Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh, the horror . . . the horror . . . ?

I spent a few hours at some book stores earlier today. While I'm probably contributing in some small way to the decline of the brick-and-mortar shops by shopping for most of my books online, I still like to visit the local Borders (this one is not closing) and Powell's. They're right down the street from one another, and about a 20-minute drive from my home. Today I spent more money at Borders than Powell's; I actually spent more than I had planned at either.

I have a few sections I always hit when I go to a bookstore, but I always end with a stroll through the genre shelves. Both Borders and Powell's have a Horror section . . . but I found more horror titles in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy sections as well. I've gotten used to seeing the "paranormal romance" and "urban fantasy" titles in the "safer" non-Horror section, but it struck me harder today when I came across a number of books that were clearly about monsters and such shelved no where near the Horror section. Something like Monster Hunter International opens with its main character almost getting killed by a werewolf! Yet, the books filled with all sorts of things that go bump in the night are packed far away from the Horror titles.

If it means that more people might read these horror titles, than that's a good thing, right? But on the other hand, it still struck me as off-putting. As a writer/reader of horror fiction, I suppose I can take some satisfaction in knowing that for whatever reason, a horror book might somehow sneak itself into the hands of someone who wouldn't be caught dead reading something that shares shelf space with Lovecraft, Barker (pre-Abarat) or Straub.

But I think I'd be happier if all these paranormal-investigator-women-wearing-tight-leather-pants-on-the-cover books could serve as a sort of gateway into the genre proper.

I suppose I should just be happy that these two stores still have Horror sections.

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