My Dad's birthday is today! Happy Birthday, Pop! He probably won't see this, but he'll get a kick out of it anyway. While he wasn't supportive of my writing initially--he's extremely supportive now, and I appreciate that a great deal. I love my Dad very much. He taught me about cars, ships, fishing, computers, and SF. He's the reason I discovered Ray Bradbury at such an early age. He watched Star Trek with me too sometimes. While my mom read Peter Pan aloud to me, Pop read Something Wicked This Way Comes to me. With that in mind, I thought we'd talk about Horror, and its influences on SF and Fantasy. Do you read Horror? Do you see its influences as a positive thing for SF and F?
For me, I don't only have Ray Bradbury to blame as an influence, but Stephen King and NI Irish Crime fiction as well. When I cut myself off of Fantasy I turned to Horror and King in particular. I started with The Stand. To this day, I adore almost everything about that book except for the end. Then I moved to 'Salems Lot and Carrie. Stephen King taught me (among other things) that I was allowed to let music have an influence on my writing. Of course, so did Nancy A. Collins's Sonja Blue series. Both use music to help with the setting. (King does even more so in Christine.) I didn't hit punk or goth until late in life and not necessarily with the first wave either. Nonetheless, the music is huge for me. I've a tremendous music collection. (And one day it'll be organized like my library.) Like many writers, I create soundtracks for my work. It's been said that my writing style has a punk music feel to it, and to tell you the truth, that makes me happy. Also from Horror (and King specifically) I learned that I enjoyed the psychological side of storytelling. It's why I incorporate those aspects into character building. The psychology of a character is a science all its own. It provides logical motivation when you're writing about someone who is different from yourself and who makes very different choices from your own.
And then we have our host's work. Horror features a great deal in The Laundry series in particular. It's one of the many reasons I love it so much. Strangely, I'm not into Lovecraft. I find him dull. At the same time, give me a work based on Lovecraft (like Resume with Monsters by William Browning Spencer) and I'm all over that.
All in all, Horror is about psychology. It has to be at some level, or it falls flat. The moment you delve in the things that terrify us as human beings you're in Horror territory. I think this is why Horror and SF are such a good marriage -- Fantasy too. As we saw yesterday, so much of SF deals in darkness. The future is unknown, and we fear the unknown--or at the very least, are made uncomfortable by it. Still, the unknown is a very powerful place from which to work. Fantasy has surrealism as its base, and what could be more dreamlike than a nightmare?
I've named a few of my favorites. What are yours?
 That was another huge moment that I neglected to bring up earlier. I reread that book every year at Halloween. Every year I notice something new. It's a masterpiece.
 I feel King painted himself into a corner. So, I don't really blame him there. Endings are tough enough when you don't have to deal with the baggage involved in using existing belief systems as part of a story. That's really easy to screw up. It's also really easy to wander into preachy-land. So, while The Stand is one of my favorite novels, I'll admit that it's flawed. Again, all things are. We're all human--even Stephen King. [gasp]
 For the record, vampires are not my favorite horror monster. They never have been. (That would be the werewolf.) I'm not big on zombies either. So, I'm super picky in both those departments for much the same reason that I'm finicky about Fantasy. I've read a lot of it. In the zombie fiction department, much less so. However, that doesn't change the picky.
 And this is why Liam demonstrates a severe case of PTSD. I researched PTSD too. Yes, I'm a touch OCD, but I suspect most authors are. You kind of have to be detail driven to write well. It's one of those things.