R.L. Stine On How Facebook & Social Media Has “Ruined” Horror Novels

Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA.
"Technology has ruined the horror novel," R.L. Stine declared at a New York Comic Con panel featuring the Goosebumps author and The Baby-sitter's Club scribe, Ann M. Martin, as well as graphic novelists Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier, who adapted the classic '90s series into illustrated editions. On October 10, Stine clarified how a world of smartphones and Facebook has made writing suspense a little harder, explaining, "A girl in a Fear Street book would get a call and ask, 'who is this?' [but] now she can look at her caller ID." He has found work-arounds, saying in the first Fear Street reboot Party Games (which was released last year), he had the party host collect the guests' cell phones. Ann M. Martin didn't think emojis would change the world of the BSC, saying even with Facetime the girls would probably still hold their meetings in Claudia's room. In an answer to the very important "which BSC character are you?" question, Martin explained she's a Mary Anne, while Stine was stumped (though I think he'd totally be a Kristy). When it comes to inspiration for the spine-tingling tales, Stine revealed only one Goosebumps title came out of a real life experience — The Haunted Mask. "My son was trying on a rubber Frankenstein mask, and he couldn't get it off," Stine said. "I should have helped him, but I thought, what a great idea for a story!" Stine wouldn't give the audience any info about the Fear Street movie, which was confirmed last week, but his vow of silence seemed to hint at some big news coming soon. He explained, "I'm not allowed to talk about that, but I hope to have an announcement real soon." Martin said there aren't any current plans to create an adult BSC spin-off like Sweet-Valley Confidential, but conceded, "I've learned never to say never." And what about a Goosebumps/ Baby-sitters Club crossover? Martin and Stine laughed it off, but Goosebumps graphic-novelist Dave Roman had some ideas. "I can see Claudia coming home with a ventriloquist dummy, and saying, 'it's the latest thing!'"

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