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Tabula Rasa

The Yattering

Tabula Rasa#7, July 1995

When we saw 'Story by Clive Barker' on the credits of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh we had high hopes. Little did we know that this apparently means somebody re-read the original short story, The Forbidden, and then ignored most of it again.

But let's talk about Clive Barker. In this issue we're mostly concerned with the use of familiar monsters, hopefully in new and interesting ways. There are people like Clive Barker, however, that are not content with these archetypes. Their narratives want other shapes, and somehow, creatures are created. While disappointed with the Books of the Art series, a recent reading of Imajica by one of us has shown the superlative scope he is capable of (and yes, it was only then we discovered his Tabula Rasa - the Yattering we admit to). Once again, we should remember that there are other factors at work, (such as the ones that keep stuffing his films up -- by the way, Lord of Illusions is finally being released next month). And it's not just the idea behind the work that gives it its quality, because others adapting that idea have had less success.

Maybe this is why there have been no decent Lovecraft adaptations. There have been continuations; the disciples of the Mythos, who with varying degrees of success have worked with his visions of the outer darkness. But most of them just reuse the blobs, and fail to provide the spark that Lovecraft had.

We've mentioned post-modernism a couple of times in the last issue or two. The whole idea of that movement is that there is no originality, thus the obsession with pastiche and nostalgia. But there are always these people, like Barker and Lovecraft, and Giger and Blake and Bosch, who just don't fit, and thus redefine the boundaries. But of course, we still keep coming back and doing vampires again anyway.

So those peaks may be temporary, but that doesn't decrease their validity or importance, or the fact that they do communicate something essential, that we recognise. And those peaks do not detract from the fine work done elsewhere, but it is still those individuals that make a history such as this so exciting.


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