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