Friday, April 19, 2013

Michaelbrent Collings Horror Novel "Apparition" Highlights Fandemonium

Michaelbrent Collings
I was lucky enough to catch Idaho's Annual Entertainment Expo, Fandemonium, celebrating science fiction, fantasy, gaming, animation, horror, comics and more. This year, an exceptional amount of authors attended the event. Guests at Fandemonium 2012 include comic artist Jacob Bear (DC Comics; Hawk & Dove, Bluewater Comics; Logan's Run), fantasy author Tonya Tangl" Adolfson (The Souls of the Saintland Series), and science fiction/fantasy author Holland Peterson (EvilleEville's Most Wanted).

Fandemonium also featured horror author Michaelbrent Collings. His books include Billy: Messenger of PowersRUNThe Loon, and Rising Fears. At the three day celebration of all things media culture, Collings' powerful reading of his novel Apparition, was the highlight.

One reviewer wrote: "This is the scariest book I've ever read. I devoured Apparition in two episodes of all night reading and had a really hard time putting it down. I didn't even mean to read the book at that exact time, but once I read the first chapter I was hooked. I had to keep going and couldn't stop until I hit chapter seven."

Apparition tells the very intimate story about a family of four: mom, dad, and their two kids, a teen girl and young boy. It explores one of the most horrible concepts imaginable, filicide: the deliberate killing of children by their parents. That concept alone is scary enough, and Collings uses it to ratchet up the terror to a new level. Brilliant journal entries written by an unknown person (until the end) precede each chapter. They are some of most chilling lines in modern literature. Then the chapters themselves move forward with relentless narrative drive, page after page.

Kill their children?I asked Collings what motivated him to write abut such a topic. He explained that horror writing comes from one's own fear. Watching horrible things, alone, is not scary. Seeing bad things happen to people, and characters -- that we care about -- is scary. Collings said that he has lost a child. And the scariest thing he could think of, was losing another. In his talk, Collings did a great job of showing how his work looks at horrible things and examines profound complexities in human nature, withoutcelebrating horrible things.

Collings also participated in several more Fandemonium panels. including "Humor and Horror" (with Carter M. Reid, "Zombie Carter" from the popular webcomic The Zombie Nation) and on "Religion in Horror." Exceptional on his feet in question and answer, close audience dialogue, the author's words featured a level of insight and depth that few outside of the genre's inner circles ever get a chance to discuss.

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