Horror vs. Science Fiction (for me as a writer)

My collection, 14 DARK WINDOWS, contains a mix of horror stories and stories about people from everyday life.  All were written a while ago, and when I selected the stories for the collection (and to publish individually), I felt that these were the ones that held up best.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have any science fiction stories, but I didn’t feel they held up all that well.  Technology bypassed them.  Computers have gone so far past the imagined systems in my story, which is titled “An Artificial Yearning”.  The story was ABOUT computers (well, it was actually about people and isolation and some other things, but computers were integral to the plot), so to have them be so different from what I wrote back then made it lose credibility, even to me.  I can rewrite it, but so much would be changed, it might be a completely new story.

My other story of note was “No Time Like The Present”, and it was about a time travel paradox.  I submitted it to a few different publications and was told that it was sort of the same old thing as far as the plot went.  That doesn’t really mean much; I think it’s still a good story, but I don’t know.  I read it and think it reads okay.  But does it hold up over time?

Horror holds up over time.  A ghost story is a ghost story, a tale about demonic possession is still the same after ten years.  Maybe after a hundred years.  Look at Lovecraft – his stuff still inspires people today.  Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, shapeshifters, zombies – they’re all still out there scaring people today.  Yes, the “feel” of the writing is different (thanks, Mr. King!) but the old tales hold up.

I guess that’s why the horror stories worked.  I guess it’s why the stories about people worked, even after 10+ years.  It’s why my science fiction did not hold up nearly as well, even in my own eyes.