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Clive Barker, Copyright: unknown
Clive Barker
born: 1952
in: Liverpool, UK

Fanclub US: Lost Souls

Read a review of
"Cold Heart Canyon" at

Read an interview at
January Magazine.

Official publishers
hompepage for Abarat.

1984 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 1
1984 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 2
1984 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 3
1985 .|. The Damnation Game .|. Bookworm's Comment
1986 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 4 (UK) /
      The inhuman condition (US)
1986 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 5 (UK) /
      In the Flesh (US)
1986 .|. The Books of Blood, Vol. 6 (UK) /
      Cabal - Lord of Illusions (US)
1987 .|. Weaveworld
1987 .|. The Hellbound Heart
1989 .|. The Great and Secret Show
     (The first Book of the Art)
Excerpt from HarperCollins
.|. Bookworm's Comment
1990 .|. Clive Barker's The Nightbreed
     Chronicles (with S. Jones, M. Close)
1991 .|. Imajica
1991 .|. Imajica 1 - The fifth dominion
1991 .|. Imajica 2 - The Reconciliation
1992 .|. The Thief of Always
1994 .|. Everville Excerpt from HarperCollins
     (The second Book of the Art)
1995 .|. Incarnations
1996 .|. Sacrament
1996 .|. Forms of Heaven
1998 .|. Revelations (Short Stories)
1998 .|. Galilee Excerpt from FireandWater.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
1999 .|. The essential Clive Barker Excerpt from FireandWater.com
2000 .|. A Life in the Cinema
     (Illustrations, limited signed edition)
2001 .|. Clive Barker's Undying
     (Computer Game)
2001 .|. British Theatre Between the Wars,
      1918-1939 (Editor)
2001 .|. Coldheart Canyon Excerpt from FireandWater.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. Abarat Excerpt at Bookreporter.com
2002 .|. Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein
2003 .|. Theatre Games: A New Approach
     to Drama Training
2003 .|. Rare Flesh with D.E. Armstrong
2004 .|. Abarat: Days of Magic,
     Nights of War
Excerpt from the Publisher
2005 .|. Visions of Heaven and Hell
2007 .|. Mister B. Gone .|. Bookreporter.com
7/2008 .|. The Scarlet Gospels
     (Short Stories)
Authorized Biography by Douglas Winter: "Clive Barker the Dark Fantastic"

The Damnation Game
"The Damnation Game" (Berkley Books, 15th Edition, Paperback, 1990, read: December 00)
"There are things worse than death. There are games so seductively evil, so wonderously vile, no gambler can resist. Amid the shadow-scarred rubble of World War II, Joseph Whitehead dared to challenge the dark champion of life's ultimate game. Now a millionaire, locked in a terror-shrouded fortress of his own design, Joseph Whitehead has hell to pay. And no soul is save from the ravaging fear, the resurrected fury, the unspeakable debts of ... The Damnation Game."

Even in his first full-length novel Clive Barker presents a theme which will reappear his later works, e.g. 'The great and secret Show' and 'Galilee': two powerful men fighting for a cause with different intentions and in the long run destroying themselves. In 'The Damnation Game' they are Joseph Whitehead, a rich and powerful man who seems to have come by his fortune not just by himself, and Mamoulian, the last European, a player with supernatural abilities. A long time ago they have made a pact which Mamoulian wants to see fulfilled. But Whitehead has other plans and in return has to face the evil forces.
In between there's Marty Strauss, Whiteheads security guard, at first a spectator and then almost the central figure of the story. The reader sees the story from Marty's perspective and although at first he doesn't seem to be a very nice guy one learns to identify with him later on.

As all Barker novels this one from 1985 is full of phantasy and it makes you believe that there are many more possibilities of existence as the normal person wants to know of. But the story doesn't leave a real impression. Lots of good storylines are lost in insinuations and one gets the impression that Barker doesn't get to the point. A feeling of disappointment can't be avoided while reading. This is not to say the book is bad, but it seems that Barker could have made more out of it.
[Dorothée Büttgen, February 01]

Clive Barker - The Great and Secret Show
" The Great and Secret Show (The First Book of the Art)" (Harper Paperbacks, 19th Edition, Paperback, 1990, read: May 00)
"Memory, prophecy and fantasy - the past, the future and the dreaming moment inbetween - are all one country, living one immortal day. To know that is Wisdom. To use it is the Art."

After being so enthusiastic about "Galilee" I wanted to read other Clive Barker novels as well. "The Great and Secret Show" seemed to be exactly the right follow up.
There seems to be a reason why there is no summary on the back of the cover. It is almost impossible to summarize the complex story of this 688-page-novel in a few sentences. Clive Barker creates a new world which exists parallel to our known reality. Only few people realize that this world exists. Only one (Randolph Jaffe) knows how to use it for his own purposes. The only man who helps Randolph with this becomes his most serious enemy and in the course of this war it can't be prevented that the known and the unknown reality bounce against each other. Of course with horrible consequences.

The story is awfully complex and fascinating. One can only admire so much imagination. It contains interesting characters and captivating storylines and this should be a great reading experience. But it is too long-winded. In some parts you may skip 20-30 pages without missing anything. But you don't know that beforehand. I'm sorry to say that I'm not very eager to read the sequel to this novel. I'll better wait for the sequel to "Galilee".
[Dorothée Büttgen, September 00]

"Galilee" (Harper Paperbacks, First Edition, Paperback, 1999, read: April 00)
"Rich and powerful, the Geary dynasty has reigned over American society for decades. But it is a family with dark, terrible secrets. For the Gearys are a family at war. And their adversaries are the Barbarossas, a clan whose timeless origins lie in myth, whose mystical influence is felt in the intense, sensual exchanges of flesh and soul. Now, their battle is about to escalate ....
When Galilee, prodigal prince of the Barbarossa clan, meets Rachel, young bride of the Gearys' own scion Mitchell, they fall in love, consumed by a passion that unleashes long-simmering hatreds. Old insanities arise, old adulteries are uncovered, and a seemingly invincible family will begin to wither, exposing its unholy roots...."

A family story a la 'Dallas' or 'Dynasty' (or, for the younger ones among us 'Melrose Place'), mixed with supernatural elements, told in an unparalleled way. An incredible luck for any reader. It's not easy to determine the timespan of this story. The Barbarossas, a clan of (almost) immortal god-like creatures, are walking the earth since the beginning of time. The Gearys which can be compared to the Kennedy family arrive at the time of the First World War. The fate of both families is closely connected and it is incredibly suspenseful to find out how it's all clinging together and what it will lead to.
The single events sometimes seem to come from a soap-opera, sometimes they sound like the good old gothic-horror stories of the 40s and 50s. An unusual combination which cannot be easily explained. The scope of the story may be best described by the remark of the narrator, one of the members of the Barbarossa clan: "What must I do, in the time remaining? Only everything." If that's all there is to it ...?! With this novel Clive Barker has become one of my favorite authors almost overnight.
[Dorothée Büttgen, May 00]

Clive Barker - Coldheart Canyon
"Coldheart Canyon" (Berkley Books, 15th Edition, Paperback, 1990, read: December 00)
"After a run of failed movies, superstar Todd Pickett elects to have extensive surgery in a desperate bid to regain his lost beauty. The procedure goes horribly, grotesquely wrong. Hiding from his fans, and from the press he knows will tear his reputation apart if they find out about his operation, Todd takes refuge in a place that no map of Hollywood has ever described: COLDHEART CANYON.
Here, nursing his wounds and his desperation, he discovers what the history of the Dream Factory has long concealed: a world somewhere between life and death, reality and illusion, where the great legends of a forgotten Hollywood are waiting to educate him in the bitter business of life after fame."

Spookstory - Hollywood-insider-novel - hardcore pornography - what's it to be? Apparently Clive Barker can't decide for himself and therefore he mixes everything together. The idea is interesting, his writing is captivating as always but the mixture is just too much. Too often you ask yourself what its all about, then you read on but you just can't believe it.
The story is pretty good. After his facelift has gone terribly wrong Hollywood star Todd has to withdraw from the public for a while. He rents the old villa of Katya. She was a star of Hollywood's silent era and still seems to be not a day older than 30. In the villa's basement there's a room with a life of its own which seems to grant eternal youth ... for a price. Many of Katya's old friends have paid this price years ago and they are not happy with it. They are lurking in the garden, waiting for their moment of revenge. What they are doing in the meantime is absurd, same as the showdown of the story.

You can read it, but you don't have to. The story has its 'moments' but nothing more. And for that its just to long.
[Dorothée Büttgen, March 07]

More great reviews at Bookworm's Lair:

David Bischoff - The Crow: Quoth the Crow     Douglas Coupland - Girlfriend in a Coma     Anne Rice - Taltos     Chet Williamson - The Crow: Clash by Night

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