Now, I have to tell you this: I probably won’t be writing any more supernatural horror novels, and I want to explain why this is so.

The field of horror writing has changed dramatically since the mid- to late-’70s. At that time, horror writing was still influenced by the classics of the literature. I don’t find that to be true anymore. It seems to me that horror writing — all writing, no matter what genre — needs to be about people, first and foremost. It needs to speak to the pain and isolation we all feel, about the disappointments we have all faced and about the bravery people summon in order to get through what is sometimes a crushing day-to-day existence. Again, I don’t find that to be generally true of the horror field as we enter the ’90s. Something of rubber stamping and cookie cutters has gotten into this field, and it’s an unfortunate fact that even the best writing is judged not by its own merit, but by what the general public understands to be “real horror” —namely, the brutal and brainless garbage that Hollywood throws out as “entertainment” for the “lowest common denominator.”

And, my friends, it’s killing us.

A sense of wonder and beauty has been drained from our field. It has happened slowly, over a period of years. Without wonder and beauty, our writing and our dreams are lifeless. Without humanity in our work, we are left with senseless rage and violence. Such things are all too common in our world: are we here to try to make things better, or to try to compete with the heavy darkness that is bludgeoning people’s minds into Silly Putty? I, for one, want no part in layering more darkness onto that weight, and calling it a “fun entertainment.”

It’s just not right.

Robert R. McCammon
The State of Where
Lights Out! Issue #5, February 1991