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Books of Blood
Volume One
Books of Blood Volume I
Publisher's info
Title: Books of Blood
Volume One
Author: Clive Barker
Publisher: Sphere Books
1st printing: 1984
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Books of Blood, Volume One is a British horror anthology novel featuring stories written by author Clive Barker. The first edition was published by Sphere Books in the United Kingdom in 1984. The series yielded five follow-up projects, all of which contain stories authored by Barker. The first volume includes six stories ranging from dark comedy tropes to pure unadulterated horror.

The Book of Blood Edit

This is the frame story for the entire Books of Blood series. A psychic researcher, Mary Florescu, has employed a quack medium named Simon McNeal to investigate a haunted house. Alone in an upstairs room, McNeal at first fakes visions, but then the ghosts really do come for him. They attack him and carve words in his flesh, and these words, claims the narrator, form the rest of the stories, stories written on a literal, living Book of Blood.

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The Midnight Meat Train Edit

A down-and-out man, Leon Kaufman, falls asleep on a New York City Subway train, later waking at a secret station beyond the end of the line. Kaufman encounters a man named Mahogany, who has killed and butchered several people and hung their bodies up on the train. Mahogany remarks that he will be forced to kill Kaufman to guard his secrets. Kaufman fights Mahogany and kills him in self-defense, but then the train doors open and strange malformed creatures board the train. The creatures eat the dead passengers, then force Kaufman to serve them as their new butcher, pulling out his tongue to ensure his silence. They tell Kaufman that Mahogany was getting old and could not do the job any longer, and that Kaufman now has a new career. It is also revealed that the creatures have also been the secret rulers of New York City for centuries. The police have always covered up for the creatures. Kaufman finds he now has lifetime employment.

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The Yattering and Jack Edit

Jack Polo is a gherkin importer who is haunted by a minor demon called the Yattering. The demon is commanded to haunt Jack by Beelzebub, the "Lord of the Flies", because one of Jack's ancestors reneged on a pact made with the demon lord. The Yattering is frustrated when its determined efforts to drive Jack mad are answered with good cheer and apparent obliviousness.

Unknown to the Yattering, Jack is purposely ignoring the demon to frustrate it and to maintain his own sanity. The Yattering subjects him to increasingly severe torments, including killing his cats and terrorizing his family, but all fail. Eventually Jack tricks it into violating its orders, allowing Jack to take advantage of a loophole and make the Yattering his slave.

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Pig Blood Blues Edit

Former policeman Redman starts working in a borstal, where he uncovers a deadly secret involving a boy named Lacey. Lacey claims that a missing boy named Henessey is not missing but is present in the form of a ghost. As Redman investigates, he finds that things are not what they seem, and that a giant pig in a sty on the grounds is possessed by the soul of Henessey, having transferred his soul into the pig to live forever. "This is the state of the beast...to eat and be eaten."

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Sex, Death and Starshine Edit

Terry Calloway is directing Twelfth Night in a run-down theater. The production is not going well. Terry conducts a distracted affair with his leading lady, Diane Duvall, a former soap opera star who is a dreadful actress. A mysterious man in a mask, Mister Lichfield, tells Calloway that his wife, Constantia, would have been a better Viola. Aside from Constantia being dead, Terry cannot replace Diane because her television renown provides a boost to the show's publicity.

On the day of the final rehearsal, Mr. Lichfield confronts Diane about her lack of "style" on the stage. He states that his wife will play the role of Viola on opening night. Diane removes Lichfield's mask, revealing him as an animated corpse. Lichfield kisses Diane, and she slips into a coma. Constantia is announced as the new Viola, and Diane is taken to intensive care. Following her "recovery", Terry realises during sex that she is undead, just before she kills him.

The play opens to a packed house. When the house lights are extinguished after the performance, the actors realize that the audience consists entirely of ghosts and decaying corpses. The theater trustee, newly-dead Tallulah, burns down the theater. Every living player in the production is killed. Several of the actors and Terry join Mr. Lichfield and Constantia on the road as a repertory company of the undead.

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In the Hills, the Cities Edit

Two gay men, Mick and Judd, take a romantic but strained vacation in Yugoslavia. In an isolated rural area, two entire cities, Popolac and Podujevo, create massive communal creatures by binding together the bodies of their citizens. Almost forty thousand people walk as the body of a single giant as tall as a skyscraper. This ritual occurs every ten years, but this time things go wrong and the Podujevo giant collapses, killing tens of thousands of citizens horribly. In shock, the entire population of Popolac goes mad and become the giant they are strapped into. Popolac wanders the hills aimlessly. By nightfall many of the people who make up the giant die from exhaustion, but the giant continues walking.

Mick and Judd come upon the smashed bodies of the Podujevans in a ravine awash with blood. A local man tries to steal their car to catch up with Popolac and reason with it before it collapses and destroys the people who compose it. The man explains the truth of the situation to Mick and Judd, but they do not believe his story. They seek shelter at a remote farm, where Popolac blunders into the farmhouse, killing Judd accidentally. Mick and the elderly couple who own the farmhouse are driven mad with fear. Mick wants to join Popolac. He climbs up the tower of ropes and bodies, and is carried away as it walks into the hills.

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Notes & Trivia Edit

  • "Pig Blood Blues" is slated to be adapted into a film.
  • The line "stale incense, old sweat, and lies," from "In the Hills, the Cities", appears in the song Sin on the album Pretty Hate Machine by the American industrial band Nine Inch Nails.

External Links Edit



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