Clive on Cabal

Suddenly some part of it reached for him, out of the flame. Whether limb, or organ, or both he had no chance to see. It snatched at his neck and hair and pulled him towards the fire. Decker's blood didn't shield him now; the ice scorched his face. Yet there was no fighting free. It immersed his head in the flame, holding him fast. He knew what this was the instant the fire closed around his head: Baptism.
And to confirm that belief, Baphomet's voice in his head. The pain was mellowing. Boone opened his mouth to draw breath, and the fire coursed down his throat and into his belly and lungs, then through his whole system. It carried his new name with it, baptising him inside out.
He was no longer Boone. He was Cabal. An alliance of many. From this cleansing on he would be capable of heat and blood and making children: that was in Baphomet's gift, and the deity gave it. But he would be frail too, or frailer. Not just because he bled, but because he was charged with purpose.

"One of the interesting things about going to Cabal after [Weaveworld] was that I found a new size which I'd never even tackled before, about 250 pages long. It's the right size for the novel. I think you've got to allow stories to occupy the length that they need to occupy."

Clive Barker in the Flesh

By Dave Hughes, Skeleton Crew, III/IV, 1988

"Essentially, I think the book's about the clash between 19th century and 20th century monsters. The 20th century monster is perfectly embodied by the psychotic, soulless serial killer. When I talk about the 19th century monsters, I think I use them without a trace of the pejorative. The world-weary vampire and the shape- shifter are figures that have a shamanistic power. They are images that are associated with the demoniacal because we give them that place in society. I'm not entirely convinced that they would be considered monsters in any healthy society - they would be seen as extensions of our appetite, extensions of what is fantastical and extraordinary."

Clive Barker Digs Deep for Horrors in Cabal

By Cathie Lou Porrelli, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 31 October 1988

"I'm so very critical of the tendency to write very big novels with very small ideas, which I think is so much the thing at the moment, that I 'm always trying, wherever I can, to match my subject to my form. I've just done Cabal, and Cabal is a short novel; I mean it will probably be 210 pages. I could have certainly made it into a much, much bigger novel - whether it would have been all the better for that I think is a moot point. I think, probably, it's better short and sharp."

Babel's Child

By Mark Salisbury, Fear, No 2, Sept/Oct 1988

"'Cabal' I'm very pleased with. It's a form of short novel that I've never tried before and I'm very excited by it. It's a romance for dead people!... .It's my hymn of praise to the monstrous. It's a book in love with monsters. What I've got in Cabal' is a running character who will continue through a series of short novels like Phillip Marlowe continues through Chandler. He's dead, he looks like James Dean and he fucks like a tiger!"

Chains of Love

By Mark Salisbury Fear, No 3, December 1988

"One of the things I wanted to do with the book was to set up a classic stalk-and-slash psycho, the 20th century monster on the loose - Decker - against the historical, mythological and fairy tale version of 'the monster' which is what Boone and the Nightbreed are. I have not moral but aesthetic problems with Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees and so on, and the notion that these characters are the stuff of which anti-heroes can be made strikes me as both morally dubious and also not very interesting. I wanted to say, look, this isn't really very attractive. Do we actually like these people - not only Decker, but the 'normal' human beings who make up the lynch-mob - do we really prefer these machismo-spouting bastards to the strange and the mysterious and the extraordinary? It's very convenient that, in 'Aliens', the strange and the mysterious and the extraordinary just happen to be all-devouring and actually very ugly... [re. similarities between 'Cabal' and 'Weaveworld'] Yeah, it's the same story. That was one of the things I wanted to do. I set out very consciously to write the flip of 'Weaveworld'. In 'Weaveworld', you enter a world of enchantment and mystery which turns out to have dark elements in it; in this, you enter a necropolis which turns out to have within it the capacity for transcendence. In both I'm dealing with invented worlds, and in that sense 'Cabal' is closer to fantasy than horror, because it has the structure of a fantasy, and the investigative quality, and the protectiveness we feel towards the invented worlds once we are there... This theme of acceptance, accepting even contradictions, ugliness and pain as part of life, is the most powerful theme in 'Cabal'. Midian is full of monsters, but each monster is monstrous in a different way, and their life, diverse as it is, is shown to be valuable."

Every Fear is a Desire

In London, September 1988 by Lisa Tuttle, Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden

"I wanted to do the reverse of what I did in Weaveworld which was to really cross the t's and dot the i's, give every detail of psychology and so on. In Cabal I wanted to present a piece of quicksilver adventuring in which you were just seeing flashes of things, Boone, Lori, the Breed, each character's psychology reduced to impressions. Part of the fun for me was to write it in short, sharp bites. The reviews for the book split into two camps. One was those people who enjoyed Weaveworld in all its detailed 700 pages and thought Cabal was too perfunctory, and the other camp thought Weaveworld was too large and enjoyed Cabal because of its speed. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but I never set out to make Cabal a work of Weaveworld's depths. I've had fan mail from readers thanking me because Cabal left them wanting more, which was part of my intention. By the time we come to the end of all three Cabal books, all those questions will be answered. And a lot more besides, things you haven't even dreamed yet."

Bring on the Monsters !

By Philip Nutman, Fangoria, No 87, October 1989 {Note : Interview took place in June 1989}

"My ideas for where Nightbreed II and III are going are so wild that I don't think comic books could do it. I'm very much watching over that and making sure that, while the Nightbreed characters can run riot on the pages of Epic for a while, the way they will run riot when I actually start to write about them again will be something completely different."

Boundless Imajination

By WC Stroby, (i) Fangoria, No 109, January 1992 (ii) Horror Zone, No1, August 1992 {Note : interview took place in August 1991}

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