Timothy Baker is a retired firefighter and an aspiring, perspiring, horror writer. He is published in Fading Light: Anthology of the Monstrous by Angelic Knight Press, and the forthcoming Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed from Tor. Tim has also received a commendation in the Australian Horror Writer’s Association 2009 Short Story Competition. His new book is Path of the Dead.
Science and religion are horror’s best friends. Have been a long time. From the birth of the modern horror tale — arguably the first science fiction story — science has been the bad guy, feared for its dabbling in God’s nature, revealing its terrifying secrets, and toying with the properties of The Creation. This view was a boon to the horror writer and an ugly bane for the scientist for over a century. Religion too — specifically Christianity — was a common central theme of horror tales, using its mythology of demons and devils and the worshipers thereof as deadly, soul scarring, hell-born antagonists. But religion had the upper hand; in tales, the faithful had all the weapons needed to defeat the children of the Beast: prayers, blessed waters, icons, all empowered by the strength of faith. Religion was the good guy. This imbalance was, and still is to some degree, the cultural norm of the reader’s, reflecting their fears and beliefs, and they got what they wanted in buckets of blood. But the horror winds are always a’ changin'; today is a very different time and the balance has swung the other way.