon: A Hollywood Ghost Story. This is one of Barker’s most straight forward works, and bears some relation to Weaveworld. Where one is about a world within a rug, the other contains a world contained within the tiles of a mosaic. Really, though, Coldheart Canyon is a scathing critique on the machinations of Hollywood, and all of those who circulate in its world. Fans do not escape Barker’s cynical eye here either, with a comment on the dangers of toxic fandom. The book is also coloured in some way by the death of his father in 1999, a man with whom Barker had an often difficult relationship, but the grief he felt from his loss was profound. After his death, Barker rewrote swathes of the book and made it something a little less scathing than it was, if that could be believed.

It was also this event which spurred Barker on to write the Abarat series, without a contract or any guarantee that there would be any publisher interest in it. Life, Barker had concluded, was too short.

Coldheart Canyon (2000)

The story opens with a man at the vet with his sick dog, Dempsey. The animal has been with the man for many years, and is his only true friend in the world. The animal has been with the man through his triumphs and his tribulations, and now the man must be with him. The vet has no choice but to operate on the dog, but he doesn’t make it and the man is devastated by the news. He sits in the vet’s office and people pass by not recognising him, a situation that would bother him on any other day.

Todd Pickett is a blockbuster action movie star on the wane. His all-American good looks are in decline, with wrinkles beginning to line his face. He is being overtaken by younger men, 21st century boy toys who are taking his roles and appearing on billboards that once were his. There is a way back to the top for Pickett, the head of Paramount assures him. He has taken the man’s advice and the business card of a surgeon that he recommended highly. Pickett was desperate to get back to the top, to get his fix of adulation that only life on the red carpets can offer, and so he has been for cosmetic surgery. Sadly for Todd, the surgeon wasn’t the professional that the mogul asserted that he was. Chemicals used in the surgery have reacted badly and left Pickett scarred, and so he has to retreat into the hills. Pickett’s agent locates a house in the hills above Hollywood where her client can escape to recuperate, while he plans whatever future he may have.

The house is perfect for Pickett’s needs, and has its own storied history. It was first owned by forgotten silent movie star, Katya Lupi, and had hosted some of the biggest, most notorious parties of the time. It was precisely what Todd needed, a secluded mansion where he could get over the tragedies that had beset him. He moves in, his agent tells him she no longer wishes to represent him anymore… and the story begins.

In the basement of the house, there is a secret. During the pomp of her fame, Katya and her own manager return to her homeland of Romania. As she visits with family, her agent, Zeffer, visits an abbey in the area and looks over some artifacts that the abbot has for sale for his client’s new home. All he sees among the brick-a-brac is rubbish and banality, but he takes the tour and feigns interest. The abbot sees that the man is looking for items more interesting and takes him down into the bowels of the abbey, showing him still more object d’art. Zeffer is growing bored, but when he enters the basement room he does see something that piques his interest. Hidden by the proliferation of detritus in the room there is a treasure: a tiled mosaic which decorates the walls, ceiling, and even the floor. Zeffer cleans a portion of the wall and sees art of precision, erotic beauty which is captivating and precisely what Katya is looking for. He makes the abbot an offer, but the man is reluctant to sell. The art has a terrible story attached to it – a story of murder, betrayal, magic and curses. Undeterred, Zeffer offers more money and the abbot is finally persuaded. Work begins to map the walls and number the tiles as they are removed from the room. Diagrams are drawn to ensure that the wonder is recreated to the finest detail when it is installed in Katya’s pleasure palace.

When Todd moves in to the place, he is disturbed from his sleep by the sound of movement in the place. He investigates, but finds nothing. In the cold light of day, he wanders around the grounds of the mansion and explores the place. On those explorations he comes across a summer house and steals inside. He finds that the place is being lived in, and resolves to evict the tenant as soon as he can find them. That night, the tenant pays him a visit. She steals into the bedroom and introduces herself. Not only is Katya Lupi alive, she hasn’t aged a day in the decades since she was a star. In the days to come, she shows Todd the wonders of her palace… and the horrors, too. The grounds of the house are haunted by the spirits of those who had partied there, and they have carried on the revelry. Around every corner Todd sees the stars of the golden era of Hollywood, all engaged in some erotic pursuit. Once the exploration is complete, Katya shows Todd her secret… the Devil’s Country. She takes him down to the basement and shows him the mosaic room. Todd steps into the room, the door is closed behind him, and the magic takes hold. Instead of a room, Todd finds himself in another world with different skies above him and strange ground under his feet. The place invigorates his senses, and soon he is hooked. Before Todd leaves the room, he is Katya’s completely.

Tammy Lauper is the president of the Todd Pickett fanclub, his number one fan. In her home she has a room dedicated to his image, with posters, signed photographs, and a life-size stand-up of him. She updates her followers on Pickett’s work and even his private life. It is a role which often puts her at odds with the actor’s PR people and management. Now is no different as Todd’s disappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed and Tammy calls his people to get some information on his whereabouts. She is stonewalled, blanked, and her calls are ignored. With nothing else to do, she boards a plane and flies to Hollywood to see what is happening for herself. She investigates around Pickett’s associates, and eventually finds her way to Coldheart Canyon and the dream palace.

She parks a little way up the hill from the mansion’s gates and shimmies over a wall, delving into the dense overgrowth of the grounds. Soon she encounters monsters, the ravening offspring of ghosts and animals. She is chased through the gardens and finally reaches a clearing where she is surrounded, sure that she is about to meet her end. Instead, she is rescued by Zeffer. He has lived in the grounds of the mansion since the “death” of Katya Lupi. With some persuasion, he agrees to take Tammy to the house. He hesitates at the threshold, but she persuades him inside. They search the house, but there is no sign of Pickett or Katya.

Zeffer is tremulous, afraid in case his former mistress returns. Tammy takes a few moments to collect herself (which includes a huge slice of cherry pie) and Zeffer tells her the story of the Devil’s Country. The story went that Duke Goga loved hunting, and one day he came across the son of Lilith running through his woods. Mistaking him for a goat, he hunted the child and caught it, killing him with his sword. As the child lay dying, his mother arrived… closely followed by his father. The devil saw what had become of his son, and condemned Goga and his men to hunt forever. They would hunt the Devil’s Country until they caught his son and returned him back to him. Those were the men that Tammy had seen on her visit to the Devil’s Country, and they were always so close, but never quite caught the boy. At last they go down the stairs and come to the door which contains the mosaic. They hear a commotion and Tammy attempts to open the door, but it is stuck. Todd calls from inside the room, and together they manage to get the door open before the horsemen get to Todd and Katya. Todd recognises Tammy instantly, and unfortunately, Katya recognises Zeffer. She flies into a rage and attacks Zeffer, beating him like an errant dog. She had banned him from the house many years ago, and his presence offends her beyond measure. She kicks and slaps him several times before Tammy can intervene, but Katya hits her hard and almost knocks her unconscious. Finally Katya picks up the old man and pitches him into the Devil’s Country, right into the path of Goga and his horsemen. Taking Zeffer’s sudden appearance as an attack, he thrusts his sword through the man and looks toward the door.

Todd drags Tammy up the stairs and back into the kitchen, her eyes constantly drawn back again and again to the sight of the Devil’s Country. Finally she comes back to herself, just as Katya arrives in the kitchen.

Tammy makes for the door, noticing that Todd’s hand has slipped from hers. He has a choice: to stay in the house with the woman he has just witnessed commit a murder or go with his number one fan and return to the rational world. He is momentarily confused by the choice before him, but there comes a banging from the basement which makes up his mind. He needs to get away from the house and the craziness. He follows Tammy out of the house and back to the real world. They escape to her car and make off down the hill, but one of the hybrid children steps into the road. Tammy mows it down, much to Todd’s horror at the sight of the malformed creature. She speeds off down the hill and back to Hollywood, to her hotel room.

As the evening comes on, over food the pair discuss their options. Todd needs answers for all that he has witnessed in the mansion, and the only place to get them is from his agent. The pair resolve to go to her condo in Malibu and shake the answers from her if necessary.

Meanwhile, Jerry Brahms is contemplating suicide in his apartment in Hollywood. Jerry is a hanger-on, one of those people who follow the town and worships its very existence. He is single, ageing, and dying of prostate cancer. He has had several relationships in his life, but none of the men he has had romantic entanglements with over the years have stuck. He has no family, his parents long since dead and a sister who died far too young. He does not fear death, but neither does he welcome it. On the bad days, which are coming more and more frequently as his incurable cancer grows inside him, he seriously considers suicide and has collected enough sleeping pills to do the job for the eventuality. Something keeps him alive, though, even in the worst of days. He has a sense that his story is not over, that there is a chapter yet to be written and he must see it through. He doesn’t know what that chapter might hold, just that he must stay alive to see it happen.

He falls asleep and has a dream about Katya Lupi, a woman that near-adopted him as a child. The dream distresses him, Katya in such a state following Todd Pickett’s desertion. He wakes, wondering whether he should go to her or if siding with her would mean the end of him. Of course, curiosity mixed with loyalty and he knew he must drive up the Canyon and see his lady.

When he arrives at the mansion he is surprised to see that he is expected. Katya leaves the sanctuary of her home and gets into his car. It has been many long years since Katya Lupi has been abroad in the world, which made this a momentous evening. She asks Jerry if she knows where Todd will be, and Jerry takes a wild guess. His old agent is holding a party at her Malibu condo, and Todd Pickett is sure to be there. So it is that Katya Lupi leaves her estate and enters Hollywood for the first time in three quarters of a century.

Todd and Tammy arrive at the house of his agent, drawing curious stares and sneers from all gathered at the party. These people are the A-listers that Pickett is used to being around, but now they treat him like a leper, like proximity to the waning star might infect them too. They stare at the scarring which disfigures his face, and the overweight woman he has on his arm. The pair wandered through to the rear of the house. Todd knows that his former agent will be on the patio holding court. Sure enough, she is there with several A-listers… including the man that caused Pickett’s problems in the first place. Todd leaves Tammy to have the confrontation with his manager, going down onto the beach to speak privately. Meanwhile, Eppstadt, the Paramount executive, orders for Tammy to be thrown out by security. Faye Dunaway comes to her rescue, and Tammy goes outside to keep an eye on Todd and Maxine, his agent.

While all this is going on, Katya Lupi and Jerry Brahms arrive at the house. The crowds part for her, captivated by the beauty of this newcomer into their midst. Katya basks in the glow of adulation as they move through the house in search of her paramour.

The argument on the beach quickly lurched from Todd’s demands for an explanation of Coldheart Canyon to recriminations over the near-death of his career. In turn, Maxine spat back in his face the difficult task it had been to represent Todd Pickett at the height of his fame: the ridiculous demands he’d made on her time and the sordid secrets she’d kept from the press. Back and forth they went while Tammy looked on and a crowd gathered on the porch of the house. Todd notices Eppstadt on the porch and rushes toward him, grabbing his leg and trying to drag him through the bars of the fence in a ridiculous scene of rage. Security tries to prize his finger from the man’s leg, threatening to hurt him if he doesn’t let go. Just then, as the scene is about to take a turn toward the farcical, Katya shows up on the beach next to him. He looks at her, at her smile, at her heart-melting beauty, and follows her down the beach. No one tries to stop them as they walk into the water and Todd picks the woman up. There are no screams, no shouts of shock as the pair disappear into the night. Tammy can only watch as the searchlights from coast guard helicopters scan the surf and the night drifts on.

Meanwhile, Jerry Brahms explains to the stupefied Maxine and Eppstadt that the woman they saw was Katya Lupi. They cannot believe that the young, beautiful woman was Katya; she would surely be well over a hundred. All Brahms can say by explanation is, “That’s Coldheart Canyon.” The man is unmoving, positing the notion that they had witnessed the apotheosis of a suicide pact between the two. Todd had been hurt by both Eppstadt and Maxine, after all, his career ended and his agent turned tail and abandoned him – surely they both should take some measure of responsibility for the seeming deaths they had witnessed?

Eppstadt insists on seeing Coldheart Canyon himself, in putting to bed any notion that the woman he had seen was Katya Lupi. He preferred to believe that this was all a ruse to get Pickett’s career back on the rails – what better than a death rumour to get his name in the papers and magazines? He insisted on seeing Coldheart Canyon, and that Maxine, Jerry Brahms, Maxine’s assistant, Sawyer, and a waiter named Joe would go along with them. So it was that the five, Eppstadt armed with one of Maxine’s guns, took a trip up into the hills to the dream palace.

They arrived at the place, Joe wondering at the size and opulence of the mansion. They put on all the lights and began a search, but an earthquake struck before they got far into the house. Maxine and Sawyer bolted out of the house, while Eppstadt ordered the others to stay inside until the earthquake subsided. It passed and Eppstadt went to the door in search of Maxine, but comes face to face with some of the ghosts of the Canyon instead. One of the ghosts grabs him, trying to draw him into the gardens and imploring him not to go back into the house, but he pulls away and retreats back inside. Joe appears then, seconds too late to see what Eppsadt has seen, and the pair go to the kitchen where Brahms splashes water on a wound to his head. Again, Eppstadt demands answers to who the people in the yard are and why they are in the grounds at all. Brahms explains that they are the ghosts of Katya’s friends and lovers, but Eppstadt still will not believe the evidence of his own eyes. Just then he hears wind and horses hooves coming from the basement. Taking the sounds as those of a television, he orders Brahms to turn off the faucet so he can hear the sounds better. Sure enough, he hears the sounds of wind and horses hooves coming from the basement. Brahms tells Eppstadt and Joe about the Devil’s Country,that the place is why the ghosts are still around and that it is dangerous. He theorises that the earthquake has blown the door to the Country open, and that it must be closed. With typical executive bravery, Eppstadt delegates Joe the task of going to the basement to close the door, implying that he will help the young man to become the next Ed Norton if he does as he’s ordered. It took too long for Joe to return from his trip into the bowels of the dream palace, and Eppstadt started to get jittery. He stood at the top of the stairs, listening for sounds of movement. The sounds of horses’ hooves have grown fainter, but the wind was still audible. Brahms warned Eppstadt not to go down the stairs, and Jerry refused to go down there himself. It was then that Eppstadt surprised Jerry Brahms, saying that he should never have sent Joe down. It seemed that the dream palace even had the power to change a man like Eppstadt.

Brahms leaves Eppstadt at the basement door and goes upstairs to search. He goes straight to the bedroom and finds Todd and Katya asleep in the bed, entwined together. He leaves them to their slumber, unable to blame a woman of such long life in wanting to find comfort in the arms of a man who loved her.

Eppstadt finally found the courage to go after Joe and headed down to the basement. He had gone two steps when an aftershock hit, dust and small stones raining down on him from above. He went down, seeing a door lintel above him through the gloom. He peered into the room, seeing nothing but darkness. He fumbled, like so many before him, for a light switch and found none… but soon enough the delights and wonders of the Devil’s Country revealed itself to him, and he was lost.

While all this is going on downstairs, Todd wakes up and hears their voices. He gets out of bed and dresses, creeping over to the door and figuring out how he might escape with Katya. He had hoped that he would have time to search the place and get rid of any incriminating evidence – the several reams of photographs that Katya had saved from her revelries – before the vultures swooped in. That opportunity was denied him now, and there was nothing to be done but escape. He goes over to the window when he hears shouts from the gardens, and sees Maxine’s assistant, Sawyer, running through the garden and screaming for Maxine’s help. Todd scans the grounds and sees Maxine on top of one of the cages, holding a gun and shouting directions to her assistant. Sawyer comes to a clearing and Todd sees his pursuer for the first time: one of the hybrid children. He watches as Maxine tries to direct Sawyer, but it is a lost cause. Soon enough, the hybrid pounces on its victim. Maxine shoots it, but it’s too late for Sawyer. Other hybrids descend on the man’s corpse, tearing him limb from limb, allowing Maxine to escape. Once the show is over, Todd turns back into the room and gives Katya a kiss as she sleeps.

Meanwhile, Tammy Lauper has arrived back at the pleasure palace. It had been tempting to just return to her hotel, pack up her things and go back home, but instead she’d come back up the hill. She waits outside the gates, steeling herself for what she might find when she enters the grounds before she finally steps through.

In the Devil’s Country, Eppstadt finds Joe up a ladder, trying to free a crucified man from his torture. Birds are already flocking in the branches, and Joe asks Eppstadt to get him a stone, which he uses to throw at the carrion birds. All the time Eppstadt is beseeching Joe to leave the man – he is beyond help and they needed to get out of the Devil’s Country. Joe refuses, determined to get the man down. Soon enough, leaving is an option that is taken away from them. A hideously deformed boy approaches and tells them to leave the man where he is. Joe has almost got him down and refuses to leave him hanging there. The boy insists that they leave the man where he is, that his mother had put him there for the crime of refusing to sleep with her. Still, the men refuse to leave the crucified man. Finally the man comes free. Both fall into the thicket at the foot of the tree and traps Joe on cruel thorns which pierce his flesh. He implores Eppstadt to help him, but the Paramount chief has seen two snakes emerge from wounds in the crucified man’s chest. He retreats, but the boy reaches in and pulls Joe from the thicket, flaying his back in the process. The boy watches the freed, crucified man die and pitches a tantrum, slashing Joe’s throat with a kick from his sharp hooved feet. Eppstadt is left alone with the two dead men as the boy goes off about other mischief.

Tammy Lauper has made it to the house and found Jerry Brahms at the top of the basement steps. She looks down and sees a man’s form at the bottom of the steps. Despite Brahms’ warnings for her not to go down, she has to help the man – it is Zeffer, and he isn’t dead. She goes down, making sure not to look into the room containing the Devil’s Country. Zeffer tells her that Goga’s men are coming on their hunt, and that they can probably get out. He implores her to let the dead into the house. He explains to her that he went back to Romania after the Devil’s Country had been installed in the pleasure palace, and one of the brothers in the abbey had shown him a way to keep the dead out. Tammy had to undo what Zeffer had done. She tells him that she’s going to get help, but he refuses and tells her to get to work undoing the mechanism that he installed before taking his last breath.

As Tammy walks up the steps to do the work Zeffer had asked of her, Todd appears at the door. He asks where Eppstadt went and, when Tammy tells him that the man is in the Devil’s Country, he goes after him. He apologises to Tammy, after his fashion, and disappears through the door. Tammy needs to get Brahms out of the way, not trusting him to stop her from undoing what Zeffer had done out of loyalty to Katya. She devises a plan, telling him she wants to see the Devil’s Country for herself. Brahms warns her that it isn’t safe, but accompanies her down as she approaches the threshold. She thinks that the sight won’t affect her; she resisted its allure once, but finds herself stepping through the door anyway and succumbing to its rapture.

Todd had found Eppstadt looking much the worse for wear. Immediately, the man started haranguing Todd and blaming him for all that had befallen at the mansion. He dragged Todd over and showed him the remains of Joe, while Todd tried to stop Eppstadt from making a scene and attracting unwanted attention. Todd looked down on Joe as a strange lizard came creeping out of the undergrowth, intending to make a meal of the waiter. Eppstadt threw a rock at the lizard in an attempt to stop this desecration of Joe’s corpse, but the lizard simply hissed at the two men. Todd dragged Eppstadt away in a bear hug before the lizard decided to attack, and when Eppstadt stopped struggling against his grip, he let him go. Immediately, Eppstadt took to slapping at Todd, his strikes coming harder and harder, before Todd retaliated. Pretty soon, they were rolling around in the mud like children.

Tammy watched all of this and started advancing on the pair, Brahms in her ear all the way, advising her against stepping any further into the Devil’s Country. She ignored him and split the fight up, but Eppstadt was still intent on a fight. He turned on Tammy, calling her names and telling her that Todd would never sleep with her. Her blood boiled, and she went to hit him but was stopped by Brahms. Instead, she took one of Eppstadt’s shoes that had come off in the fight with Todd and threw it into a thicket. Todd, Brahms, and Tammy turned to leave, but Eppstadt delved into the thicket to retrieve his shoe. There came a mewling sound from deep in the bushes, and then the goat-boy leapt out, pulling thorns from his hide where he’d been snagged, crying in pain.

Tammy had turned to leave with the others, eager to leave before Goga’s men arrived, and who were already bearing down on them, but the sounds of the goat-boy’s weeping made her turn. When she turned, the boy stopped crying, suddenly more interested in Tammy… or rather, Tammy’s breasts. She recognised the boy as Lucifer’s child, and Tammy had heard the story of the hunt; she wondered whether she might bring it to an end. She felt his gaze on her breasts and moved to unbutton her shirt. He growled when she moved her hands away, so she knew she was on the right track. All the while, she was watching the progress of Goga’s hunt. The horsemen were nowhere to be seen, and the devil-child was becoming impatient. At last, he charged at her and she let her shirt fall open. At the sight of her breasts, the boy stopped his charge and crawled into her arms. He worshiped at the altar of her chest, suckling on her nipples as the Duke’s men approached. He raised his head long enough to tell the men to stop creeping, he knew that they were there. He then did a strange thing: he asked Tammy if he should give himself up. Tammy said that he should, and so he acquiesced… as long as she would give him a kiss. This she did, and the devil-child leapt from her arms, but not quick enough to stop the Duke’s men from catching him and shutting him in a crate. She watched as the devil-boy’s arms snaked through the bars of the crate and crabbed one of Goga’s men; his fingers inserted into an eye-socket and began shaking him. Goga drew his sword and brought it down on the boy’s wrist, severing the hand. The Duke wiped the blood from the blade and sheathed it, even as the ground started to shake. Todd and Eppstadt took the rumbling as another earthquake, but Tammy knew better… Lilith was coming for her child.

The ground opened up and there she was, the Queen of Hell herself. She approached the men and told them that the hunt was over if they handed the boy over. At this, Eppstadt intervened, telling them that the bargain wasn’t a fair one and that death awaited them as soon as Lilith had the child. Todd tried to stop him, but Eppstadt was suddenly convinced that this was all a dream. The Duke nodded at Lilith, pointing his sword at Eppstadt and driving him backward. Lilith took her child and handed him over to her handmaidens, then nodded at Todd, Tammy, and Brahms, dismissing them. Eppstadt refused, deciding that Lilith was a memory of a young starlet he might have met and forgotten.

Tammy, Todd, and Brahms made their getaway, leaving Eppstadt to whatever fate he had chosen. Looking up, Brahms saw that the sky was changing, the sun moving across it. “Things will change quickly now,” he said.

While Tammy, Todd, and Brahms were ending the hunt in the Devil’s Country, Katya had awoken and heard what was going on in the basement beneath her. She understood that there were trespassers in her house, and she flew into a rage. She didn’t understand just yet the implications of the trespass, but she wanted these people out.

Tammy sees Katya as she climbed the stairs from the basement, standing at the top of the stairs and glowering down at them. Brahms tells her that everything is over, that the Devil’s Country is gone, but Katya doesn’t believe him, much less that it was Tammy who ended the hunt. She pushes past them and descends the stairs. Brahms urges Tammy to leave, explaining that the room was Katya’s fountain of youth. Tammy cannot leave though… not yet. They hear Katya’s shriek of rage, and then the woman appears. She demands that Todd take Tammy, that she has to die, but he doesn’t make any move either way. As Tammy starts to make her escape, Brahms standing in Katya’s way, she hears Katya attacking him. She turns and watches the assault. Deciding that this man won’t end the same way as Zeffer had, she intervenes. It is too late – Katya pushes Jerry Brahms down the steps and he lay unconscious at the bottom. Tammy retreats into the kitchen as Katya orders Todd to catch her. There is a short debate as Tammy tries to convince Pickett to go with her, but he believes that Katya is all he’s got left now that his career is in ruins. Despite all that Katya has done, despite the true face that she has shown, he is still pathetically in love with the woman and will not leave. Tammy starts to search through drawers as Todd begs her to leave, but she tells him to close the basement door and keep Katya out. Amazingly, he does this and Tammy finds a knife. Her plan isn’t to kill Katya, oh no, she has other work to do. She rushes to the kitchen door, finds the icons that have been driven into the threshold and begins to pry them up. She struggles to remove them, but one by one the icons come free as the exiled ghosts watch on hungrily. Tammy is on the last icon when she hears a squelching sound and Todd ask what she’s done. When she turns to see what is happening, she sees Todd staggering into the room with blood staining his shirt and trousers. Apparently Katya has stabbed him, but he tells Tammy to continue her work. She watches as Katya appears, but Todd takes a pitcher from an alcove and hits Katya. He only hits her shoulder, and the effort costs him his last reserves of energy. He falls. Tammy turns back to her work, levering up the last icon with all her might, but it won’t come. At last she hears more violence behind her and a groan from Todd… Katya has used her knife on him again. Tammy works with still more urgency, feeling Katya’s breath on her neck. At last, Katya grabs a fistful of hair and pulls Tammy’s head back, but the work is done. Too late, Katya realises what Tammy has done as the ghosts rush over the threshold and force her back into the house.

Tammy gathers herself together and goes to check on Todd. He isn’t in a good way, losing a lot of blood and losing his grip on life. Maxine enters from her encounter with the hybrids in the gardens, seeing Todd and rushing to his side. Both women minister to Todd’s injuries, imploring him to hang on as Maxine calls for an ambulance.

Tammy leaves the two alone and goes back to the basement. She passes the unconscious Brahms at the bottom of the steps and checks on the Devil’s Country. The room, when she enters, is now just a room. The tiles have lost their glamour, the colours bleached and faded. As she is leaving she hears an approaching tumult, and a cloud appears at the end of the corridor. The ghosts are in a rage at the loss of the magic room, tearing around the house and destroying anything in their path. Tammy throws herself to the ground and the ghosts pass over in their eagerness for destruction. She returns back to where Jerry Brahms is laying and rouses him, picking him up and making for the stairs. The pair are climbing when Katya appears again, approaching them with her knife in hand. She advanced on the pair, promising death, and reminding Brahms of how she had raised him up. Brahms implored her to give it up as Tammy told her in no uncertain terms that she was forgotten outside of her fiefdom. Katya raged at the words and lunged at the woman, but she hadn’t noticed that the altercation had drawn an audience. The dead had stopped their mischief-making in the bowels of the house to watch the scene unfolding on the stairs. Now that violence appeared to be ensuing, they stepped in. First by speaking, then apprehending her. She is raised up and thrown into the crowd, where her exiles tore her apart.

Tammy and Brahms climb the stairs and find Todd dead where Tammy had left him, Maxine crying as she paced the floor. Tammy pays her last respects as Maxine bemoans how the media will represent Todd when the truth comes out. Tammy is sickened by the woman’s hypocrisy, and tells her so. Together, the three commit to tell the truth of what had befallen at the Canyon’s pleasure palace and leave the house to its destruction.

The following weeks go by in a haze of investigators and reporters asking questions, but finally Tammy is allowed to leave LA and go home. Her husband leaves her, but she isn’t too concerned. The events at Coldheart Canyon invariably haunt her, until she finally calls Jerry Brahms. They speak about their lives in the weeks since Todd’s death, checking that they’re bearing up. He tells her that one of the investigators had been fired and was writing a book about the mystery of Todd Picket and Coldheart Canyon, and that she might expect him contacting her. Finally Brahms tells her that Katya has given him one final gift: he went into the Devil’s Country with only a few months to live; he had come out cured of his cancer and fit. It really was a miracle.

Maxine was the next to call a few weeks later, trying to contact Tammy over several days. Tammy was suffering some sort of a mental breakdown by then, ignoring the calls or simply telling whoever was on the other end of the line to leave her alone. At last, Maxine gets her to talk and tells her that she has spoken to lawyers and attorney’s to stop the ex-investigator’s book being published. She asks if Tammy has been approached by the guy (she hasn’t), and finally, if Tammy had given any thought to going back to the Canyon. It wasn’t a thought that had struck her, but since Tammy mentioned it…

So it was that Tammy went back to Hollywood and met with Maxine. Together, they went back up to the pleasure palace and began to search the derelict remains of what had once been among the most opulent mansions in Hollywood. Even in such a short time since the events that had undone the place, the vines and creepers of the gardens had begun to invade the place. They moved deeper into the house, splashing through pools of water from burst pipes when Tammy saw a corpse lying face down in the water. It was one of the hybrid children, and it wasn’t the only one. Maxine and Tammy found bodies leading out into the garden, and even more out there. Seemingly the hybrids lives had been forfeit after the destruction of the Devil’s Country and the exodus of the ghosts.

They split up, Maxine going upstairs and Tammy going down. They resolved to make it a quick search, neither particularly happy to be in the Canyon after dark. Maxine went to the bedroom that had been Todd’s and knocked on the door, then tried opening it but found it wedged closed with objects on the other side. She called again, and won a muffled response. It was Todd, back from the dead and saying hello. She pushes on the door and manages to get it open, finding the man himself lying in bed with earth piled on top of him. He tells her that there is a light that appears at night and sits on the roof, and begs her to help him to get rid of it. She promises to do so and goes to find Tammy.

She has gone to the basement to survey the damage there. She descends the steps and find the last few gone to rubble and lying in a heap at the bottom. She jumps down and looks around at the devastation wrought by the violence of the ghosts. Walls are near to collapse, the patter of plaster and masonry reaching her ears as creaks sounded from the upper floors. There is little that she can see outside the pool of light she stands in, and so she turns her back on the gloom and returns back upstairs. When she gets to the top, she sees Maxine standing at the door to the master bedroom. She tells Tammy that Todd is there, and that he is asking for her. She enters and finds him naked, covered in earth, and with a massive erection. He tries to persuade her to stay, to live in the house with him. It’s an invitation that she would have happily accepted once, but now she tells him to cover up as she goes to the wardrobe to find him some clothes. As she picks out some jeans and a t-shirt, there’s a noise from the roof. She rushes back into the bedroom and finds Todd huddled in a corner with a sheet wrapped around him and trembling in fear. He doesn’t know what it is on the roof, but it is bright and it is coming for him. Coyotes start to yowl in the growing darkness, announcing the arrival of Todd’s haunting. It has told him that “all of this is for you,” and presented him with memories, the light has appeared as his mother once, but Todd knew that it was a fiction. He is determined not to go – he knows that it would be a one way journey. He begs Tammy to stay with him, convinced that the light won’t try to get to him I she stays. Just then there is a knocking, and Todd again begs her not to go. Tammy is convinced that it’s just Maxine knocking at the door, but when she goes to the landing and looks out, she sees her walking away from the front door. Maxine heard the knocking and figured it was someone at the door, but when she looks there is light shining through the cracks. It isn’t there any longer, but Tammy goes out onto the step to look for herself and finds nothing untoward, but she could feel it. She looks up, admiring the light shining between the branches of the trees overhead… and then it moves. The light begins to descend toward her, and Tammy is suddenly confronted with an image from her childhood. She watches the scene play out, her aunt opening the door to her house and telling her that her father is at the firehouse. Maxine tells her to look away, but Tammy sees no harm in watching. Maxine tries to pull her away, but she is too rapt by the scene running around and round like a movie snippet. At last, it dawns on Tammy that this might be more than just mere distraction but finds that she can’t turn away. She calls for Maxine to help, but she is no longer there. Tammy panics, trying to remember where she might have gone but her thoughts are in disarray, the memory too demanding. At last she remembers that Todd is upstairs, that he was naked… and the scene juddered, her aunt stuttered over her words. She realises that her mind has offered her a tool to fight this enchantment and seizes upon it, picturing Todd’s cock in her mind’s eye and disrupting the rapture that had been worked upon her. The scene from her childhood gives way to the light and Tammy closes her eyes, lowering her head and turning on her heel. She walks back to the door and closes it behind her, finding Maxine on the stairs sobbing. Todd is there with a gun, and tells them both that it is him the light wants, not them. Tammy tells him that they have two options: give him up to the light, or run. They choose the latter.

The three of them ran from the door to the car, the light watching them every step of the way. They got inside and Tammy got the car started and swung it around, driving at speed to the road. They headed down the winding street back toward town, the light following them. She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw Todd’s anxious face… and then the memory-vision flashed before her eyes again. It was only a split-second, but it was enough to force her off the road and the car smashed into a tree. Tammy fell into the vision, embracing her aunt and sitting down at the table in her house to eat some of her famous meatloaf.

Maxine wakes from unconsciousness and finds Todd there. She looks at the wreckage in the car and asks if Tammy is still in there. He tells her she is, and that the angel is also still there. She looks up and sees it shining through the branches of the trees. He tells her that he has spoken with the light, and that he’s made a promise. He’ll go with it, once his two friends are safe. Maxine lights a cigarette, Todd asking her if she can walk and go for help. She tests her legs and finds that she can walk, and sets off to get help while Todd watches over Tammy.

At last Tammy wakes and finds Todd watching over her. He tells her about the deal he’s made with the light, that it’ll want him to leave pretty soon. Just as he says it, sirens wail on their way up the hill. Todd takes it as his cue to leave and looks to the light. Suddenly he smiles, calling the name of his dog as he disappears. Tammy hears a word spoken by the light, whispered but still audible. It echoes up into the Canyon, and she follows it as she drifts away.

She wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by flowers and well-wishing cards. Maxine has stayed by her bedside for much of her time there, keeping the media vultures at bay. They resolve to leave Hollywood together when Tammy is recovered, and so she sets out with determination on her road to recovery.

When the pair return to Tammy’s house, Maxine is amazed to see the collection of Todd Pickett’s memorabilia that Tammy has collected over the years. Tammy has decided to let it all go, just as she promised Todd’s ghost that she would. She burns everything with Maxine alongside her, feeling the weight dropping from her shoulders as everything smoulders. They have decided to stay together, to watch over each other, to be friends.

Coldheart Canyon was a purging of bad feeling for Barker, a way of saying all of the nasty things he felt about Hollywood and its machinations borne from his decade of experiences. It was a palate-cleanser for him, a cathartic spewing of bad spirits which left him free and open to pursue his next project. It would be something far removed from the horror and dark fantasy that he had built his career on, and would take over his life for the next decade. Oh, other projects would sneak in here and there, but it was time now for Barker to embrace the call that had haunted him since his father’s death. It was time to enter Abarat.


Come back tomorrow for Part 6 of this fantastic retrospective on Clive Barker.

Paul Flewitt is a horror/dark fantasy author. He was born on the 24th April 1982 in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield.

Always an avid reader, Paul put pen to paper for the first time in 1999 and came very close to inking a deal with a small press. Due to circumstances unforeseen, this work has never been released, but it did give Paul a drive to achieve within the arts.

In the early 2000’s, Paul concentrated on music; writing song lyrics for his brother and his own bands. Paul was lead singer in a few rock bands during this time and still garners inspiration from music to this day. Paul gave up his musical aspirations in 2009.

In late 2012, Paul became unemployed and decided to make a serious attempt to make a name for himself as a writer. He went to work, penning several short stories and even dusting off the manuscript that had almost been published over a decade earlier. His efforts culminated in his first work being published in mid-2013, the flash fiction piece “Smoke” can be found in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes: A Tribute To Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.

2013 was a productive year as he released his short story “Paradise Park” in both J. Ellington Ashton’s All That Remains anthology and separate anthology, Thirteen Vol 3. He also completed his debut novella in this time. Poor Jeffrey was first released to much praise in February 2014. In July 2014 his short story “Always Beneath” was released as part of CHBB’s Dark Light Four anthology.

In 2015 Paul contributed to two further anthologies: Demonology (Climbing Out) from Lycopolis Press and Behind Closed Doors (Apartment 16c) with fellow authors Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Stuart Keane, and more.In 2016, Paul wrote the monologue, The Silent Invader, for a pitch TV series entitled Fragments of Fear. The resulting episode can be viewed now on YouTube, but the show was never aired. The text for the monologue was published in Matt Shaw’s Masters Of Horror anthology in 2017.

Paul continues to work on further material.

He remains in Sheffield, where he lives with his partner and two children. He consorts with his beta reading demons on a daily basis.

You can find more information on Paul Flewitt and his works here…

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Halloween Extravaganza: Paul Flewitt: Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer Pt 4

Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer:
A Retrospective
Part 4

1993 was a quiet year on the literary and film-making front for Barker, but that certainly didn’t mean that he was inactive. 1993 was the year that he first displayed his artwork in public, with his first exhibition taking place in March ’93. He was also exploring the possibilities of creating new graphic novels after the successes of Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Tapping the Vein, and other graphic adaptations of his work. Some would meet with success in subsequent years; some would die on the vine. Still, Barker was always moving forward; always looking for the next project.

In literary terms (because Barker is always working on the next books, sometimes two or three at the same time), Barker was close to completing his next major work: the second installment of The Art trilogy, which had begun in 1989 with The Great and Secret Show. Everville was to delve even deeper into the world, theology and metaphysics that he had introduced in The Great and Secret Show, to open up the Metacosm and Quiddity to closer scrutiny and explain its relationship to our world (the Cosm) in greater detail. It was to be another epic work of fantasy, as ambitious in its own way as Imajica was in 1991. In this book, Barker seemed to be in control in a way that he often wasn’t while writing Imajica. If that work almost defeated him, Everville is the work of a writer totally assured in his own skill as a storyteller. Barker was, here in this book, a master of the art with confidence in abundance.

Everville (1994)

Everville does not follow on from The Great and Secret Show in linear fashion. Like any great history, explaining beginnings often seems to bear little relation to the world we know. So it is that the beginnings of The Great and Secret Show were to be found at the beginnings of the America that we know today; with the pioneers and fathers who birthed the nation.

Everville opens on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800’s, with pioneers searching for new lands to call their own. They set out with the belief that God is on their side and will protect them on their journey, but as the mountains rise around them, the temperature freezes and the snow falls, death, disease, and famine are their constant companion.

On the trail with the pioneers are Maeve O’Connell and her father, Harmon. The O’Connells are a strange pair, with dreams of building a city. It is a dream that they have shared with no one on the trail, but still they are mistrusted and vilified. As the death toll rises and the group lurch from one disaster to another, the O’Connells are blamed for their misfortune and Harmon O’Connell is murdered. Maeve flees into the woods, followed by men with guns to dispatch her. The little girl is protected from the men by a strange, demonic-looking creature, killing several of the men before hiding in the upper branches of a tree. The creature is injured in the fray, and his blood drips onto the ground around the tree. Maeve is famished and turns her head up to the grisly rain, opening her mouth and drinking the creature’s blood. It tastes sweet on her tongue, and invigorates her. Maeve persuades the creature to come down from the tree so that she can see him, and this he does. The sight of him takes Maeve’s breath away, and she falls in love with him instantly. His name is Coker Amiano, and he is in this place to attend a wedding. He leaves, telling Maeve not to watch him leave or follow him; if she disobeys, he will kill her.

Maeve does not listen to Coker’s warning. She peeks through her fingers and watches him leave. Following him up into the mountains, she finds a party in full swing in a cleft in the rocks, with tents erected and much merriment. She sneaks into one of the tents and sees the wedding ceremony in progress, with the bride and groom dreaming a baby into existence. Maeve breathes “beautiful” in her wonder, and her words pollute the ritual and kill the baby being born overhead. Fighting breaks out among the guests as both sides blame each other for the death of the baby and desecration of the ceremony that would have joined two factions and ended centuries of warfare. There is death all around her and Maeve tries to flee. It is Coker who protects her as the survivors kill each other and try to escape through a portal further up the mountain. Coker goes to leave too, but the portal closes too soon and traps his wings. He pulls and rips his wings from his body as the portal shuts and exiles Coker from his own world.

They return to Maeve’s wagon, which has been looted and abandoned by the pioneers who had shunned her, and she nurses Coker back to health. Though much has been taken, Maeve finds the plans for her father’s city, along with a cross that a man named Owen Buddenbaum has instructed her father to bury at the first crossroads in the new city. Maeve and Coker resolve to build the city in her father’s memory, and the city would be called Everville.

In modern times, Everville has grown into a banal, all-American town from the movies. It is a town where nothing momentous has, or ever would happen. Its secrets are kept by the Everville Historical Society, which has covered up the true story of Everville’s origins in favour of more wholesome tales… but the truth remains to be uncovered. Indeed, the truth is under the feet of every citizen who walks the town’s streets… and above their heads in the mountains which cast their shadows over the town.

Everville’s annual town celebration is nearing, and the Historical Society has vowed that it will be the biggest and best fair yet. In any dark fiction tale, this could only mean that something apocalyptic is about to occur… and Everville is no different.

Erwin Toothaker is a lawyer who lives in the town, and he is close to uncovering the secrets that the historical society has kept for over a hundred years. He is a single, straight-laced man who no one remembers and less will miss. So it passes that he returns home to a visitor, who kills him. Toothaker does not simply fade into the long goodnight, however; his spirit remains as he finds himself wearing a jacket he thought long lost, the pockets filled with mementoes from his life. He wanders the town, trying to make sense of his new state when he meets other spirits; the long dead town fathers who haunt its streets.

Phoebe Cobb is the overweight receptionist at the local doctor’s clinic. Her life is one of routine boredom until Joe Flicker shows up in town. The pair strike up an affair, enjoying secret trysts on Phoebe’s dinner breaks, or when she can get out of her marital home on the pretext of running some errand for the historical society. The relationship moves along well, and the pair plan to leave town together. Things turn bad when Joe decides to surprise Phoebe by showing up at her home, but they are caught together by Phoebe’s husband. A fight breaks out and Phoebe kills her husband. Joe flees, injured from the fight, into the mountains. He climbs into the heights and finds the portal into the strange world that exiled Coker Amiano so long ago. Curious, Joe steps over the threshold and into the Metacosm, leaving Phoebe to face the police and the gossip in town.

Nathan Grillo has given up journalism and settle in Omaha, once home of Randolph Jaffe. He has become a recluse, battling the effects of multiple sclerosis as he builds a living database of strange events across the USA which he calls The Reef. He waits and watches the database, forming connections between one event and the next, always searching for The Art.

Tesla Bombeck, unlikely heroine of The Great and Secret Show, has spent the intervening years on the road with Raul in her head. She has grown into a weary traveller, going from place to place simply to experience life. She has grown cynical, despite the power that she knows courses through her body. She returns to the ruins of Palomo Grove, where she finds a small group of people who have heard of the events that have occurred there and turned it into a theology, with Fletcher and Tesla as its deity.

By turns, Tesla is directed to Everville, where she arrives in time for the festival… and the events which are about to unfold on its streets.

Harry D’Amour is a New York private eye who specialises in the demonic, and played a cameo role in the events at Palomo Grove. He has experienced a great many strange things in his career, so is perfectly poised for the events which are about to unfold. He has witnessed a ceremony in a basement in New York, a celebration of strange creatures which descends into a massacre. It is this event which ties D’Amour to the events in Everville, and which brings him back into contact with the Art.

Tesla arrives in town and goes to a diner for coffee, where she draws a reaction from the god-fearing diner owner by her mere appearance. On the streets she hears a voice shouting, but cannot place the voice or hear exactly what it is saying. She tries to follow it, and eventually hears an address. She meets Phoebe Cobb and goes to the address to investigate. Here, the voice whispers into her ear once again; “Kiss Soon,” it says. Tesla breaks into the house, and finds the excretal creatures of old adversary, Kissoon, in the place. Together, the women kill the creatures and return to Phoebe’s house. They drink, and Tesla agrees to help Phoebe to find the missing Joe. Their search takes them up into the mountains, where strange creatures are busy building crosses in the heights. Phoebe sees the portal that Joe has crossed through and she follows, finding herself in the Metacosm, while Tesla is stuck in Everville.

Meanwhile, Joe has travelled throughout the Metacosm with a strange man named Noah. He has seen the inverted pyramid city of b’Kether Sabbat, and seen through the eyes of a creature called Zehrapushu. On a voyage on his travels, Joe falls into the sea and drowns, dreaming of Phoebe as his life ebbs away.

Phoebe finds herself in a strange town called Liverpool as a storm rages in its streets. She is taken to a house owned by a fat, bitter old woman called Maeve O’Connell, who spends her days tearing up letters from a former lover named King Texas. It transpires that Liverpool is Maeve’s city; that she dreamed it into being from memories of the town that she was born in. Phoebe tells Maeve about Everville, and Maeve tells her how that town came into being; that Everville was another town that she dreamed into being… and then was chased out of once it grew. Maeve had built the town around a brothel with her husband, Coker Amiano, and her son, a half breed of Cosm and Metacosm. When children started to go missing from the town, it was Maeve and her family that were blamed and they hung them all… but Maeve had survived and fled into the Metacosm, where she dreamed Liverpool. Now, Maeve O’Connell decided, it was time to remind Everville of its roots.

In the meantime, Tesla has been called away from Everville. As a kind of aside to the main story, Howard Katz and Jo-Beth Maguire have been living on the run since the events in Palomo Grove. They have been happily married, more or less, and had a child, but now Jo-Beth has grown distant from Howard and is having strange dreams. Grillo has agreed to visit them, and Tesla arrives with him. Unfortunately Tommy-Ray Maguire, the Death Boy and Jo-Beth’s twin, is also on the way. In a breath-taking pursuit, Tommy-Ray chases down Grillo and Jo-Beth as Grillo tries to get a reluctant Jo-Beth to safety, causing them to crash their car. Tesla arrives on the scene with Howard and Jo-Beth admitted that she has been having an affair with her twin, and that her child is Tommy-Ray’s. Grillo and the baby are trapped in the car as Tommy-Ray and Howard enact a confrontation which recalls the final moments of Fletcher’s life in The Great and Secret Show, Grillo lies dead with the baby in his arms as, overcome with rage, Howard fires a gun at Tommy-Ray and ignites petrol that has spilled on the road from the crashed car. The petrol ignites, engulfing Jo-Beth in flames. Howard leaps into the flames and dies with Jo-Beth in his arms. Tommy-Ray retreats in grief, enshrouded by his army of ghosts.

Tesla could do nothing at all but watch the tragedy unfold, holding the baby in her arms as her parents did battle. From behind her, Tesla hears a sob and turns to see a trio of children standing a short way away from her: the Jai-Wai, Rare Utu, Yie, and Hahe. They have been haunting her on the road for a time now, and explain that they want to see tragedies unfold before their eyes in return for power. Owen Budenbaum has been their arranger for many years now, but they have grown tired of his brand of entertainment. The Jai-Wai missed the events at Palomo Grove and heard of the tragedies which surrounded her there, and now they want to see, wanted to know. Disgusted, and eager to be away from the grieving Tommy-Ray Maguire, Tesla takes the baby and makes her way back to Everville.

Owen Budenbaum has arrived in Everville to reclaim what is his, a seed planted a hundred years before. Maeve O’Connell had been true to her father’s word and built a town, not quite the city that he had envisaged, and buried the cross at the first crossroads. Over the years, that cross had been gathering power into itself, and Budenbaum had come to collect. Over the days since his arrival he had struck up a casual liaison with a boy named Seth Lundy, a strange soul who heard hammering from the heavens. Tesla’s arrival in the town had proven to be something of a complication, but he would stop at nothing to get what he had sought for so long… the Art. Now, as the day of the festival in Everville arrived, it was time to collect and he will allow nothing to stand in his way… especially not Tesla Bombeck.

In the Metacosm, in the city of Liverpool, the Iad Uroboros had arrived. The Iad was a devouring force which destroys everything in its path. It was no ordinary storm which engulfed the city… it was the Iad. Phoebe Cobb finds herself rescued from the ravages of the Iad by Maeve O’Connell’s sometime lover, King Texas. He is the King of Rock, and he holds Phoebe deep in the ground while chaos reigns on the surface. While underground, Phoebe persuades Texas out of a decades long despair borne of Maeve’s indifference toward him. Phoebe’s words inspire Texas to protect Liverpool from the Iad, and he wounds the seething mass. After the battle, Phoebe finds herself back on the surface and sees the Iad disappearing through the portal that had delivered her into the Metacosm… and she watched as both the portal and Iad disappeared.

On the mountain over Everville, Harry D’Amour has found himself in grave danger. Beings from the Metacosm have gathered at the portal and he has disturbed their devotion and killed their priest. As punishment for his crimes, the beings have readied him for crucifixion. He is tied to a cross when Kissoon appears. After a brief conversation, Kissoon passes him by and proceeds up the mountain and leaves D’Amour to his fate. It seems to him that all is lost as the executioner, the dim-witted Bartho, arrives, but he is struck down with a hammer by a man that Harry does not know. The man, when Harry is freed from the crucifix, is Raul, the ape-boy that Fletcher had created, and who had been resident in Tesla’s head until Kissoon blew him from her mind. Raul now has a body to call his own, and he has come to Everville. The pair watch as Kissoon climbs the mountain and approaches the oncoming Iad, even as the ground turns to liquid and tremors shake the mountain to its roots.

Erwin Toothaker has also found his way up the mountain with the town fathers and has witnessed all that has transpired. As the Iad approach, one of the fathers shouts out and runs toward the portal. The man is Coker Amiano, and he has seen his wife, Maeve O’Connell, striding over the threshold.

As Raul and D’Amour descend down the mountain, Raul hears the voices of the dead screaming at him. They direct him into the trees and there they find the harridan, Maeve. In her own inimitable fashion, she demands that D’Amour carry her down to the town… her town.

Tesla returns to Everville with the Katz baby and arrives at Phoebe Cobb’s place, where she finds Seth Lundy waiting for her, sent by Budenbaum to bring her to him. The baby is unsettled, and Seth offers to help her while they talk. Seth tells her that Budenbaum wants to see her, that he considers her a significant insignificance, but their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the Jai-Wai, who again try to convince Tesla to be their agent. After the conversation, she agrees to go and meet Budenbaum at a coffee shop in the town, but on the way they are attacked by a gang of Everville’s good old boys. Seth is beaten and the baby taken by the god-fearing Bosley, but Tesla manages to escape and goes to the coffee shop to meet her adversary.

At the coffee house, Budenbaum and Tesla trade tales. Tesla tells him what she has guessed of his plans, and in return Budenbaum tells her the true tale of Everville, his place in its creation and his purpose. He has spent two centuries trying to set the conditions necessary to acquire the Art, and now he wants it. What he needs is the Jai-Wai, but they have deserted him in favour of Tesla. In return for his help in turning back the Iad, Tesla agrees to bring the Jai-Wai to the crossroads and then get out of town; being a Nunciate, Budenbaum believes that the Art would be conflicted about who to enter if Tesla was there. Tesla agrees to bring the Jai-Wai, and sets out to find them.

As Tesla and Budenbaum are holding their treaty in the coffee shop, Harry D’Amour and Raul have arrived back at the town and are helping Maeve O’Connell to find the place where her whorehouse had stood as Kissoon is descending the mountain with the Iad at his heels. At the same time, Tommy-Ray has arrived in town and found Bosley with the baby that he believes is his. He takes the child from him, even as Seth protests, and disappears into his cloud of tortured spirits with the baby and departs.

At the crossroads, Budenbaum is waiting for Tesla to arrive with the Jai-Wai. He has made his preparations, and now he only needs the divinities to arrive. And arrive they do: Tesla has agreed to their offer to be their new guide in the world, providing that the Jai-Wai themselves tell Budenbaum that his services are no longer required. They approach to tell him, knowing that their decision means an end to his long life, but Budenbaum has a trick up his own sleeve. As they approach Hahe sees something amiss with the road under Budenbaum’s feet and goes to investigate. Instantly, he is caught in the trap that the man has laid. Rare Utu is the next to be caught in the trap, and both are dissolved and turned into light. Yie sees all of this and catches hold of Tesla, the mere touch rendering her immobile. Yie advances on Budenbaum and he too is caught, but his voice and rage unhinges Tesla’s mind and she falls, sinking into the earth as Budenmbaum screams in rage and defeat. As she dies, she sees the medallion and the power that it holds; her last thought is of the cross under Palomo Grove, and the representation of humanities evolution from amoeba to divinity and then back again.

D’Amour, Raul, and Maeve arrive at the crossroads in time to see Tesla fall, and Maeve recognises Budenbaum. She advances on him, demanding answers for all that has befallen her since her childhood… events that he set in motion. Raul stops her and tells her of Coker’s presence, news which softens the harridan, but still she advances on Budembaum. As she speaks to him, ribbons of light begin to play around her hands and coalesce around her, taking form from her memories. The light was rebuilding the whorehouse, down to the finest detail. As it rebuilt itself around her, Budenbaum retreated, unwilling and unable to take the memories being made manifest. While the building is taking place, Maeve talks about the house, her husband, and her son, Clayton. At her words, a realisation hits D’Amour and he makes off to investigate further.

Beneath the road, the medallion is at work on more than just the rebuilding of memories. Tesla has felt herself die, has felt herself putrefying, and turning to dust under the power of the Art. She is aware of the wonders all around her, and understanding what it is the medallion has given her in death.

D’Amour runs through the streets and finds Budenbaum. The defeated man tries to persuade D’Amour to help him, to dig for the medallion. He shows Harry his hands, which he has mangled in the attempt, but D’Amour refuses. Budembaum then threatens D’Amour, and is about to make good on his threat when Seth Lundy appears and stops him, leading him away to care for him. D’Amour carries on through the town and finds the Iad. He screams into the cloud, calling for Kissoon, and then using his true name, Clayton O’Connell. Kissoon appears then, interest piqued with D’Amour’s knowledge of his name. Harry tells Kissoon that his mother is alive, and that she is waiting for him. Kissoon agrees to go with him, not out of sentimentality, but out of curiosity. When they reach the house that the medallion has built, Kissoon refuses to go inside and asks D’Amour to go in and fetch her to him. Harry fetches her… and predictably, Kissoon kills her.

The violence and death do not go unnoticed below ground. Tesla feels the death and sees the blood spreading across her sky. She rages and races back to her body. When she feels the flesh around her, she realises that this is what the medallion wanted. She feels the power of the Art surging through her, raising her up, and claiming her for its own. This was not a gift that can be refused, it is a possession which holds her in its grip and which she would need to learn to control.

On the surface, Maeve’s corpse turns to ash and rainbows of light spring from the ground as Tesla appears in the air, insubstantial at first, but solidifying and becoming real. At her appearance, the Iad screams and retreats in fear of her. Kissoon tells her that there is nothing she can do; the end will still come, before he too retreats.

So to the aftermath and Harry D’Amour returns to New York and faces his own demons, knowing that no matter how many he puts down there will always be more climbing out of the pit.

For Tesla, she has to put her mind in order. She now holds the Art and is more than she ever was before. She travels to Omaha, back to Grillo’s house where she takes his post at The Reef, watching the mysteries and listening to the whispers of the world as she tries to understand who this new Tesla will be.

With Everville, Barker had further cemented his place as the great imaginer of our times, a writer for whom boundaries of genre meant nothing. He had created a middle novel (Everville was intended as a second book in a trilogy) which could both stand on its own and provide a glimpse of wider tales too, which has piqued the interest of readers ever since its publication. All over Barker discussion boards, you will see readers demanding that Barker write that elusive third book of the Art with almost the same rabidity that you hear from fans of George R.R. Martin calling for Winds of Winter. It can only be testament to the quality of writing in this book that, twenty-five years after its original release, the appetite is only gaining strength.


1994 is notable for the release of Everville, but Barker was also busy in Hollywood. Four years after his hellish experiences directing Nightbreed, Clive decided that the time was right for him to retake the director’s chair for a new feature.

Clive had been eager to get Harry D’Amour onto the screen for a decade, and United Artists had now given him the green light to bring his short story, The Last Illusion, to the screen. Barker had first mooted a D’Amour movie back in the late eighties, with an original screenplay called The Great Unknown. D’Amour is clearly a character that Barker feels a great affinity with, appearing in several short stories and making appearances in The Great and Secret Show and Everville, but only now, with the successful Hellraiser movie franchise and a growing list of bestselling novels, were the studios looking for more Barker material to put on the big screen. The Last Illusion, with embellishments from the original Books of Blood story, became Lord of Illusions and went into production in July 1994 with Barker directing.

Lord of Illusions is a much bigger story than its literary counterpart, offering much more in the way of backstory for Swann, and introducing the Mephistopheles-like Nix (surely one of the unsung antagonists in the Barker canon). Although the heart of the story is still very much culled from The Last Illusion, Lord of Illusions builds on that story and offers us a glimpse into the world of Swann and D’Amour that is only ever hinted at in the story, culminating in an apocalyptic endgame which would take the $11m budget to its limits. Scott Bakula plays a very convincing Harry D’Amour, while Famke Jansen embodies the noir femme-fatale of Dorothea to perfection.

Barker was very astute in the production of Lord of Illusion. Keeping in mind the cuts that had to be made to Nightbreed, he inserted several scenes that he knew would be cut in an effort to save more important scenes from the cutting room floor. One scene had to be recoloured to remove the impact of a sea of blood on the screen and, after test screenings, there were several scenes removed to cut time, but it did remain the movie that Barker wanted to make. Thankfully, unlike Nightbreed, the Director’s Cut of this film was released to DVD soon after the theatrical cut was released and restored the missing narrative with a commentary track from Barker himself.

On its release in 1995, Lord of Illusions made back its $11m budget and more, purging the bad taste that Barker had from Nightbreed. It was a well-received movie with both critics and the public, despite stalling amid competition from Kevin Costner’s Waterworld and Sylvester Stallone’s Assassins.

It was also the last movie that Barker has directed to date.


Events in 1995 also informed Barker’s next book, Sacrament.

A sense of things passing, of impermanence, pervaded Clive’s mind through the sickness and death of his cousin, Mark, from complications connected to AIDS. As a gay man, the AIDS epidemic had been stark in Barker’s mind since its rise to prominence in the 80’s; the sense that gay men were threatened as a tribe because they did not propagate and were born to extinction. These thoughts are at the heart of what Sacrament was to become as a story, a tale centred on extinction and the impermanence of things.

I have to admit that I found Sacrament to be one of Barker’s more difficult books on first reading, the manifesto he was putting forward often speaking louder than the story. As I came to understand the intention behind the book, and the inspiration for it, I also came to understand that this is one Barker tale where the story isn’t really the point. Here is Barker trying to say something far more profound which works on many different levels: an environmental message as much as it is a humanitarian one, a cry of near-despair from the LBGT community as much as it is the same for humankind at large. Given the news we read today of extinctions and the state of our planet 23 years after the book was released, it remains to this day certainly one of Barker’s more prescient tales.

Sacrament (1996)

Will Rabjohns is a photographer who plies his trade in war-torn and famine ravaged territories. His stock in trade is not the human suffering is these areas, however, but the impact that these very human events have on wildlife. He photographs endangered species in their habitat, struggling to survive under the scourge of mankind.

During a trip, he is attacked by a wounded bear and grievously wounded. He falls unconscious, and as he heels his mind transports him back to his childhood in England.

Will’s dreams take him back to when he was thirteen, wandering the hills around the village where he lived. He was a loner. His older brother was the family favourite, but died young, which left Will to wander and dream. On one such rambling, he encounters the strange Jacob Steep and his partner, Risa McGee. Steep is the “Killer of Last Things,” travelling the globe to put an end to the last remnants of each dying species. The pair had been together for many years. Rosa had carried eighty-seven children, and all of them had died at birth.

Will wanders with the pair, listening to the wisdoms that Steep imparted: “Living and dying we feed the fire.” It is a lesson that Steep illustrates to Will in stark terms, encouraging him to throw a moth into a flame. Then, at Steep’s encouragement, Will kills two birds with the man’s own knife. “Imagine that these two birds were the last of their kind,” Steep tells Will. “This will not come again… nor this… nor this…” It is a stark lesson, and one that Will takes to heart. Such a small act of cruelty could change the world.

After this lesson, Steep touches Will and the boy is given a vision of Steep’s history. In 1730, the man was sent to confront an artist who had given up his life to debauchery and excess. The artist, Thomas Simeon, had been taken under the patronage of a mystic named Gerard Rukenau and taken to his retreat in the Hebrides in order to create a record of the building of a cathedral to the arcane that Rukenau had named the Domus Mundi. Steep had been sent to track the artist down, but Simeon had committed suicide rather than submit to being returned to his patron.

Steep blamed Rukenau for the artist’s death, turning his back on the man in favour of his mission to wipe out the last of every endangered species, similar to the way that Will would capture endangered species and record them in photographs. When, as an adult, Will sees one of Simeon’s paintings, he recognizes the relationship between the art and his own photographs. Whereas Will was recording species in extremis, in the moments after extinction, Simeon was recording the moment preceding extinction.

When Will wakes from his coma, he is visited by a strange presence called Mr. Fox. The creature tells him that God wants him to see. He tells him that the passing of things, of days and beasts and men he’d loved was just a cruel illusion and memory… a clue to its unmasking.

Being gay, Will is a race of one, an endangered species all his own. Steep and Rosa know this and are plotting his extinction. They return to Will’s childhood home and assault his father; a bait to draw Will back in.

Will does go home and confronts Steep, and touching him again he is met by another chilling image. He saw the human race as a scourge which descended on every other living thing. He wished for a plague to wither every human womb, for death to silence every throat. Will understood Steep’s wishes; it was often how he saw humankind himself.

Will pursues Steep north, to the Hebrides island of Tyree (the scene of many happy holidays for Clive Barker himself), where he discovers the Domus Mundi of Rukenau. He does not find a wondrous cathedral, as he had seen in his childhood visions in Steep’s memory, but a cesspit clogged with filth and detritus.

High atop a network of fetid ropes sits the sinuous Rukenau himself, but he is no satanic deity. His arrogance has created a prison for himself; one step outside his creation would mean his death, the price of his immortality. The Domus Mundi is Rukenau’s prison, and he has covered its beauty in shit and dirt.

Rukenau was the illegitimate child of an architect who abandoned him. Rukenau devised a plan to revenge; to create a cathedral which would leave his father’s churches empty. Rukenau studied architecture and magic, studying the magical properties of geometry to achieve his plan. Finally he enlists the help of an angel, but he fails to understand the Nilotic’s plans… he needed an artist. Thomas Simeon was that artist, hired to interpret the angel’s vision.

Steep enters and cuts down Rukenau’s web of ropes, killing the man. Rosa follows in his wake, cleaning the dirt from the walls to reveal the beauty and grandeur of the man’s creation. On the walls are paintings of creation, in all its chaos and wonder. As Rukenau dies, he offers Will his final secret; Steep and Rosa are the Nilotic angel, split in two by Rukenau’s necromancy. They would wander the world and learn the nature of their gender, unable to live apart but tortured by each other’s company as they could never be close enough. With a touch, the two halves of the angel are reunited; Rosa’s brightness bleeding into the darkness of Steep and becoming whole once more.

The newly restored angel moves deeper into the Domus Mundi and Will follows. It seems to him that he is not moving through painted echoes of the world, the expert markings of a skilled painter, but through the world itself. Seeing the world and its creation laid bare like this, he feels joy at the knowledge that the House imparts. He comes to realise that joy comes from being.

With these revelations, Will returns to his childhood home. He wanders the countryside and sees the landscape with new eyes, feeling the same joy that was awakened in him within the Domus Mundi. He sees creation in everything around him; in the smallest stone and sheerest cliffs, the least blade of grass and the oldest gnarled tree. He has been changed forever by his experiences, and he is renewed.

These changes are brought home with startling finality when he fulfills a promise made to his friend and former lover, Patrick. He is dying of AIDS, and Will had promised him that he would be there at the end. The time has come for Patrick, and Will goes to his bedside to be there with him. Now, with his new insights, he feels uncomfortable at the deathbed. He feels he is intruding and no longer death’s voyeur. It reaffirms the change that has been wrought within him, and he knows that it is a change for the better.

Sacrament marked a change in Barker’s attitudes toward his sexuality, which he had previously regarded as very much a private matter. He had never been “in the closet” as far as friends and colleagues were concerned, and had been in several romantic relationships over the years. With Sacrament though, he decided to be more publicly open about his sexuality and speak about issues that the LGBT community faced. He arranged a series of interviews with gay publications which were headlined as “coming out,” but really it was Barker speaking out.

Of course, Barker had written gay characters into his books as far back as Books of Blood, but his publisher in America still begged him to rewrite Will Rabjohns and be less explicit about his sexuality. This Clive refused to do, and used the story as a vehicle to convey a message that bears repeating loudly even today.


What came next for Barker was inspired by an encroaching landmark in time; the millennium. It was a theme that Clive had already addressed in a couple of his stories, most notably in Everville and Imajica, but now he had reason to tackle the theme in a more direct way. Chiliad: A Meditation was a wraparound short story which appeared in the Revelations anthology in 1997, edited by Douglas E. Winter and focused on the impending millennium.

Chiliad was not Clive’s only short story published since the Books of Blood; indeed, The Hellbound Heart, Cabal, and Thief of Always were shorter works and he had written some short stories for various themed magazine publications like Time Out and other anthologies.

Chiliad was written during a tumultuous time in Barker’s life. With the end of a six year relationship distracting him, Clive went away to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This is a location that would feature heavily in his novel Galilee, but in 1997, it was very much an escape from the bleak place that his life seemed to have become, and The Chilad served as an object to focus his mind back upon work.

Chiliad: A Meditation (1997)

The Chiliad is written in two parts, beginning and ending the Revelations anthology. In the anthology, each of the ten stories included represent a decade in the century, with Barker’s story serving as a wraparound for the entire work.

The story begins with an introduction. Shank lives by the river in the village of Tress. One day he finds his partner, Agnes, face-down in the water, the victim of a murder. Filled with rage, Shank tracks down three men and kills them in revenge for his lady’s death, not knowing that they are innocent. When in the throes of killing the last victim, Shank becomes ensnared with the man and drowns in the river himself. That is the last event of any significance which takes place on that spot, and nothing will change for a thousand years… until 1940. It is in this year that a German bomber will mistakenly drop its bombs on the village and destroy the church. After the war, a new church is built and an artist in commissioned to design four stained glass windows, but only three of the designs are completed.

The first window showed John the Baptist preaching in the river to a crowd of worshippers. The second window shows Christopher, with the young Christ on his shoulders. The third window showed Christ himself, walking on the water, while the fourth window remains blank, showing only the sky. What the artist had reputedly intended was to depict the second coming of Christ, arriving with the river flowing in the wrong direction and the sun, moon and stars all appearing in the same sky… but all that exists is a plain glass pain.

The second part of the story takes place as the world turns onto the new millennium, a thousand years after the deaths of Shank and Agnes. Devlin wanders near the church by the riverbank, troubled just as Shank had been so many years before. Devlin is an insurance broker from the city, and on two nights a week he makes pots and bowls in ceramics class. He is a banal, uninteresting creature. Devlin is remarkable, though, for his own wife was found dead and washed up in the river the previous night. Like Shank before him, Devlin dreamed of tracking down the killer and meting out his own justice.

While ruminating on the death of his wife, Devlin is transported to the night of her death. He sees her wandering on the riverbank with her secret lover, and he sees himself wielding the knife that takes the lives of both wife and lover. By some trick, Devlin questions himself to discover how it was that he came to commit such a crime, but this is only the beginning of his revelation. This other Devlin transports him back to a time when he was caught watching his sister and her lover’s sexual tryst, but Devlin knows there is more to the story than that.

Devlin is transported back through the history of mankind, witnessing crime after crime, until he witnesses the night a millennium ago when Shank’s wife died. We see a man clutching the knife that killed Agnes, the priest of the nearby church. When the priest sees the flame that is Devlin, he believes it to be Christ. He embraces the flame and Devlin burns to nothing as the priest lies down to die.

Watching, the narrator of the piece finds his own revelation and finishes the story, leaving the notepad where it might be found. Then, with nothing more to do, the narrator wades into the river to meet a fate that isn’t explained, but is left as incomplete as the stained glass in the church.

Chiliad is perhaps a throwaway story written for a new millennium anthology, but it served as rehabilitation for Barker and is regarded as one of Barker’s own favourite stories. It is a meditation on loss and regret, a harking back of things past. It opened the floodgates of creation on many fronts. It greased the wheels for his great work of the new millennium: Abarat. It was upon his return from Kauai that Barker would begin work on a series of canvases that would form the basis for that great, ambitious work.

But he had work to complete, too. The next year brought Galilee into the world.


1998 was a year of changes for Barker. Just as the end of his relationship with Malcolm Smith had sparked and fuelled the writing of the Chiliad, so the beginning of Clive’s relationship with David Armstrong was the spark that fed the writing of his next ambitious work, Galilee. Indeed, there are many striking similarities with Clive’s life at the time and the romance which takes place within the pages of this book (Atva “Galilee” Barbarossa is surely an approximation of Armstrong,) and Kauaii features very heavily. Armstrong brought to Clive’s life family, in the personage of Armstrong’s daughter, and another dog to add to Clive’s own pack.

Just as the Chiliad was a very bleak story, Galilee is almost joyful. It focusses on transformation, redemption (that idea that Barker returns to again and again throughout his books), and hope for the future. Along with Imajica and the Books of The Art, Galilee should rightly be considered as one of Barker’s greatest triumphs.

Galilee (1998)

Edmund “Maddox” Barbarossa is the writer and narrator of this history of the great feud between the Barbarossa family and the Gearys. Maddox is a cripple, confined to a wheelchair since an accident rendered him paralysed from the waist down. He lives in the home of his step-mother, Cesaria Barbarossa, with his half-sisters and one of his half-brothers. As the millennium approaches, Maddox senses that the time is right to tell the story of the Barbarossas, to uncover the mysteries and intrigues that are entangled in the family name. Of course, that also means that Maddox must tell the story of the Geary family, American royalty similar to that of the Kennedys, and the story of Rachel Pallenberg, the woman who could destroy or save them all.

The Barbarossas are deities and demi-gods, living for thousands of years and influencing the world in all of that time. The story opens with Cesaria Barbarossa and her husband, Nicodemus, walking along the beach on the shores of Galilee. Their child runs away and dives into the sea, swimming away from his parents. The child has no name as yet, and the parents are arguing about what his name should be. They ask a fisherman what the boy’s name should be, what the name of the village he hails from is, and he answers “Galilee.” Cesaria refuses to name her child after the sea into which the child has tried to escape, but meeting the pair does inspire the fisherman to travel to the city of Samarkand, where he becomes a shaman and teaches supplicants of the world and the day he met with gods.

Years later, Cesaria and Nicodemus live a polygamous life, where Nicodemus pursues several sexual conquests (civilisations through the centuries have created statues in honour of his cock) and raises horses. In turn, Cesaria has entered into an affair with Thomas Jefferson, whom she inspires to build her house, l’Enfant. It is here that Cesaria retreated to and lives out the rest of her years with her children and, latterly, her stepson Maddox. It is at l’Enfant that Nicodemus begins an affair with Maddox’s wife, and is where Maddox is kicked by one of Nicodemus’ horses and paralysed in an accident which kills his father. What can Maddox do but forgive his dead father his trespasses?

All of this Maddox hears when he is summoned to the attic room where Cesaria lives in l’Enfant. The experience is as terrifying as it is inspiring, and Maddox finds that he can walk again… for a short time. Following these revelations, Cesaria gives her blessing for Maddox to write the story of her family… their time is coming to an end, after all.

The Gearys are an old American family, rich beyond the dreams of avarice. No one in the country truly remembers where the family earned their fortune; their fingers are to be found in numerous businesses across their empire. They are the kind of family, like the Kennedys, who are seen on the cover of Time magazine and held up as the all-American archetype.

Hearts break all over America when Mitchell Geary, the grandson of Cadmus Geary, falls in love and marries Rachel Pallenberg. She is not a rich girl from a rich family by any means, but meets Mitchell when he stumbles into the jewellery store where she works. She helps him to choose and buy a broach, and ends up with a husband.

Of course, happiness cannot last long for Rachel and Mitchell. She falls pregnant and soon miscarries; doctors tell her that she cannot bear children. It is a major blow to the couple, for whom children are a priority to assure the continuance of the family name and fortune. Mitchell soon begins philandering and Rachel leaves, at first going back to her parents’ home. After a visit from her sister-in-law, Margie, she finds out about a place that is perfect for her to find her mind… and is kept specifically for the Geary women to escape to. So it is that Rachel travels to the Hawaiian island of Kauaii and changes the course of her life… and the lives of all the Gearys.

At the house in Kauaii, Rachel meets the caretaker of the house, Niolopua. He welcomes her warmly, promising to look after her every wish during her stay, and leaves her to her thoughts. She luxuriates in the house’s seclusion, spending her time relaxing and getting her mind in order. As the sun sets, Rachel sees a ship and watches as it passes the bay on which her retreat sits. She watches for a while, and then disappears into the house to sleep. She is awoken by the smell of burning; someone has built a fire on the beach as she slept; local youths, she reasons and returns to sleep. When she awakes again, there is a man in her room. She is taken aback at first, but speaks to the man. He is gentle, softly spoken, and offers no threat to her. She feels comforted by his very presence. When he leaves, she mourns his leaving. The man returns and shows her his ship, the ship that she watched the day before. He takes her away on the boat and they make love, consummating a relationship that could destroy or redeem two families. Rachel has met Galilee Barbarossa.

Meanwhile, the Geary family is falling apart. Mitchell has turned to drink, his brother has descended into debauchery, and the old man, Cadmus, is failing. The family is being secretly run by the old man’s wife, Loretta, in an effort to keep the media and business wolves from coming to the door. It is a situation that cannot possibly last. The cracks become apparent when Margie Geary is found dead, apparently from an overdose. Rachel returns from Kauaii for the funeral, and events soon spiral out of control.

Soon after Margie’s death, Cadmus Geary’s health begins to fail. On his last night, Cesaria Barbarossa pays a visit and repays Cadmus for the evils he has committed, reminding him of a debt that his family owes hers. It is here, for the first time, that Rachel meets the mother of her lover.

Mitchell Geary’s hopes of reconciliation are dashed when Rachel returns to Kauaii, in hopes of Galilee’s return. She finds Niolopua drinking and angry on the steps of the house. He explains that Galilee is his father, and that he has been robbed of a true relationship with him because of the Geary women, who all have had relationships with him and all have broken his heart. Galilee wanders the world, called back whenever a Geary woman needs him and it hurts him every time. It is an arrangement that has gone on for well over a century, and one which has gone on for too long. He leaves her to ruminate on his words, while she waits for Galilee’s return… and return he does.

Rachel is woken after a night of passion with Galilee by the sound of someone creeping through the house. She gets up to investigate and finds Mitchell, drunk and vengeful. He has already killed Niolopua outside; now he wants Galilee, and he wants her to go home with him and play the dutiful wife. She refuses, and Mitchell attacks her, but Galilee intervenes. Mitchell stabs Galilee, wounding him grievously. It seems that Mitchell has the upper-hand as he stalks Rachel up the stairs, but the Geary women have other ideas. An army of ghosts converge on Mitchell and force him backwards, causing him to fall on the stairs and impale himself on his own knife. Mitchell dies there on the floor as Rachel tends to Galilee.

Now Rachel learns the story of Galilee from a book that she has found in the house. During the American Civil War, a man named Nub Nickleberry is a cook in the army. During the war, he meets and befriends Galilee, whose life he saves. Nub asks a favour in return, and it is a favour which grants him fortunes… and ties Galilee to his family forever. Nub Nickleberry changes his name to Geary, and sires one of America’s great families… a family which now lays in ruins.

In the aftermath of the book, Galilee and Rachel Pallenberg return to l’Enfant and meet with Maddox. Galilee visits with his mother for the first time in a century, the prodigal returned at the last. He reads Maddox’s book, and when he finishes he quips, “It’s a great story. Is any of it true?”

And so ends the saga of the Gearys and Barbarossas… or does it?

At the end of the book, there is an intriguing segue where Maddox visits with his brother, Luman. The man is crazy, or so people think, and he has vowed to find his children. He persuades Maddox to help him locate his offspring, which he agrees to do now that his book is finished.

We are then taken on a journey with a floating leaf, and are shown a scene which involves Luman Barbarossa’s children, promising that the tale of the Barbarossas may be far from over.

Galilee is the last of Barker’s truly epic works of fantasy. It eschews horror completely, preferring to focus on the romantic and fantastic elements of Barker’s writing, but does not suffer from that lack of darkness. What Barker has constructed here is an intriguing history of the spiritual and material, mixing the two worlds until they become inextricable. It is a tour de force of imagination, and certainly among Barker’s best works.

1998 also saw the release of a movie that had been in the making since the 1995 release of the second Candyman movie. Alongside Bill Condon, Barker had enjoyed a deepening friendship based on both men’s mutual respect for each other and their similar approaches to creating horror movies. Following the lukewarm reception to Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (for which Barker has pushed for Condon to direct), the pair had mooted several projects, including an anthology movie adaptation of Books of Blood. None of their proposals were ever created, but the movie that Condon approached Barker with in 1996 was.

Gods and Monsters was a biopic of James Whale, director of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein in the 1930’s. Both men were huge fans of the director, and had read advance copies of the biography from which the film was adapted: Father of Frankenstein. Gods and Monsters was not a movie based on Barker’s work, and neither was he responsible for the screenplay or direction. Barker was executive producer and patron for the movie, always on hand with help and advice when it was required. Barker funded aspects of the movie from his own pocket, and opened his home up to Condon for a meeting with Ian McKellen, in an effort to persuade him to star.

Like many Barker projects, Gods and Monsters was a low-budget affair and struggled to find distribution and production company support. Condon completed the movie and toured it around the film festivals that year, winning awards and traction. It was released to theatres by Lionsgate in November 98, recouping the costs of production and becoming the most critically acclaimed movie of the year. The movie won Best Screenplay at the Oscars, with Ian McKellen nominated for best actor. Other industry awards were won in the following months, cementing it as the best received movie with Barker involvement… and a great way to end a productive year.

1999 was a quieter year for Barker, as he had effectively washed his hands of the Hellraiser and Candyman franchises by this time. No longer was he executive producer on any of those movies, and neither was he approached for advice on them. Aside from the movies bearing his name, he had no involvement in the creation of any of the movies… and nor did he wish to have any.

This left the way open for Barker to pursue other activities, and this he did with gusto. He painted, worked on pitches for television shows and movie adaptations, and of course he wrote incessantly. He also produced a coffee-table volume called The Essential Clive Barker.

The Essential Clive Barker contains snippets from his books, quotes from movies, and scenes from his plays. Each section in the book is introduced with explanations and thoughts from Clive himself. It is a writer of dark matter explaining his vision and allowing people insight into his imagination. As he said himself in the book, it isn’t intended to be read from beginning to end, but to be flicked through and enjoyed in passing moments. It serves as a great introduction to Clive’s work, and for a deeper delving for those already initiated into the Barkerverse.

The book is split into distinct themes such as Mind, Bestiary, Doorways, Journeys, Terrors, and Making and Unmaking, allowing the reader to explore Barker’s mind and work in an ordered fashion if one so wishes.

In truth, it serves as a bible for fans who wanted to ask him questions. Since the earliest years of his career, he and his publisher received reams of fan mail asking questions on all aspects of Barker’s writing. At first, he tried to reply personally to all of these correspondences, but it soon became impossible with the sheer volume of letters. Thanks to the internet, he set up a website and tried to answer questions there too. Of course, Barker was a regular on the convention circuit, but it was a medium that he never felt comfortable in. Barker is a very shy man, and found convention appearances an uncomfortable experience. In his own words, he had to become another man and perform the part of Clive Barker. That isn’t to say he ever disliked meeting fans, quite the contrary, but fans wanted to touch him and would queue for hours for their moment with the maestro. It was quite a responsibility to make sure that they didn’t leave disappointed.

The Essential Clive Barker was a partial remedy for those who wanted questions answered. This is Barker speaking to the reader, teaching the aspirant writer, and spending that time with the author that everyone craved. A must own for any Clive Barker devotee.


Come back tomorrow for Part 5 of this fantastic retrospective on Clive Barker.

Paul Flewitt is a horror/dark fantasy author. He was born on the 24th April 1982 in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield.

Always an avid reader, Paul put pen to paper for the first time in 1999 and came very close to inking a deal with a small press. Due to circumstances unforeseen, this work has never been released, but it did give Paul a drive to achieve within the arts.

In the early 2000’s, Paul concentrated on music; writing song lyrics for his brother and his own bands. Paul was lead singer in a few rock bands during this time and still garners inspiration from music to this day. Paul gave up his musical aspirations in 2009.

In late 2012, Paul became unemployed and decided to make a serious attempt to make a name for himself as a writer. He went to work, penning several short stories and even dusting off the manuscript that had almost been published over a decade earlier. His efforts culminated in his first work being published in mid-2013, the flash fiction piece “Smoke” can be found in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes: A Tribute To Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.

2013 was a productive year as he released his short story “Paradise Park” in both J. Ellington Ashton’s All That Remains anthology and separate anthology, Thirteen Vol 3. He also completed his debut novella in this time. Poor Jeffrey was first released to much praise in February 2014. In July 2014 his short story “Always Beneath” was released as part of CHBB’s Dark Light Four anthology.

In 2015 Paul contributed to two further anthologies: Demonology (Climbing Out) from Lycopolis Press and Behind Closed Doors (Apartment 16c) with fellow authors Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Stuart Keane, and more.In 2016, Paul wrote the monologue, The Silent Invader, for a pitch TV series entitled Fragments of Fear. The resulting episode can be viewed now on YouTube, but the show was never aired. The text for the monologue was published in Matt Shaw’s Masters Of Horror anthology in 2017.

Paul continues to work on further material.

He remains in Sheffield, where he lives with his partner and two children. He consorts with his beta reading demons on a daily basis.

You can find more information on Paul Flewitt and his works here…

Amazon ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Instagram

Halloween Extravaganza: Paul Flewitt: Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer Pt 2

Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer:
A Retrospective
Part 2

1988 proved to be another busy year for Clive Barker, as another Hellraiser movie was needed and more books needed to be written. He gave up the director’s seat for Hellraiser 2, offering his friend, Peter Atkins, the opportunity to write it. Clive acted as executive producer for Hellbound, whilst pursuing another movie project in Nightbreed. He was also working on a new novel, eager to capitalise on the UK success of Weaveworld.

1988 was a year of creation, but he still managed to release another seminal work, the book that became the unintended blueprint for the movie that would become Nightbreed.

Barker had actually intended to release Cabal as part of another collection of short stories; in fact, it has been released along with other stories from Books of Blood Volume 6 in the US. In the UK, it was released as a novella, the intention being to release a series of connected stories outlining the mythology of the lost breed. That has never, up to now, materialised, but has given rise to graphic novels, unauthorised anthologies, and the aforementioned movie. What it has become in the intervening years is a cult classic, giving rise to TV programmes like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and movies like Twilight, where the monster can be the sympathetic character and the humans the true monsters. Here, Clive Barker was truly ahead of his time.

Cabal (1988)

Aaron Boone is a man suffering with mental health issues which often lead to him having blackouts. In order to combat his illness, he has turned to psychiatrist, Phillip Decker. During a crisis Boone visits Decker, where the psychiatrist shows him a deck of photographs from crime scenes, crimes which Decker insists Boone committed. The good doctor promises to cover for Boone, just as long as he takes the medication that Decker prescribes. Confused, scared, feeling guilty, and high on the medication that Decker has given him, Boone attempts to commit suicide and throws himself under a truck… but he is not killed and wakes up in a hospital.

In his hospital room is a man named Narcisse, who mistakes Boone for an envoy of a place called Midian. Narcisse insists that he is worthy and begs Boone to take him there, and to prove his worth he is prepared to show Boone his true face. Narcisse sets to work slicing off his own face as an act of faith, and Boone flees in fear of being blamed for the man’s injuries. What Narcisse has given Boone is a destination: if he is a monster, then why not go where the monsters live?

Boone finds Midian, a huge graveyard and necropolis in the north of Canada. He approaches the gates and is met there by Peloquin, a half-man, half-reptile hybrid. Boone tells him of his crimes, and Peloquin laughs and tells him that he is innocent and natural… he is meat. Peloquin bites Boone, and the bite awakens something in Boone’s senses. He flees from Midian and hides in a ghost town, shunned by the monsters and fearful of humanity, he hunkers down. The police arrive, led by Decker, and corner Boone, shooting him at the order of the psychiatrist who has now blamed Boone for the murders in the photographs.

Lori is Boone’s girlfriend and soulmate, and she struggles to make sense of Boone’s crimes or his death. In an effort to find some closure, she sets out to Midian to lay her man to rest. She finds the necropolis in daylight and explores the place, wondering what could possibly have brought Boone to this place. On her exploration she finds a cat-like creature, burning in the sun. She picks up the creature and carries it to the shadows of a mausoleum, where the creature turns into a little girl. The girl’s mother, Rachel, appears and explains to Lori the nature of the Breed, and tells her that Boone is not dead. Lylesberg, the patriarch of Midian, appears and bids Lori to leave, “What is below must remain below,” he says, reciting the law of the Breed.

Devastated at her dismissal and the news that Boone still lives, Lori leaves and is found by Old Zipper Face, the alter ego of Decker. He tells her that it was him that committed the murders that Boone was accused of, that he liked it. He chases her through the necropolis, but is attacked by Boone. Decker escapes and Boone takes an unconscious Lori into the mausoleum, breaking the law of the Breed.

When Lori wakes, she finds Midian in controversy over Boone’s actions. Lylesberg insists that Boone must answer to Baphomet, the god of the Breed. Boone goes off to the god’s chamber to be judged for his crimes, and Lori follows. What she sees astounds her; a city underground peopled by every configuration of monster that her mind could conjure. She comes to Baphomet’s chamber and screams when she sees the divided god in its pillar of white fire.

Boone is banished from Midian by the god, and is about to leave when the city comes under attack from the cops and good old boys of the nearby town. In the tumult of the attack, Boone finds Decker and tears him to pieces as the battle rages around him. Lylesberg releases the Berserkers of the Breed, and the humans are defeated, but at the cost of Midian. Uncovered, the Breed must leave their haven and find new sanctuaries… and Boone must be their leader. He is Cabal.


With the success of Hellraiser, and the promise of more movies in that franchise, Barker realised that his distance from Hollywood would prove to be a stumbling block. In 1988, Barker decided that it was time to circulate in LA. His agents, CAA, introduced him to another of their clients, Mick Garris. The two men found a common ground with their love of horror and got along; Garris was fresh from success with Critters 2 and Barker has just released Hellraiser the year before, so it made sense that they might work together. Over the coming months and years, the pair would pitch a number of projects that would not see the light themselves, but would give rise to other projects that did. Spirit City USA, a series that Barker was developing for ABT, would become Lord of Illusion; there was early talk of adapting the Books of Blood Story, In The Flesh, into a movie as well as Cabal, but neither happened; and neither did their pitch for a movie entitled The Mummy, although that would surface in 1999 under a very different guise to the one that Barker and Garris intended.

Garris did work with Barker on screen, however, casting him in a cameo for Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers (one of the most iconic scenes for horror aficionados, involving Barker, King and Tobe Hooper). Garris also worked on the King/Barker collaboration, Quicksilver Highway, in 97.

With this meeting between Barker and Garris, and Clive’s attempts to work more often in LA, he was certainly signalling his intent and ambition in 1988. LA and the film industry would become influential for Barker in the coming years… but not quite yet.

1989 was dawning, and Barker still had business in England… and with the literary world.


1989 was the year that Barker stepped his literary craft up to another level, penning and releasing the book that would begin what I consider to be the triumvirate of masterpieces that he would create in the next few years: The Great and Secret Show. In fact, it was something of a risk, as Barker would eschew the horror genre completely and step into another realm entirely, and one not easily characterised at the time. With The Great and Secret Show, Barker would embrace his Tolkienesque quality and display his love of E.R. Eddison with great effect, re-writing the rulebook when it comes to fantasy writing and truly becoming the great imaginer of the dark fantastique.

The gamble would pay off, as The Great and Secret Show would earn him bestseller status in both the UK and US for the first time, and also a $2m advance for his next four books. It would place him in the pantheon of great authors of his time, offering him the freedom and cache to be the artist that he truly wanted to be.

The Great & Secret Show (1989)

The book begins with Randolph Jaffe, a true wastrel who struggles to hold down a job, feels no direction and is utterly hopeless. He is absolutely bitter about all of this, feeling that he is above the lot that the world had given him and being wasted in the dead-end world that he inhabits. He works in the post office in Omaha, the centre of America… and hates it. His mood isn’t made any better when he is sent to work in the dead letter office, opening envelopes that the service has failed to deliver. His job is to open up the letters and remove anything of value; consigning the worthless correspondence to the furnace. What he discovers in the dead mail will change his life. Not every letter, but one in every hundred or so envelopes, he sees whispers of a hidden world, a new theology which exists under the surface of humanity. Jaffe hears of the sea of Quiddity, which mankind swims in only three times in their life: the day they are born, the night they sleep beside their true love, and the day they die. He reads about the Ephemeris, the island which stands in Quiddity, and the power that might be derived from that strange place. He searches through the letters then in search of more information of this new religion. He finds it too, along with a strange medallion which piques his fascination even more. In these letters, Randolph Jaffe sees power and knowledge… he sees The Art.

Soon enough, his supervisor and colleagues become distrustful of Jaffe and suspect him of hoarding some of the banal treasures for himself. He hears that his superiors are about to remove him from the dead letter office, and so he kills his supervisor and burns down the dead letter office. He flees Omaha and goes on a quest across America in search of the Art, of the power that it might offer him.

His quest brings him to a strange place called The Loop, where he meets a man named Kissoon. Kissoon is a shaman, wielder of The Art, and member of a group of seventeen murdered adepts named The Shoal. Jaffe implores Kissoon to teach him, but he is refused and sent away.

Not to be denied, Jaffe soon finds another way to obtain power. He meets Richard Fletcher, a brilliant scientist who is addicted to mescaline. Fletcher is a dreamer, always asking “Will I be sky?” He has engineered a substance called the Nuncio, a force which speeds up evolution. With the Nuncio, Fletcher has already caused an ape to evolve into a boy and Jaffe sees the possibilities that the Nuncio presents. He imbibes it, feeling the power of the substance coursing through him. Unfortunately for Jaffe, Fletcher has also been exposed to the effects of the Nuncio, and pits himself against Jaffe. They battle each other for many years, all across America, until they are exhausted and come to rest, totally exhausted in a non-descript area of the States.

In Palomo Grove, four virgins go swimming in a lake which appears from nowhere during a summer storm. When they emerge, each one is filled with carnal urges which cover a basic need, that of fertility. Of the four, one is barren and kills herself. Three others conceive and deliver children, but one of them kills her child, which leaves three: Tommy-Ray and Jo-Beth Maguire, twins borne of Jaffe’s seed, and Harold Katz, borne of Fletcher’s. The scene has been set for an endgame, but it would take eighteen years for it to reach apotheosis.

Buddy Vance is a comedian who has made Palomo Grove his home. He falls down a fissure while out running, where he comes into contact with Jaffe and Fletcher. He is dying, and sees the pair, by turns, as wasted old men and spirits locked in grim combat. Through sly persuasion, Jaffe takes Vance’s worst fears and nightmares, turning them into creatures called terrata, which he uses to escape the chasm that has kept him trapped with Fletcher. On his part, Fletcher takes a dream from Vance, called hallucinogenia, gives chase, and both men go in search of their offspring.

Nathan Grillo arrives in Palomo Grove to investigate the disappearance of Buddy Vance. Grillo is a shamed journalist, feeding on the weird and horrific in American society for publications like National Enquirer. For Grillo, the disappearance of Vance is manna from heaven. Until Vance resurfaces and arranges a party at his house in the town, inviting the great and good from Hollywood to attend. His house is a shrine to carnival, a literal funhouse. Grillo sneaks into the party, and witnesses the strangeness that ensues.

Buddy Vance is not Buddy Vance at all, but is Jaffe disguised by a sway. Jaffe’s plan is to lure these people to the town and make them bear witness to his moment of glory, and make an army of their nightmares..

Meanwhile, Fletcher has realised that his hallucinogenia is no match for Jaffe’s terrata, and he has no time to raise more. He passes the secrets of the Nuncio to Tesla Bombeck, before he sets himself on fire in an act of self-sacrifice. There is a crowd of townspeople watching the scene unfold, and Fletcher’s spirit touches each of them, which in turn inspires their hallucinogenia.

Tesla sets out to find the remnants of Fletcher’s Nuncio to destroy it, but Tommy-Ray Maguire is inspired by his father by now and tries to take it from her. In the scuffle, Tommy-Ray is touched by the Nuncio and is transformed into the Death Boy and he flees back to Palomo Grove. Gravely wounded from the battle, Tesla also tastes the Nuncio, and is transported to New Mexico, to the town of Trinity, where she meets Kissoon and is utterly disgusted by him.

Meanwhile, Jaffe is slowly becoming drunk on his own power to deceive. In the rush, he goes beyond his intention to create terrata and decides to show his audience his true power, to rip away the screen of reality and show the gathered there what lies beneath the veneer of the world. He takes a handful of the wall in his hand and pulls, bending the substance of the house out of true and revealing the secret world that exists beyond the veil. He pulls, revealing more and more, and slowly becoming consumed by it. Harold Katz and Jo-Beth Maguire arrive with an army of hallucinogenia, intending to take on Jaffe and his terrata, and witness the downfall of Jo-Beth’s father… just as Tommy-Ray arrives, too late to save him.

The trio are sucked out of the real world and into Quiddity. They swim for a time, and the sea joins Jo-Beth and Harold together. They come onto the island of Ephemeris. Here, Tommy-Ray sees the Iad Uroboros, a seething mass of darkness which contains horrors beyond the imagining of man. The sight inspires him, and he takes that inspiration back into the real world.

Tesla and Grillo descend into the bowels of Palomo Grove, into the chasm that had claimed Buddy Vance, in search of whatever the experience in the house had left of Jaffe. They find him, bereft and bitter after his failure to wield the Art. What follows is a scene reminiscent of the game of riddles in The Hobbit, where Gollum and Bilbo Baggins trade riddles in return for Bilbo’s freedom. Jaffe leads Tesla as she tries to make sense of the things that she has seen, egging her on to the most profound discovery and explanation of the medallion that he first discovered all those years before Palomo Grove and the Nuncio.

Grillo and Tesla emerge from the chasm to the death of Palomo Grove, as the town destroys itself and sinks into the earth.

This is not the end though… not quite. Tesla returns to Trinity and The Loop, where she encounters Kissoon once again. This time, she knows the power that she wields and can control it. She uncovers the secret of the place, the pivotal moment of human history in the twentieth century, frozen in time and made a prison. She confronts Kissoon and discovers his crimes, and destroys the Loop… and a remnant of the Iad Uroboros. She has come into her power and revealed herself as a saving power in the human world.

1989 ended on a high and with triumph for Barker, as The Great and Secret Show gave him his first success, both critical and commercial. He moved forward with confidence into the New Year, with a new challenge before him… but 1990 would prove to be frustrating, and darken his view of the workings of Hollywood for the rest of his life.


Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of this fantastic retrospective on Clive Barker.

Paul Flewitt is a horror/dark fantasy author. He was born on the 24th April 1982 in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield.

Always an avid reader, Paul put pen to paper for the first time in 1999 and came very close to inking a deal with a small press. Due to circumstances unforeseen, this work has never been released, but it did give Paul a drive to achieve within the arts.

In the early 2000’s, Paul concentrated on music; writing song lyrics for his brother and his own bands. Paul was lead singer in a few rock bands during this time and still garners inspiration from music to this day. Paul gave up his musical aspirations in 2009.

In late 2012, Paul became unemployed and decided to make a serious attempt to make a name for himself as a writer. He went to work, penning several short stories and even dusting off the manuscript that had almost been published over a decade earlier. His efforts culminated in his first work being published in mid-2013, the flash fiction piece “Smoke” can be found in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes: A Tribute To Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.

2013 was a productive year as he released his short story “Paradise Park” in both J. Ellington Ashton’s All That Remains anthology and separate anthology, Thirteen Vol 3. He also completed his debut novella in this time. Poor Jeffrey was first released to much praise in February 2014. In July 2014 his short story “Always Beneath” was released as part of CHBB’s Dark Light Four anthology.

In 2015 Paul contributed to two further anthologies: Demonology (Climbing Out) from Lycopolis Press and Behind Closed Doors (Apartment 16c) with fellow authors Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Stuart Keane, and more.In 2016, Paul wrote the monologue, The Silent Invader, for a pitch TV series entitled Fragments of Fear. The resulting episode can be viewed now on YouTube, but the show was never aired. The text for the monologue was published in Matt Shaw’s Masters Of Horror anthology in 2017.

Paul continues to work on further material.

He remains in Sheffield, where he lives with his partner and two children. He consorts with his beta reading demons on a daily basis.

You can find more information on Paul Flewitt and his works here…

Amazon ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Instagram

Halloween Extravaganza: Paul Flewitt: Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer Pt 1

When I invited Paul Flewitt to take part in this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, I never could have expected the guest post that he sent me. We discussed it several times over the past few weeks, and every time he would tell me that it was almost done, send me over a small portion of it, and ask me what I thought. When I received the final copy, I immediately sat down to read it – a retrospective on one of my all-time favorite authors? – and could not believe just how good it was. Weighing in at 69 pages, 40,227 words… it’s definitely the largest, most researched blog post I have received in my seven plus years of being a blogger. I have broken it up into six days, so sit back and enjoy.


Clive Barker, Dark Dreamer:
A Retrospective
Part 1

Hi everyone, and happy belated Halloween. Thanks to Meghan for inviting me to write this, admittedly rather lengthy article.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that, given the opportunity to do so, I would write an article about Clive Barker. I have never made a secret of the fact that I love his work, and that I hold Barker in high esteem as a writer, artist, director and human being. I think every interview I have ever given has included Barker in some way or another – how could it not? He is a huge influence on my writing, as is reflected in many reviews of my books and stories. It would be utterly remiss of me to refuse to celebrate him in any way that I can. So when I discussed with Meghan the kinds of spots she wanted for her Halloween Extravaganza, and a Barker retrospective came up in the conversation, I leapt at the chance to be the one to write it. I do hope that you take as much pleasure in reading it as I have in researching and writing it.

I have tried to be concise, to keep this from becoming an unauthorised biography running into many thousands of words, but there is a lot of ground to cover. Clive has been an insanely prolific artist over the last 40 years, and to fit absolutely everything into a blog article in the detail that each project deserves would be inadvisable. I have written here a potted history of his books, some selected movies, and mentions for plays he has written. You might see this post as a jumping off point for further research. I recommend Douglas E. Winter’s authorised biography The Dark Fantastic, Clive Barker’s own The Essential Clive Barker, and also the Barkercast and Revelations websites for further examination of his wider work.

So, all of this said… shall we begin?


Liverpool, UK in the 1950’s and 60’s was a city in transformation. The year of Clive Barker’s birth, 1952, came seven years after World War 2 ended; Liverpool was still rebuilding and regenerating after being gutted by bombing and the docks, which once provided the lion’s share of the city’s economy, were slowly dying. It was a city catching up with the modern world, and was a hotbed of artistic creativity. From this soup would be fermented bands like The Beatles, The Merseybeats, Gerry & the Pacemakers, and writers like Phil Redmond and, of course, Clive Barker.

The young Barker was a creative, artistic boy. His bedroom was filled with scribblings, doodles, and models half-built. He created for himself different worlds to inhabit and take him away from one that made very little sense to him, which probably gave a clue to the man that he would become. He was an intelligent child; was one of only ten children in his primary school to pass his eleven-plus exam and be admitted to Quarry Bank Grammar School. The headteacher of Quarry Bank was William Pobjoy, a man forever remembered in history as the guy who allowed a young lad named John Lennon to form a little sciffle band while at school and play during lunch periods; The Quarrymen would pretty soon become The Beatles. Pobjoy was described as a “pompous prick” by Barker, so he clearly didn’t enjoy the same rapport with the man as Lennon did. Of course, Clive also described himself as a “snidey little bastard,” so his criticism is not only reserved for his headteacher, but turned upon himself too.

In his first years, Clive was absent from lessons more than he attended them, a fact that was mourned by one teacher who remarked that the class was “lesser for Clive’s absence.” He hated sports, and the class system which pitted child against child. The enigma to teachers was that Barker was a talented pupil, far from a dunce. He performed well in exams and in class… when he deigned to show up. Put simply, academic pursuits held little relevance to the young Clive Barker; the arts and words were where the world made sense to him. In time, he came to a compromise with his parents that he would knuckle down at school, if he could also pursue his art. As long as his mess was confined to his room, a deal was struck.

Clive’s English teacher, Norman Russell, immediately saw something very different in the young Barker, famously refusing to mark Clive’s assignments because “he had moved beyond the curriculum and could not be marked.” Russell was the man who encouraged Barker’s exploration of his imagination, supporting his endeavours on stage. Clive was cast in school plays throughout his time at Quarry Bank and was permitted to put on his own fringe plays, many of them written by him and his friend Phil Rimmer. This was also where Barker first met a boy two years his junior, but would become a lifelong friend, Doug Bradley. Most memorable of these self-produced plays was Neongonebony, a play entirely improvised by the students.

In these plays Barker and his fellow actors showed a forward-thinking and almost revolutionary philosophy toward the arts, seating the audience on stage while the play was enacted on the floor, lit by candles held by the actors and with horrific special effects designed by Clive and Phil.

Clive left Quarry Bank with the intention of attending Liverpool College of Arts, but at the insistence of his father who wanted him to get a proper education and some possibility of gainful employment, he went to the University of Liverpool instead. This dismayed his English teacher, Norman Russell, who had hoped to see Clive accepted into Oxford or Cambridge, but as Barker himself concedes “I lacked the application… I didn’t want to be an MP or justice of the peace…” University did not stop the young Barker from creating; writing plays and even a short novel, originally entitled “The Company of Dreamers;” later released as “The Candle in the Cloud” and dedicated to his friends: Julie, Sue, Anne, Lynne, Doug, and Graham; his fellow actors from school.

Throughout his years at university he continued to act, forming his own theatre company with Doug Bradley, Peter Atkins, Phil Rimmer, and others. The company started out as The Hydra Theatre Company after Clive and Phil Rimmer made a series of experimental short films, which included Salome and The Forbidden. The company occupied much of Clive’s spare time throughout the 70’s, mutating into The Theatre of the Imagination. Under both guises, Barker put on a number of plays. At this time he also wrote The Adventures of Maximillian Bacchus and His Travelling Circus, a short novel for young adults which was eventually released in 2009 and loosely based on his theatre company and friends. The theatre became more of a full time focus when he graduated from university in 1974, and they built a solid reputation for themselves.

Liverpool could not contain Clive Barker for much longer, however, as travel to cities like Paris and London showed him the wider world. It took some persuasion – Barker believed that living in Liverpool offered a unique mystique that being in the London scene would not afford them – but he was persuaded and was first of his friends to move, with his partner, John Gregson, to London in 76. Doug Bradley moved in 78, as did Phil Rimmer and the rest of the company. The troupe morphed as new members joined, becoming The Dog Company and performing several Barker-penned plays including “History of the Devil,” applying for funding from The Arts Council and touring to places like Edinburgh and Holland to perform. Barker and John were never particularly well off, but got by on John’s salary, Clive’s welfare checks, and whatever small income he received from performing. He also supplemented his income writing for a small S&M magazine, copies of which were seized and burned, much to Clive’s delight. It was these stories and articles that would later inspire, in part, Clive’s most famous creation, Pinhead.

More plays followed in the early years of the 80’s, with “Paradise Street,” “Frankenstein in Love,” “The Secret Life of Cartoons,” “Crazyface,” “Subtle Bodies,” and “Colossus” being written and performed in 81, 82 and 83. By now Clive had withdrawn from acting, taking on the role of stage director and principle writer in pursuit of more singular recognition for his writing.


1983 and 84 proved pivotal years for Barker as he began working at night on short stories. His days were still spent on plays and the theatre, the stories being more a distraction and something to share with his friends from the company. He explored his imagination in a much deeper, unreserved way in these stories, giving no thought to publishing any of them. That was, until he saw the Dark Forces anthology in a bookstore, containing short stories by Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ramsey Campbell. This anthology set off a lightbulb for Barker and he immediately set about, with his theatrical agent, to find a publisher for his stories. It was a tough sell; the industry opinion was, and still is, that anthologies don’t sell. Sphere Books took a chance on them however, and Clive Barker’s Books of Blood were published. A new Imaginer had arrived, and took the world of horror and dark fantasy by storm. Ramsey Campbell wrote; “I think Clive Barker is the most important writer of horror fiction since Peter Straub,” and Stephen King wrote; “I have seen the future of horror, and his name is Clive Barker.” It was a phrase that Barker says “changed my life forever…” but also proved to be something of a curse.

Books of Blood (1984)

Of all Clive Barker’s works, Books of Blood is the one I see most frequently recommended in online groups to initiates into the world of Barker (or The Barkerverse, as I term it) these days. I can see why too; Books of Blood gives an overview of everything that might be expected from Clive’s work. There are claustrophobic horrors and epic fantasies, peopled by monsters of both the human and distinctly non-human variety. If you’re going to like any Barker at all, you will like a lot of what’s contained in these volumes.

There are a number of releases of Books of Blood: individual volumes and omnibus editions which collect volumes 1-3 and 3-6, all with differing cover art. Really, Barker is a collectors’ dream when it comes to interesting cover art. Like Pokemon; you’ve gotta catch em all.

Stand out stories for me here would be: Pig Blood Blues, Rawhead Rex, Dread, The Forbidden, Book of Blood, The Body Politic, Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament, Son of Celluloid, and In The Hills, The Cities. Honestly though, there isn’t a bad story in the whole bunch. As an introduction to Barker’s work, you really can’t go wrong here.


The release of Books of Blood proved something of an anomaly in publishing circles; for a writer to debut with a short story collection was unheard of in the modern era, for them to be a critical success unprecedented. It wasn’t an astounding commercial success, but sold enough for Sphere to want more from Barker: a novel. It was a daunting prospect for Clive to write a full length piece, but he set to work and produced a synopsis entitled “Out of the Empty Quarter.” This was proposed to begin in the Arabian desert; an explorer discovers the ruins of Eden inhabited by a lonely angel. The explorer returns to England and unleashes a horrifying force, which turns out to be more angelic than demonic. Sphere rejected this idea, finding it more akin to fantasy than horror. Unperturbed, Barker came up with something else: “Mamoulian’s Game,” but we would come to know it as “The Damnation Game.”

The Damnation Game (1985)

The story begins with a thief wandering through the ashes of the Warsaw Ghetto, searching for a legendary card player. Stories have been told of the European, the greatest card player they have ever heard of who never loses, and the thief is skeptical. Of course, he wants to meet this man himself and disprove the fable… and play him himself. He has tracked the European to Warsaw, and here he will find him… and win. The prize for winning against the European is wealth, fame, and long life, a prize that the thief accepts eagerly.

Years later, Marty Strauss is in prison for armed robbery, closing in on parole and determined to see out his sentence in peace. He is summoned to a meeting with the governor of the prison and is greeted by William Toy. Strauss is soon made an offer he could scarcely refuse: early release, in return for his services as bodyguard to the hermetic millionaire, Joseph Whitehead.

Strauss is taken to Whitehead’s Sanctuary by Toy, where he will live as Whitehead’s right hand man. He meets Whitehead and, quite frankly, cannot believe his luck. He is paid well for his services, lives in a grand mansion, and can live his life again. All is going better than Strauss could have possibly dreamed… until Mamoulian comes to call.

The Damnation Game is a Faustian tale of redemption and… well, damnation obviously. Marty Strauss is portrayed as a normal guy, thrown into some very unusual and terrifying circumstances, used by a man who considers himself above the common. Mamoulian, the Last European, is characterised as an eloquent, melancholy, and ill-used antagonist in the piece. There is a lot to like in this story, as bleak and morbid as it turns out to be. It is certainly a great debut novel from a writer finding his feet and discovering his style.

Once again, Barker’s work was praised by the genre critics, but wasn’t so much a commercial success. Sphere marketed it as a middle-ranked book, giving it a little marketing and hoping that Clive could sell it in personal appearances. They were hoping to sell movie rights, but they never materialised. It certainly engendered a response, with one critic calling it “spiritually bankrupt,” while another said it was “Zombie Flesh Eaters written by Graham Greene.” Characteristically, Barker revelled in these critiques. “What you can’t do to most of the images in my books is ignore them…”

If nothing else, Barker had announced himself on the scene as a major writer of dark fiction, and his contribution was recognised in 1985 by the British Fantasy Society and World Fantasy Society, awarding him Best Collection award for 84’s Books of Blood.

Now it was time for Barker to cement his place in the pantheon of British horror writers… but not before a little distraction in the form of movie-making.


1985 also brought Barker’s first feature film through Green Man Productions: Underworld. A futuristic horror, it was doomed from the beginning by interfering producers which led to a disjointed affair. Barker wrote the script and friend, George Pavlou, directed with a shoestring budget; neither was in control of the money and Pavlou was even barred entirely from the editing suite during post-production. A second writer was brought in to rewrite Barker’s scripts (which began as unfilmable since Clive had previously written for stage and had no experience of writing for the screen), but the new writer turned it into a more 80’s themed, low budget action romp. Pavlou tried to sew the two scripts together in an effort to create a coherent script… and ultimately failed. Barker saw the movie in the theatre and couldn’t watch, seeing the butchery that had been committed on his vision, which gave a preview of themes that he would revisit in Nightbreed.

Barker had sold the rights of first refusal to Green Man Productions for five of the stories from Books of Blood: Rawhead Rex; Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament; Confessions (From a Pornographer’s Shroud); Sex, Death and Starshine; and Human Remains.

Pre-production on Rawhead Rex would begin in January 1986.

If Clive thought that Rawhead Rex would be a happier, more successful experience and that Green Man Productions would have learned from the errors made with Underworld, he was mistaken. From the outset it became apparent that this would be another difficult production. First, the producers re-set the movie in Ireland instead of the south of England, then announced a budget of £3m, but the reality was rather less. Barker wrote the screenplay, which director George Pavlou loved… and that was essentially the end of Barker’s involvement in the project. He was never invited to the set, nor was he even called for advice. Clive presented the artists with sketches for the Rawhead character, but the producers had other ideas. The make-up artists designed an elaborate twenty-piece suit for Rawhead which would take seven hours to dress, but these were also rejected for being too expensive by producers. Instead, they went with a single piece suit which took fifteen minutes to dress… and it showed. Shooting took place during the worst storms Ireland had seen for years, meaning filming was a torturous experience. The movie took seven weeks of eighteen hour days to make in terrible conditions.

Needless to say, Rawhead Rex was far from the movie that it could have been, and once again Clive was disappointed with the result. What could have been a fine inclusion into the pantheon of monster horror was resigned to the B-movie comedy bin. Barker was not bitter about the experience, however; he had been taught an important lesson: if you want something done right, do it yourself.

1986 also saw Barker’s work return to the stage, and this time in the West End. The Secret Life of Cartoons had been received well at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1982, and now there were producers who wanted to put it onto the bigger stages in London. So it was that Tudor Davis directed the play at the Aldwych Theatre in October of 86. Barker expanded the play to two hours from its original one, and the play starred Una Stubbs (Worzel Gummidge), Derek Griffiths (Play School), and Geoffrey Hughes (Coronation Street). Unfortunately, the critics were not kind to Clive’s venturing into farce and the run was a short one.

1986 was a year of learning harsh lessons indeed… but 1987 was a year where everything would change and Clive Barker would put the lessons he had learned into action.

The first seeds of Barker’s rise to prominence on the world stage were sown in 1986, when he began writing the novelette that would kick his career into the stratosphere. So far, while his written work and stageplays had been moderately successful, his movies could only be viewed as interesting failures. 1987 would be the year that all of that changed… but Clive had to raise some hell first…


The Hellbound Heart (1987)

Clive Barker’s next release came with little fanfare: a novelette published in the Night Visions 3 anthology. This was a small press release, and very limited, so Barker could not have known the impact that this small (only covering around 100 pages) Faustian tale could have on his future. Night Visions was re-released in 1988 as The Hellbound Heart; the story itself not released individually until 1991, at the height of the movie’s success.

The Hellbound Heart begins with Frank Cotton, a man fuelled by excesses which are no longer sated by normal human pursuits. He travels in search of the next experience, the next excess with which his desires might be relieved. He is given a small, plain black box in Dusseldorf by a man named Kircher, who promises that to open the box is to travel… or something very like it. Of course, Frank wastes no time in finding the solution to opening the box and summoning the Cenobites of The Order of the Gash, explorers of the outer reaches of pleasure and sensation. They take him to their realm, to discover the limits of his own desires.

Barker takes inspiration for the Cenobites appearance from the homoerotic S&M magazines that he had written stories for previously; their scarred and disfigured appearance, bound in leather recalling the most extreme body modifications. He is here calling to outsider culture in the most direct terms possible, and perverting their activities as only Barker can.

Rory and Julia Cotton move into a house left to Rory by his missing brother following his disappearance, helped by their old schoolmate, Kirsty. Julia has grown to dislike Kirsty, her dour demeanour and endless fawning over Rory, and isn’t exactly happy in her marriage either: her thoughts are often drawn back to the day that she had succumbed to the advances of his brother, the irrepressible and missing Frank.

Rory cuts himself on a nail during the move and blood drips onto the floor of the house, unwittingly inviting a visitor into their new home. That night Julia is drawn to a room at the top of the house, the wall peels back to the sound of tinkling bells and a strange, flayed form is revealed; Frank is back.

What follows is a tale of love and lust. Julia agrees, reluctantly at first, to bring men back to the house so that Frank can feed. This she does and, over the course of the next few days, Frank grows stronger and ever more persuasive… what he needs next is flesh, and there is a donor living in the house with them.

Rory has asked Kirsty to look in on Julia, concerned by her suddenly erratic demeanour and distracted mood. When Kirsty does, her curiosity overcoming her. She explores the house and finds the puzzlebox that had undone Frank and the husks of Julia’s victims. She comes face to face with the skinless Frank, who lusts after her and sees her ripe for corruption. Kirsty escapes the house with the puzzlebox, fully intending to warn Rory before it’s too late, but she faints on the street outside the house.

She awakes in a hospital and notices the puzzlebox on the table beside her. She studies it to pass the time, her fingers moving across its lacquered surfaces. Unwittingly, she solves the puzzle, the box begins to open, and the Cenobites arrive. Of course, Hell’s servants must take Kirsty back to their domain, but Kirsty manages to persuade them to take another in her place.

Kirsty returns to Julia’s house, hoping to save Rory from a fate similar to the men whose remains she had seen. When she gets there, she finds Julia and Rory, with blood on his face, drinking brandy. Rory tells her that he has killed Frank, and knows all about Julia’s actions of the last few days. He then utters a phrase which betrays him – “Come to Daddy…” he says, belying the man who really lived beneath the borrowed flesh. Kirsty argues against him, and Frank gives chase through the house until they reach the upper room. There, Frank unwittingly names himself and bells begin to toll as the Cenobites arrive to take their errant pupil.

While Barker didn’t write the story with any thought toward making a film of it (it was written to exorcise the ghost of his ended relationship with John Gregson after ten years), he soon realised that it would translate very well to a low-budget film. Clive first approached George Pavlou, but was also introduced to Chris Figg, who was interested in making a horror movie and had ambitions toward production. Learning from past mistakes, Clive insisted on directing the movie. Figg knew that insistence meant that the project would be small scale, low budget – no one would offer cash to a first time director. So, they set about trying to convince financiers to invest. Barker set about writing The Hellbound Heart as a screenplay and, via a circuitous route they came to Hollywood. After a deal with Virgin Films fell apart, New Line Cinema stepped into the breach and committed $4.2m to the project. Filming began in 1987, less than a year after Clive had conceived the story.

The movie version of Hellraiser was approached in much the same way as Barker approached his work with The Dog Company: it was a family affair. He drafted in Doug Bradley to play Pinhead and his cousin, Grace Kirby, played the female Cenobite with Nick Vince and Simon Bamford as Chatterer and Butterball. Clare Higgins was enlisted to play Julia, with Andrew Robinson as Larry and Ashley Laurence as Kirsty.

The movie is fairly faithful to the book, aside from the relationship of the principle characters being changed: Kirsty is now a teenage firebrand daughter of Larry (Rory) and Julia Cotton, not the dowdy old school-friend. The roles are perfectly played, particularly Kirsty, Julia, and Pinhead. Doug Bradley particularly understands the understated quality of Barker’s invention; equal parts Karloff’s Frankestein’s monster and Christopher Lee’s Dracula, he presents Pinhead as an aloof figure, intensely eloquent and with a quiet aura of threat and promised violence. Andrew Robinson, too, provided two improvisations which have proved to be iconic moments in the films; as he chases Kirsty through the house, he growls “Enough of this cat and mouse shit,” and as the Cenobites deliver their coup de gras, the tortured Frank utters the famous line “Jesus wept” moments before he is ripped apart by the hooks and chains which bear him up. It is these improvisations which show the spirit of collaboration that Barker brought to the project and work to make Hellraiser one of the most faithful and best adaptations of a horror story ever produced.

Much to Barker’s surprise it was not the character of Julia or Frank which captured the imagination of the audience, but the monster, Pinhead. The striking appearance of the Hell Priest gave rise to tee-shirts, jigsaws, comic books, a short story anthology and several more movies (declining in quality as they move further away from Clive’s initial intention,) models and trading cars. What Hellraiser ensured was Clive Barker’s equity as not only a writer, but a director and imaginer.


Hellraiser was not the only creation that worked to cement Barker’s reputation in 1987; the year also saw the release of Barker’s second novel. Amidst the praise and furore which surrounded Hellraiser, Clive released Weaveworld.

Back in 1986, Clive had signed a lucrative new publishing deal with HarperCollins, and they were keen to capitalise on the exposure that Clive had received with the movie. The PR department went into overdrive, putting everything they had behind the UK release and were rewarded with a number one bestselling book. They eschewed the “horror” tag and marketed the book for what it was, not for what Barker had become known for. There was a nationwide tour, television appearances, and the commissioning of a carpet from the Royal College of Art.

In the US, Simon & Schuster were more reserved, preferring to cling to the horror angle. This led to critical confusion and a more lukewarm reception from critics and readers alike. The Stephen King quote, “I have seen the future of horror…,” became a millstone around Clive’s neck, rather than the lifechanging gift that it once was. It is an issue that has plagued Barker ever since, as new readers on discussion boards the world over mistake Clive for a linear horror writer, not the fantasist that he really is.

Weaveworld certainly sold in the States upon its release, but was not the phenomenon that it was in the UK.

In the UK, it made Clive Barker a household name.

Weaveworld (1987)

Cal Mooney is an accountant yearning to dream, and for his dreams to come true. He has returned to Liverpool following the death of his mother, to care for a father who isn’t dealing well with his sudden widowhood, and his beloved racing pigeons. It is a setting familiar to anyone who, like me, grew up in the north of England.

When one of the pigeons flies off for adventures of its own, Cal chases the bird and tracks it to a house being emptied to pay for its occupants’ nursing costs. In the backyard is laid a rug from the house, its design facing upwards toward the sky. Cal corners the bird on a window ledge, climbing up on a wall to catch the errant creature. Cal falls while reaching to retrieve the pigeon, falling onto the carpet and catching sight of another world in the warp and weft of the rug. It is a sight that changes Cal’s life, and colours the future events of the story. He meets the grand-daughter of the occupant of the house, Suzanna, a potter with a free-spirit and memories of her grandmother’s tales of other places and magic. She has a book of fairytales, passed down to her from her grandmother, and strangely evocative of the world Cal has seen in the carpet.

Shadwell is a salesman, the emissary of dark witch Immacolata the Incantatrix, and her horrific sisters. He wears a dazzling jacket which has the power to produce the wildest wish of whomever views its lining; all you need do is look and your dearest wish can be yours. Shadwell’s greatest wish is to find the Weave and to sell it. This puts him at odds with his mistress, whose undying ambition is to exact revenge on the people inhabiting the carpet, the Seerkind, for rejecting and fighting against her ambitions to rule them and exiling her from their world, The Fugue. Together, Shadwell and Immacolata steal the carpet, tearing it in the process.

Cal and Suzanna find a deep attraction to one another, and make love. While they sleep, the fragment of the carpet unravels, releasing three inhabitants from The Fugue… and so the story proper begins.

Weaveworld is an ambitious work of fantasy, epic in its conception and execution. Barker introduces us to a Liverpool instantly recognisable and relatable, before taking us on a flight into his own imagination. Weaveworld involves themes that will become familiar in Clive’s subsequent work: magic being shunned by a world grown banal and ordinary, the fantastic hoping to live side by side with the ordinary, the struggle for the acceptance of difference, and the wonder of the weird. Like Books of Blood, Weaveworld is a book that I see recommended frequently to readers new to Barker’s work, and one that most Barker fans have taken to their hearts as a true modern classic.

1987 was a pivotal year in Barker’s progression as a writer, seeing the success of Hellraiser and the release of his first bestselling novel. As we know, Barker is not one for resting on his laurels and the need to move forward was as strong as ever.


Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this fantastic retrospective on Clive Barker.

Paul Flewitt is a horror/dark fantasy author. He was born on the 24th April 1982 in the Yorkshire city of Sheffield.

Always an avid reader, Paul put pen to paper for the first time in 1999 and came very close to inking a deal with a small press. Due to circumstances unforeseen, this work has never been released, but it did give Paul a drive to achieve within the arts.

In the early 2000’s, Paul concentrated on music; writing song lyrics for his brother and his own bands. Paul was lead singer in a few rock bands during this time and still garners inspiration from music to this day. Paul gave up his musical aspirations in 2009.

In late 2012, Paul became unemployed and decided to make a serious attempt to make a name for himself as a writer. He went to work, penning several short stories and even dusting off the manuscript that had almost been published over a decade earlier. His efforts culminated in his first work being published in mid-2013, the flash fiction piece “Smoke” can be found in OzHorrorCon’s Book of the Tribes: A Tribute To Clive Barker’s Nightbreed.

2013 was a productive year as he released his short story “Paradise Park” in both J. Ellington Ashton’s All That Remains anthology and separate anthology, Thirteen Vol 3. He also completed his debut novella in this time. Poor Jeffrey was first released to much praise in February 2014. In July 2014 his short story “Always Beneath” was released as part of CHBB’s Dark Light Four anthology.

In 2015 Paul contributed to two further anthologies: Demonology (Climbing Out) from Lycopolis Press and Behind Closed Doors (Apartment 16c) with fellow authors Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Stuart Keane, and more.In 2016, Paul wrote the monologue, The Silent Invader, for a pitch TV series entitled Fragments of Fear. The resulting episode can be viewed now on YouTube, but the show was never aired. The text for the monologue was published in Matt Shaw’s Masters Of Horror anthology in 2017.

Paul continues to work on further material.

He remains in Sheffield, where he lives with his partner and two children. He consorts with his beta reading demons on a daily basis.

You can find more information on Paul Flewitt and his works here…

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