Clive on Six Destinies

"Where are we going?" "There's a man called Doctor Talisac who has been conducting experiments on my behalf for several years now." "What kind of experiments?" Urbano wanted to know. "I hoped he would perfect me a soldier. Make a fighting machine that was not susceptible to fear." "Has he succeeded?" "No. Not so far. Nor do I have great hope for him now. He's addicted to many of his own medications, and . . . well, you'll see for yourself. But there was one failure of his which might be useful to us now." "A useful failure?" Bogoto said, somewhat amused by the paradox. "We need a creature that will drive the unholy elements out of Primordium. I believe he has such a creature."

The collective name for the background stories to the Tortured Souls figures, this novella was not originally planned for publication in its own right, and attracted fans of Barker's written work who might not otherwise have been tempted by the McFarlane figures. (See our Toys and Games pages for more on the figures themselves.)
Those who did buy these 'objects of veneration' found a 1,000 - 2,000 word history accompanying each of the 6 figures; character studies which interconnect to create the history of Primordium...

"Think of the text as free Clive Barker stories which go with the models. And I felt that the models cried out for explanation. I don't want to use the word toys, they're something more than toys, they're objects of veneration. These models look like they have a history. And of course if you look at 'Where the Wild Things Are' Maurice [Sendak] already wrote the book, you know what the history is. I felt it wasn't a lot, a couple thousand words, but if you add all that together, it's still 12,000 words of original Clive Barker, which will be, I think, pretty dense with clues and details."

Tortured Souls Presentation

By Clive Barker & Todd McFarlane, Q&A moderated by Joe B. Mauceri at the International Toy Fair, February 2001 (Note - Variously reported as 'Toys For Torture' by Girlcreeture at and as 'Dark of the Eye' by Joe Mauceri at

"I suppose each story is a little morality tale, perhaps that would be the best way of putting it, connected by the theme of transformation. "You definitely get a feeling of personality from each one - I think that will be strengthened when you have that little piece of back story because that will also strongly help you create an ambience around them... "Maybe people will buy the dolls, throw out the story and just play with them. If people are interested in the story, then, yes, there's a chance that I might very well put it together or put it on the Internet or publish it. But the first place to find it is right beside the toy, just to give you a sense of history, a little bit more than you would get if you were just to simply open the plastic packaging."

The Damnation Gang

By Gina McIntyre, Wicked, Volume 3, No 2, May/June 2001

[Re Tortured Souls] "I promised what I would do if I was going to go into the idea of figurines I would make the most intense figurines I could make... I've written a story, a six-part story, so each character gets a story to go with them. And if you collect all six you get this huge Clive Barker piece of fiction."


Transcript of radio appearance on Loveline with Dr Drew & Adam Corolla, 11 July 2001

"I figured it would be nice to have some kind of narrative that supported the figures. Often, obviously, these figures are derived from a narrative. I mean, a lot of Todd's (McFarlane) Spawn characters are derived from a narrative that people already know, ie. the Spawn comic, and we were creating figures together that had no such history, so it seemed as though it would be a plausible, interesting idea to add a history, to give them a history. So, what I've done is I've written something between one and a half and three thousand words per toy. If you read them in the right order, if you wish to do that, they make one large novella about thirteen thousand, fourteen thousand words. If not, you can have, you know, a narrative bite, if you will, which gives you some enriching backstory to the characters. "[There's] a city called Primordium which I will certainly go back to. It is a city of insurrections and anarchy and dark sex and... there's a lot of sex in the story (laughs) and a lot of revenge... "I wanted the world to feel like one of Webster's plays where you've got this kind of effortless fantasy where in The White Devil there's this kind of casual reference to one of the characters being a werewolf. And, you know, nobody makes a big deal out of it. There it is. The feelings that people have in Webster's plays, the profundity of their anger and their need for revenge and their twisted sense of possessiveness over one another, particularly over women, turns them into monsters even if they take human form. I wanted very much for Primordium to be that world and be a place where the least of the creatures is monstrous. Sometimes monstrousness can be beautiful."

Clive's Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy Year

By Smilin' Jack Ruby, 13th Street, 12 July 2001 (note - full text online at

"The stories are about how a group of individuals fall in love and find redemption in this dark place. It's actually, in a weird way, rather optimistic."

Toying With Torture: Clive Barker Wants To Play With You

By Luke Y. Thompson, online at, 12 July 2001

"Hello friends! We have some exciting news! Subterranean Press will be publishing the novella for Tortured Souls, soon after the publication of Chiliad: A Meditation. As an added bonus, it will be fully illustrated as well."

Facebook Updates

By Clive Barker, 18 July 2013

...other comments

Todd McFarlane : "We can't do a 400-page novel. So we're doing the 'Reader's Digest' condensed version of hell on earth. "Let me just add that for the consumer, I don't care how you get your peace of mind. There's two ways to look at it. For $8.99 you either get a terrific model and free Clive, or get a little novelette and a free toy. It makes no difference to me."

Tortured Souls Presentation

By Clive Barker & Todd McFarlane, Q&A moderated by Joe B. Mauceri at the International Toy Fair, February 2001 (Note - Variously reported as 'Toys For Torture' by Girlcreeture at and as 'Dark of the Eye' by Joe Mauceri at

Edward Bryant : "Needless to say, all six people/creatures are on course, some on eccentric orbits, the rest merely coping with nearly unbearable difficulties, for collision and potential disaster. The tone here carries a haunting aura of doomed romance. Though the fiction suffers a bit from it's serial construction and a touch of do-it-yourself editing, it's still a praiseworthy example of bravura storytelling.
"But let's be brutally honest for a moment. Once you destroy the considerable collector's value of the six blister-packed figures by cutting them open so you can read the story, you might as well let your creative imagination run riot. Imagine the impressionable friends you can drive screaming from your presence once they see the imaginative dioramas possible when Barbie and her buds run face-to-face with Venal Anatomica and the mongroid!"


By Edward Bryant, Locus, Issue 489, Vol. 47 No. 4, October 2001

Six Destinies bibliography...

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