Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Strangest Matter

I was a weird kid growing up. I grew carnivorous plants. I spent an excessive amount of time in front of my Nintendo. And I was obsessed with scary books. Yes, any book that claimed to be the least bit frightening was on my to-do list.

I read them all: Goosebumps, Bone Chillers, Spinetinglers, Graveyard School, Ghosts of Fear Street, Spooksville...but none of them came close in quality to the Strange Matter books. There was something different about Strange Matter. It had a certain air about it, something the other series lacked. The tone was a bit more serious, a bit darker. The focus wasn't so much on humor as it was on building a truly scary story, which stood in stark contrast to what R.L. Stine was always trying to do with his Goosebumps books.

Engle and Barnes, the series' creators and writers, included really cool computer-rendered images at the back of each book. They depicted pivotal scenes from the story and added a cool little extra feature to look forward to while reading. The covers were also done in computer graphics, which made the Strange Matter books stand out next to the other middle grade horror series.

Much to my dismay, Engle and Barnes stopped writing the series in 1997 and seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. It is my hope that they will eventually stumble across this blog. I'd love to talk to them!

For years I thought I had lost all my old books, but this past week I happened upon them in a bin tucked away amongst a sea of Christmas decorations. I was ecstatic upon discovering this treasure trove of nostalgia, and to commemorate all the good times I had back in elementary school, I plan to go through and review each book series (and give each one its own blog), starting with Strange Matter. I will start at the beginning and work my way up, and this includes the double-size Strange Forces entries.

So if you have a special place in your heart for Strange Matter, then hop aboard. Hopefully I'll be able to get a new review up every few weeks.