Open Up a Book of Blood. Rainbow Snippets for October 15, 2022 visits Clive Barker in Yugoslavia—-Jeff Baker

Photo by Loubna Belmekki on

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or published, or a recommendation of someone else’s work with at least one LGBT character. Posted at Rainbow Snippets here: For this week, a story by the great Clive Barker, back when he was a young master of darkness. In fact I first read this story in Dennis Etchison’s fine anthology “Masters of Darkness” where horror writers select a story of their own they regard as special. Barker selected his “In the Hills, the Cities” which he said his editors hadn’t liked but he did.

So do I.

It wasn’t until the first week of the Yugoslavian trip that Mick discovered what a political bigot he’d chosen as a lover. Certainly he’d been warned. One of the queens at the baths had told him that Judd was to the right of Attila the Hun, but the man had been one of Judd’s ex-affairs, and Mick had presumed there was more spite than perception in the character assassination.

If only he’d listened. Then he wouldn’t be driving along an interminable road in a Volkswagen that suddenly seemed the size of a coffin, listening to Judd’s views on Soviet expansionism. Jesus, he was so boring.

Sounds pretty contemporary, doesn’t it? Here’s a little more of the story (stretching that line limit a bit)

It was not until their trip—that endless, motiveless caravan through the graveyards of mid-European culture—that Judd realized what a political lightweight he had in Mick. The guy showed precious little interest in the economics or the politics of the countries they passed through. He registered indifference to the full facts behind the Italian situation and yawned, yes yawned, when Judd tried (and failed) to debate the Russian threat to world peace. He had to face the bitter truth: Mick was a queen, there was no other word for him. All right, perhaps he didn’t mince or wear jewelry to excess, but he was a queen nevertheless, happy to wallow in a dreamworld of early Renaissance frescoes and Yugoslavian icons. The complexities, the contradictions, even the agonies that made those cultures blossom and wither were just tiresome to him. His mind was no deeper than his looks; he was a well-groomed nobody.

Some honeymoon.

Again, sounds pretty contemporary for a story from 1984, doesn’t it? I’ll be back next week! See you then!——jeff

Here’s a link to Barker’s “Books of Blood,” where the story first appeared.

Here’s a link to volume 3 of “Masters of Darkness,” which I also highly recommend.

This entry was posted in Clive Barker, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Open Up a Book of Blood. Rainbow Snippets for October 15, 2022 visits Clive Barker in Yugoslavia—-Jeff Baker

  1. This is brilliant! As you say, Jeff, it sounds so modern.

  2. I remember this story! This was one of my favorites!

  3. Oh, these two characters don’t seem a good match at all. Tweeted the post.

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