Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Humour Makes It Better... For Her Bones by Alec Reid

"Throughout the book, Alec Reid creates just enough uneasiness to make the reader stop and wonder, “what if?”" - Lenora, Goodreads


Published: 31 October 2021
Cover Artist: Jacqueline Abromeit

Alec Reid’s ghosts of the twenty-first century seldom lurk in old houses or waft across chilly moors.  His dark tales may breathe alongside the supernatural, but they take place in broad daylight, in our daily lives.  

Their themes include dead warriors resurrected via Bluetooth, Rumpelstiltskin in the suburbs, an algorithmic fear of ghosts and the shattered dreams of immortality. 

The world they describe is the same one you inhabit, but you would live in terror were you to recognise it for what it is.  Life would, literally, never be the same again.


Humour Makes It Better

Somebody once said that a lack of a sense of humour is the sure sign of a second-rate mind.  While in no way laying claim to a first-rate mind - that would be a joke in itself - I do find humour permeating the very fabric of my darkest thoughts, my darkest tales.  It is partly due to the way I am: I love to laugh.  At the same time, there are good technical reasons for allowing it to ganish the horror.

Firstly, for the reader, it is generally unexpected and creates a brief moment of relaxation, a false sense of security in a troubling world.  The darkness is all the more profound after the occasional glimpses of light.  It is as if a fervent hope is extinguished. 

Secondly, it creates a sense of normality.  We all like to entertain and be entertained.  If the storyteller is seen as being amusing, we must sure be in safe hands.  What can possibly go wrong?  We are having a conversation, right?  The defences are down and the unspeakable can seize the moment.

Finally, all good storytelling should have light and shade, changes of tone and pace.  Otherwise, the narrative runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a relentless catalogue of events.  Characterisation may be swept aside or become vestigial at best.  Who is the reader to root for then?  If the story is one of non-stop jeopardy, what have the characters got to lose?  In such circumstances, humour can reveal the writer’s humanity.  Once that is recognised, the reader knows that the writer cares about their characters. That being the case, the reader will begin to care about them too.  Suspense will become part of the horror.

The same benefits apply equally to horror movies.  The best of them build in laughter as a prelude to physical or spiritual carnage, and for the same reasons.

Keep laughing and be wary of the shadows.

About the author:
Alec has had a number of careers, some of them still ongoing. After a brief spell with the BBC 2 arts programme, "Late Night Line-Up", he moved on to Radios 1 and 2 where he produced "Night Ride", giving Genesis their first national broadcast.

Alec went on to become an award-winning radio drama director and creator of radio documentaries and features, one of which required him to spend a week with the French Foreign Legion!

During that time, he also wrote and directed two musicals for radio, "Misrule", starring Max Wall, and "Gilgamesh", with Ian Holm; the latter was the BBC's entry for the Prix Futura award in Berlin.

After leaving the BBC,Alec was commissioned to write and produce a double CD tribute to Princess Diana. Within days of its release in America it had sold over 100,000 copies. As a result, he won the prestigious international Audi award for best creative work.

Since then, Alec has produced hundreds of audiobooks, adapted TV and movie soundtracks for audio release, and was even commissioned to write two new 'Thomas the Tank Engine' stories! He also wrote book and lyrics for 'Muscles the Musical', which was premiered at The Landor theatre in London where the 'House Full' sign was up most nights. There are hopes for a revival in a larger theatre.

Alec's publications have included two anthologies based on Radio 4’s ‘With Great Pleasure’, poems in ‘The Sunday Times’ newspaper and numerous magazine articles, and poems. 'For Her Bones' is his first fiction book. He is thinking about his next one.

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