Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The End of the World as I Know It

This week the Lucky 13s are discussing our favorite frightening things, a topic near and dear to my heart. My pop culture upbringing is deeply rooted in horror. I love, love, love scary comics (the old EC books like Tales from the Crypt, and The Vault of Horror), movies (John Carpenter's The Thing is a staple in my home), and, of course, books.

I have a long list of favorites, and Stephen King has a solid 3 entries in my top 10, but one book has reigned supreme in the top spot ever since I was a teen. Nightworld* by F. Paul Wilson is the story of an apocalypse so unique and horrifying it makes the Super Flu in The Stand look like a daycare Chicken Pox outbreak. It makes the nuclear war in Swan Song look like a pack of illegal fireworks misfiring. It makes the vampire domination in The Passage look like Count Chocula beating down Cap'n Crunch on the cereal aisle in Wal-Mart. Can you tell how much of an impression this book made on me (and how much I like hyperbole)?

For those who aren't familiar with Wilson's work, you don't know what you're missing. Don't worry, though, I'm about to tell you. Nightworld is the conclusion of Wilson's "Secret History of the World" saga, a culmination of work stretching over dozens of books, short stories, and other media. The heroes from all the previous SHotW tales come together to, well, helplessly watch the end like the rest of us. The ever-present villain of the saga (whose name I won't speak, let alone type, for fear that he'll know) has reached the height of his power. He can't be stopped, and all the good guys--led by an aging immortal named Glaeken and his sidekick, Repairman Jack (aka the Greatest Action Hero in Contemporary Fiction aka More Hyperbole)--can do is plan a final stand just to let the monster know humanity goes down swinging. A futile effort really, but there's time to kill as the sun rises later and sets earlier each day, giving gruesome nightmare creatures more time to play (and feed) in the dark. 

To tell you more would spoil the fun, and I don't know if I can honestly recommend that you read Nightworld if you haven't read any of the preceding novels. The Keep, a horror novel set during World War II, is more of a proper start to what I promise is a spectacularly epic ride. You can fill a whole bookshelf with nothing but Wilson's work and once you start, you'll be racing to the end...of everything.

*NOTE: This post references the original version of Nightworld. An updated version will be released early next year. And yes, I will be buying it.

Lamar "L. R." Giles writes for adults and teens. Penning everything from epic fantasy to noir thrillers, he's never met a genre he didn't like. His debut YA mystery WHISPERTOWN is about a teen in witness protection who investigates his best friend's murder and stumbles on a dark conspiracy that leads back to his own father. It will be published in Summer, 2013 by HarperCollins. He resides in Virginia with his wife and is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Find out more on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. I share your Stephen King fandom, so I clearly need to check some of these out. Thanks for the recs!

  2. Kristen, I highly recommend Wilson. Pick up The Keep, you won't be disappointed.

  3. How have I never heard of this book? I'll definitely have to check it out!