Horror/suspense author Thomas F. Monteleone brings Randian conservo-libertarianism into the Twilight Zone.
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Monteleone might not have a head on a rope, but he sure as hell knows how to ring a bell.
Yet he toils primarily in a genre, which, though well-rooted in the American literary tradition — Poe, Hawthorne, Washington Irving — exists to adopt the in the (ahem) borderlands.
“When you say you write horror or weird dark fantasy you’ll sometimes get a look from people like they feel as if maybe they’ve gotta get you one of those pamphlets to help save your soul,” Monteleone says. “Explaining that literature full of scary scenarios and violence can be ultimately uplifting or enriching or inspiring can be a tough sell. You’re not going to convert everyone. But at its best this is a genre that shocks, yes, but it is also one that can open your mind up to new perspectives, take your thinking down paths its probably never been down before, and address fears that otherwise go unspoken. It can be a wonderful thing.”
And while Monteleone is as grateful for honest constructive criticism as the next successful artist, those hoping tut-tutting from self-proclaimed cultural arbiters will shut him up are bound to be disappointed.
“At some point you have to pull the lever and throw it into gear,” Monteleone says of his process. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I don’t need a mirror on a stick to find my own ass.”