Tuesday, May 15, 2012


By the Ironic Light of a Full Lampoon

I generally work on too many projects at the same time. I can't help it. A few days ago, against my better judgement, I started another new project, a spoof collection of horror stories by a fictional author named Lamblake Heinz. I plan to release an ebook in the near future featuring a selection of the 'best' of his work from the past fifty years. The title of this volume will be The Grin of the Doll Who Ate His Mother's Face in the Dark and Other Dreadful Tales. I don't plan to write all these fake stories myself because that would take too long, but I certainly intend to write some of them. Other writers have been invited to contribute and quite a few have responded enthusiastically to my request.

This book will be a lampoon, a parody, a piece of satire, a mockery, an ironic jape, a prank, a lark. As such, it falls into a very long venerable tradition that includes such luminaries as Aristophanes, Petronius, Juvenal, Rabelais, Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto is an absurdist parody of 15th Century Italian fantasias), Beckford, Anatole France, Maurice Richardson and too many others to list. All were divine buffoons of the lampoon. One of the greatest ironic parodists of all time was the poet and novelist and gloriously impulsive hothead Francisco de Quevedo (pictured) who mercilessly mocked the pretensions and behavioural quirks of his rivals and competitors. And why not? There is enough cosy symbiosis in the writing world already: the rapier of satire and cutlass of japery are sorely needed to puncture and slash our smugness, to keep us alert and truly alive, and, I would argue, free.

I expect grumbles and complaints about my project, of course. That's only natural. Already I have been warned that a certain demigod in the horror world doesn't 'really have a sense of humour about his own work'. But that's the entire point of my spoof -- it's a last ditch attempt to give that demigod one (a sense of humour, I mean!) and although I am bound to fail, I have no intention of reversing my intentions in this regard. Satire is my master; I work for it. I guess I can say that it's my calling. If anything, it could be argued that another spoof of horror isn't really needed, that Garth Marenghi and others have already said everything that needs to said on this score. Yes, I accept the validity of that objection; and yet I feel that I still need to get out of my own system a fundamental logical objection to the horror genre that runs as follows -- either (a) horror works and is morally wrong (because it horrifies people); or (b) it doesn't work and is thus aesthetically wrong (because it fails to achieve its stated aims).

What I don't accept and will never accept is that the art of the lampoon is invalid. On the contrary, it's a critically important artform, a high-level cultural endeavour; and paradoxically it can even precede the object or quality it spoofs (more on this paradox in a later blog post!)

Oh my god I love it. Do realize how boring the writing world would be without you? I'm going to buy it, read it, love it, and then write a ridiculously scholastic essay about Heinz...
The lampoons that are my peers -
I love their jokes *and* their sneers.
Thanks folks!

Statcounter tells me that my blog post above had a visit from Kamloops in Canada. IP address: I always get a visit from Kamloops when I write a 'controversial' blog post. Never when I write something about my successes in the literary world, never when I write about other authors, never when I write about charity work. Only when I write something that looks like it might provide juicy gossip and tactical advantage. Strange that, isn't it? Kamloops. What a wonderful life those Rodens must live!
This sounds brilliant!
It's proving to be great fun to create, that's for sure!
I doubt that it is morally wrong to horrify people who read a work with the intention of being horrified.
A blurred area of degrees perhaps... perhaps from a dangerous roller coaster to s\m services to the extremes of assisted suicide etc. A question of whether readers enter their pact with a horror writer with eyes wide open or eyes wide shut...? (Not talking on behalf of Rhys, of course.)
As long as I can throw a spanner (any spanner) into the works (any works) at any time, I'll do it. That's what I'm really interested in...
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