David’s Haunted Library: The Human Condition

DavidsHaunted

28368109Terror, murder and madness are all part of the human condition. We try to hide the fact that we have evil thoughts inside us and we don’t speak about the things that scare us the most. Like what bad things a person can do to another or even to themselves in a desperate situation. The Human Condition by Mark Taylor is a collection of 17 stories that have to do with the dark side of life, such as what happens when a person is driven to madness or faced with their worst nightmare.

The first story in this collection and one of my favorites is Christmas At The Mill. The story is about a man named Jimmy who gets trapped in a room at his work over the holidays. He wanted some peace and quiet and got much more than he bargained for. I love the simplicity of this story, it’s just one character and his struggle to escape his situation. I loved how the tension builds in this story and how everything was described. Mark proves here that you don’t need a lot of elements to tell a great story.

Another good one was Bobo. This was about a man named Tim who works as a clown on a famous children’s TV show. Things start to go bad for Tim as he starts having visions of everyone in the studio audience dying. Is Tim going insane or is his subconscious trying to tell him something? Once again I loved the storytelling here, I liked how Tim sees himself as crazy, but as the story moves along you see that’s not the case. I especially liked the ending to this one.

Each story in this book is well written and focuses on characters that are just average people put in gruesome, horrifying situations.  I love character driven fiction so I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology. Mark Taylor made me like every person in this book, which made it that much scarier when they were put in danger. When I finished reading this I wondered if Mark Taylor can make short stories this good, then his novels must be excellent.

An Interview with Mark Taylor

Our featured author for episode 125 of the HorrorAddicts podcast is Mark Taylor. Mark recently answered a few questions for us about his work:

What is your story for episode 125 about?

Crossing Guard CoverThe excerpt comes from ‘Total Entertainment’, a short story from my collection ‘Strange’, published in 2015 by Eleventh Hour Literary Press. It is a dark dystopian telling of a future where employ is everything, and where dreams have become a commodity in the entertainment industry. Dreams are sold as interactive simulations.

The story has been so well received that my publisher has contracted me to turn the short into a novel, which will be coming out later this year, entitled: ‘A Night at the Dream Theater’.

What inspired the idea for using dreams as a virtual reality game in the future?

I was thinking about where the next stages of entertainment were coming from. With virtual reality now becoming a reality (if that makes sense), what next?

My answer was of course something similar, but in a place where every journey, every game, is different. You are experiencing a reality created only by a subconscious. Which of course doesn’t limit the experience to someone’s imagination. A theme explored more in the novel.

When did you start writing?witches tea party_small

I tinkered with writing when I was a teenager. My English teacher seemed to think I had a penchant for it, however, life gets in the way, and I ended up as a guitarist in a metal band. After that it just fell to the wayside. I picked it up again when I was in my thirties, and haven’t looked back since.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

If you’d asked me two years ago I would have said horror, straight up and without a doubt. These days? Well, I suppose I prefer things a little less cut and dry. I like to experiment with genre particularly, and ‘Dream Theater’ not only bends genre, it’s a bit of a brainteaser itself. I think of it as extreme horror with a spoon of hard science fiction, and a drizzle of humor. So I suppose I’m leaning more towards the weird and surreal at the moment.

And skinning people. For some reason a lot of my work has human skinning in it.

Who or what inspires you?

It’s a mixture of things, to be honest. I love reading. I read a lot of indie work, which I feel is important. I also love the masters too. But on top of that I’m a massive film buff, horror in particular. So all of that inspires what I write, but my inspiration to actually get down and get on with it? That would be my wife. She’s my rock.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Strange CoverIt’s the ability to be able to do whatever I want. Had a bad day at the office? Someone’s getting murdered tonight. It allows me to vent my frustrations as a person as well as my frustrations as a writer. It allows me to delve into the human psyche…and fiddle with it.

And on top of that? I love the reactions from my readers, but not with the gore and splatter stuff, but when I write things that ‘get’ to them.

What are some of the books you have available?

I have a few short story collections, ‘Strange’, as I have already mentioned, but also ‘The Human Condition’, and ‘Small Cuts to the Psyche’. I have a couple of novels, ‘Shutter Speed’, and ‘Redemption’, and two novella series, ‘The Devil’s Hand’, and ‘Witches’.

Where can we find you online?

You can find my website at Mark Taylor Official, my blog where I ramble and review atMark Taylor’s Blog, and on social media on Facebook at Mark Taylor Facebook, or twitter atMark Taylor Twitter.