Horror and Science Fiction Book Display in Burling

February 18, 2019

The horror and science fiction genres have established successful roots in contemporary culture due to their great power to influence our thoughts and play with our emotions. As humans we are naturally inclined to be attracted to the sublime, the supernatural, and the unbelievable.

The beginnings of the horror genre can be traced to the 13th century with Dante’s Divine Comedy. Horror was largely limited and tied to religion, then in the 16th century a more gruesome type of horror appeared in plays like Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth. The 19th century gave rise to the Gothic genre which includes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Poet Paul Verlaine was the first author to give horror a definition, saying that “it is made of a mixture of the carnal spirit and the sad flesh, of all the violent splendors of the declining empire.”

As the genre of horror progressed, a new type of genre rose in popularity: science fiction. The science fiction genre is closely tied to horror since it brought about new fears and concerns of a new age and world. Some common themes were those of “fear of the future, of disease, of death, and perhaps most of all, fear of the unknown.” However, not all of science fiction is horror, some science fiction novels involve fantastic and exciting plots that are meant to spur new desires and hopes for the future.

Make sure to check out some of Burling’s books on horror and science fiction on the book display near the Peer Mentoring area and in the stacks!

Curated by Natasha Aguilar ’21 who is a Californian interested in psychology and neuroscience. She loves the horror genre and is Stephen King’s number one fan and hopes to one day meet him.

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