Would you rather have Goosebumps on your arm or Shivers running up your spine?

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

So I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately and was going over some of the books that I read in elementary and middle school. I was much pickier about what books I read and the horror genre wasn’t as high on my list as say historic fiction (in fact, most of what I read at the time was historic fiction). My brother was a huge fan of the Goosebumps series; he has never read but before Harry Potter, when he read it was usually Goosebumps.

On those rare occasions when I was looking for a scary thrill, I preferred the Shivers books by M.D. Spenser. When I checked, they were only available through the used book section on the Barnes & Noble website (weren’t even any images available). I can’t help wondering what it was about the two series that one took off to the point where it spawned hundreds of books, dozens of movies, and a television series, while the other (and in my opinion, better) series only produced thirty-six books before disappearing.

I understand that Goosebumps came first (but only by a few years) and R. L. Stein clearly did a much better job of turning himself into a brand. But there were little things about the Shivers books that stand the test of time better. For instance, in a standing homage to George Orwell, the main character in The Animal Rebellion was named Winston. I’m going to have to add those books to my list of books-to-get-for-when-I-have-kids.

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