Cover image for The essential Clive Barker : selected fictions
The essential Clive Barker : selected fictions
Barker, Clive, 1952-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. 1999
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : HarperCollins Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxxix, 568 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



"I wonder if the reverse is not also in some way true. That the artist is constantly working on anelaborate and fantasticated self-portrait, but at the end has drawn, unbeknownst, a picture of the world."

-- Clive Barker, "Private Legends: An Introduction"

Clive Barker, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, playwright, artist, producer, director, screenwriter, and one of the world's master storytellers, writing in the haunting and moving traditions of Poe and Dickens, invites us to join him on a dazzling, wondrous journey through the worlds of his imagination and to experience visions, dreams, love, terror, heaven and hell, and revenge.

As we read, we discover and explore the dream-sea Quiddity and the islands of Ephemeris; the five Dominions of the Imajica, of which the Earth is but an imperfect facet; the rapturous world woven into an ancient, threadbare carpet in a derelict house in Liverpool; Hood's Holiday House where each day contains four seasons and children's wishes may come true; the Sky Room of Galilee, where the creation of the universe may be witnessed; and the clubs and bars of San Francisco and New York, in which all manner of sexual adventures lie in wait.

In these stories, the real and the miraculous are within a breath of one another, life gives way to death, and death to life; doorways open into other states of existence, and each doorway leads us back to our own dreams and fears.

The Essential Clive Barker is an irresistible narrative compendium that superbly represents the impressive quality and range of Barker's fiction, spanning more than twenty years of writing. It contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories, all personally selected by Barker, and offers a privileged insight into a remarkable writer and his art.

Author Notes

Critics of the horror story have frequently called Clive Barker the "British Stephen King". Born in Liverpool in 1952, Barker attended the University of Liverpool but moved to London in 1977, where he worked as a commercial artist and became involved with the avant-garde theatrical community. Primarily a playwright during this period, he also produced short fiction that he would eventually publish as part of his six-volume collection titled Books of Blood (1984-85).

More than any other author of contemporary horror fiction, Barker has had a major impact on the direction of the genre. He has introduced strong elements of sex and graphic violence into his fiction, but these elements are employed with an artistic objective. Barker underscores his work with complex subtextual metaphors and artistic allusions. Preoccupied with the craft of writing and with its effect on the reader, Barker is an innovator of formula and genre, often parodying the former in order to change the philosophical contour of the latter.

Barker has achieved commercial success not only with his short fiction but also with his novels, which tend to be epic in scope and to blend elements of horror with those of high fantasy.

Barker is one of the more influential voices in horror cinema, having written and directed a number of films.

His printed works include The Candle in the Cloud, Absolute Midnight, The Scarlet Gospels, and Black is the Devil's Rainbow: Tales of a Journeyman. His films include Dread, Tortured Souls: Animae Damanatae, and Hellraiser.

(Bowker Author Biography) Clive Barker was born in October, 1952, in Liverpool, England, and graduated from Liverpool University. While a student, the resourceful Barker formed a theater company as an outlet for his career as a budding playwright. After minor success with several plays such as "Frankenstein in Love," Barker vaulted onto the horror fiction scene with the publication of his short stories, "The Books of Blood." Later books such as "The Damnation Game," "Imajica," and "Everville" have further established his reputation as a Master of Horror.

Barker gained further popularity with several motion picture projects. Unhappy with previous film versions of his works, he chose to direct the successful movie "Hellraiser," which generated a string of sequels. In addition to writing and directing, Barker has produced several of the movies in both the "Hellraiser" and "Candyman" series.

Besides his writing and film activities, the multitalented Barker is an actor and illustrator, with several published volumes of his artwork. Barker is a recipient of British Fantasy awards and a World Fantasy award, and resides in Los Angeles. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In something of a midcareer self-assessment, Barker collects excerpts from his many best-selling novels as well as from his plays and screenplays to illustrate recurrent themes in his fiction. There are 13 chapters of selections, and the themes they highlight are agreeably broad: "Doorways" the first is called, and others are "Visions and Dreams," "Bestiary," "Love," "Terrors" (a natural for a writer who first hit with a series of story collections called The Books of Blood), and "Making and Unmaking." The excerpts are all self-contained episodes, and Barker says he expects the collection to be browsed and read at random rather than straight through. Two of the book's main objectives are to show that, though Barker's work has become decreasingly gory and increasingly romantic, it is still animated by the same concerns and remains essentially fantastic. Point made. --Ray Olson

Library Journal Review

Barker (Galilee) takes a thoughtful approach in this anthology of excerpts from his short stories, novels, plays, and screenplays. Illustrating 13 themes prominent in his work, including terror, love, art, and memory, the selections cover Barker's evolving career from works of horror to dark fantasy to his latest genre-combining novels. The introduction offers insights into the selected themes, Barker's philosophy of writing, and the events that inspired him to write. Each theme also begins with a short introduction that places the selected works within that theme's context. While many of the novel excerpts are quite short, they do stand on their own. The uninitiated reader will find the selections intriguing, not frustrating, while the reader familiar with Barker will find new perspectives on his complex works. But with no new material included, demand may be low. Recommended for larger public libraries.√ĄDevon Thomas, formerly with Highland Township P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Armistead Maupin
Acknowledgmentsp. XI
Forewordp. XIII
Private Legends: An Introductionp. XV
1 Doorwaysp. 1
2 Journeysp. 47
3 Visions and Dreamsp. 81
4 Livesp. 119
5 Old Humanityp. 157
6 Bestiaryp. 219
7 Lovep. 259
8 Terrorsp. 295
9 The Bodyp. 369
10 Worldsp. 421
11 Making and Unmakingp. 463
12 Memoryp. 495
13 Artp. 539
Appendixp. 561
Permissionsp. 568