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I have been asked on several occasions why I cross genres. In fact on one occasion I was asked why I "stagger" between them. (Oh you, you! I remember you and know where you live!) But you know, that's how it was when I was coming up. I was seeing the movies, reading the comics, and I was into the pulp magazines; so that even before I knew what a "genre" was, it seemed to me that everyone was crossing them. Take a gander at those old EC Comics, you'll soon see what I'm getting at. The Haunt of Fear and Tales from the Crypt were "horror" horror, but a good many of the tales in Weird Fantasy were "fantasy" horror, and many of those in Weird Science were horror "SF."

Even H. P. Lovecraft—the Old Gent of Providence himself, known primarily for his superb horror stories—had mixed his genres: The Shadow Out of Time and At the Mountains of Madness in Astounding Science Fiction, for example. (Hey, and HPL took a kicking for it, too!) And then there was Ray Bradbury's wonderful Martian Chronicles: whimsical, yes, and written as only Bradbury can write them, but the horror undertones were there. In fact those stories were quite literally literary miscegenation, hybrids of all three species of our favorite fictions: Horror, Fantasy, and SF. And, I might add, classics at that.

But if you'll step back from the printed page for a moment and take a look at the big screen, you'll perhaps see far more clearly what I'm getting at. Predator was SF/Horror—in fact you could as easily and probably more properly call it Horror/SF! And the same goes for the Alien movies—with knobs on—and likewise the Terminator films, and The Fly, and The Thing, etc, etc, ad infinitum. And weren't they all blockbusters, and didn't we enjoy them? Well I did, that's for sure.

And so—with the exception of supernatural horror and so-called splatterpunk, where the science in the horror is mainly absent—it appears to my mind that a large percentage of speculative and fantastic fiction benefits hugely from this miscegenation, the incorporation of horror motifs, and I'm not at all unhappy to admit that most of my weird fiction has at least an element of SF in it, and often a lot more than just an element. "Hard Science Fiction" it most certainly isn't; "weird science" it may well be—but so what? I've always believed that it's my job to entertain, not to edify, though I would like to believe that every so often along the way I may even have been "guilty" of a little of that, too.

Anyway, here it is: a sampler of my Screaming Science Fiction from across the years, a large handful of my Horrors Out of Space. Because hey, if it was good enough for HPL, Ray Bradbury and EC Comics—and since it has remained good enough for generation after generation of marvelous Tinseltown movie-makers—it's certainly good enough for me . . . .

Brian Lumley, Devon, UK
January 2005

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