By the late 1990’s, something was happening in horror fiction. Some called it a revolution. Maybe it was a reinvention. Or perhaps a renovation. However you want to label it, the community was taking matters into its own hands. Publishing matters, that is. Following the path made by Cemetery Dance, small publishers began popping up in an attempt to get the word out to the people. Some succeeded and grew to magnificent heights. Others didn’t. A nice one that sadly didn’t pass the trial by fire was DarkTales Publications.
I didn’t like all of what DarkTales put out, but they were an admirable company that tried to meet the readers’ needs. My favorite of all of them was a cool book called Clickers.
Like the title might lead one to believe, Clickers was an homage to the cool old giant bug movies that most of us oldsters fondly remember. But it was more than that. Where most of those giant creature movies are guilty pleasures at best, Clickers is a cracking good story. It was very well-written and in a fairer world, it would have seen a larger publication than DarkTales could ever give it.
I was familiar with the collaborators of Clickers. J.F. Gonzalez was one of the guys behind the sadly short-lived cutting edge horror magazine, Iniquities. The other writer was Mark Williams, an makeup effects man that I knew from my days of reading Fangoria and Gorezone Magazines.
Clickers is one of those books where it seems that everyone that read it has loved it. It really is like the biggest, boldest, most kickass giant monster movie, or comic book, of all time. It’s lightning-paced and bites like a rattlesnake. Or, more appropriately, pinches like a blue crab. And doesn’t let go. This novel has attained genuine cult status as the double oh years have progressed. It remains a highly sought-after title and one of its authors, J. F. Gonzalez, has become one of today’s hottest talents in the field.
Clickers had been out of print for a while, until Delirium Books reprinted it in a deluxe hardback edition. As of this writing, there are a few copies to be had at Shocklines. Should you desire to own one, I would not wait.
There are still some old copies of Clickers at reasonable prices at abebooks.com and it is also available from Hard Shell Word Factory as an ebook.
And now, eight years after its original publication, it seems apt that the head instigator of the revolution of modern horror fiction, Brian Keene, has collaborated with J. F. Gonzalez on an all-new sequel to Clickers. I think both of these guys are fantastic writers and I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up together. Brian Keene and J.F. Gonzalez might well be the most exciting ‘new’ writers that we have and this is a highly anticipated publishing event.
Clickers 2: The Next Wave is due to ship from Delirium very soon and as with the limited edition of Clickers, there are very few remaining copies. At this point I have no idea of whether another, cheaper edition is forthcoming. This is not a book that you’ll want to miss and I think you’ll be kicking yourself, or paying scalper’s prices on ebay later, if you pass it up.
Addendum: My friend Jan Darga informed me that the original Clickers is alive and in print and well in trade paperback. Check it out: