The comments at Pharyngula inspire a thought:
If they dont believe in God, what exactly are they afraid of?
Everything. The void. The fact that there is no higher ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’. What is, just is. I’m going to die and that’s it. I shall have been a speck of dust in time and space. Nothingness is rushing up to meet me and I can do nothing about it. And there isn’t anything Out There that gives a fuck about my terror. Atheists spend their entire lives facing those fears without the props religions (claim to) provide.
I don’t think that’s a particularly frightening concept. What would I find frightening is the thought that there is something out there, sadistically stoking my terror and feeding off it.
I once had a conversation with one of my editors at Pocket – a very good one, she originally signed Jim Butcher of The Dresden Files to his first book contract – about a related subject. She had commented that she found “The World in Shadow” to be more frightening than a Stephen King novel.
ED: It’s not the idea of God that bothers me, but the idea of these fallen angels trying to interfere with our lives. And then, the Hell thing kind of freaks me out.
VD: There’s more to the Christian worldview than the Sermon on the Mount.
ED: Yeah, but I thought you guys believed that God was in control of everything.
VD: You’ve read CS Lewis. Why do you think he referred to Earth as the Silent Planet, and humans as “bent”? The point is that God isn’t in control here.
ED: So who is in control, the fallen angels?
VD: More the guy that Jesus Christ called “the prince of this world”.
ED: Oh… oh shit. Thanks, I’m really going to sleep well tonight.
VD: Well, you have to admit, it would explain a lot.
ED: We should put your books in the horror line….
I did find it somewhat appropriate, actually, when one SF site classified them as Dark Fantasy. And while Wrath isn’t as superficially grim as Shadow, it’s actually somewhat darker when seen in the proper context. Shadow, for all its bleakness, is ultimately the light coming out of the darkness, whereas Wrath highlights the recognition that the Dark shall rise again.
Fortunately, so long as there is faith, there will always be those to play the part of the Old Ones too.