Friday, November 25, 2005

80's Book Memories - Vol. I: Twilight Series


When I was growing up in the 80's, I was a hardcore reader of multiple "young adult" series of books. The main three being: [1] Twilight, [2] Dark Forces and [3] Private School. Each series had their own brand of horror & supernatural-themes, and I couldn't get enough of their intriguing cover art, not to mention the stories contained therein. Heck, I was so into the Twilight series that I joined their "fan club" (membership application inside each book) and was a proud card-carrying member (not to mention the sweet bookmark they sent me!) in good standing. Twenty years later, I still have the majority of my collection intact, with only a few gone MIA over the last 15 years of moving, etc.

Personally, other authors in the genre of "young adult series" at the time, like Christopher Pike and R.L Stine just didn't do it for me. Though Pike was somewhat around the same time as the series mentioned above (1985), most of the Twilight and Dark Forces series preceded his work. Stine's work started taking off around 1989, at least 3 years after the success of both the Twilight and Dark Forces series. I bought a few of Pike's and Stine's books, but they were too marshmallow-y for my tastes. Too much teen angst, too little carnage. That's what made the Twilight and Dark Forces series so great; they weren't afraid of shedding some blood. But when it came to Pike's and Stine's work, the characters always went the pussy route and "narrowly escaped" many of their situations unscathed, or the occasional scrape or broken limb. Bor-ring. With the series I read, the suspense was always there, keeping you turning the pages, anticipating what would happen next and to whom.

I recently started purchasing old copies (via Half.com) of volumes that I either never got around to buying back in the 80's or have lost track of over the years. Here's what I didn't know: Apparently the Twilight series was repackaged and rereleased back in the early 90's. I found this out the hard way when I ordered a copy of The Initiation (one of my all-time favorites! {It's about vampires infiltrating a prep school...so yes, it's non-fiction}) Having loved the original artwork of the Twilight series versions, I was more than a little disappointed when I saw the "new" cover. Eh. It's okay, but I'd rather have the original version of the cover. *Click the image of The Initiation to see a side-by-side comparison of Then vs Now. No contest.

• The Twilight series; "Where Darkness Begins," was a series of 25 different stories. Each book had a different tale of suspense with a supernatural tone.

• The Private School series; "When Classes End, The Horror Begins...," was a series of 6 ongoing stories that revolved around an exclusive boarding school known as Thaler Academy. Little do the students know that the school and even the town was infested with aliens...until it was too late.

I loved these books because the aliens were these super-creepy-looking werewolf creatures. The covers always creeped me out. Really fun, engrossing reads. I own the first 4 and just ordered the last 2 in the series, online. Can't wait to revisit Thaler Academy!

• The Dark Forces series; "The time is now...The battle is between Good and Evil...And the place? It could be your high school...," was a series of 15 (as far as I know) different stories. Each book offering a tale of the supernatural and/or black arts.

Pardon me while I wax sentimental, but one distinctive thing you have to admit about all these series is that they all had really great cover art. I think that was a BIG part of why I loved them all so much. It may sound hokey, but you just don't see that same level of imagination and detail in today's teen series cover art. A bygone era. *sigh*

*This is volume 1 of 3. Next week: The Dark Forces and Private School series.

2 Comments:

Blogger mlndink said...

I LOVED the Twilight series! You're the first person I've ever encountered who even knows what they are! Thanks for mentioning them so I can wax nostalgic too--and now I'll have to hunt some down. For me, it was the Twilight series and Sweet Valley High.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 25, 2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

mIndlink-
SWEET! You are also the first person who even knows that the hell I am talking about! The only other person I knew was a girl I went to school with. We would give each other reviews on the ones we had read, then updates on any future news ones that we'd read. It was great. I felt like I connected with someone. Reading was so not a past time that the kids I went to school with were "into." What a shocker.

Ah, I remember the covers to Sweet Valley High. I wasn't into the romance aspect, but even then I remember thinking some of the guys on the covers were "hot." LOL

I hope your Thanksgiving was a happy one. :)

Monday, November 28, 2005 6:24:00 PM  

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