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Naggar Literary Agency. Recalling Pride and Prejudice , this debut stars Charlotte Lucas who, at 27, married the only man who had ever asked her, thinking she could be content. According to the publisher, Blaise shares an underlying message of interconnectedness with fun facts, humorous anecdotes, and appealing artwork. In this twisty new thriller from 1 bestselling Hoag, a boy is murdered by an intruder but his mother is left alive and well.

A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a quiet coastal town in Maine—and to a string of unsolved murders in this haunting tale of romantic suspense from this internationally bestseller author. He stole because irresistibly drawn to the beauty of art. Based on extensive new interviews and research, Riesman pens a biography of the legendary Marvel Comics creator and impresario.

Barshad investigates powerful scheming advisors — the dark figures who wield power in the shadows — from Grigori Rasputin himself to the Sinaloa drug cartel, from international film studios to the inner workings of Korean politics. Making her debut, Page offers a haunting novel that explores the power of parenthood, identity, lust, and the legacy of trauma. The lives of two Los Angeles neighbors—a wealthy African American housewife and a Rwandan refugee—are upended by ghosts from their past lives. From Giller Prize—nominee Price comes a novel set amid the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late s, centered on the real-life last prince of Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi, as he struggles to complete his only novel, The Leopard.

The bestselling author of the Detective Lynley series of mysteries delivers a practical step guide to putting together a novel. From a former criminal defense attorney comes a literary debut novel about a young L. In December , young, rich and beautiful Paula Jean Welden disappeared without a trace.

In her fiction debut, Ryan imagines the many possible fates that befell the real-life Welden. From multiple award-winning author of both YA and adult books comes a new novel for adults that explores a family that is forever changed by a teen pregnancy and the child it produces. Five cantoras, women who sing, defy their ruthless government where homosexuality is a dangerous transgression and discover the isolated Cabo Polonio, which they claim as their secret sanctuary. The novel follows the women over 35 years as they move back in forth between the cape and home fighting to live authentic lives.

When a young, unknown artist loses her home and her seven billboard-sized paintings in a fire, she wangles her way into a glamorous artist retreat where the mysterious death of a brilliant young artist shadows her every move. In this YA novel, a young woman home on break from college represses the memory of a horrible night on campus. But when a year-old girl for whom she babysat is murdered everything begins to unravel.

This is an updated, repackaged edition of the divination tool and party favorite that has sold more than one million copies and been in print for two decades. In his first standalone thriller in over a decade, Iles serves up what the publisher is calling a sweeping tale of friendship, betrayal, and long-buried secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi. AMC is developing it for television. This debut novel is a literary courtroom drama about a Korean immigrant family and a young, single mother accused of murdering her autistic son.

The story of a deranged time, it deals with father-son relationships, sibling quarrels, unforgivable things, racism, the opioid crisis, cyber-spies, science fiction, and the end of the world. In this work of bestselling nonfiction, McNamee, the tech venture capitalist, early mentor to Mark Zuckerman and investor in Facebook, recounts how he woke up to the serious damage Facebook was doing to our society and set out to try and stop it. A Silicon Valley-based futurist whose clients include Disney, Samsung and the CIA, explains how reducing hours cab create better, happier, more productive and creative workplaces.

The authors show how the assumption that machines should anticipate what we need and defer to what we want, rules our modern lives. They also reveal how user-friendliness was invented and reveal the design principles that will have staying power. From the acclaimed author of Tubes , a tour through the global network that predicts our weather, from satellites circling the Earth, to weather stations far out in the ocean, through some of the most ingenious minds and advanced algorithms at work today. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

shawna the black babysitter chronicles book 3 Manual

To subscribe, click here. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. But we don't. We put people on the the registry for life, as if an year-old is no different than a year-old. We insist on lifetime therapy as if a person needs to visit a shrink every single week, for 40, 50, 60 years to learn a lesson. Not only is this obviously ridiculous, it has been proven ridiculous.

So here is Shawna Baldwin's tale. She is on the registry for life. Does this make any of us feel safer? Dear Free-Range Kids: My name is Shawna and I am a required to register as a sex offender for having sex with a teen when I was a teen myself. Here is my story. When I was 12 my mom befriended a neighbor in the apartment complex we lived in at the time.


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She was around at the time and I thought she was absolutely the coolest person I had ever met. I idolized her. She was more interested in being my friend than my mom's friend, and was there for me through some very bad times while we were neighbors. We moved and lost contact. Then when I was 18 we reconnected. She was around 31 at this time and hung out with her friend's year-old son.

I had moved in with her and the 3 of us became close friends. She would always tell me how much he liked me and that him and I could have mixed-colored babies and they would be so pretty. Which got my mind thinking about him in a way that was more than friends. On my 19th birthday she said she wanted to have a party and the 3 of us got drunk and played truth or dare.


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  8. She had us dance naked and kiss in front of her. Him and I had sex that night. The next morning she took him to his mom and she filed charges against me. I was sentenced to 6 months jail, lifetime probation and lifetime registry as a sex offender. I will be turning 34 in December and I'm still required to register and be on probation. If child readers accept the idealized fictional world of Goosebumps as an accurate representation of reality—and surely that's the intention, if the readers are to appreciate the ways in which the various horrors diverge from normalcy—then they are learning or confirming a decidedly limited view of what's normal.

    In Goosebumps, furthermore, this identifiable norm is not just an empty space. The protagonists share not only external circumstances but a character. They tend, in fact, to display all of the characteristics that I earlier suggested the marketing of the books encourages.

    Consider some typical passages:. She's jealous, Lindy realized. Kris sees that the kids really like Slappy [a ventriloquist's dummy] and that I'm getting all the attention. And she's totally jealous. I'm definitely keeping Slappy! Lindy told herself, secretly pleased at her little triumph. Andy pushed past him and took the can [of Monster Blood] from Evan's hand. You know. For the green snake thing. These scenes describe typical Goosebumps children.

    They are decidedly egocentric. They rarely report any feelings about others except insofar as those others' actions affect themselves. They are very conscious of the power of ownership. They often express envy over someone else's possessions or enjoy the envy created in others by their own possessions. They are also, and most notably, incredibly competitive. They compete for parental attention and about who will have the best science fair display and just about anything else.

    And in all of these competitions they are less interested in what they might win than in the mere fact that they have won. But most significantly, these children compete to see whether they can scare each other. These books focus almost obsessively on the effort of children to frighten other children and on the importance of not being frightened. All of this material is presented without question or comment, as normal—as what children usually are, and as what readers are invited to identify with and imagine themselves to be.

    Nor, as we might expect from our reading of more critically acclaimed children's fiction about similarly hardnosed, self-involved, and self-trusting children, do these children find their values particularly questioned by the events of the plot. In "Most Intriguing: R. Stine," People quotes Stine as saying, "I have no crying, no hugging, and the kids never learn anything about themselves. Anything new, that is. The children's books that adults tend to admire most often encourage identification with characters as an invitation for readers to change as the characters do and learn to be better—to grow up.

    Consider just about any Newbery Medal winner. Goosebumps apparently encourage identification to reinforce the idea that no change is necessary. Once more, Goosebumps seem to be in the act of confirming values that do perhaps govern mainstream culture and that are of great value to commerce: egoists and competitors are excellent consumers.

    But as I suggested earlier, it's exactly values like these that adults often work hard to dissuade children of, to make seem aberrant and monstrous. In allowing these monstrosities without comment, Goosebumps once more work to make the theoretically aberrant normal. Into this world comes a more obvious horror. Each book in the series describes how a child confronts something obviously and undeniably monstrous.


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    6. Being monstrous, the monsters of horror are by definition unnatural, abnormal. The monster is an extraordinary character in our ordinary world" It isn't much of a stretch to conclude that monsters represent that which our conceptions of normalcy exclude or deny—what we see not only as aberrant or deformed, but as frighteningly so, come to life and interfering with normalcy.

      Most theoretical considerations of the meaning of horror focus on the significance of that disruption. From a psychoanalytical point of view, horror represents a return of the repressed. The psychoanalyst Ernest Jones once suggested that the imagery of horror is repulsive but entertaining because it manifests forbidden or repressed wishes.

      The disgust we feel for the monsters of horror masks a desire for that which we are not supposed to desire—hence the thrill of engaging the disgust and the pleasure we get from it. Speaking of fantasy in general, Rosemary Jackson offers a similar dynamic, but puts it in the context of cultural forces:. The fantastic traces the unsaid and the unseen of culture: that which has been silenced, made invisible, covered over and made "absent. In this light, it is revealing that something like horror fiction first appeared in the late eighteenth century; in a time when Enlightenment thinking celebrated the triumph of reason and order, the "Gothic" novels of writers such as Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe explored the disordered emotions and irrational possibilities that the culture generally worked to suppress as primitive or counterproductive.

      Seen from these points of view, all fantasy is subversive; in her subtitle, Jackson calls it "the literature of subversion. If what passes as normalcy in Goosebumps is frighteningly combative and self-seeking, then the monsters might well represent something readers might find more comforting—a way of moving beyond the egocentric values of consumer culture. The monster might in fact be a means of expressing subversive and desirable alternatives. If they are alternatives, though, that doesn't necessarily make them subversive. According to Jackson,. In expressing desire, fantasy can operate in two ways … it can tell of , manifest or show desire expression in the sense of portrayal, representation, manifestation, linguistic utterance, mention, description , or it can expel desire, when this desire is a disturbing element which threatens cultural order and continuity expression in the sense of pressing out, squeezing, expulsion, getting rid of something by force.

      In many cases fantastic literature fulfils both functions at once, for desire can be "expelled" by having been told of and thus vicariously experienced by author and reader. Stephen King , the most successful contemporary writer of horror fiction for adults, offers a theory of fantasy that focuses on this kind of expelling.

      According to King,. The story is always the same in terms of development. There's an incursion into taboo lands, there's a place where you shouldn't go, but you do, the same way that your mother would tell you that the freak tent is a place you shouldn't go, but you do. And the same thing happens inside: you look at the skeleton man or Mr. Electrical or whoever it happens to be. And when you come out, well, you say, "Hey, I'm not so bad. I'm all right. A lot better than I thought. From this point of view, the whole point of horror is that it comes to an end.

      The monstrous is evoked only in order to be expelled. King's own novels confirm his theory; in the ones I've read, normalcy always returns at the end. Furthermore, ordinary people, often children, have a hand in making that happen: the normal actively works to conquer and expel the monstrous.

      But Goosebumps books don't necessarily follow that pattern. Sometimes the horror just disappears, or is destroyed quite by accident. In Night of the Living Dummy , 7, for instance, one of the evil ventriloquist dummies that have begun to exert control over the girls operating them is suddenly and accidentally run over by a steam roller; and in Go Eat Worms! Sometimes the children do something to defeat the monster—figure out a defense, as in The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight , Sometimes, in fact, they don't defeat it—it gets them, as at the end of Be Careful What You Wish For , 12, where the main character turns into a bird.

      And sometimes one horror disappears—perhaps defeated by a child—only to be replaced at the end by another Ghost Beach , If Goosebumps are in the business of expelling subversive ideas, they are going about it in strange ways. Indeed, and paradoxically, King's adult novels read like fairly straightforward and highly formulaic wish-fulfillment fantasies, in which unheroically ordinary underdogs triumph over grossly perverse monsters, clearly represented as evil and in need of being expelled, in order to regain and celebrate the norm; whereas the theoretically simpler Goosebumps represent a much more unsettled and more complex state of affairs, one in which underdogs sometimes appear to lose and in which the monstrous is not always in fact expelled.

      Are Goosebumps then actually subversive of normalcy in ways that King's own novels are not? I can begin to answer that question by returning to the context in which horror arises: normalcy as Stine represents it. The world of Goosebumps is already filled with questions of fear and horror and monstrosity even before actual monsters enter it. As I suggested earlier, a majority of the characters are practical jokers, busily engaged with their friends or siblings in a game of scaring and being scared. And as Stine continually makes clear as he describes these competitions, he or she who scares best wins power—is recognized and admired as a victor by the victims and by others.

      As a result, the protagonists often wish that they could scare the wits out of someone who is always scaring them, or who gets at them in some other way. In this context of feigned monstrosity, the actual monster is often indistinguishable from and at first confused with the jokes. The monster's power seems less an aberration from normative values than a hyperbolic expression of them.

      That monstrosity might be merely normal seems to be confirmed especially in those Goosebumps in which child protagonists actually become monsters themselves. Having tried to win power over their friends by pretending to be monstrous, and having then had to acknowledge merely by being frightened the fearful power of real monstrosity, these children finally become as scary as the original monsters that scared them—frightening to others and, therefore, triumphantly powerful.

      These books then offer a double vision of the monstrous.

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      It is both what one fears because it is frightening to oneself and what one must learn to desire because it is frightening to others. The characters in these books often actually express this double attitude; readers must always experience it in order to enjoy fully the pleasure the novels offer. Carroll suggests that horror fiction engages its audiences by putting readers and viewers in the position of characters to whom horrific things happen so that "the emotional reactions of characters … provide a set of instructions, or rather, examples about the way in which the audience is to respond" If Carroll is right, and if a child reader accepts the invitation to identify with a protagonist early in these novels, then the instructions that Stine gives have unsettling implications.

      These books offer child readers a variation on Darwinism, based on the survival of the scariest: in a world where fear is power, you must learn to be the most frightening of all. That dynamic seems to account also for another group of Goosebumps books in which the protagonist is actually defeated by the monster. Here, horror triumphs. We have no choice but to feel tricked or unhappy and dissatisfied, or else to withdraw our identification from the protagonist and view the protagonist's defeat as a happy ending, thus again confirming the power of horror.

      In books in which the child does defeat the scary thing, furthermore, the victory tends to involve doing something scary. In Stay Out of the Basement , 2, for instance, a child must wield an axe to cut down a mutated plant that looks like and might actually be her own father. This axe-wielding potential father-murderer is easily as frightening as the horror she attacks. Indeed, she must be willing to be frighteningly single-minded in order to win. Thus, scariness triumphs again—once more confirming the power of horror. In some other books, finally, the horror ceases without any action being required on the part of the protagonist.

      It just ends, or an accident does it in. This ending also confirms the power of horror. Its essence is its anarchic ability to upset norms, defy expectations. Horror comes of its own will and goes of its own will. Mere normal mortals do not, in fact, have any power over it. Thus, these different sorts of endings share similar implications. In a world of fear, being monstrously frightening is not only normal but necessary. Furthermore, whichever one of these things happens in any particular book also seems to be entirely a matter of random choice.

      I could easily imagine each of them actually happening in each of the books, had Stine chosen that day to make that happen. And this sense confirms a peculiar randomness that is one of the most distinctive qualities of the series. The most typical characteristic of series fiction is its adherence to formula. It offers readers pleasure by following a common pattern of events and by always focusing on the same kinds of characters, events, and interests.

      But for all the stereotypical normalcy of their characters and settings, Goosebumps are oddly unformulaic in plot. While the plots always involve some child being scared by something, they develop in apparently random ways, without adherence to a specific sequence or pattern. It often seems at the end of a chapter that something truly horrific has happened—and then, at the beginning of the next chapter, it turns out just to be some ordinary object lying on the floor that looked like a monster.

      But only sometimes. The next time around it actually does turn out to have been a monster. Or maybe it doesn't. Sometimes a scary event turns out to have been a dream. Or sometimes it doesn't. A reader can never really know which. And that seems to be the point. Fear emerges when the unexpected happens; in the context of reading a horror story, the unexpected sometimes happens when the unexpected doesn't happen.

      If it didn't, we would learn to expect it and cease to be frightened by it. In this context, the apparent randomness of Stine's endings merely confirms the apparent randomness of earlier events. No matter how any one of the books ends, the series as a whole suggests that horror never stops, that normal order is never firmly established.

      This is a random world we live in, and it continues always to be so. Even the provenance of horror—what accounts for its existence—is random. Stine sometimes offers scientific explanations for monstrous events or creatures as in Stay Out of the Basement or in Piano Lessons Can Be Murder , sometimes supernatural ones such as witchcraft Monster Blood , 3 or ghosts Welcome to Dead House , 1 , and sometimes none at all. There is no cohesive system of knowledge or faith or ethics that has the power to contain and control the randomness of reality.

      Once again, the disruptive anarchy of horror is less a disruption of normalcy than an exaggerated expression of it. In King's novels, the opposite is true: horror represents the opposite of normalcy. Indeed, it represents an opposition to normalcy. King often insists that his monsters derive their power from the willingness of some of his characters to give in to their own antisocial tendencies, to indulge in excessive violence or illicit lust or uncontrolled anger.

      Stine's world is neither so innocent nor so meaningful. Since horror doesn't necessarily represent anything evil or antisocial, or emerge because people have fallen away from an ideal, it can appear at any time for no reason whatsoever. And while some kinds of faith or action can sometimes defeat a specific manifestation of horror, sometimes they can't.

      In such a world, being innocent, or trusting ideals of love or concern for others, or having hope or optimism are not particularly wise choices. It's no wonder that Stine's children manifest none of these values. Since how you act or what your ethics are has little to do with whether or not horror happens to you, your only wise choice is to be prepared for anything by fearing nothing, by being fearsome, by being the scariest monster in a monstrously anarchic world.

      In their egocentric self-seeking desire to be frightening, Stine's children define the best response to horror in a horrific world. Once more, horror is merely the way things normally are. If Stine's monsters merely confirm the monstrosity of what he depicts as normal reality—what, indeed, he appears to believe is normal and perfectly acceptable reality—we might ask why he bothers to write horror fiction at all.

      If the world is itself already horrific, what can possibly be gained by introducing actual monsters into it? Isn't it scary enough already? The answer, I think, is that it's too scary. According to one of Stine's characters, in fact, "People need to create monsters…. It helps us to believe that the real world isn't quite as scary" You Can't Scare Me , As I hope I've shown, the dynamics of Goosebumps replicate the desirability of exactly the behavior that is taken for granted by their protagonists and encouraged by their marketing: be egocentric, be fearless, be a winner.

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      These might well be "normal," even desirable, characteristics in the market-oriented consumer society contemporary children are growing up in. But they are not the values the adult establishment usually works to encourage in children. Nor, as the popularity of King's novels with adults makes clear, are they the values many North Americans hold as ideals, claim allegiance to, and like to imagine operating in our lives—or in the lives of children.

      Stine's books reveal a tension between what we claim to believe and would like children to believe and the values many of us actually act on and often unwittingly encourage children to act on. If that's the case, Goosebumps represent a particularly interesting case of the expression of what Jackson calls "the unseen and unsaid of culture": not, as Jackson implies, that which has been declared disorderly or illegal or forbidden, but that which has been declared disorderly or illegal or forbidden to notice or to acknowledge or to celebrate. As I read them, Goosebumps do in fact notice, acknowledge, and celebrate the forbidden, through the clever stratagem of presenting it not only as fantasy, but also as monstrous and horrific—and then celebrating the power of the monstrous and the horrific so that it comes to seem both fearful and desirable, both the most antisocial evil and the ultimate social good.

      According to Fredric Jameson, "the aesthetic act is itself ideological, and the production of aesthetic or narrative form is to be seen as an ideological act in its own right, with the function of inventing imaginary or formal 'solutions' to unresolvable social contradictions" The Goosebumps books represent such a solution. The problem being solved is this: in an atmosphere of declared allegiance to principles of charity and societal regulation, we must at least pay lip service to the principle that the kind of fearless and frightening egocentric competitiveness that might increase one's personal capital in a world of feared negative behavior—horrific, in fact.

      And we have a particular obligation to teach children our declared ideals. On the other hand, and though I'm sure most adults wouldn't acknowledge it, I'm convinced that many of us also want children to know exactly how very theoretical these ideals are and how little they do or should govern their actual behavior. Even if we don't believe or aren't aware that our adherence to the ideals is theoretical, the push to make adherence to them merely theoretical is certainly a fact of mainstream ideology. In order for that which has power to maintain itself in our consumer culture, children must grow up to be good consumers, that is, self-gratifying competitors with the will to win enough money and the power to indulge themselves at will—people whose actual commitment to self-sacrifice or concern for others is minimal.

      As I've described them, Goosebumps solve this "unresolvable social contradiction" in a number of ways. First, they present egocentric behavior, and particularly the competition to frighten others, as an inevitable given in the behavior of the "normal" children they invite readers to identify with. Furthermore, the books are silent about the moral or ethical implications of this behavior. It is simply the way things are, and presumably the only way things can be; as Stine says, he doesn't try to change his readers. Then, and most significantly, after establishing this norm of conduct and the wish to be frightening as a typical goal, the books represent the theoretically antisocial as monstrous, a move that seems to separate the typical and therefore non-monstrous child protagonists from what they have desired and to make its supposedly antisocial danger clear.

      But the separation also makes the monstrous fantastic, a clear intrusion of the imaginary into normal reality that divests it of its relevance as a real concern in terms of a reader's own desire or behaviors. If the monstrous is, after all, only a fantasy, it is not something to really be concerned about in one's own life. Having thus been divested of dangerous relevance, the fearful power of the Goosebumps monsters can be enjoyed without any conscious awareness of the implications of their various triumphs. The readers who respond as Goosebumps invite them to respond both desire that which is theoretically monstrous and fearful—they value fear—and are not aware of that desire.

      In other words, for these readers, the monstrous has become normal. The monstrous has become allowable. Goosebumps are merely ordinary. Should adults approve of children reading Goosebumps, "as long as they're reading something"? The answer to that question depends on the degree to which the adults in question themselves accept what Goosebumps invite young readers to believe and to become. Do we share these values ourselves? And do we want young readers to share them also?

      Whether we do or not, I think it's safe to postulate that, for most child readers, Goosebumps are more likely to confirm and to amplify their already existing sense of themselves and the world than to challenge them. That seems likely simply because of the astonishing popularity of the series.

      Best-selling fiction, almost by definition, is that which tells readers what they like to hear, what they know already. The books are likely to be inherently conservative and to work to confirm attitudes that maintain the status quo. They are likely to encourage readers to believe that what they already know about themselves and their world is the complete and only truth.

      And they do exactly that. The values of Goosebumps are the most common values of the playground at least once adult eyes are turned. They are also, I suspect, the values adults in contemporary North America most usually have to cope with and act by in their daily lives, despite hypocritical claims to tolerance and concern for others. And perhaps just as significantly, they are the values represented in popular television shows and movies and toys directed at audiences of children.

      By the time most North American children get around to reading Goosebumps, they will have already spent a lifetime immersed in cartoons and commercials and tie-in toy sets that mirror the monstrous normalcy of the world of Goosebumps. They will know the place already and feel quite comfortable in it.

      If the popularity of Goosebumps distresses us, then, it should not be because they represent an aberrant outbreak of the monstrous in the otherwise benevolent world of children's culture. Yes, children should be reading Goosebumps—but with an active critical awareness that prevents the world they describe from seeming merely ordinary and merely the ways things always and inevitably are. I'm basing these observations on presentations on Goosebumps that I've made in a variety of forums, attended by parents, teachers, and librarians, and also on surveys done by students in various of my courses exploring the attitudes of a wide variety of adults toward the series.

      In a May listing of "Children's Best Sellers," The New York Times Book Review reported that "the most popular books on these lists are, overwhelmingly, the new Goosebumps' series … Sales for the Goosebumps' series are nearly equal to the total sales of all the other 15 ranked series combined.

      In October , in fact, Marc Silver suggested that "the 38 paperback volumes might be literature's most popular series, selling more than 1 million copies a month. The same marketing ploy that successfully launched Goosebumps is represented in more extreme fashion in the Barforama books, launched during the summer of The success of the series, which consists of theoretically hilarious stories about children vomiting and excreting and otherwise eliminating various forms of bodily waste, depends exactly on the degree to which adults express disgust with it and with children's enjoyment of it.

      I'm thinking particularly of It. But unheroic humans defeat horrific forces in almost all of King's novels. The willingness of "typical" Americans to give in to various of the seven deadly sins allows fantastic monstrosity to enter an otherwise nonfantastic world in, to name a few, Cujo, The Shining, It , and Needful Things. In discussing his reading of such literature, John Cawelti suggests that "its purpose is not to make me confront motives and experiences in myself that I might prefer to ignore, but to take me out of myself by confirming an idealized self-image" Paradoxically, here, being "taken out" of oneself is a matter of not having to consider the uglier implications of being one-self as one already is—and therefore, of not actually being taken anywhere, of remaining exactly where one is already.

      This confirms, curiously, Stine's observation that his readers "never learn anything about themselves. Philosophy of Horror, or, Paradoxes of the Heart. New York and London: Routledge, Cawelti, John. Chicago: U of Chicago P, Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion.

      London and New York: Methuen, Jameson, Fredric. Ithaca: Cornell UP, Silver, Marc. It's R. News and World Report 23 October We've Closed the Gender Gap with Horror! Broderick, pp. Lanham, Md. Because of the immense popularity of his Fear Street series, which has become a classic in the horror genre, R. Stine is the author best known to most young adults today. Many people credit Stine with single-handedly transposing horror, formerly an adults-only medium, into a YA genre.

      He certainly was the first to do so with purpose and in volume. Before condemning Stine for popularizing the horror genre with teenagers, however, we must remember that horror always was popular with them; Stine was simply the first to bring it down to their reading level. Any high school teacher of English will tell you that horror has been a favorite reading genre of YAs for a long time.

      Witness the perennial popularity of Edgar Allan Poe in junior and senior high school English classes—an assignment that invariably sent boys scurrying to the library for more. This unaccustomed male enthusiasm for literature always made English teachers and librarians smile. But, until recently, until Stine, that is, there was little more in the genre that could be offered to teen readers to fan this flicker of interest into a white-hot flame.

      Edgar was simply unique. Then, adult horror author Stephen King appeared on the scene. It was probably no fluke that Stephen spent many years as a high school English teacher before he scored big with his eye-popping, mind-riveting tales of terror. The only trouble was that King was, and is, an author writing for adults. Although librarians booktalked his novels in high school, much of his material remained too heavy and too long for junior high readers. Cujo, Firestarter , and Pet Sematary , his most popular titles with YAs, are less popular due to story than to size.

      And there were adults who lamented rather than applauded the fact that fifth and sixth graders were walking out of libraries with the latest edition of The Baby Sitter's Club under one arm and the latest horror novel by Stephen King under the other. They felt that horror somehow was not appropriate for this tender age group, especially horror as written by Stephen King. Consternation increased when Dean Koontz, another adult horror author, was added to the list of writers of high interest to teens and tweens. Then, Hollywood entered the picture.

      The film industry, which for years had capitalized on the seemingly endless appetite of teenagers for low-budget horror films in which teens are the victims of mayhem and murder committed by slightly more than—or less than—human ghouls, suddenly found itself with a series hit on its hands. A certain half-human monster with a scarred face and razors for fingertips decides to wreak vengeance against all the teenagers, especially the babysitters, who live on a particular street. Consequently, in every film, at every slumber party, neighborhood dance or teenage tryst, you know that Freddie is going to appear and "clean house" in spectacularly bloody style.

      Film producers were amazed that no matter how many times they repeated this basic plot, teenage moviegoers flocked back for more. A low-budget, low-brow movie series was born. And, at its heart, was the theme of mindless violence against teens. But, it was violence with a twist. Violence laced with black humor, and violence that was, at its heart, moral. Teens who became victims were teens who were shallow, egotistical or hard-hearted. Plucky heroes and heroines, with more admirable qualities to offer, survived by their wits, their physical skills, or their meager stores of learned knowledge.

      Mention series and success and the ears of every publisher in the United States automatically perk up. It did not take long for canny editors—and authors—to figure out that if Hollywood could do it, they could, too; that here was an untapped teenage market for books. Especially series books. The formula was simple. Teens like horror, they like it even more if it is directed against their age group; they want horror that separates the weak from the strong, the virtuous from the dirty, the high-minded from the shallow.

      They like monsters and the supernatural. And they want lots of gore. In short, they want a morality play. Once they had figured out the formula, publishers let loose a juggernaut of horror fiction that swept all other genres before it, that emptied library shelves and bookstores, had librarians and parents pulling their hair and shaking their heads, publishers smiling all the way to the bank, and kids yelling for more.

      They left no part of the YA audience unserved. They wrote for fifth-graders, third-graders, pre-teens, young teens, and high schoolers. Fifth-graders read it for goosebumps; high schoolers read it for laughs. But everyone reads it. Quite simply, horror fiction has achieved something that no other genre except the mystery novel had ever managed to do—and even then camps of readers were divided by whether the detective at work was male or female.

      It is not politically correct today to refer to "boy books" or "girl books" but every librarian and every teacher tacitly understands that such divisions do exist and have to be attended when providing teenagers with books. Horror, on the other hand, is asexual. It affects all readers alike, male or female. It does not matter whether the protagonist is Jack or Jill or Joan or Jerry. What they all have in common is terror before the unknown, the unthinkable, or the unspeakable. The way that horror fiction has swept all other fiction genres aside in the s proves what a powerful thing literature can be when the subject matter appeals to both male and female readers alike.

      Do you realize what this means? No single author has played a greater role in the democratization and juvenation of the horror genre than R. Perhaps because of his work with juvenile magazines, he realized which way interests were tending long before his contemporaries did and, consequently, got the jump on them. But it was more than just getting the jump on your fellow authors; it included being very good at that particular kind of writing. If we perceive Stine as the "Father of YA Horror Fiction," therefore, or perhaps, more appropriately, the "Stineway" of teen horror, it has to be an honorific, not a pejorative title, for he certainly is the best in a field that is crowded with poor imitators.

      Stine's years of experience with children's magazines helped him develop a style that is unique, being gracefully and grammatically written in a simple vocabulary that does not talk down to readers but is pleasing and satisfying while providing a fast, easy read. In the final analysis, it is probably the quality of these plots that make him stand head and shoulders above other horror writers. Had Stine been a less excellent craftsman, it is possible that horror would not have gained the foothold that it did among YA readers; had he been less prolific, it may have proved to be a short-lived phenomenon.

      As it was, Stine provided the talent and the productivity almost single-handedly to keep readers interested in horror while other publishers were scrambling to find horror writers and series of their own. Like Hollywood with its teenage slashing ghoul on Elm Street, Stine chose the vast stage of a suburban street on which to base his horror series.