Clive on Imajica

'Who are you,?' he found himself asking.
'Pie'oh'pah,' the man returned, his voice perfectly matched to the soft expellations of those syllables.
'But who?'
'Nobody and nothing,' came the second reply, accompanied by a backward step.
He took another and another, each pace putting further layers of sleet between them. Gentle began to follow, but the fall had left him aching in every joint, and he knew the chase was lost before he'd hobbled three yards. He pushed himself on, however, reaching one side of Fifth Avenue as Pie'oh'pah made the other. The street between them was empty, but the assassin spoke across it as if across a raging river.
'Go back,' he said, 'or if you come, be prepared...'
Absurd as it was, Gentle answered as if there were white waters between them:
'Prepared for what?' he shouted.
The man shook his head, and even across the street, with the sleet between them, Gentle could see how much despair and confusion there was on his face. He wasn't certain why the expression made his stomach churn, but churn it did.

"What can I say? It's enormous, very fantastical, very sexual. It's also very perverse. I suppose it's inevitable that when you've just finished something you love it to death, but I really am very happy with it."

Clive Barker's Letter From America

By Allan Bryce, The Dark Side, No 10, July 1991

"One of the things I feel passionate about is writing stuff that contains stuff I want to say. That sounds like an obvious statement, but a lot of fiction, what we might call airport fiction - the book that you leave on the plane even if you didn't finish it - doesn't really have a lot to tell you, doesn't have a lot to say. I want to communicate things to people. I have passions I want to communicate and Imajica was written out of a passion to write about God."


Transcript of radio appearance on Loveline with Dr Drew & Adam Carolla, 15 May 1997

[Imajica took] fourteen months from the time I first put pen to paper till the day I turned it in. That was writing seven days a week, 14 hours a day. Towards the end it was 16 hours a day. But it was a book which obsessed me, right from the very beginning. I don't quite know yet why that is. Part of it was the fact that the sheer scale of it required total immersion if I was going to pull it off. If I hadn't gotten it right - and I hope I've gotten it at least part right - then I would have looked like a real fool, because here I am dealing with Christ and God and magic and all that stuff. And when, halfway the book, the audience realises that Hapexamendios is the same God that people are worshipping when they go to Sunday Mass, the danger was that the audience would say, "Oh, give me a break. I'll accept the idea of an invented god, but now you're asking me to believe that this god is Jehovah, this god is Yahweh, this god is the God whom people worship in the Western world," and that's a very different thing from one of the gods of a [Stephen] Donaldson novel. There is a danger of alienating [some readers]. I am sure there are going to be people who will say, "Sorry, this is too long." But I also think there's an audience that says, "Give me everything , tell me everything you can tell me." Over the last 40 years there's been a huge and consistent audience for Lord Of The Rings and there's certainly a huge audience for the Dune books. I wanted to create my own legends; I wanted to create something that my readership could enter into and invest their time and emotion in and feel deeply about over a period of many days, or even weeks, and that would stay with them as a world they could enter and re-experience if they wanted.

Boundless Imajination

By WC Stroby, (i) Fangoria, No 109, January 1992 (ii) Horror Zone, No1, August 1992

"Is Imajica mainstream? I don't know what we mean by mainstream. If it means that I'm writing less horror fiction then that's certainly true, but I think Imajica is as strange and elaborate a book as anything I've ever done. In fact , I think maybe more strange and elaborate so I'm not sure that I'm becoming mainstream. I think that what's happening is that the world of Clive Marios Kascarika (CCG Card) Barker is getting more mapped. I hope that people are beginning to get a sense that there is not just one vision but a series of interconnected visions. I think it's very far from mainstream, very far from the works of Amis or... well, who is mainstream these days anyway? Whatever it is, I can't imagine it's anything like Imajica. Lovecraft seems generally designed to create a sense of dread in people and I don't intend Imajica to do that at all. I'm much more concerned with giving people a sense of uplifting adventure, an adventure that will lead to places of transcendence. The other thing is that Lovecraft creates and suggests these places without detailing them and I'm doing the reverse. I'm giving people a very detailed account of these worlds, their flora and fauna, their cultures and philosophies are all there, laid out in great detail on the page."


By Jon Gregory, Hellraiser No 2, 1991?

"The worlds which open up in Imajica, just in terms of their physical scale, not to mention their metaphysical scale, are so much larger than I would have dared attempt even a couple of years ago. My readers, and they number in their hundreds of thousands, are very glad that they have more than the shock tactics to engage them through an 850-page book. And remember, the horror, the darkness, has never gone. Imajica has still got some very dark passages in it. So have The Great And Secret Show and Weaveworld. What's been added is this, hopefully, transcendental level. What's also been added is a sense of thoroughly created worlds; I mean worlds with names, tribes, flora and fauna, religions, cults and so on. I did hint at dimensions hidden in secret places in the horror fiction, obviously , and a lot of it contains the sense that if you open the wrong door you're going to find yourself lost in another world. The way I'm doing it now, it's not just opening the door but knocking down the whole damn wall and saying, "Here it all is." The readership, I think, is very excited by that prospect. In order to get through a big novel like Imajica, both as a reader and as a writer, you need mystery - and you can't have one mystery, you need to have many. There's a pulling away of the veils constantly. What I've tried to do to the reader is say, "There isn't the solid moral clarity of Lord of the Rings". I do the reverse of that. Imajica's characters are human beings like you and I who, of course, discover a larger purpose for themselves. But in discovering a larger purpose, rather than becoming more themselves - like the hobbits out there in the wilderness becoming more hobbity - my characters skin themselves. The lives they have fall away."

A Strange Kind Of Believer

By Stan Nicholls, Million, No 13, January - February 1993

"It's 825 pages, and it's a massive fantasy epic. It's exactly the sort of work that people have begun to associate with me, in that it's filled with strange worlds and strange people. It's filled with eroticism and dark imagery. It's also probably my most optimistic book to date, and it certainly covers the widest canvas. It is set in five different worlds, one of them being earth, and Imajica is the collective name for those worlds. I've just gotten off the phone with my publisher and the book, although not even out yet, is going in for a second printing. There's just been a tremendous response.
"Well, it's taken me 18 months to write Imajica, and I've been very demanding. Just before that I wrote The Great and Secret Show which probably took about 10 months. This book is so huge, that the mythology took many months to create. There are literally hundreds of characters , and many different worlds described in great detail. It's not the sort of thing that you can simply dash off. I hand-write everything. Now, I've done three drafts on Imajica, which comes to about 14,000 pages. When you're working on a novel, you really must give your life over to the project. This is my eleventh book, and I'm fortunate to know that the audience is there for it. I'm not just writing in the dark."

The Clive Barker Interview

By Mike Lackey, Marvel Age, No 107, December 1991

"It's awfully dense. It was the book I promised myself I would write before I was 40. The big mutha about Christ, God and The Meaning of the Universe! And I'll do another around the age of 50. I think there's probably five of them in me before my earthly span is up. It's a whole other experience to write something like that. A year and a half of your life. An obsession. A singularity of focus."

Satanic Writes

By Craig McLean, Scotland On Sunday, 29 November 1992

"Imajica started with my thinking about the images which appear in the great paintings of Christian mythology. Whether or not they're true, they seemed to me to be a potent, powerful and important cyphers of image and meaning. So I considered writing a book which would be a fantasybut which would also be about God, about belief , about a man who discovers that all his life he has been prepared for an act of massive consequence but didn't realise it. In Imajica we have someone who is like the half-brother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but who is completely unaware of the fact. Not only this, but he also had a massive past responsibility which he has screwed up and forgotten. A lot of this came from the feeling that there is so much more in us than we completely comprehend, that our day to day lives with their petty annoyances perhaps shouldn't distract us from a grander and deeper perception of ourselves."

Barker USA

By David Howe, Starburst Yearbook 1991/92, Special No 10

"As Weaveworld stood to the story of the Garden of Eden, this stands to the life of Christ. It's about what magic is really for, and it's not for bringing rabbits out of hats."

The Meaning of Magic

By Mark Salisbury, Fear, No 22, October 1990

[on a sequel] "Boy, a sequel to Imajica just doesn't seem possible to me. It is my favourite amongst my books. But it ends with the hero beginning on a journey of salvation that I'm not sure I would ever want to set to words. Sometimes it's just best to allow readers like yourself to dream the rest."

AOL Appearance

Transcript of on-line appearance, 1 September 1995

"It's a big book. The working title for it was Tales of a Wanderer in the Five Dominions. Of the five dominions, one is Earth, the other four aren't. It's about the history of magic going back to 18th century England, and the claims that he mythical have on the mundane. It's set in New York, London, in the past, in the present and in four worlds of very different kinds. There's a large romantic element in it and a large sexual element - or should I say erotic rather than sexual? I think the people who enjoyed Weaveworld are going to find many of the same themes taken up afresh. The element of horror which has been diminishing in my work is still there, but it's not as important as the element of the fantastique."

New Releases

News by Michael Brown (?), Dread, No 1, July 1991

"I would hope that I'm a better writer by the time it comes to Imajica than I am 6 years previous when I'm writing Weaveworld. I would be tempted to agree with you that Imajica is a superior book, on the other hand, there's a fairy tale quality to Weaveworld which I like...but I love Imajica and we have Imajica societies around the world and people who study it in academic tomes and all that stuff, yeah, no, it's very gratifying."

Transcript of interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, 9 November 1988

By Brian Hayes

"Imajica is one of those books that people either love or just don't get along with at all. One of the reasons they didn't get along with it was because of its length. The people who love Imajica love it like no other thing on the face of the earth. They come to signings clutching it and they've read it four times. One guy came over to me and said, "This is my Bible". I think the people who feel close to Imajica feel the same kind of commitment that I felt to Lord of the Rings. That this was something that was a complete vision which you entered and had its own metaphysic and so on. I think a lot of people decided that the first paragraph was indicative of how difficult the rest of the book was going to be. They probably said, "Who the fuck is Pluthero Quexos?" and they were out of there. I love the book. I mean I love all of my books but I love Imajica particularly because of the scale of its ambition."

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

By Michael Brown, Dread, No 11

"Hapexamendios, the villain of Imajica, is the personification of that God. He is the personification of the joyless, loveless, corrupt thing which has over eons created his own city of his own flesh. It happens to be, when you look at it, an extraordinary city, a glorious city. But when you look really closely at it, you see that it a completely empty city. There's nobody there, there's no love there, there's no joy there, there's compassion there because there are no people there. It's just a self serving system of self glorification. Hapexamendios is, in a curious way, it's prisoner. He's finally dispatched simply because he wanted to destroy Goddesses. So the second part of the problem of the patriarchal God is that he's been so successful, that he's basically beaten out all the women, beaten out the matriarchs, and beaten out the Goddesses. While I'm I not saying that every Goddesses that was out there was a good Goddesses, because clearly there were some real villains among them. I'm sure really terrible things were done in the name of Goddesses, human sacrifice, castration, and all kinds of other things. I do believe that a certain balance is healthy. And the balancing off of images of divinity in both sexes is what's important here. The balancing off of the goddesses against the God, the image of procreation as against the image of the fertiliser. Enup, the sky goddesses of Egyptian mythology, overreaching the God who lies below. A wonderful, frightening image of sexual compatibility and geographical compatibility of nature, of light and dark. What we've got in our system is one but not the other. We've got this incredibly one-sided vision of what the divine is. What Imajica does is create a mythology in which we go about trying to understand why Hapexamendios has done this. What terror it is in men that makes them control and engage in all kinds of villainies against women. What a mingling of desire and envy will do. You look at most of the males in Imajica, they have one of the other where women are concerned, and in some cases they have both. So that is where that mythology is based. "


By [Stephen Dressler and Cheryl Bentzen], Lost Souls, Issue 1, [June] 1995

"I sat down to read [Imajica abridged for audio]. After about a half hour I broke out into a cold sweat. It was an incredibly painful experience. When you spend a year and a half writing a book, you're crushed to find only 17% of the book remaining."

The Relaunch of Clive Barker

By Jeff Zaleski, Publishers Weekly, 24 September 2001

"Oh Lord! It's hard to play favorites when all of these books expressed , at the time of writing, some profound need in me. I guess if I have to have one book of mine tucked under my arm when I appear at the Pearly Gates, it will be Imajica.
[re. concept of Imajica as a movie] "I think it's impossible. In fact, I HOPE it's impossible! I believe strongly that there are experiences which are best left on the page. An example: though I enjoyed Patrick Stewart recently playing Captain Ahab, nothing will ever convince me that the poetic density and metaphorical richness of Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick has a cinematic equivalent. Somehow, what is a literary vision of the page simply becomes a big ol' whale story on the screen. I fear the same thing would happen with Imajica: that once the language which is used to describe this spiritual journey is removed, much of its power will be diminished.
[Re. Imajica being a real possibility] "Yes, in a strange way I do believe it's possible. I don't believe that our consciousness has fully grasped the complexity of reality, or, perhaps I should say, realities, in which we live. Our imaginations seem to offer us glimpses of other possibilities, other states of beings, other dimensions. I believe we will one day access those dimensions. The book came about because I wanted to write a spiritual quest story in the form of an enormous religious/metaphysical fantasy. A big ambition.
[Re. possibility of Imajica II] "I don't think so. Though I have once in a while played with the idea, I suspect there are simply too many other stories I need to tell. Other dimensions I need to visit."

People Online Appearance

Transcript of on-line appearance, 30 July 1998

"[re. Imajica II] Absolutely not, I think. Some books you just feel are finished and closed. You feel like it would be a violation to open the narrative again. This would be one of them. I love that book, but I would spend two years writing a sequel in a sweat that I was fucking up the first book by writing another one."


By [Stephen Dressler and Cheryl Bentzen], Lost Souls, Issue 6, January 1997

"Imajica is my favorite amongst my books. I don't think there will be a sequel, simply because I feel as though thematically the narrative was satisfying and complete in itself. That is not to say that I might not wake one morning having dreamt a sequel into being. Imajica was a book which was fueled by literally dozens of dreams, which informed the direction of the narrative and the nature of the imagery."

Horror In Books And Movies: Clive Barker

By [ ], USA Today Online Chat, The Nation Talks : Live, 31 October 2000 (Note - full text at

"There is going to be an Illustrated "Imajica." A modestly illustrated one but an illustrated one nevertheless. The same edition will also have a very extensive appendix created by Hans Rueffert who did the 'Imajica' game which will be a kind of guide to 'Imajica'. I'm getting it today so I am very excited to see it. It will make for a whole new edition."


By Craig Fohr and Kelly Shaw, Lost Souls at, 18 May 2001

...other comments

Richard Kirk : "Interestingly, I had read Imajica when it was first published and I have a distinct memory of saying out loud, 'I'd love to illustrate this book!'
"Over the years Hans [Rueffert] and I became close friends and we were always working up projects together. Clive asked Hans to do the appendix and when he mentioned this to me I naturally said, innocently, 'That would look rather wonderful with some illustrations', or something like that.
"Originally the illustrations were only intended to be spot decorations but it was rather like trying to fill a teacup from a fire hose. The illustrations kept growing in scope until they were full page."

Richard Kirk's Imajica Portfolio

by Phil and Sarah Stokes for Revelations, 30 September 2002 (note - full text here)

"Barker surpasses his previous ground-breaking work to reconfigure the Fall and to imagine a modern-day attempt to reverse it...An astonishing feat of the imagination, immensely engrossing despite its demanding - at times indulgent - length, running riot with ideas, fantastical inventions, graphic sex and violence, soul-terrors, and emotional and intellectual resonances. Barker's best yet."

Imajica - review

Kirkus Reviews, 1st August 1991

Jon Gregory : "Although Imajica is definitely a departure for Barker (albeit a minor and inevitable one) there are, as mentioned before, many parallels to his earlier work in evidence. Most notable of these is the continuing obsession with religious imagery and, more specifically, messiahs, and the recurring idea that women are somehow intrinsically different to men; possessing unexplained powers with the ability to transform (either themselves or others - see the gruesome hidden talents of Jacqueline Ess in volume 2 of The Books of Blood, and Babette and her mother in Nightbreed) or unleash tremendous supernatural powers, most prominently seen before in the form of the menstruum in Weaveworld. This motif is taken to an extreme with the suggestion that women are an entirely different species.
"Essentially, the book is a Barkerian reworking of the Christ myth, complete with the requisite monsters and mayhem associated with one of his books. It is a step away from his other work, but it is a step upwards. This will undoubtedly be reflected in sales as it is a far more accessible book than he has ever written before; it is far greater in the scope of imagery and thematic concerns. The meaning of life, the universe and everything may not be revealed (it's 43), but it offers us some far more interesting and imaginative alernatives."

Imajica - review

By Jon Gregory, Hellraiser, No.2, 1991

W.C.Stroby : "Barker bravely takes on the Big Questions - love and death and God and sex and oblivion - makes up his own answers and fashions them into a book full of myriad surprises and rewards. Imajica is audacious, arrogant and subversive in the most imaginative and visionary of ways. It's Barker's best work yet."

Imajica - review

By W.C.Stroby, Fangoria, No.109, January 1991

"Barker's prodigious imagination delivers magicians, doppelgangers, Boschean creatures of staggeringly varying descriptions and a pantheon of gods and goddesses seduced by power and redeemed by love in a story of violence, occasional unconventional eroticism and mesmerising invention."

Imajica - review

Publishers Weekly, September 1991

Imajica bibliography...

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