Sunday, April 6, 2008

Never Ceese 1: Intro

Sue Dent's Never Ceese is a horror story about a vampire and a werewolf and the possibility that they may escape their respective curses. (The vampire, Richard, is more reluctant about this than Ceese, the werewolf.) There's a reasonable amount of action, and the characters are engaging; the language is a bit rough, especially toward the end, and the nature of the action might bother some people, but probably not actual horror fans. We also have a mad scientist who is out to harness the curse for his own twisted end. How twisted? Well, let's just say he can't sit down without screwing himself into the chair.

Someone else on the tour will likely go further into the plot, so I'll deal largely with the stuff that other people usually can't be bothered to think about. For example, this is written by a Christian, so the theology involved is worth a look--and it's tricky, to say the least.

I've dealt with the theology of horror in general and of vampires and werewolves in particular before. You really ought to look at those posts, but for now, a quick recap: Horror is the most theological fiction genre other than perhaps allegory, because it deals with the Big Issues (Life, Death, Free Will, Fate, etc.). I consider lycanthropy as usually presented to be theologically troublesome, but it could be a good allegory for sin. I generally prefer vampire theology, though the old and theologically straightforward version is seldom found these days.

Tomorrow, I'll look at something that puzzled me a lot: is Richard (the vampire) fundamentally dead or alive?

Participating Blog links:

The Christian Fiction Review Blog

A Frank Review

Susan Kirkland

Melissa Meeks @ Bibliophile's Retreat

Geralyn Beauchamp @ The Time Mistress

Cathi Hassan @ Cathi's Chatter

Caprice Hokstad @ Queen of Convolution


David said...

I admit that my "knowledge" of vampires is much greater than werewolves, although I enjoyed the old black and whites of both. It's interesting to do a Google search of the meaning of vampire. The first definition is always the one we picture in our mind, a blood sucking corpse. Yet this is ascribed to myth and fable. The two following definitions are more interesting.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Odd how you say "Horror is the most theological fiction genre other than perhaps allegory" yet it is the one which is least represented in Christian publishing, both inside and outside the ECPA. (To my knowledge anyway, if someone knows of a non-ECPA Christian publisher with a whole line of horror books, please enlighten me.)

I wonder why that is. I personally don't like the horror genre, or thought I didn't. If Never Ceese fits the definition of horror, then I may have to revise my preferences! However, I'm not even sure anymore what the true definition of horror is, especially as it pertains to the statement you gave above.

I'm off to explore your links to see if you've already answered this elsewhere.

Thanks, Steve.

Steve said...

There are a few reasons for the Evangelical Protestant aversion to horror. (Hands up, everyone who thought I'd say "horror of horror"!) I should note that Catholics have been doing horror for years, though it isn't a big genre for them, either.

The main reason is probably the modern connection with kinky occultism and gore found in most horror movies. I prefer the old horror movies, which had more depth. There simply is no Christian version of the Friday the Thirteenth or Saw movies. In addition to the obvious problems mentioned above, modern horror also tends to emphasize despair, which is antithetical to Christian hope.

Yet in a way, we do have horror: What about all those tracts, plays, and so forth that dramatize the fate of the damned? Someone dies and is dragged screaming off to Hell; someone else is contemplating suicide with demons egging him on, and so forth. That drives others away from horror as something cheesy or sensational.

And then there's the modern trend toward dystopic fiction--that's also a kind of horror. Look at _Flashpoint_: there are definitely aspects of horror in that one! And "prophetic fiction" (about the End Times) is usually a kind of horror, with its emphasis on the Antichrist.

Sue Dent said...

Well, there are tons more horror books out there written by Christians other than mine. I'm waiting for the post from Mr. Rice that explains how he LOVED this book despite its ability to meet his requirments for what a vampire or a werewolf might or might not be!! :) Or maybe he didn't like it at all! :0

Horror has many levels and mine fits according to two very successful writers of Horror. So now Christian readers can find something in the genre that might very well appeal to them At least those who aren't into the gorier side of horror.

Steve said...

I think the writing (= craft) was better than the story was better than the theology. Figure that out.

On Wednesday, the cast of _The League of Superheroes_ will weigh in, along with a few cameos. They're a pretty diverse bunch, so you'll probably have some fans there.

Sue Dent said...

LOL I'll stop trying to make sense out what you say Steve! I'm afraid I'll hurt myself if I try to hard.

I can not wait for the League of Super Heros to have their go at it. . . I think! :o

Awwww . . . .of course I'm looking forward to that!

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