Grim and Mystery Book Club for Students

Our book club was launched by fans of an interesting and mysterious fiction direction as the literature of horror. We think this genre is a bit underestimated and our aim is fix the situation. On our website we are going to shed light on the mysterious and horror fiction and beside of this we’ll try to teach you how to develop ‘the cult’ of mystery literature.

The main feature of this genre of fiction is that it intends to arouse the reader’s sense of fear. The genre has similarities with the fantasy genre. Good mystery books include either inexplicable plot descriptions or fiction based on real events (“psychological thrillers”, for example, generally do not allow any fantastic elements). Most often horror contains a limited set of the thematic characters, borrowed usually from mythologies of various nations: vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, demons, etc. Often, but not always, in the literature of horrors the story goes about supernatural things.

The origins of the genre

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The origins of the genre include the following literature: Gothic romance of the mid-thirteenth century, “the Perilous graveyard”, French tragic stories of XVI—XVII centuries, in which the obsession and other infernal topics are described (including the novels of J.-P. Camus), the English Gothic novel (“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, “The Monk” by M. G. Lewis, “Melmoth the wanderer” by Charles Maturin), tales of the German romantics (E.T.A. Hoffmann, Wilhelm Hauff, Achim von Arnim, Chamisso), the psychological novels of Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce. Another source are “the nightmares of the visionaries” (“Confessions of an English Opium-Eater” by Thomas De Quincey, “Artificial Paradise” by Charles Baudelaire). A sensational English novel had a great influence on the formation of the genre in the middle of the nineteenth century (Wilkie Collins, Edward Bulwer-Lytton).

Modern horror literature

 Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles
Anne Rice “Vampire Chronicles”

Stephen King is well established in this genre. Another American, Dean Koontz, is slightly behind him in popularity. Let’s mention other known names: Blatty William (“The Exorcist”), Ira Levin (“Rosemary’s Baby”), Clive Barker, who moved from England (“Hellraiser”), Robert Mccammon (“They crave”), Anne Rice (“Vampire Chronicles”), Laurel Hamilton with the series about necromancer Anita Blake, Richard Limon, Peter Straub, Whitley Strieber, Jack Ketchum. Some of the stories of Ray Bradbury belong to this genre. Such English writers as James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley (“Necroscopy”), Chris Carter (“The View from the Darkness”) are famous in each murder mystery book club.

Classification of the literature of horror

Members of different mystery book clubs divide literature of horror into several subgenres, the most important of which are “Thriller”, “Apocalyptica”, “Romantic horror” and “Black humor”.

“Thriller”. The genre, like films in a similar style, implies a sharp startle of the reader and appearance of a “chill” during the reading. Thrillers are divided into mystical (or fantastic) and psychological. In the first case, there are elements of the supernatural associated with the mythology (stories about ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demonic possession, etc). In the second case, real or possible in everyday life events are taken as the basis (stories about maniacs that attack people and animals, description of the appearance of supernatural possibilities by injury (car accident, coma, madness), etc.).

“Apocalyptica”. This is a subtype of horror that has emerged in the UK in the early 1980-ies. It characterized by the presence of descriptions of the changes of life on Earth through the so-called “end of the world” (Apocalypse), after which the world becomes more dangerous. The subgenre is similar in content to science fiction of this kind, but in contrast of it, more time is devoted here to the description of monsters and full defenseless of the people than to some fantastic elements. As a universal example of the subgenre novels about zombies can be called. The style also should not be confused with novels-accidents in which the element of horror is mentioned much less often, and the attention is focused on addressing the disaster, instead of the narrative about the survival of few individual people in fatal conditions.

“Romantic horror”. It implies a combination of love story and horror elements. The subgenre is popular since the middle of 2000-ies.

“Black humor”/”Black Comedy” is another stylistic blend, devoted to horror and comedy at the same time. It is rare in the literature and mostly represented in comics, or deducted from existing movies and TV programs (the Addams Family, for example).

As you can see, online book club reviews are very helpful in searching for the exact literature you are interested in. It can also help you greatly to write essay concerning some fiction themes. We hope you find our classification useful and, what is more, we believe you are involved now and you want to try something on your own.

In this case, we are happy to come up with launching your own reading club or maybe even trying your writing skills in mystery fiction. We are going to share some tips on both activities with our readers, so stay with our Grim and Mystery Book Club and let’s enlighten the masses together!