November 15th, 2005

Disappointing Clive

Some of you may recall that I blogged a few weeks ago about how splendid Clive Barker's new book Visions of Heaven and Hell is. Not only is it a beautiful book to look at, but it also contains wonderful essays in each chapter that are the closest thing to an autobiography we've had from Clive up til now. These chapters give enough insight into the making of Clive Barker the writer (as well as the man and the artist) that I thought it worthy of recommending for HWA's Non-Fiction Stoker category.

Well, unfortunately, it got bumped out as "ineligible", with the reason given that it did not meet the category requirements. Upon checking the requirements, I discovered that non-fiction books must have at least 40,000 words to be eligible.

Never one to give up easily, I did the "friend-of-a-friend" thing to ask Clive if the book met the 40K requirement. Sadly, it did not. But as pathetic as that is, the rest of the conversation with Clive apparently went something like this: "Oh no, I'm so happy that someone recommended it but disappointed it got bumped out just because of word count. Can it maybe be recommended in the Illustrated Narrative category? Or the Alternative category?"

Well, it could have maybe been placed into the Alternative Forms category...except the members of HWA voted that category out (as well as Illustrated Narrative). That's right, we now have nowhere to recognize what will probably be one of the most interesting non-fiction horror books released this year. (Or any year, for that matter.)

Now mind you, I'm not about to go in and suggest we stir up THAT pot again. I really do think Clive is a wonderful person and deserves something for this magnificent book, but...well, I think his career will do just fine without another little haunted house on his shelves. Nope, I just object to the fact that HWA dumped the one category that would have allowed us to recognize a movie, an art book, a play, a comic book, or a website. I do hope we'll reconsider the "Alternative Forms" some point in the future.

(Disclaimer: Though I am a trustee, these are solely my own opinions and in no way connected to official HWA policy.)