Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, graphic novels and video games. Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works. Most fantasy uses other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these worlds. An identifying trait of fantasy is the author's reliance on imagination to create narrative elements that do not have to rely on history or nature to be coherent; this differs from realistic fiction in that realistic fiction has to attend to the history and natural laws of reality, where fantasy does not.
An author applies his or her imagination to come up with characters and settings that are impossible in reality. Many fantasy authors use real-world mythology as inspiration. For instance, a narrative that takes place in an imagined town in the northeastern United States could be considered realistic fiction as long as the plot and characters are consistent with the history of a region and the natural characteristics that someone, to the northeastern United States expects. Fantasy has been compared to science fiction and horror because they are the major categories of speculative fiction. Fantasy is distinguished from science fiction by the plausibility of the narrative elements. A science fiction narrative is unlikely, though possible through logical scientific or technological extrapolation, where fantasy narratives do not need to be scientifically possible. Authors have to rely on the readers' suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the unbelievable or impossible for the sake of enjoyment, in order to write effective fantasies.
Despite both genres' heavy reliance on the supernatural and horror are distinguishable. Horror evokes fear through the protagonists' weaknesses or inability to deal with the antagonists. Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were a part of literature from its beginning. Fantasy elements occur throughout the ancient Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh; the ancient Babylonian creation epic, the Enûma Eliš, in which the god Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat, contains the theme of a cosmic battle between good and evil, characteristic of the modern fantasy genre. Genres of romantic and fantasy literature existed in ancient Egypt; the Tales of the Court of King Khufu, preserved in the Westcar Papyrus and was written in the middle of the second half of the eighteenth century BC, preserves a mixture of stories with elements of historical fiction and satire. Egyptian funerary texts preserve mythological tales, the most significant of which are the myths of Osiris and his son Horus. Folk tales with fantastic elements intended for adults were a major genre of ancient Greek literature.
The comedies of Aristophanes are filled with fantastic elements his play The Birds, in which an Athenian man builds a city in the clouds with the birds and challenges Zeus's authority. Ovid's Metamorphoses and Apuleius's The Golden Ass are both works that influenced the development of the fantasy genre by taking mythic elements and weaving them into personal accounts. Both works involve complex narratives in which humans beings are transformed into animals or inanimate objects. Platonic teachings and early Christian theology are major influences on the modern fantasy genre. Plato used allegories to convey many of his teachings, early Christian writers interpreted both the Old and New Testaments as employing parables to relay spiritual truths; this ability to find meaning in a story, not true became the foundation that allowed the modern fantasy genre to develop. The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of many ancient and medieval folk tales.
Various characters from this epic have become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters in the Indian epics; the Panchatantra, for example, used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science. Chinese traditions have been influential in the vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart. Beowulf is among the best known of the Nordic tales in the English speaking world, has had deep influence on the fantasy genre. Norse mythology, as found in the Elder Edda and the Younger Edda, includes such figures as Odin and his fellow Aesir, dwarves, elves and giants; these elements have been directly imported into various fantasy works. The separate folklore of Ireland and Scotland has sometimes been us
The Damnation Game (novel)
The Damnation Game is a horror novel by English writer Clive Barker, published in 1985. It was written just after finishing the first trilogy of Books of Blood, tells a Faustian story that touches on topics such as incest and self-mutilation in a frank and detailed manner, it was his first novel. Marty Strauss, a gambling addict released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of one of the wealthiest men in the world, Joseph Whitehead; the job is more complicated and dangerous than he first thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events involving Whitehead, his daughter, a devilish man named Mamoulian, with whom Whitehead made a Faustian bargain during World War II. As time passes, Mamoulian haunts Whitehead using his supernatural powers, urging him to complete his pact with him. Whitehead decides to escape his fate after a few encounters with Mamoulian and having his wife, former bodyguard, now his daughter, taken away from him. With hope still left to save Carys, Marty Strauss believes that the Old Man Whiteheads deserved punishment, decides to get involved to attempt to save the innocent gifted addict from being another victim to the damnation game.
Marty Strauss: A man, addicted to gambling and recently released from prison to work and live on Mr. Whitehead's Estate as a personal bodyguard. Mr. Whitehead: A scared man who the media sees as an important rich and famous eccentric man, known as'the thief' in the prologue and is involved with the Faustian bargain with Mamoulian. Carys: The daughter of Mr. Whitehead. Carys is intrigued by her "runner," the second she sees him, she has a special gift like her father once had, battles addiction and a strange ordeal between her and Mamoulian. Mamoulian: The main antagonist of the story, Mamoulian is a strange man with strange skills to give and take life with a sense of death about him that give him a creepy disposition and the demeanor of a devilish, almighty being. Mr Toy: Mr Whitehead's main assistant/right-hand man. Pearl: Mr. Whitehead's personal cook. Luther: Mr. Whitehead's personal limousine driver. Algis Budrys praised The Damnation Game as "a masterly novel," saying that "it doesn't fail to deliver what a good horror story should," that "it delivers it elegantly," and that "come to grip with the classic themes."
A cigar is a rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco leaves made to be smoked. They are produced in a wide variety of shapes. Since the 20th century all cigars are made up of three distinct components: the filler, the binder leaf which holds the filler together, a wrapper leaf, the best leaf used; the cigar will have a band printed with the cigar manufacturer's logo. Modern cigars come with 2 bands Cuban Cigar bands, showing Limited Edition bands displaying the year of production. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Central America and the islands of the Caribbean, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Ecuador, Guatemala and Puerto Rico; the origins of cigar smoking are still unknown. A Mayan ceramic pot from Guatemala dating back to the tenth century features people smoking tobacco leaves tied together with a string. Regular cigar smoking is known to carry serious health risks including increased danger of various types of cancer and cardiovascular illnesses; the word cigar derives from the Mayan sikar.
The Spanish word, "cigarro" spans the gap between the Mayan and modern use. The English word came into general use in 1730. Explorer Christopher Columbus is credited with the introduction of tobacco to Europe. Three of Columbus's crewmen during his 1492 journey, Rodrigo de Jerez, Hector Fuentes and Luis de Torres, are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of Hispaniola, in what is present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, when natives presented them with dry leaves that spread a peculiar fragrance. Tobacco was diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and was therefore encountered in Cuba where Columbus and his men had settled, his sailors reported that the Taínos on the island of Cuba smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain. In time and other European sailors adopted the practice of smoking rolls of leaves, as did the Conquistadors, smoking primitive cigars spread to Spain and Portugal and France, most through Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who gave his name to nicotine.
Tobacco use spread to Italy and, after Sir Walter Raleigh's voyages to the Americas, to Britain. Smoking became familiar throughout Europe—in pipes in Britain—by the mid-16th century. Spanish cultivation of tobacco began in earnest in 1531 on the island of Santo Domingo. In 1542, tobacco started to be grown commercially in North America, when the Spaniards established the first cigar factory on the island of Cuba. Tobacco was thought to have medicinal qualities, but there were some who considered it evil, it was denounced by James I of England. Around 1592, the Spanish galleon San Clemente brought 50 kilograms of tobacco seed to the Philippines over the Acapulco-Manila trade route, it was distributed among Roman Catholic missionaries, who found excellent climates and soils for growing high-quality tobacco there. The use of the cigar did not become popular until the mid-eighteenth century, although there are not many drawings from this era, there are some reports. In Seven Years' War it is believed Israel Putnam brought back a cache of Havana cigars, making cigar smoking popular in the US after the American Revolution.
He brought Cuban tobacco seeds which he planted in the Hartford area of New England. This resulted in the development of the renowned Connecticut Wrapper. Towards the end of the 18th century and in the 19th century, cigar smoking was common, while cigarettes were still comparatively rare. In the early 20th century, Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous smoking poem, "The Betrothed." The cigar business was an important industry and factories employed many people before mechanized manufacturing of cigars became practical. Cigar workers in both Cuba and the US were active in labor strikes and disputes from early in the 19th century, the rise of modern labor unions can be traced to the CMIU and other cigar worker unions. In 1869, Spanish cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his Principe de Gales operations from the important cigar manufacturing center of Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida to escape the turmoil of the Ten Years' War. Other manufacturers followed, Key West became another important cigar manufacturing center.
In 1885, Ybor moved again, buying land near the then-small city of Tampa and building the largest cigar factory in the world at the time in the new company town of Ybor City. Friendly rival and Flor de Sánchez y Haya owner Ignacio Haya built his own factory nearby in the same year, many other cigar manufacturers soon followed after an 1886 fire that gutted much of Key West. Thousands of Cuban and Spanish tabaqueros came to the area from Key West and New York to produce hundreds of millions of cigars annually. Local output peaked in 1929, when workers in Ybor City and West Tampa rolled over 500,000,000 "clear Havana" cigars, earning the town the nickname "Cigar Capital of the World". In New York, cigars were made by rollers working in their own homes, it was reported that as of 1883, cigars were being manufactured in 127 apartment houses in New York, employing 1,962 families and 7,924 individuals. A state statute banning the practice, passed late that year at the urging of trade unions on the basis that the practice suppressed wages, was ruled unconstitutional less than four months l
Ray Douglas Bradbury was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction and mystery fiction. Known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, his science-fiction and horror-story collections, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, I Sing the Body Electric, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American writers. While most of his best known work is in speculative fiction, he wrote in other genres, such as the coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine and the fictionalized memoir Green Shadows, White Whale. Recipient of numerous awards, including a 2007 Pulitzer Citation, Bradbury wrote and consulted on screenplays and television scripts, including Moby Dick and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works were adapted to comic book and film formats. Upon his death in 2012, The New York Times called Bradbury "the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream". Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, to Esther Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a power and telephone lineman of English ancestry.
He was given the middle name "Douglas" after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar Douglas Spaulding and descended from Mary Bradbury, tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692. Bradbury was surrounded by an extended family during his early childhood and formative years in Waukegan. An aunt read him short stories; this period provided foundations for his stories. In Bradbury's works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes Illinois; the Bradbury family lived in Tucson, during 1926–1927 and 1932–1933 while their father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan. They settled in Los Angeles in 1934 when Bradbury was 14 years old; the family arrived with only US$40, which paid for rent and food until his father found a job making wire at a cable company for $14 a week. This meant that they could stay, Bradbury—who was in love with Hollywood—was ecstatic. Bradbury was active in the drama club, he roller-skated through Hollywood in hopes of meeting celebrities.
Among the creative and talented people Bradbury met were special-effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen and radio star George Burns. Bradbury's first pay as a writer, at age 14, was for a joke he sold to George Burns to use on the Burns and Allen radio show. Throughout his youth, Bradbury was an avid reader and writer and knew at a young age that he was "going into one of the arts." Bradbury began writing his own stories at age 11, during the Great Depression — sometimes writing on the only available paper, butcher paper. In his youth, he spent much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, reading such authors as H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe. At 12, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about 18. In addition to comics, he loved Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan of the Apes Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series; the Warlord of Mars impressed him so much. The young Bradbury was a cartoonist and loved to illustrate, he drew his own Sunday panels.
He listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, every night when the show went off the air, he would sit and write the entire script from memory. As a teen in Beverly Hills, he visited his mentor and friend science-fiction writer Bob Olsen, sharing ideas and maintaining contact. In 1936, at a secondhand bookstore in Hollywood, Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. Excited to find there were others sharing his interest, Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave at age 16. Bradbury cited H. G. Jules Verne as his primary science-fiction influences. Bradbury identified with Verne, saying, "He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a strange world, he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally". Bradbury admitted that he stopped reading science-fiction books in his 20s and embraced a broad field of literature that included Alexander Pope and poet John Donne. Bradbury had just graduated from high school when he met Robert Heinlein 31 years old.
Bradbury recalled, "He was well known, he wrote humanistic science fiction, which influenced me to dare to be human instead of mechanical."In young adulthood Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, read everything by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A. E. van Vogt. The family lived about four blocks from the Fox Uptown Theatre on Western Avenue in Los Angeles, the flagship theater for MGM and Fox. There, Bradbury learned how to sneak in and watched previews every week, he rollerskated there, as well as all over town, as he put it, "hell-bent on getting autographs from glamorous stars. It was glorious." Among stars the young Bradbury was thrilled to encounter were Norma Shearer and Hardy, Ronald Colman. Sometimes, he spent all day in front of Paramount Pictures or Columbia Pictures and skated to the Brown Derby to watch the stars who came and went for meals, he recounted seeing Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, whom he learned made a regular appearance every Friday night, bodyguard in tow.
Bradbury relates the following meeting with Sergei Bondarchuk, director of Soviet epic film series War and Peace, at a Hollywood award ceremony in Bondarchuk's honor: They forme
Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the Liverpool City Council local authority in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region. Liverpool is on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, lay within the ancient hundred of West Derby in the south west of the county of Lancashire, it became a borough in 1207 and a city in 1880. In 1889, it became a county borough independent of Lancashire, its growth as a major port was paralleled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution. Along with handling general cargo, raw materials such as coal and cotton, the city merchants were involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In the 19th century, it was a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to North America.
Liverpool was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line, was the port of registry of the ocean liner RMS Titanic, the RMS Lusitania, RMS Queen Mary and RMS Olympic. The popularity of the Beatles and other music groups from the Merseybeat era contributes to Liverpool's status as a tourist destination. Liverpool is the home of two Premier League football clubs and Everton, matches between the two being known as the Merseyside derby; the Grand National horse race takes place annually at Aintree Racecourse on the outskirts of the city. The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007. In 2008, it was nominated as the annual European Capital of Culture together with Norway. Several areas of the city centre were granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 2004; the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City includes the Pier Head, Albert Dock, William Brown Street. Liverpool's status as a port city has attracted a diverse population, drawn from a wide range of peoples and religions from Ireland and Wales.
The city is home to the oldest Black African community in the country and the oldest Chinese community in Europe. Natives and residents of the city of Liverpool are referred to as Liverpudlians, colloquially as "Scousers", a reference to "scouse", a form of stew; the word "Scouse" has become synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect. The name comes from the Old English lifer, meaning thick or muddy water, pōl, meaning a pool or creek, is first recorded around 1190 as Liuerpul. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, "The original reference was to a pool or tidal creek now filled up into which two streams drained"; the adjective Liverpudlian is first recorded in 1833. Other origins of the name have been suggested, including "elverpool", a reference to the large number of eels in the Mersey; the name appeared in 1190 as "Liuerpul", the place appearing as Leyrpole, in a legal record of 1418, may refer to Liverpool. Another such suggestion is derivation from Welsh llyvr pwl meaning "expanse or confluence at the pool".
King John's letters patent of 1207 announced the foundation of the borough of Liverpool. By the middle of the 16th century, the population was still around 500; the original street plan of Liverpool is said to have been designed by King John near the same time it was granted a royal charter, making it a borough. The original seven streets were laid out in an H shape: Bank Street, Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street, Moor Street and Whiteacre Street. In the 17th century there was slow progress in population growth. Battles for control of the town were waged during the English Civil War, including an eighteen-day siege in 1644. In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish by Act of Parliament, that same year its first slave ship, Liverpool Merchant, set sail for Africa. Since Roman times, the nearby city of Chester on the River Dee had been the region's principal port on the Irish Sea. However, as the Dee began to silt up, maritime trade from Chester became difficult and shifted towards Liverpool on the neighbouring River Mersey.
As trade from the West Indies, including sugar, surpassed that of Ireland and Europe, as the River Dee continued to silt up, Liverpool began to grow with increasing rapidity. The first commercial wet dock was built in Liverpool in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade and tobacco helped the town to prosper and grow, although several prominent local men, including William Rathbone, William Roscoe and Edward Rushton, were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement. By the start of the 19th century, a large volume of trade was passing through Liverpool, the construction of major buildings reflected this wealth. In 1830, Liverpool and Manchester became the first cities to have an intercity rail link, through the Liverpool and Manchester Railway; the population continued to rise especially during the 1840s when Irish migrants began arriving by the hundreds of thousands as a result of the Great Famine. In her poem "Liverpool", which celebrates the city's worldwide commerce, Letitia Elizabeth Landon refers to the Macgregor Laird expedition to the Niger River, at that time in progress.
Great Britain was a major market for cotton imported from the Deep South of the United States, which fed the textile industry in the country. Given the crucial place of both cotton and slavery in the city's economy, during the American Civil War Liverpool was, in the words of historian Sven Beckert, "the most pro-Confederate place in the world outside the Confederacy itself." For periods during the 19th century, the wealth of Liverpool
Hellraiser is a horror franchise that consists of ten films, a series of books, various comic books, additional merchandise and media. The franchise is based on the novella The Hellbound Heart by English author Clive Barker, who would go on to write and direct the adaptation of his story, titled Hellraiser; the films, as well as the comic book series, continually feature the Cenobite Pinhead. The series’ storyline focuses on a puzzle box that opens a gateway to the Hell-like realm of the Cenobites, an order of human monsters who harvest human souls to torture in sadomasochistic experiments. Although Clive Barker wrote the original story, wrote and directed the first film, he has not written or directed any of the succeeding sequels. Barker stated that he signed away the story and character rights to the production company before the first film, not realizing what a great success it would be. In the original Hellraiser, Frank Cotton escapes from the Cenobites when his brother Larry spills his own blood on the spot where Frank died opening a puzzle box that opened a gateway to the Cenobites.
With the help of Larry's wife Julia, Frank begins regenerating his body with the blood of victims that Julia supplies him. Larry's daughter, accidentally unleashes the Cenobites, but makes a deal to deliver Frank to them in exchange for her own life. After taking Frank, the Cenobites try and take Kirsty as well. Solving the puzzle box, Kirsty sends the Cenobites back to Hell. In 1988, a sequel titled Hellbound: Hellraiser II follows Dr. Philip Channard as he resurrects Julia, stuck in Hell with the Cenobites. Kirsty is pulled back into the Cenobite world, where the demons decide to keep her, having discovered the human identity of the Cenobites early, Kirsty appeals to their latent humanity the Cenobite leader Pinhead. Pinhead decides to release her, but he and his followers are killed by Channard, who has become a Cenobite himself. With help of a teenage girl, who unknowingly assisted Channard in opening the box and Tiffany escape the Cenobite world and close the gateway behind them. In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, the revelation of Pinhead's humanity has resulted in a schism, splitting him in two—his human self, World War I veteran Elliot Spencer, Pinhead, now a living embodiment of Spencer's id.
While Spencer is trapped in limbo, Pinhead is trapped, along with the puzzle box, in the surface of an intricately carved pillar, a relic of the Cenobite realm. The pillar is found by a night club owner, J. P. Monroe, who begins assisting Pinhead in his resurrection. A television reporter, Joey Summerskill, begins to learn about Pinhead and the puzzle box, which leads her to Monroe's night club. Pinhead is resurrected, begins creating new Cenobite followers in an effort to establish Hell on Earth. Joey manages to reunite Spencer and Pinhead, fusing them back into one entity, is able to use the puzzle box to send Pinhead back to his dimension. Afterward, Joey submerges the box into freshly laid cement at a construction site. Hellraiser: Bloodline tells the story of the creator of the puzzle box, referred to as the Lament Configuration. A toymaker named Philip Lemarchand is commissioned by the Duc de L'Isle, a wealthy Aristocrat and master of the dark arts, to create the box as a gateway to Hell so that de L'Isle can enslave a demon.
Beginning in the distant future, tracing the history of the box from its creation in 1784, Bloodline shows how the Lemarchand family attempts to close the box forever after learning what L'Isle uses it for. Dr. Paul Merchant creates the Elysium Configuration, a space station capable of closing the gateway for good, he traps Pinhead inside and destroys him and the box. Hellraiser: Inferno, the first of the succeeding sequels to be direct-to-video, follows corrupt police Detective Joseph Thorne as he discovers the puzzle box while investigating a series of ritualistic murders; as time goes on he begins to uncover clues that suggest that he is the killer. Pinhead appears and informs Thorne that the events of the movie have been transpiring in Thorne's own personal Hell, that he will be reliving the same series of events for eternity. In Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Ashley Laurence returns to play Kirsty Cotton. In the opening moments and her husband, end up in a car accident that kills Kirsty. One month Trevor wakes up in a hospital, but because of a head injury, his memory is uncertain and he cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality.
As he begins to uncover evidence that he was having a series of affairs, he comes under suspicion for orchestrating the crash that killed his wife. Pinhead appears in the end, informs Trevor that he was the one that died in the car crash, his own plot to murder Kirsty for her inheritance backfired when Kirsty offered the Cenobites the lives of Trevor, his mistresses and his co-conspirators in exchange for her own. In Hellraiser: Deader, reporter Amy Klein is sent to Bucharest to investigate an underground suicide cult founded by a descendant of Philip Lemarchand, who claims to be able to bring back the dead and who believes that it is his birthright to open the puzzle box and control the Cenobites, she is drawn into their world and sees no way out other than to join them. In the end she opens the puzzle box, summoning up Pinhead and the Cenobites, who kill everyone for attempting to invade their world. To prevent Pinhead from taking her soul, Amy kills herself. Hellraiser: Hellworld (200
The Hellbound Heart
The Hellbound Heart is a horror novella by Clive Barker, first published in November 1986 by Dark Harvest in the third volume of their Night Visions anthology series, notable for becoming the basis for the 1987 film Hellraiser and its franchise. It was re-released as a stand-alone title by HarperCollins in 1988, after the success of the movie, along with an audiobook recorded by Clive Barker and published by Simon & Schuster Audioworks, it retains the gory, visceral style that Barker introduced in his series of collected short stories The Books of Blood. The story focuses on a mystical puzzle box and the horror it wreaks on a family, unfortunate enough to come across it. Frank Cotton is a hedonist who has devoted his life to a selfish, single-minded pursuit of the ultimate sensual experience. Believing he has indulged in every pleasure the world can offer, Frank is left unfulfilled and wanting for something more extreme, he hears rumours of the Lemarchand Configuration, a puzzle box, said to be a portal to an extradimensional realm of unfathomable carnal pleasure.
Locating the owner in Düsseldorf, Frank obtains the box by performing "small favors" and returns with it to his deceased grandmother's home in England. Frank prepares a shrine of offerings for the realm's inhabitants: The Cenobites, members of a religious order dedicated to extreme sensual experiences. Opening the box, Frank is confused and horrified when the Cenobites, rather than beautiful women, turn out to be horribly scarified creatures whose bodies have been modified to the point that they are sexless. Nonetheless, Frank eagerly takes their offer of experiences like he has never known before, despite their repeated warnings that it may not be what he expects and that he cannot renege on their agreement. With Frank as their newest "experiment", the Cenobites subject him to total sensory overload, at which point he realises that the Cenobites' devotion to sadomasochism is so extreme that they no longer differentiate between pain and pleasure. Frank is sucked into the Cenobite realm, where he realises that he will be subjected to an eternity of torture.
Sometime Frank's brother and his wife, move into the home. Unknown to Rory, Julia had an affair with Frank a week before their wedding. While moving in, Rory accidentally cuts his hand and bleeds on the spot where Frank was taken by the Cenobites; the blood, mixed with semen that Frank had ejaculated onto the floor before he was taken, opens another dimensional schism through which Frank escapes. However, his body has been reduced to a desiccated corpse by the Cenobites' experiments. Julia promises to restore his body so that they can renew their affair. While Rory is at work, Julia begins seducing men at bars and bringing them back to the attic, where she murders them and feeds their bodies to Frank, whose own body begins to regenerate. Kirsty, a friend of Rory's, secretly in love with him, suspects that Julia is having an affair and attempts to catch her in the act. Kirsty steals the puzzle box and flees the house, collapsing from exhaustion on the street, she is taken to a hospital, where she inadvertently summons the Cenobites.
The Cenobites attempt to take Kirsty back with them, until she tells them about Frank. Kirsty leads the Cenobites to Frank, now wearing slain Rory's skin. Another altercation ensues. Assured of Frank's identity, the Cenobites appear and ensnare Frank with a multitude of hooks and return with him to their realm. Downstairs, Kirsty sees Julia's disembodied head calling for help, unsuccessful as the Engineer's bright head appears under her veil. Leaving the house, the Engineer bumps into Kirsty, entrusting her to watch over the box until another degenerate seeks it out. Looking at the lacquered surface, Kirsty imagines that she sees Julia and Frank's faces reflected in it, but not Rory's, she wonders if there are other puzzles, with which she might find a way to where Rory resides by unlocking the doors to paradise. A film adaptation was released in 1987, written and directed by Barker, which spawned nine sequels, various comic books, subsequent novels; the novella received two sequels, The Scarlet Gospels written by Clive Barker and published in 2015, Hellraiser: The Toll published in 2018, written by Mark Alan Miller with the story by Clive Barker.
The Hellbound Heart Encyclopaedia The Night Visions anthology series, on the SF Site The Hellbound Heart Bibliography @ www.clivebarker.info