In three pieces of fiction involving heaven and hell (relatively) recently, I’ve come across a similar kind of concept: the idea of a place outside the influecen of heaven and hell. Is this a new meme bubbling up in fiction or is it just an old trope I’ve not recognised before? The three in question have very different versions of the idea, though:

  • Mike Carey’s Lucifer series starts with Lucifer gaining an exist from God’s creation to “the void” beyond;
  • Simon R. Green’s Nightside is explicitly created to be outside the power of both heaven and hell, although both angels and demons do visit it when the plot demands;
  • Liz William’s The Shadow Pavilion introduces a new element to her classic Eastern mythology with Between the places in the cracks where inspiration comes from.

I’ve always liked supernatural thrillers, although they were few and far between until recently. Starting with Laurell K. Hamilton (there were others writing such stuff before her but she seems to have been the first really high profile success – and yes, I’m ignoring Anne Rice here) and her Anita Blake series, there has been a growing sub-genre of urban gothic. It usually posits a re-emergence of some or all of the traditional ghosts and ghoulies into society, either completely openly or partly hidden.

However, being a fan of the supernatural thriller elements in this fiction, I’ve ended up reading a bunch of stuff which has a 180 page supernatural thriller buried inside a 500 page book filled out with kinky sex. I don’t mind the odd sex scene in my fiction. Sex is part of life and including it in fiction can round out the emotional content. However, I find that many of these books are descending into what I’ve decided to dub “Thrills and Moon”, where the sex becomes the principle story and the thriller element becomes a sideline. Here is a list of some of the books in the supernatural thriller category I’ve read, with an indication of how much Thrills and Moon element they contain (all in my opinion of course).


Someone just linked to the Lolthulhu site from User Friendly comment board. I’d not come across this one before. Great fun.

SciFi channel started a new show in January 2007 called The Dresden Files, about a wizard PI in modern day Chicago. This is based on a series of books by Jim Butcher. I don’t know who got me into these books. I remember picking up a copy of the third book Grave Peril when visiting someone and having nothing to read. Despite being the third book in the series and only having time to read a chapter or so I was really impressed so I’ve been buying them since. (more…)