Apart from Holden’s closure which brought an end to Australian car manufacturing, October has been a good month overall. I’m now at the end of my uni year and Super Mario Odyssey was released. Even more exciting, it’s now less than a month before I begin my Japan/Hong Kong trip. This month’s Book Talk also marks one year since I started this series of book discussions, a bit of a milestone. For October being the month of Halloween, I made my reading for this month very horror centric. Be prepared to keep the lights on at night as I discuss the spooky stories that made up my month’s reading.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
First published in 1971, The Exorcist has been regarded by some as “the most terrifying novel ever written”. The plot follows 12-year-old Regan McNeil, who becomes possessed by a demon. Following that is a story about blasphemy, loss of faith, and hidden secrets being uncovered.
I didn’t know what to think when heading into this book. I’ve not yet watched the 1973 William Friedkin adaptation, so the story to me was completely new. I looked forward to finally reading the most “terrifying” novel of all-time. What I got in the end was not what I was expecting. It simply wasn’t the most terrifying novel ever written, in my eyes.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s some pretty gruesome and terrifying moments in here. Some of the descriptions of Satanic worship too were frightening and grossed me out. Apart from those though, there really wasn’t anything that creeped me out too much with this story. I found it overall though extremely long and filled with many depictions of religion, which made me lose interest in parts. I liked the characters of Chris McNeil and Damian Karras, but I didn’t connect with them. I guess this was more of a personal thing than a true compliant.
The Exorcist is an interesting read, even if it’s not exactly terrifying. If you’ve watched the 1973 adaptation or one of its sequels (and prequel) and want to know where it all began, read this. If you haven’t then still give it a read, just to see what terrified people back in 1971.
The Listeners by Christopher Pike
First published in 1994, The Listeners is Pike’s second adult horror novel. The plot of the book revolves around David, an FBI agent, who’s undercover as a journalist on a mission.
I’m still reading through this book as of writing this, so the description is only to what I’ve picked up to it. As to my thoughts on it so far, yeah, it’s interesting. The second chapter is longwinded and feels more like an info dump than a true part of the story. Even then though, this is still a good introduction to the character of David and what could be an interesting story.
I’ll give my full thoughts on this book in the next Book Talk.
Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe
From my Complete Tales and Poems collection, ‘Ligeia’ follows a protagonist and his infatuation for a woman known as Ligeia. This was a good story in the collection, and especially by the end was really creepy and unsettling. I didn’t realise during this reading that it was my second time reading this through. I really liked the creepy feel to it the first time, which still continues to now on the second read. Give this a read if you want a classic gothic short story.
The Kovacs Incident by Mitchell Salmon
From issue 183 of Aurealis, ‘The Kovacs Incident’ is by far the least horror story I read this month, but was still quite thrilling. The plot is all about people swapping bodies to go away on holiday in other countries. The idea of having somebody else actually being in your body is certainly a creepy one, and is what I liked about this story. I also liked the Australian connection to this story as it felt closer to home. This was by far my favourite read of this month, go have a look at it for something different.