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Nelsmom
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Paranormal vs Horror

I have a question for anyone interested WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR OPION BETWEEN A BOOK BEING PARANORMAL VERSES HORROR? For me Horror seems so graphic and bloody that I don't like them. Paranormal has smome chill but does not seem so graphic and violent. I was just given a couple of Caitlin R. Kiernan's books which they list as Horror/Fantasy. So it made me curious to ask the question.

Toni
Toni L. Chapman
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Vampyre
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

To me. Paranormal is as it implies about anything not normal in everyday life. It generally includes super natural elements such as ghosts, vampires, WEREs and so on. The stories may have some scare factor but do not aim for that. They can be like any other story be it drama, comedy, or action but it has these elements in it.

Kim H.'s books are a good example of this. The story is about a witch bounty hunter/ private eye. She does all the things a normal bounty hunter/PI does but with a supernatural twist. The stories are focused on scaring us.

In horror, the main focus is on scaring the reader/viewer. Many writers resort to blood, guts and gore, but that's not always needed. Many horror stories also use the paranormal/super natural world as a setting but this isn't always needed either.


Alien is for all intents and purposes a horror story with a sci-fi setting. Jaws is a horror story about a big fish. The Twilight Zone told all kinds of bloodless horror stories and did it very well. Remember William Shatner and the Gremlin on the plane? That one scared the crap out of me when I was young.
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Nelsmom
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Vampyre,

Thanks for your view and I am looking forward to what others say. I like some fright factor but not into horror like Stephen King and Dean Kootz write.

Toni
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RavenZ
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Paranormal does not have to be scary.
Horror doesn't have to be weird, beyond normal.
"Normal" people do some horrific things. Stephen King can write about some very scary "normal" things.
The two aren't necessarily one in the same.
But they can overlap.
Just like you can have a horror that is also a mystery. Or a mystery that is also a romance.
Ya know?
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Nelsmom
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror



RavenZ wrote:
Paranormal does not have to be scary.
Horror doesn't have to be weird, beyond normal.
"Normal" people do some horrific things. Stephen King can write about some very scary "normal" things.
The two aren't necessarily one in the same.
But they can overlap.
Just like you can have a horror that is also a mystery. Or a mystery that is also a romance.
Ya know?


True RavenZ, I was just curious at how, what and why some books are classified Horror but also Paranormal. I'm not saying that there is any right or wrong just wanting to see how people feel. I am going to read the books I was given and make up my own mind but I like hearing others opions too. Also if anyone has read Threshold and Low Red Moon by Caitlin R. Kiernan what did you think of those books. No Spoilers please.

Toni
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paulgoatallen
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

[ Edited ]
Toni:
Good question – I guess the simplest answer is that Horror doesn't necessarily have to include elements of the supernatural or paranormal. Paranormal, on the other hand, is by definition a genre that incorporates elements that are unable to be explained or understood by science – vampires, ghosts, etc.

Paranormal can be Horror and Horror can be Paranormal so sometimes the line is blurred...

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 09-04-2007 01:58 PM
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Nelsmom
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Thanks Paul,

I know that everyone has their idea of Horror and I was just interested to hear their ideas. Because I know when I have gone to my local BN that I can find an same author different books in diffrent sections. I wanted to see what the different members in our group felt. Especially with Halloween drawing close. It seems like the authors or editors are bringing out of Fanged, Furry and Witchy friend in bigger numbers or maybe the just save them all up for now.

Toni
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Thewhitewave
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Well my feeling has always been that it was a question of motivation...

Paranormal writers tend to use the supernatural elements to intrigue and entice. You look forward to them, they become a plot element which draws you in... and in most cases the good guys have as many paranormal gifts as the bad guys...

Whereas in horror the supernatural element is used wholly and solely to shock and to produce fear. The good guys often have no supernatural gifts and often the story merely becomes a blood and guts fest in which the only aim is to survive.

Personally I love paranormal... I honestly can't abide horror!
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Scraggles
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

This is a great question, I've been thinking about it myself lately.

As an example, I tend to think of Dean Koontz as primarily a horror writer, but maybe that's because I read a few of his goriest offerings without realizing it and then just assumed the worst about the rest of his books?

Anyhow, I recently discovered his Odd Thomas series, and they are more paranormal than horror, though they do have plenty of chills. Definitely a good character.
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paulgoatallen
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

The bottom line is that if a book makes you check under the bed and in the closet before you go to bed, it's Horror!
Paul
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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LordRuthven
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Honestly...I think the difference sometimes comes down to the publisher. Ten years ago and before, books that would be considered "paranormal" were typically classed as "horror." A good example would be Karen Taylor's "Vampire Legacy" books, which were marketed as horror, but would now find a comfortable spot in the fantasy or romance section of a bookstore.

A lot of horror tends to revolve around powerless humans getting devastated by a supernatural force, but that is not always the case. Graham Masterton's Night Warriors series is like a very dark comic book, complete with superheroes. The same could be said about Brian Lumley's "Necroscope" books. I've never read them, but King's Dark Tower saga is more fantasy than horror. I could find other examples but I am too lazy to look right now! :smileytongue:

I personally like supernatural fiction where the main characters "take matters into their own hands," but where the monsters remain truly dark and genuinely scary.
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jadering
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

I agree with Vampyre's comments concerning paranormal vs. horror, that the aim is different. Speaking of Kim H., it bothers me that I will find her books categorized as a horror instead of paranormal, depending on what bookstore chain I go to.
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LordRuthven
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Personally, I am glad that there is no "paranormal" section...if I had my way, supernatural horror would be filed in SF/Fantasy, and the more psychological horror would be in Mystery/Suspense. Way too many genres out there.
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Vampyre
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

They just need a section call "Really Good Stuff". I don't like the idea of genres much. It seems like an artificial boundary or limit. It's the way of the human though. Everything must be classified and labeled in an orderly fashion no matter how wrong they get it.
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LordRuthven
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Genres are useful for helping readers find like-minded books, but they can become a bad thing when people write off something because it is in a genre they don't ordinarily read.

I've never seen a bookstore that got "genres" completely right. A couple of years ago, I worked in a bookstore and Anne Rice was shelved in "Fiction & Literature," but every Rice ripoff that came down the pike was shelved in "Horror." Thomas Harris was also shelved in "F&L," but every Hannibal Lecter clone was shelved in "Horror." "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" were not shelved in "Horror," either. H.P. Lovecraft? He was in "SF/Fantasy." So you wound up having to go to different sections just to make sure you didn't miss something cool.
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melaniejackson
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Re: Paranormal vs Horror

Horror is a bit like pornography-- you know it when you see it :-). That said, there are several authors that are labeled as 'horror' writers who do stuff that paranormal people might like-- Koontz, King, Hamilton and Laymon among them. It may also have to do with who is writing the majority of the books in a genre. Horror is still dominated by male writers, paranormal by women.
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