Book Review – Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed

Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed
by various authors
Edited by Joseph Nassise & Del Howison
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: July 28, 2015


Clive Barker has always been a huge inspiration to me. In fact, he is one of the primary reasons I started writing. I’ve read many, if not most, of his titles: WEAVEWORLD, THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW, THE DAMNATION GAME, IMAJICA, just to name a few. Curiously, I waited until I was in my 20s to read CABAL, the novella which was the basis for the film NIGHTBREED. But out of all of Barker’s works, CABAL stuck with me the most. I’m not sure why, but something about it resonated deep within me, as it still does today.

Because of this deeply-rooted connection, I was ecstatic to learn an anthology was in the works that showcased the fates of some of CABAL’s residents. I often wonder what happens to characters in single-book stories after the last page is turned, and this collection is an excellent glimpse into the lives of some of the Tribes of the Moon from Barker’s iconic book. MIDIAN UNMADE is the title of this anthology, and it is nothing short of masterful.

If you are not familiar with MIDIAN UNMADE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Tor Books:

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed has been controversial since the moment it was released in a version edited by the studio and roundly condemned by Barker, who wrote and directed the film. A virtually instant cult film, Nightbreed–based on Barker’s novella, Cabal–was nominated for three Saturn Awards and won several prizes at European film festival.

The impact of Nightbreed goes beyond the screen; along with Cabal and Barker’s seminal The Books of Blood, it has inspired many horror writers, some of whom have gathered in this tribute anthology. Midian Unmade tells the stories of the Nightbreed after the fall of their city, Midian. Driven from their homes, their friends and family members slain before their eyes, the monsters become a mostly-hidden diaspora. Some are hunted; others, hunters. Some seek refuge. Others want revenge.

Contributors to Midian Unmade include: Karl Alexander, author of the classic novel Time After Time; actor, writer, and director Amber Benson (Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer); New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder; Hugo and John W. Campbell Award-winner Seanan McGuire; Bram Stoker Award winner Weston Ochse, David J. Schow, winner of the World Fantasy Award, writer of the screenplay for The Crow; New York Times bestselling writer Stephen Woodworth; and many more–23 stories in all.

With an introduction by Clive Barker, this is an outstanding collection of original horror short stories in a dazzling variety of styles.

It’s been over 15 years since I read CABAL, but just writing about is stoking my desire to revisit it. The book was a shining beacon in a dark part of my life, therefore it means a lot to me on several levels.

The stories in MIDIAN UNMADE are excellent tributes to Barker and his creation. Each is written with meticulous care, fleshed out perfectly and written in a style that does Barker justice. The diversity of voices help to give a new aspect to the Nightbreed world, as does the originality of each tale. And although the subject matter is a common thread, the stories in this collection are as different as their storytellers.

If I were forced to find a favorite tale in this collection, I simply could not pick one. They are all good, and they deserve recognition. I hope Barker himself gives a shout out to the authors in this anthology, as they have helped broaden the scope of his Nightbreed creation. In contrast, I cannot find a flaw with the book, either. The stories are excellent, the characters are epic, and the collection is just about as perfect as a book can be.

MIDIAN UNMADE is a major win for me, and I recommend every horror fan out there snag a copy as soon as possible (the book hits store shelves in two weeks). Dark and imaginative, this is one world you will want to immerse yourself in…but just for a little while. If you stay too long, the Nightbreed might look at you as food.


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