Perspectives on Fantasy and Horror

Happy 2018, one and all! For those who are curious, we celebrated the new year by putting the kids to bed and then playing a couple board games. We like to party pretty hard, obviously.

The other night we had an incident in our home, which made me consider what the differences are between horror and fantasy.

Becky and I had just tucked the kids into bed. While she stayed behind and sang them a lullaby, I stepped outside to get some firewood. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the crinkly frown of a cold, dead, frozen frog.

I’m still curious how it got there. Frogs don’t belong on porches in December, not in my neck of the woods. It’s much too cold.

Without thinking twice (and perhaps only barely thinking once), I bent and picked up the little amphibian carcass, then brought it back inside, put some lukewarm water in a dish on the counter, and set the frog floating in the middle of it.

Then I got in the shower. I doubt a minute had passed before I’d forgotten all about the frog.

Now, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have a fear of something happening while I’m in the shower–the house catching on fire, someone having a medical emergency, an earthquake, etc. Some situation that would force me to decide whether or not getting clothed again was worth the time. And that night, I thought that was exactly what happened.

My wife screamed. Not a normal scream, but a full-blown scream, a shriek of unadulterated terror.

I just about stumbled out of the shower, assuming that something completely terrible has happened. I stopped when I heard my wife (rather angrily, and still kind of screaming), “Why is there a dead frog on the counter?”

It honestly took me a second to process what she was talking about, I’d so thoroughly forgotten about the desiccated little thing. When I remembered the dead frog, I felt more than a little bit silly.

Still, she deserved an answer. So I gave it to her.

“I wanted to see if it would come back to life.”

My wonder and curiosity–elements of fantasy writing–turned into my wife’s surprise and horror–elements of horror writing. Of course, stories should have a blend of many different things, but it was interesting to me to consider the way that people’s introduction to things can flavor their emotional response. Not groundbreaking, I know, but it gave me something to think about.

Also, for those who are concerned, I’m not totally insane. Frogs can and do recover from death by being frozen, and from drying out. This particular one, however, did not.

In Other News….

  • I finished reading Unraveled, and have posted my review to GoodReads. It’s a light fantasy that proved quite predictable but was nonetheless enjoyable.
  • I finally coaxed my wife into letting me get pet rats (one for me, one for our daughter). I’ll put some pictures up at some point, because I’m positive that the one thing that the world-wide web needs are some photographs of my fancy rats floating around in it.
  • I’m quite close to finishing Happily (which I may have referred to earlier under the project title of The Glass Heist). I’ll soon be on the lookout for willing ARC readers. To any and all who read this, if you’re wanting/willing to be an ARC reader, don’t be shy! Just ask (either in a message or in comments).   🙂