If you would behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.
– Kahlil Gibran
I have a soft spot in my heart for the words of Kahlil Gibran for some reason, and it’s times like this where I find he speaks volumes. Within the last few weeks, the horror community has lost some fine talent, and gained legacies we will not forget any time soon.
On March 13th, 2013, noted horror author and editor, David B. Silva, passed away at the age of 62. While probably known best for the trail he blazed with The Horror Show and Hellnotes, Silva was also the accomplished author of 7 novels, an untold amount of short stories, and a laundry list of edited works. He was a mentor, friend, and guru to many of the authors you call your favourite, and played a huge role in shaping the genre into what it is today. On a more personal level, he played a huge role in my yearn to start reviewing, the advent of my first review site, Paperback Horror (pre-personal “blog” format) and, by default, Dreadful Tales itself. He was a powerhouse in this community and he will be sorely missed.
7 days later, on March 20th, 2013, we were levelled with yet another loss. News of James Herbert’s death, at age 67, cycled through the media like a tornado bent on tearing the genre apart. Herbert authored 24 novels from 1974 to 2012, 2 non-fiction works, a handful of short stories, and a graphic novel. His works were adapted into 5 films and, in 2010, he was not only made the Grand Master of Horror at the World Horror Convention, but he was also appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. His presence in the genre was one he, reportedly, never understood, as he stated in his book Faces of Fear: “I don’t understand why I am so successful. And the longer I stay that way, the better it’s going to be, because that’s what keeps me on the edge, striving if you like.” His contribution to horror in literature will never be forgotten, and most likely never equaled.
And then today. Today the news of Rick Hautala’s death swept the genre off its feet, rocking our scary little boat to a full on capsizing. At 64, Hautala leaves behind 27 novels – a whole whack of which were written under the pseudonym A.J. Matthews, and 5 co-authored with Christopher Golden – 6 novellas, 4 screenplays, countless short stories, 4 collections, and god knows how many other major contributions to the genre. To say his passing was untimely and shocking would be an understatement, and I can confidently speak for Dreadful Tales and the whole horror community when I say he will be missed. Our hearts are heavy tonight for Holly Newstein Hautala and family. Rick, who was recently given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the HWA last year, has left behind a legacy most of us could only dream to equal, and one that we, as fans and authors, should always strive to keep alive.
One of my favorite quotes to ever come out of our community belongs to Rick, spoken during his Lifetime Achievement speech (video included below) – and one that I just had to watch and hear again tonight:
“We all know the difference between a pizza and a writer, right? A pizza can feed a family of four.”
It’s with much sadness that I say one final goodnight to David, James, and Rick.
Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
– Khalil Gibran
View Rick Hautala’s HWA Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech below: