Endless Forms: Mediums of Fiction

Earlier this week I listened to Red Barchetta by Rush. Haven’t heard it? Give it a listen. Red Barchetta is a narrative song about a future in which a ‘Motor Law’ bans many vehicles, such as everyday cars. Every week, the story’s protagonist sneaks out to his uncle’s old farm and takes an old sports car, a Red Barchetta, for a spin on the country roads. The music ramps up in intensity as the car picks up speed, and cymbals crash in time with guitar crunches as the Barchetta is spotted and chased by modern air cars. This would make a brilliant story, I think to myself. But then, it’s already a story – there are different mediums of fiction. Red Barchetta is a story written in sound instead of sentences.

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Winter Chills: The Christmas Ghost Story

’tis the season,” I cry, wolfing another mince pie.

Another mulled wine, Liam?

’tis the season!

What shall we watch now?

Ah. Well. Christmas really would be incomplete without a Christmas ghost story, wouldn’t it? ‘tis the season for a wintertime chiller: snuggling down in front of the television with a haunted house and a hot chocolate, ready for a scare or two. I think the Christmas ghost story has a seasonal charm as essential to the festive period as Christmas dinner. A ghost story is both a pleasant diversion from the happy festivities and an important complement to them. And when better to indulge in some spooky atmosphere than in the bleak midwinter?

Chills and thrills

A ghost story is distinguishable from a horror, and the two should be distinguished in as far as the Christmas ghost story is concerned. While horror films are, well, horrifying (just look at Black Christmas), ghost stories should be unsettling and creepy. Horror implies a level of graphic detail, of explicitly horrifying material. Ghosts work through implication, through effect. Stretched shadows, creepy creaks, pallid things half-glimpsed through windows…

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