Elyse Draper

Author of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Dark Fiction

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Posted by Elyse Draper on January 28, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Ladies of Horror 2009

I am Morte

A very impressive prose poem in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe that moves away from the contemporary horror obsession with vampires, zombies la-di-da to deal very effectively with a much older concern, Death itself.

 

If Elyse Draper can resist Poe's own early nineteenth century tendency to very occasional floridity of language, get the modern reader into the tale more easily and think out of the box of literary convention, this could be a major talent in the making.

 

The main 'death', of a little girl by burns, was brilliantly done - sheer genuine horror sustained over many pages - and it is by no means pastiche. This is a genuine development in the American horror story that takes account of the legacy of King as well as of the old master.

Throughout, the implicit horror is uniquely existentialist and fairly brutal yet it does not quite end up with the cruel hopelessness that is currently fashionable at the sharp end of horror. This may be Draper's particular vision. This is not Ligotti's world but a world where death, in being personified, is almost likeable, 'easeful death'.

 

Perhaps Ligotti and 'schlock' have both taken us as far as we can go into meaningless on the one side and violence on the other. Perhaps we need some more subtle feminine voices who can re-introduce pathos and feeling and respect into horror. If so, Elyse Draper may be one of those writers to watch.

Tim Pendry

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