A few days ago, we discussed the alternate universes in which fictional stories take place, specifically how the denizens of those universes have access to genre films we wish were real. This time around, we’re looking at some of the fictional books that they read, with a focus on the authors who write them. Today, we are looking back on ten fictional authors we wish were real.
Abdul Alhazred, from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft
This scholar and mystic, sometimes referred to as the “Mad Arab”, wrote a book of ultimate evil in the year 730 AD, containing spells and incantations, as well as detailed accounts of mysterious gods known only as the Old Ones. This book later picked up the title The Necronomicon, and although there are multiple translations and editions (some reputedly bound in human flesh), they are notoriously hard to find…and extremely dangerous to read from.
Trout is an eternally underappreciated author of science fiction who cranks out work at an alarming rate — he has written well over 100 novels and 2000 short stories. Much of his writing is used only as filler material in otherwise pornographic magazines, so the few fans that he actually does have likely appear quite a bit more perverse than they really are. With titles like The Era of Hopeful Monsters and Maniacs in the Fourth Dimension, it’s likely that a fair share of his work crosses over into the cosmic horror genre.
A writer of horror fiction during the heyday of the pulps, Van Zorn seems to me a cross between Kilgore Trout and H.P. Lovecraft. With pieces appearing in Weird Tales, Strange Stories, and Black Tower (amongst others), he likely achieved a sizable readership…even if never accruing a sizable paycheck. Following the death of their son in a mysterious accident, Zorn’s wife was institutionalized and he took to writing ‘weird fiction’ to cope with his demons.
This horror author from across the pond may have an inflated ego and sense of self-worth, but I do believe that he has the talent to back it up. It’s unclear exactly how many books that he has written, but we know that he’s written more than he has read. He even created, scripted and starred in the 1980s horror hospital soap Darkplace, though the government suppressed it for being “too subversive, too dangerous, too damn scary.” That only makes the rest of his work sound more promising!
Sutter Cane is the bestselling author at Arcane Publishing, whose works are so powerful that they have been known to cause confusion, memory loss, and maybe even madness in some readers. Many of his stories take place in the not-so-fictional town of Hobb’s End, New Hampshire. His titles include The Thing in the Basement, The Breathing Tunnel, The Feeding, Haunter Out of Time, The Hobb’s End Horror, The Whisperer of the Dark, and of course In the Mouth of Madness. Helpful Hint: if anyone ever asks if you read Sutter Cane, just say yes.
A war veteran who was at one time suspected of murder, Underhill cleared his name and went on to write a series of books about his experiences. Along the way, he found himself wrapped up in a number of other mysteries and horrors that cannot be explained by natural means. His collaborations with Peter Straub (in whose novels he is a character) question what we know about fiction and demonstrate how much more we still have to learn.
Stark is the alter-ego of uncelebrated literary fiction author Thad Beaumont. Stark wrote a series of excessively violent crime novels about antihero Alexis Machine. Even after it was exposed that Stark was merely a pen name, and Beaumont attempted to kill him off, Stark refused to die. He came back with a vengeance to demonstrate that Alexis Machine was just as much a part of him as he was a part of Beaumont. That kind of tenacity and firsthand experience ought to lend itself to some fantastic reads!
Chicago newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak made a name for himself while investigating the Night Stalker murders, involving a vampire, and subsequently the Night Strangler murders, which involved a seemingly immortal killer. He went on to cover stories about witches, werewolves, Satanists, restless spirits and even headless bikers. Although editorial interference often prevented him from telling the whole story, I would appreciate a collected edition of his news articles knowing that he and I were both aware of the real truth.
Roger Cobb, from House
Roger Cobb is a horror author who has experienced more than his share of personal horrors. Not only was he in the army during the Vietnam War, but his wife has left him, his son has gone missing without a trace, and his aunt has died under rather mysterious circumstances. He inherits a large and creaky house from her which seems to go far beyond haunted, as it manifests his own personal demons in order to torment him. His firsthand experiences with horror both human and supernatural ought to come in handy when plotting his next novel.
As far as I can tell, the only book that the thuggish Hoggins has under his belt is Knuckle Sandwich, presumably telling his story of life in the seedy underbelly. After receiving a negative review, he sought out the critic who wrote it and tossed him from a twelfth story balcony. That’s a hardcore reaction, so one can only assume that the book would be an unflinching glimpse into the criminal element. Okay, so it’s not technically horror, but he’s still pretty damn terrifying. I for one would certainly love to read the book, but I’ll be damned if I would review it.