BEST NEW HORROR -- SPOILERS

Joe's first collection.

BEST NEW HORROR -- SPOILERS

Postby Dana_Jean on Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:39 am

Anyone care to go first?
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Postby sybil on Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:09 pm

ooooh, i'll read it tonight!
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Postby val04463 on Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:20 pm

OK..I was very scared by this one...Here's what I got from it...Horror writers are a vulgar, fat, bunch of perverted tattooed morons!! :shock:

See how good I am at this!!! I am now as afraid of Smiley faces as I am of Clowns...

I know that while Eddie Carroll is looking for a great horror author he becomes part of a horror tale himself. The fact that so many people were turned off the the ending of the Button Boy story reeked of irony, it said to me that even the readers of gruesome stories want a somewhat happy ending. I was enthralled with the two brothers..they really grossed me out...But I don't think ears bleed that much....I put three holes in the top of my ear during a drunken night of fun and I don't remember it bleeding....

see why I can't decipher shit about books? I get focused on all the wrong stuff!!!

Also, in the story was the word twat.


I'll bet my College Advanced Literary Discussion Professors would be proud to see how far I've come...If only I could e-mail this riveting dissertation to the mother-fucker who gave me a D in Interpreting Shakespeare!!!


He would see I barely dodged an F...
Last edited by val04463 on Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby val04463 on Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:32 pm

I am never looking for men..Fat, greasy, pig-like or otherwise!
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Postby Samoa_Girl on Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:57 pm

Oh Val, you aren't as bad at this as you think.

I think "be careful what you wish for" is the perfect saying for this story. Aside from that point, my thoughts were that Eddie Carroll already knew the ending of the story before he even started to trying to find Peter Killrue. When he read the Buttonboy story he knew what the ending would be.
Sometimes I get the urge to run around naked, but then I drink some Windex and it keeps me from streaking.
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Postby Betsy_Boo on Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:17 am

Wait for me!! I have to go to work, but I'll be back tonight!! Last night I went to a bachelorette party that lasted too long. A couple of our bookstore employees are getting married on Sunday...you could call it a storybook romance...ha ha.
Anyway, I am very interested by everything you guys are saying...val, you really do have some interesting insights here. Don't put yourself down. It never occurred to me that the editor subconsciously wanted to be a part of his very own, real-life horror story, but it makes so much sense. He was so bored and burned out when he happened upon Killrue's story. Anyway, I'll have more to say when I get a chance to come back. This is fun!
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Postby sybil on Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:36 am

A couple of our bookstore employees are getting married on Sunday...you could call it a storybook romance


LMAO with a groan thrown in there, too.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:10 pm

I guess I'll go ahead and weigh-in and hopefully those who haven't had a chance to read this story will get too soon enough.

BEST NEW HORROR was a nominee and ultimately the winner of a Stokers Award for Long Fiction given by the Horror Writers Association. Joe beat out noteable authors, Kelly Link, Gary Braunbeck and Stephen King.

My first question about this story and about Joe's collection in general is, who decides what story is worthy of submission for an award? I asked this question when I first read the U.K. version, but received no answer. I'm still genuinely interested in knowing though. All of Joe's stories in 20thCGs are very strong, and although they share many common threads, they all have very different feels to them. I realize that certain awards are very genre specific, so of course, you would submit the story that most represented that genre. Your BEST story. So, I'm assuming Joe felt this was his strongest story in the book? Not sure about that.

Anyway, back to the original question: Did Joe submit this story? His publisher? Family? Friends? As we get further into the collection, there is one story that I felt a very protective connection too and although it has received a lot of buzz, I'm not sure if it's won any awards or not. Does it take a grass roots effort to get it on an award ballot?

I digress though, and we'll get to that one in due time. But for now, BEST NEW HORROR was the piece that really let me know that this wasn't going to be just an ordinary group of tales. The thing that grabbed me right up front was the fact that Joe used pop culture references that made me feel as if I was part of the story. It made it ring true and honest to me. As if someone I knew was telling me this story about a friend of ours. Inserting real world "namebrand" things into his stories that most of us are familiar with, I think is one of the smartest things an author can do, because it lends an air of realism to the tale. Joe does this with grace and skill and eliminates any cheesy product-placement type feel. His writing has a smooth, effortless flow to it. No jarring out-of-place passages.

The other thing that made me realize that Joe was truly the real deal and a writer in his own right, was his use of language; his descriptions--most noteably his sensory descriptions. As readers, I encourage all of you to pay close attention to Joe's sensory details. Amazing thing to be able to accomplish with such aplomb.

In BNH when Eddie Carroll is reading BUTTONBOY, this passage just chilled me: page 4:

"He made holes in my eyes and he said after he did it he saw my soul rush out. He said it made a sound like when you blow on an empty coke bottle, real pretty. Then he put these over my eyes to keep my life trapped inside." As he speaks, Jim touches the smiley-face buttons. "He wants to see how long I can live without a soul inside me."

That is a powerful visual and gives one a very unsettled feeling, to say the least. What's so creepy about it is that the child recites it so matter-of-factly and so resignedly. And I BELIEVE that is how it would sound if someone poked your eyes out.

I'll talk more as we go along, but this is just my opening thoughts.
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Postby val04463 on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:02 pm

The Coke Bottle reference was also mentioned in Museum of Silence..Right? Saying that a person's last breath sounds like a person blowing across the top of a Coke bottle. To take something that could be so complicated to explain and describe it so that everyone gets it is genius...

What I don't understand is: Was Buttonboy a willing participant, that is , did he really lose his soul, so he became a gruesome killer, or was he bad to begin with?
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Postby Betsy_Boo on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:05 pm

I always read a story for the first time on a purely emotional level and any story that can draw me in and make me feel something, whether fear or joy or sadness or anger...etc, is a great story. I love the feeling of getting lost in it...of being transported. Everything I've read of Joe's effects me this way. BNH totally creeped me out, especially because I felt like I was really there with Eddie. The way Joe writes I can hear, smell, see and taste everything. I found myself wondering if Killrue's story was really just a story...maybe he did all those horrible things. And I still get creeped out with the image of his "original" ending...the one he thought went too far to submit for publication. I'll never get that image out of my head. But I think that the thing I find most interesting about this story is the idea that was talked about before...that this was something Eddie wanted. His whole life had been about finding great horror stories and he once enjoyed the job, but it had become stale and boring and he only continued to do it for the money. And we all know how unfulfilling that is. There was nothing left for him to look forward to and then this "opportunity" drops into his lap. Thank you guys for pointing that out to me. It really made me see the entire story in a different light. I have to say that another thing I really liked about this story and (several others in this collection) is the way Joe ends it. I'm curious to know what you guys think ultimately happened to Eddie? I love that Joe left it open like that...it almost feels like we get to be a part of the process. We get to decide what happens...Joe engages us...we get to write the story with him, in a sense. I'll never be a writer, (I wish I could be) but I will always be in awe of the magic of writing. Writers are like rock stars to me.
Anyway, I personally think Eddie gets away and is fundamentally changed by the experience...but that's me. What do you guys think?
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Postby Dana_Jean on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:14 pm

Uh oh. When Cate is first taken, she is with the giant and Jim. She gets away, and they "drive out of the national park and off the edge of the world." Two weeks later, she receives bloody smiley face buttons in the mail, and a boy's body is found off a bridge on the river bottom--empty sockets where eyes should have been.

That was Jim right? This new person impersonating a cop is a new Buttonboy, right? In ten years, how many Buttonboys did the giant go through, to get one groomed to be a willing participant?
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Postby Dana_Jean on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:18 pm

Anyway, I personally think Eddie gets away and is fundamentally changed by the experience...but that's me. What do you guys think?


I don't think he does get away, because the cliche' horror movie/story always ends badly, does it not? And as Eddie is running away, he's thinking about the typical horror ending, and he's doing everything wrong that all the idiots in all the movies do wrong--the things you're screaming at them saying, "You fuckin' idiot!!! Don't go there! Don't do that!--but even though he is facing death, I think in this moment, he feels more alive than he's felt in years.
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Postby Betsy_Boo on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:22 pm

So you guys think that the "Buttonboy" was a true story Killrue had written, trying to pass it off as fiction? That's kind of the feeling I got, but I wasn't sure. And if so then his original ending was what really happened to Cate. Man, that gives me even more creeps thinking about it. My legs are tightly crossed...probably how guys feel when they think about castration.
Last edited by Betsy_Boo on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:24 pm

The Coke Bottle reference was also mentioned in Museum of Silence..Right? Saying that a person's last breath sounds like a person blowing across the top of a Coke bottle.


Is it? Nice catch there val. See, these little subtle things link one story to another. I will be re-reading this collection for years to come just to catch all those little nuances.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:27 pm

Oh, I definitely felt Kilrue's stories were based on real experiences.

And, I do think that the body they found was Jim's. Serial killers never just stop at one. And it had been 10 years since Cate's ordeal. Although, they were never able to identify the body they found. So, you could be right. But, I tend to think the giant did this many, many times to numerous children.
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