Why Write about the Dark?


I love the light - anyone who knows me will know that. But I love to read about "the dark", so when I invited celebrated author Stephen Zimmer to my blog, there was one burning question I had to ask: Why do we Read and Write about the Dark. Here's his answer, and welcome to the blog tour for his new Hellscapes novel, Days of Darkness. (Watch this space for my review, coming soon!)

Why Write and Read About the Dark?
By Stephen Zimmer

 The question of whether or not to write and read about the Dark boils down to a few stark realities, in my view.

Life isn’t fair, far from it, and there is a harsh, merciless side to it that everyone, sooner or later, experiences. 

Death looms at the end of life’s road, intractable, and genuine evil not only exists, but, I would argue, is pervasive.

What encompasses the Dark is an unavoidable part of every living being’s life experience, in terms of this mortal, and often difficult, world.  It is not something that goes away if we refuse to look at it, nor will it leave us alone if we engage in wishful thinking. 

Across the years, with greater experience of the world as it is, my view has grown ever stronger that creative expression provides a healthy outlet for people to confront the Dark and face it, become wiser to its nature, and give outlet to its presence in our lives and those of the people around us. 

More than any other form of media, books provide the most fertile ground for reflection and introspection on the darker aspects of this world.  Books engage the imagination in a unique and intimate way, as everything from the understanding of the words on the page, to the story told and the images evoked, are created within the mind.  

A well-crafted story allows both reader and writer to step out from their physical worlds and explore the nature of evil, the ways in which it manifests, and the kind of harm that spreads out from evil actions and choices.  A story about the Dark strips away the sugar-coating and illusory raiment, baring the ugliness and insidiousness of evil to full view, in a way that helps a person gain the kind of understanding to recognize its malignant presence lurking just under the surface, in so many areas of daily life and society at large.

It is my view that the ability to recognize the presence of the Dark, wherever it may be concealing itself or percolating, is necessary if one wishes to defend against it, counter it, push it back, or even destroy it.  I also think that confronting the reality of the Dark in a creative way also helps to reinforce the importance of, and need for, a desire for ultimate justice.  Even further, it can help grow one’s appreciation for, and love of, the things of Light.

The nature of the Dark, and the idea of ultimate justice and accountability, resound throughout my Hellscapes stories, whether in the three short story collections available at this moment, or in my first stand-alone novel in the franchise, Days of Darkness.  Evil is shown in many of its myriad forms, from the cruel and brutal, to the indifferent and cold. From the sociopathic to the psychotic.  Ultimate justice is meted out to the characters that choose to embrace the Dark, welcome it into their lives, and walk its path.

There is a sense of warning throughout the stories, a warning that calls to both reader and writer not to go down the kind of path that these characters have taken, a direction that has come as a full result of their exercise of free will.  Further, there is a catharsis of a sorts, offered to both reader and writer, that those who, in an unrepentant and willing manner, engage in great evil will not evade accountability for their actions and choices.  The idea of ultimate justice is a comfort in a world where it often seems that those who have been behind some of the worst evils slipped the mortal coil without ever having to truly answer for what they did.

The Dark can be disturbing, troubling, shocking, repulsive, and unnerving in its portrayals on the written page, but on some level, even if deep down, there is a powerful chord of truth that is struck.  Art and creative expression reflect life, and the things of the Dark are an ever-present part of this life, whether we wish to acknowledge that reality or not.

It is my position that it is a good and healthy thing to recognize the Dark, confront it, and understand it, so that we can, ultimately push it back, eliminate it, and bring greater justice to this world.  Writing and reading about the Dark can be of great help in achieving all of those aims; and it can help us value and desire the Light more than ever before.  The latter two aspects are, to me, perhaps the greatest benefits I have discovered when writing or reading about the Dark, and why I do.

I invite you to explore the realms of the Hellscapes, whether in my short story collections or in my new novel Days of Darkness, and I have a strong hunch you will come to a similar conclusion.  May these journeys through the infernal Dark bring you to a greater embrace of Light! 

________________________________________________

Thank you Steven, and what a great answer.

Here's a bit more info about the novel: Days of Darkness is a stand-alone novel, and marks the first full-length novel in the franchise following three volumes of Hellscapes short stories! Visceral and macabre, the Hellscapes worlds have strong appeal to readers who enjoy authors such as Clive Barker, Wayne Barlowe, H.P. Lovecraft, and others!

Get ready for a thrill ride into the Hellscapes realms!


Synopsis of Days of Darkness:

Ambrose awakens to find dense, rolling layers of ash-gray clouds spanning to the far horizon, shrouding the city beneath in a drab pall.  He begins his day, thinking it no different from any other.

Though it is in the height of summer, an icy, anomalous chill sifts into the air later that day, until it becomes colder than the depths of winter.

Then, the sun sets, and darkness falls.

The night does not end, as there is no sunrise to follow.

Bizarre and frightening apparitions begin appearing across a city and world shrouded in an inexplicable darkness.  It is only the beginning of an unfurling, deepening nightmare, one that will take Ambrose on a terrifying journey of self-discovery and revelation.

For Ambrose, and everyone in the world around him, the Days of Darkness have only just begun.

Find Days of Darkness here:

Print Link: https://www.amazon.com/Days-Darkness-Hellscapes-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/B0CSG46ZYK/

eBook Link: https://www.amazon.com/Days-Darkness-Hellscapes-Stephen-Zimmer-ebook/dp/B0CSFBL131/


About the Author:

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and broadcaster based out of Lexington, Kentucky. His titles as an author include the Rayden Valkyrie Tales (Sword and Sorcery), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), the Hongvi Shadow Walker Tales (Sword and Sorcery) the Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot. Stephen also co-hosts the Star Chamber Show, a weekly live audio podcast on PodBean featuring creative talents from around the world.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Find Stephen online at:

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

 Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

 X App (Formerly Twitter): @sgzimmer

 Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

 Threads: @stephenzimmer7

 TikTok: @stephenzimmer7


Find out more: Follow the Tour:

6/17      Sapphyria’s Books                                       Blog Guest Post

6/17      The Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn               Blog Interview

6/17      War Dove   (YouTube channel)                    Podcast Interview

6/18      SandySaysRead BookTube Channel           Podcast Review

6/19      The Book Lover’s Boudoir                             Blog Review

6/20      SandySaysRead BookTube Channel           Podcast Interview

6/21      Sako and the Moon                                       Podcast Interview

6/21      Sheila’s Guests and Reviews                      Blog Guest Post

6/21      Eccentric Tea Woman                               Podcast Review                                

6/23      Deal Sharing Aunt                                       Blog Interview

6/24      The Literary Underworld                             Blog  Guest Post

6/24      Sheila’s Guests and Reviews                      Blog Review

6/24      John A.Douglas YouTube Channel             Podcast Interview


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