in all things, balance
is what I want to embrace;
keep breathing, moving
the drains, both blocked up,
rainwater spilling over,
finding a new path
Clive Barker has a special place in my reading-lovin’ heart. He created the worlds of Hellraiser and Nightbreed, which have inspired horror film fans for years; he wrote Weaveworld, another novel I’ve been wanting to re-read for quite some time; and when I was an intern at Marvel Comics, the office I worked for oversaw the “Barkerverse“, a family of comics all based on concepts from Clive (from that time, I have a framed photo-stat of a drawing by Clive, of my favorite of those characters – “Ecto-kid“!).
To me, Barker has that ability in his writing to bring a lot of different variables into play in his horror/fantasy writing. Sometimes there’s just shadows that creep you out, sometimes it’s body-horror, sometimes it’s sex/sexuality-based, sometimes it’s straight-up monsters-who-would-even-think-of-that horror. With “The Great and Secret Show”, Barker created a sprawling epic of good vs. evil, that managed to feel ever large, and also intimate. I suppose that is a common attempt by writers – to make the personal feel all-affecting, like when personal heartbreak “ruins the world” for a person. Too, this book deals a lot with the theme of destiny vs self-determination, nature vs nurture.
With a novel as “game-board”, this particular game has many pieces, and Barker does a swell job of moving them from board-space to board-space – whether that means a back room in a rural post office, an isolated ruin, other dimensions, time-travel, underground caverns, trashy motels, dusty Mexican towns, or decaying Californian suburbs. I was impressed a lot by this novel because it sets up a LOT and it seems that it would be near-impossible for a writer to tie up all those threads by the book’s end. Barker manages to do that though, AND leave room for the story to keep moving on. Really enjoyed it and maybe have to go re-read Ecto-Kid now, and moved Weaveworld up on my To Read list…