Horror: A study on Cliver Barker part 20, The inhuman Condition.
Welcome to part 20 of my study on Clive Barker. Today we will be looking at Clive Barker's short story The Inhuman Condition.
The story begins with a gang of youths beating up Pope, a vagrant. Karney, the MC, is part of the group and ends up stealing a string with three knots on it (a knot puzzle) from the homeless man. Karney becomes obsessed with solving uniting the knots and works endlessly to solve the riddle. One night, while Karney is out with his friends, he unties the first knot and releases a monster, a reptile looking creature. The monster attacks one of Karney's friends which results in the friend's death. Afterword, the monster disappears into the wild.
At the Funeral, Pope finds Karney and demands that he return the knots before any more damage can be done. Karney refuses and Pope attacks him. Karney's friend Red and Red's girlfriend Anelisa comes to the rescue and they are able to get away from Pope. During the struggle, the knot finds its way into Anelisa's hands; Later, when she is at home, she ends up untieing the second knot. A new Ape-like monster appears and kills Red.
Karney arrives at Red's home to discover Red's body, the knot, and the new monster. When Red's father comes home, Karney and the monster flee from the house. Karney returns home with the knot, only to receive a phone call from one of his friends. Pope is holding the friend hostage and demands that Karney returns to him the knot.
Karney confronts Pope, however, Pope slits the friend's throat and gives chase to Karney. Karney, in a moment of desperation, undoes the last knot and releases that last monster, a giant, mutilated fetus. The Fetus, capable of human speech, calls the other two monsters to him. The three monsters merge together to form a full grown man. The man, who is Pope's brother, disembowels and kills Pope, then disappears. The story ends with Karney finding a book full of spells next to Pope, hinting at the fact that Pope was a wizard of some type.
This is a really great story and I highly recommend it. There are two things I made note of that I thought were really brilliant.
1. I really like the way Clive Barker uses puzzles in his works. The hellbound heart is very similar in that a puzzle box calls forth monsters. What I really like that the use of puzzle though isn't the fact that they summon monsters, it is the fact that part of the 'magic' of the puzzle is that is causes a person to become obese, dangerously, with solving it. The puzzle doesn't frustrate but invites the solver deeper and deeper into its mystery until it is too late. I'd really like to incorporate this idea/theme into my own work.
2. I like the display of magic that occurs in this work. I have nothing against Harry Potter-like magic, but, as an adult, I like when magic is displayed in a more sexual or grotesque manner.
This ends my look at The Inhuman Condition. If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave a comment or a like.
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