4 January 2016

Review: Creepypasta, by Jack Werner

Full title: Creepypasta: Spökhistorier från Internet
Author: Jack Werner
Published in: 2014
Publisher: Ordfront Galago
Language: Swedish

Warning: do not read this book after dark, when everyone else is sound asleep and you're left alone with the the power of your own imagination. Some of the creepypastas that the author of this book has featured here are very spooky, Some of the stories I enjoyed the most are Anasi's Goatman Story, Candle Cove, Abandoned by Disney and Dead Bart.

The title can be literally translated as Creepypasta: Ghost stories from the Internet. The book is in Swedish and unfortunately there is no English edition. That's the only negative thing I have to say about the book.

It really is a unique book. I haven't read anything like it. Swedish journalist Jack Werner has selected some of the most popular creepypastas that have been floating around on forums such as 4chan and Reddit, and has given us his own commentary and analysis. But he doesn't just analyse each story individually, he discusses creepypasta as a cultural phenomenon. He explores its origins, the role it has in our technological society, and how it reflects our feelings about the world and ourselves.

I especially like the parallel Werner draws between the World Wide Web and the mythological "forest" and how the web now has the same role in our collective consciousness the forest used to have. In the good old rural days, the forest was our source of food and timber, says the author. It provided us with essential resources, but at the same time it was a dark and big place that was full of dangers. We were both depended on it and vulnerable to it. Today, the author claims, this role has been taken over by the Internet. Our work, our studies and our social life depend on the Internet. It's a huge part of our life, but at the same time, few of us have full knowledge of its inner workings. The Internet is a big place, and has a lot of dark corners, unexplored places, and it can very dangerous. Thus "the great unknown" has been transferred from the dark forest to our computer screens.

That's a very interesting parallel. Now that we spent almost as much time in the digital world as we do in the physical one, the Internet's role in our lives needs to constantly be discussed and analysed. 

Creepypasta is a much needed book about this (mostly) new literary form. It is both an anthology and an in-depth analysis. I enjoyed both the stories and the analysis.

My rating: 5 stars
Recommend it to: everyone, especially horror fans, aspiring authors and literature buffs.

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