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Moderator: Clive Barker joins us at 7pm ET to chat about his new must-have anthology THE ESSENTIAL CLIVE BARKER.
Colby from Welcome, Clive Barker! We are so pleased you could join us tonight. How are you doing? Where do we find you?
CB: Firstly, thank you for the invitation to be here. I've come in from a meeting at Universal and I'm now sitting at my desk, awaiting our conversation.
Moderator: A Editor is typing for Clive Barker this evening. Mr. Barker is dictating his responses to your questions over the phone.
Phil & Sarah at Revelations from London: Hi Clive! You've made heroes (and often heroines) of people from many 'minority' groups in your work. Who might we next expect to get this Barker treatment?
CB: Hi, guys! Hope you're both well. I have a novel under wraps right now, which is about Hollywood. Both contemporary Hollywood and the Hollywood of the Golden Age. I don't want to give too much away, but I'm delighted to be able to say that the book is going to contain a very strong lesbian monster and a range of sexual tastes that will be startling even to those already familiar with the eroticism in my work.
Kelly Shaw from Milwaukee, WI: Do you still intend to go behind the camera and direct American Horror next year, or is that being pushed back?
CB: Hi, Kelly. Yes, I certainly plan to be behind the camera for "American Horror," whether we go into active preproduction next year or the year following is very much in the hands of my producers, who are New Line Pictures. I like the New Line team immensely, and they seem very optimistic about the project. So we'll see.
Katie from Berkeley: What direction do you think the horror genre is going? What changes have you noticed, if any, since you first began writing?
CB: Hi, Katie. I think the direction that horror fiction has gone in since I first began - both as a writer and as a director - is a little confusing. On the one hand, we've seen the escalation of costs on large horror movies ("Interview with a Vampire," "End of Days"), but we've also seen very successful, much smaller pictures ("Blair Witch Project," "Scream"). I think there have been aesthetic successes and failures at both end of the spectrums. What I would like to see, both on the page and on the screen, is some fresh imaginative ideas. I'm weary of stalk-and-slash. I'm weary of vampires. It's time for some new blood (heh, heh, heh!).
Sartori from England: Hello Clive, I loved your book "Essential" and I recommend it to all your fans old and new. How is the 3rd book or the art coming along? Is it still a couple of years away from publication?
CB: Yes, Sartori, I'm afraid it is. But I swear it will be worth waiting for! The truth is that a very large book like this takes a lot of planning, and a lot of energy. But I know what the narrative will be and I'm preparing myself to dive into it in the next couple of years.
Imajicaman from Scotland: Hi Clive, I heard that Tolkien's "Lord Of The Rings" was one of your favourite books, is this true and do you recommend it as a good read? Thanks
CB: What a great name! Yes, indeed, Tolkien's masterpiece is one of the favorite books. It's not quite up there with MOBY DICK and BLEAKHOUSE but I certainly love the world Tolkien creates. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. With one caviat: Tolkien has, in my opinion, a rather old-fashioned idea of women. I don't think he draws particularly compelling female characters, regrettably. But for sheer epic vision, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Andrew from Michigan: Will you be writing a sequel to Galilee? If so when can we expect it?
CB: Yes, Andrew, there is indeed one more Galilee book to come. I may very well write it before I write the final book of the Art trilogy. For more news on when, perhaps you could check into one of my web sites. As soon as I know, you'll know.
Freddie from Philadelphia: What excites you most about writing? Could you imagine doing any other profession. If so, what? How did you discover your calling?

CB: Well, Freddie, I suppose I do practice other professions. I paint every day, and once every five years or so I make a movie. But really the joy of writing is its freedom. When I set pen to paper, I am using the most immediate means at my disposal for communicating the visions and dreams, the characters and landscapes and philosophies which I hold in my head to the people who mean the most to me: my readers. It's a joy.
Kelly Shaw from Milwaukee, WI: Is the Book of Hours and the Abarat the same thing or separate entities?
CB: Kelly, they are the same. There will be four books in what I am calling my Abarat quartet. Collectively, they will be Clive Barker's Book of Hours. I hope that clears up any confusion.
eriol from littleton, colorado: Hello Clive.. I was curious if you had any future motion pictures in the works for release on video or big screen? Many of your recent books could be adapted wonderfully to be on the big screen.. especially if you were directing or producing.
CB: I actually have a lot of plans, Eriol. Thanks for asking. The Thief of Always is in development at Universal for a feature film, Weaveworld is in development at Showtime for a mini-series, and a large original screenplay - with the working title of "The American Horror Movie" - is creeping towards production over at New Line Pictures. There are also a number of smaller projects in the works: too many to list here.
Megan from How will you celebrate New Year's Eve 1999?
CB: I will be in New Orleans with my husband David, having a party on Bourbon Street. Our theory was that the good people of that city know better how to throw a party than just about anybody else on the planet! And, by the way, to you all, I hope the new millennium brings you everything you want.
Colby from And any resolutions?
CB: Resolutions? I'd like to work less hard. I'd like to take some time to smell the roses. I'd like to grow old gracefully. That's a good start.
Gregory from Oregon: Do you have any plans to ever bring back any of your characters from the Razorline imprint you did for marvel comics, in any form at all?
CB: Yes I do. Somewhere in the future I'd love to write a book which folded in a host of characters who were only glancingly dealt with, either in comic books or short stories. I loved many of the Razorline characters, and it was always a sadness to me that our work in the medium was ill-timed. As you probably know, the Razorline material was produced at a time when the comics industry was about to go through one of its worst shake-ups. Marvel almost disappeared entirely. Razorline was a victim of Marvel's downsizing. Very sad.
Surreality from Delaware: You seem to have explored many creative fields, illustration, film, and stage as well as prose. Do you consider each of these endeavors separate from one another, or as a collective means to convey elaborate concepts? Has any one medium gained favor over the others?
CB: It's a great question. I favor the latter interpretation of my processes: that is to say, I believe the various media in which I work are all contributing to the creation of a single enormous world. Many of my heroes were, or are, polymaths. Jean Cocteau, for instance: a painter, novelist, poet, playwrite, filmmaker, designer... The list goes on. But in the end all of Cocteau's work seems to me to describe a single vision. In my introduction to THE ESSENTIAL CLIVE BARKER I write at some length about Cocteau. You might find the piece illuminating.
Gregory from Oregon: Just supposing, if you had to put two books (one of yours and one by some one else) into a time capsule, what might they be?
Junior LaRoche from Lawton, Oklahoma: Hi Clive! First off I would like to say that I am a big fan of yours. I read Thief of Always and currently reading Imajica (paper back book one and I'm on 455). Really like it better than Thief of always. I also got book two of Imajica, Damnation Game, The Great and Secret Show, Hellbound Heart, Sacrament, and Everville (plan on reading them after I get done with Imajica). Anyway my question is about The Essential. I haven't bought it yet because I think I'm going to get it for Christmas. If not I'll go out the day after Christmas and spend my money. I was just wondering how it covers all your works? Does it give insights of your imagination, does it go more into the creation of the stories, or does it just tell about the stories? Finally is there any information that you might be able to tell us about the Thief of Always movie?
CB: Where do I begin? THE ESSENTIAL was designed for two purposes. For people who are not at all familiar with my work it was created as a kind of best of Clive Barker. In it I have assembled seventy pieces of prose, some from short stories, some from novels, and a few from my plays. They represent a wide cross-section of genres. There's very dark horror material here. There's erotic material here. There's passages from the THIEF OF ALWAYS here. And there's wild fantasy here. I've prefaced many of the passages with short illuminations about their thematic content, but the real meat of the book is a twelve thousand word introduction which I wrote to talk about a host of subjects which I hope will be interesting to my readers. Here I talk about my working processes, and the roots of my creative energy. I also talk about certain events in my childhood - not all of them pleasant - which helped define me as a writer. I hope then that the introduction will illuminate for readers who are familiar with my work new elements in the books. I hope, very much, that you enjoy THE ESSENTIAL.
Ricky from Toronto: What's with the tight black t-shirts on both Politically Incorrect guest spots? P.S: been a fan from the start. Thanks for all of it.
CB: I like those t-shirts. You think perhaps they're a fashion error? Advice sought!
Raistlynn from California: Mr. Barker..where did you get your inspiration for your character of Tesla in The Great and Secret Show?
CB: Tesla is an amalgam of extraordinary ladies that I've had the pleasure to encounter over the years. Two of them worked in theatre with me. Sometimes of course characters simply grow organically out of nowhere. But Tesla is definitely a product of my having known these extraordinary folks.
eriol from Colorado: Hello Clive, I am in Littleton, CO where the Columbine shooting occurred. A lot of the local and national media has blamed authors, song writers, etc. for the tragedy. How do you feel about this subject of blame placing?
CB: I truly believe that any work of art that attempts to honestly talk about what it is to be human - our dreams AND our nightmares, the things that give us hope and the things that make us despair - cannot be held responsible for the actions of people who are for some reason nurturing profound hatred towards the world. It's a very slippery slope this blame business. If you start to accuse books and films of changing people's way of thinking then it seems that you start to empower those who wish to control artists. I would feel very anxious about any piece of government legislation which attempted to curtail the creative freedoms of artists. NOW... Let's look at the other side of the equation. THE ARTIST HAS TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HE OR SHE CREATES. It's no use saying "I'm an artist, and I should be taken seriously" and then denying your personal culpability. Art changes minds. Art moves people. Art disturbs and upsets and arouses complicated feelings. Artists should be happily responsible for those achievements. Let me say one other thing on this (and it's an immense subject). When I make my movies I don't make them for eight-year-olds. I make R-rated pictures to be seen by people who are mature enough to understand that they are seeing a piece of fiction. I do not approve of showing disturbing or sexual material to impressionable minds. But adults should surely be able to see whatever suits them.
Moderator from Thank you for such a fascinating conversation, Clive Barker. It was truly a treat to speak to you during this busy time of year and we look forward to hosting you again. Do you have any final comments for your online fans?
CB: I'd just like to thank everybody out there who was a part of tonight's exchanges, and hope that the season ahead brings for everyone peace and calm and happiness. Sweet dreams.