A Trip to the Circus with Darren Shan

I wrote this piece in 2014 after attending Darren Shan’s event at The Edinburgh Book Festival. I’ve had the pleasure of going to the Book Festival for the last four years and I never miss Darren’s events and signings when I’m up there. The Master of Horror always puts on a good show, so I thought I’d dig out last year’s review and post it on Books, Films and Random lunacy.

Darren Shan’s 2014 Edinburgh show, ‘Zom-B Continues’ was a mixture of terror and delight as Darren took a hungry audience of all ages to the circus. Young fans and older horror-connoisseurs alike waited, foaming at the mouth for the arrival of their darkly adored author.

Blown in by the cold unforgiving Edinburgh wind, typical for a regional August, Darren began to enthral the crowd with stunningly gory extracts from his latest tale ‘Zom-B Circus’. A brain-munching short story which was written as an addition to the Zom-B universe and isn’t essential reading to the whole series, but fits neatly amongst the other books and is a fast-paced piece of undead fun.

Shan, the Ringmaster lead the audience into his blood-stained circus tent as he read precisely crafted scenes depicting mutilated flesh and brains which were exquisitely transposed upon the imagination. The consciousness of his audience, a canvas on which Shan painted deliciously disturbing creations like Mr Dowling; a psychotic clown who is an unstable hybrid of Hannibal Lector and a homicidal mime.

As the crowd went ‘Ooh’ ‘Ahh,’ and ‘Awah,’ in darkly comedic audience-participation, he dragged us deeper into a circus realm of twisted mutants and gory variety acts all of whom were horrifically controlled by the deranged clown, Mr Dowling.

The Master of Young Adult Horror then began answering questions from his fans, his animated responses to a vast amount of queries gave the show yet another dimension.

Within the ocean of gore which Darren Shan expertly weaves, there lies an undercurrent of consciousness which transcends the bounds of young adult writing. The event was thought-provoking and fun, showing us that the demons of fiction are not the only ones to fear. Darren Shan is not simply a horror writer but a true artist with an extensive body of work. His stories are consistently unpredictable, and as Zom-B continues, it can only get more intriguing.


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