Andrew Klavan understands the irony of making a fledgling reporter the hero of his latest young adult novel, Nightmare City.
Klavan is an eloquent critic of today’s mainstream media, but it didn’t stop him from exploring what it means to be a hard-nosed journalist.
“I used to use reporters as heroes [in my work] all the time … people who went out and looked for the truth,” Klavan tells Breitbart News. Doing so in 2013 took some effort.
“I looked around–the business has changed so drastically. It’s always been biased to the left, but they were genuinely trying to be fair,” Klavan says. “They’re on a mission now to sell a certain point of view to the public.”
The hero in his new horror tale Nightmare City, in bookstores now, is cut from a different cloth.
“He started telling a story he didn’t want to write,” Klavan says of young Tom Harding, a teen who exposed his school’s steroid scandal. That gets pushed aside when he wakes up one day to find a very different world awaiting him. A swirling fog now coats the land, and instead of friends and neighbors he sees nightmarish creatures all around him.
If it sounds like Klavan is trying to scare readers silly, you’re right. The author is relatively new to the horror genre, having recently written the popular app Haunting Melissa. He just can’t help himself.
“It’s always hard to put good stories together, but this came to me so naturally,” says Klavan, weaned on a combination of ghost stories and mysteries as a younger man. “[The horror genre is] something that’s been coming over my work without my willing it to happen.”
Klavan isn’t alone. Witness the enormous success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, a zombie project that might have simply been a niche hit a decade ago. Now, it devours the broadcast and cable competition.
He says the horror genre “speaks to something happening on a broad scale.”
“For me, personally, as I’ve become more religious, I see the world in more religious ways. It’s impossible to express the way I see the world without speaking supernaturally sometimes.”
Klavan isn’t equating religion with those AMC “walkers,” but he says our collective hunger for fantasy is a by-product of modern times.
“We have been sold an elite vision of a materialist world … the elites’ default vision of the world,” he says. “Suddenly zombies became a perfectly appropriate expression of materialism, what that philosophy leads to.”
Critics have been kind to much of Klavan’s writing, but being an openly conservative artist does yield a certain amount of brush back. Some scribes will go out of their way to mention his conservative philosophies even when it has little or nothing to do with the work in question. He says penning the openly conservative hero for his book Empire of Lies changed how the media views him, and it’s not for the better.
“Ever since I wrote ‘Empire of Lies’ … the number of reviews I get has dropped off in mainstream venues,” he says. “That’s par for the course. It’s what the left does. They don’t go out of their way to attack right wingers. They ignore them.”