Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits (my own story's included!)

Well, I finally actually sold a short story. Pleased that it's a bizarro fiction type of imprint (Weirdpunk Books) and that it's a tribute to one of my all time favourites, the horror punk band Misfits. The editors stipulated that submissions had to be based on Danzig-era songs only and I knew right away I wanted to write a story based on the song 'Demonomania', which has been a favourite song for years and years (something about that first-syllable emphasis on the chorus 'Demonomania! Demonomania!' just really gets me going and shouting along). Also, because I used to want my band back in the 90s to cover this song, I always had the tiny germ of a backstory for it in my head. (We never got round to covering it alas.) When I revisited the lyrics in light of this project, the voice of the song just kind of took me over and the thing more or less wrote itself. (I'm happily reminded that my favourite author, R. A. Lafferty, said: 'The good stories, of course, write themselves.') I polished it over a few days (didn't find out about the project until the deadline was almost up) and sent it off. This will seem like a weird confession to some readers, but I was a little nervous about the story getting accepted. Misfits are (in)famous for incredibly transgressive lyrics, though 'Demonomania' is one of their least offensive. Regardless, I haven't yet written a story in kind of a full blown 'sailor mouth' voice complete with subject matter about prostitution. But it just seemed like the honest voice of the story and also the natural subject matter. I don't get salacious in it (I find it hard to stomach lurid male gaze material in fiction masquerading as edgy or gritty or whatever). In fact, I felt the story quite humanised the prostitute characters (somewhat harrowingly). What I really love about it is the main character who's telling the tale. I found him quite a sympathetic, mixed up character. And it's a story about a broken family getting by as best they can. Anyway, about a month ago I saw on Weirdpunk's Facebook page that they had made their final selections and sent out notifications. I thought, 'Okay, I'm kind of relieved in a way that I didn't get in.' But I hadn't realised I hadn't checked my email before seeing that Facebook status update. When I went to my inbox I saw an unread email from the editors. Even then I thought (as I have many times before) okay, another rejection. They wrote a very short email saying they liked it and would include it in the book. Hum and hot damn. So I get the joy of a story being accepted (for pay! a small amount but still) but with the interesting forthcoming experience of seeing what some family and friends will make of my foray into 'explicit' fiction. I'm not complaining. I believe artists have to get out there and make things they're not entirely sure of, make mistakes if necessary. But I do like the story I wrote. I think it works and I'm happy someone else thought so too and gave it a home. It's called 'Reality of the Wolf' (a line from the song). It was also really great working with professional editors who helped streamline my story with some light but incisive editorial changes, all of which I accepted as obvious improvements. The book comes out on Halloween I believe.

There's still a few days left to pre-order a copy of the book and get some bonuses through supporting it's Kickstarter campaign.



Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sterling City (2014) by Stephen Graham Jones


In my own definition of the 'Weird Western' I extend the sub-genre's purview to include fiction set not only in the western United States of the 'cowboys and indians' era, but also that set in the 20th and 21st century western U.S. - as long as said fiction also includes elements of the uncanny or macabre or otherwise outrĂ©.  So in addition to books by, say, Arianne 'Tex' Thompson and Guy Adams it would also include books by, say, Joe R. Lansdale and, our man of the hour, Stephen Graham Jones.  (To take an example from a single author's oeuvre, the Weird Western encompasses both the 1850s Texas-Mexico setting of Cormac McCarthy's scalp-hunting odyssey Blood Meridian and the 1980s Texas-Mexico setting of his brutal crime thriller No Country For Old Men.)

This is my third review of a Jones book (the first two are here and here) and I think I can say that his is always a western sort of vantage, albeit a contemporary Blackfeet Native American one.  (That said, explicitly American Indian characters are by no means a guarantee in his fiction.)  His works also always seem to contain some element of the bizarre or gruesome, from out and out genre material, such as zombies and werewolves, to surreal and 'meta' narration of dark and mysterious events and relationships.  And Jones's brand of weird can imbue a range of modes from crime thriller to family drama to horror story, all with loose and blurry borders, often hybridised, and yet always 'literary'.  I've rarely seen someone so joyously and offhandedly mix the 'highbrow' and the 'lowbrow'. (All the 'high' stuff is in the prose style and themes by the way.  It's the content that seems pretty consistently working class, with occasional white collar stuff in the margins.)  There's often a lot of poignancy, and ever an undercurrent of very, very wry (and occasionally bonkers) humour.  (I get these impressions from having dipped into his first few novels as well, an experience I'll return to below.)

So, to a degree, I think all of Jone's work can be said to be of the Weird Western mode, though that by no means captures the entirety of what he's doing.  In fact, his kind of western writing is really just showing us how weird the western USA (and at a larger scale, existence itself) simply is, a fact we are prone to ignore.  Thus our need for prophets like Jones.  And thus advancing my own theory that all good literature is weird literature, all good philosophy is weird philosophy, all good theology is weird theology, etc.   And by the 'weird' I don't mean just the 'messed up' or the morally twisted. Jones's is not a freakshow literature for the titillation of easterners' prejudices.  It's a regionalised mirror that can be held up to anyone from anywhere to show that the comically grotesque carnival shapes are not in the glass but in life.  For all of us.

Reality is weird.

Sterling City is a lovely little meditation on just that.  Coming in at a mere 81 pages, it's a one-sitter for you fast readers out there and a two or three sitter for slowpokes like me.  I don't want to give too much away, but on page one you know there's a cosmic element and by page six you see a big reveal of the creepily weird, which the rest of the novella circles round as a major plot factor.  In tandem with this knowingly pulp element is the story of the breakdown of one man's marriage.  Or rather, the very moment his wife leaves him and his attempt at playing that event cool, and failing to.  Both of these - a grotesquery's arrival and a spouse's departure - would be highly dramatic events in real life, and yet Jones's relentlessly elliptical and indirect style makes them seem almost like things that happen in the corner of your eye.  I mean, he confronts both directly.  You get a juicy view and the weird element in particular is initially surrounded by strong emotion from one of the characters.  But it feels like the view is for mere seconds at a time.  The history of the marriage's troubles and the present bizarre cosmic influences come only in half-understood glimpses for the reader.  Both of these happenings consume the consciousness of the protagonist, yet both seem oddly just off stage for most of the novella.

Similarly, the larger West Texas landscape is fully backgrounded in favour of the farm on which the story unfolds (with one episode in town).  This makes for a tight focus.  It achieves some atmosphere in its concision, mostly focused on farming equipment and farm buildings and farm work.  This is good, and I enjoyed being there in that kind of small psychogeography.  Yet I can't help but feel that the story's possibly a little too long to sustain its own smallness.  After forty pages or so I felt it needed to somehow open out to the greater environs more, and possibly the point of view of more characters.  I enjoyed being in Lee Graves's head, and recognised a little of myself in him, but a story this length needed a little more scope I felt.  It's a fairly minor complaint and by no means ruined the read.  There were, it must be said, about ten pages toward the end that didn't work at all for me.  It was supposed to be a tense scene of the central piece of large equipment almost malfunctioning, but I have no knowledge of this whole area (farming and its equipment and procedures) and the description did not enlighten me, so I was just plain bored.  But again, it was a minor misstep and the story finished well. The denouement of the weird element was especially satisfying to me, gorgeous with alien wonder.

Indeed, this is kind of a story about the Beauty of Monsters, which I can always get behind.  It's also very intentional and explicit about hope in the end, about New Beginnings after the Apocalypses that punctuate our lives. It reminded me of R. A Lafferty in that respect.  This actually makes it incredibly radical among its Horror and Weird Fiction cohorts, which tend, especially among the avant-garde, towards powerful pessimism and bleakness (the avant-garde of the Lit Fic crew can be this way too, and Double-Fish Jones swims in both worlds).  The story doesn't promote hope without any ambiguity mind you.  And from what I've read from Jones so far, he has a number of pieces both for and against hope and lots of places in between.  His despairing pieces, however, are always poignant and humane and even kind of sweet.  He seems to want to hope, even in despair.  That might make him kind of 'out' with some of the Cool Kids of Nihilism, I don't know.  I hugely respect it.

I'd probably give this particular book something like a 3/5, but right now I'm more into Jones for the total package than merely for particular works.  He's a presence, a force.  Following his elusive, yet somehow generous, remarks on Twitter and Facebook round out both his style and substance, just like his 'Acknowledgements' at the end of Sterling City.  (Always be sure to read any dedications or story notes or other authorial 'paratexts' by Jones - he's always telling you a little bit more of what he means and who he is and what he cares about in those things, even whilst deepening the mystery). Any time you see an article written by him, it'll be worth checking out as well.  I'll note here that I'm still trying to find my way into his more 'literary' works.  I read around a hundred pages each of his first two novels, The Fast Red Road: A Plainsong and All The Beautiful Sinners, and while both blew my mind on some level, both also kind of lost me with the almost painfully indirect style in which he wrote them.  Mind you, I wasn't really committed to reading them at the time.  I was only dipping and dabbling and when they proved difficult, I shelved them for a future go.  Which I look forward to, along with a ton of his other prolific output, both on the more literary end and on the more genre end. His is an exciting career to follow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'It' (1940) by Theodore Sturgeon

My review of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation is still cooking, but in the meantime I just wanted to drop a note about this story by Sturgeon.  I'm doing some research on 'muck-monsters' for a forthcoming essay.  This is the line of horror fiction creatures that tend to semi-spontaneously arise from environs naturally composed of slime, goop, mold, debris, mud, loam and the like and in a pseudo-humanoid form, usually based on the human corpse such environs have absorbed and grotesquely reanimated.  The transformation takes place by many means, from scientific to supernatural to inexplicable.  Some of the heirs of this sub-genre are the famous Swamp Thing from DC comics and the slightly lesser known Man-Thing from Marvel comics.  But it all started with the story 'It' by Theodore Sturgeon. His seminal muck-monster is of the inexplicable variety and very effectively evoked.

The main reason I wanted to stop here and mention the story is that it is excellent.  I read it over a decade ago in an anthology and it was instantly a favourite.  But sometimes favourite stories lose some of their shine on a re-read, especially if many years lay between.  Sturgeon's story only shined greater.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how lovely the prose was, a wonderful evocation of a region and of the atmosphere of a particular kind of dreadful, cruel horror, all the more effective for its bucolic setting and likable, rustic characters.  If, like me, you've been wondering if it's as good as you remember, it is.  I highly recommend revisiting it.  It's a genuine modern classic of horror, much-anthologised (apparently some 60 times) for good reason.

(Spoiler in what follows.)

'It' has interesting potential intersections with my ecomonstrous readings of Cormac McCarthy and R. A. Lafferty.  The monster in this tale possibly evinces a meaningless cosmic horror, seemingly irrepressible, reminiscent of some of McCarthy's major themes.  Yet it is a persistent, bubbling brook that laughs the monster into nothing at the end of the story, reminiscent of Lafferty's 'cosmic laughter' theme.  Still, the family struck by this monstrosity is marked terribly and do not seem to wake from the nightmare, making the tale very downbeat overall.  It's a pretty bleak iteration of the environment 'speaking' to us, forcing us to reassess the place of the human in the non-human.  But there's some potential light folded into it too.

The ongoing industry of muck-monsters that eventually grew out of this fecund little masterpiece could be seen as the working out of the cosmic-personal themes Sturgeon's imagination initiated. The essay I'm working on explores Lafferty's take on muck-monstrosity and his repeated symbology of swamps, which I was surprised to find recurs fairly regularly in his work.

At any rate, Theodore Sturgeon's 'It' would very likely make it into my personal Top 100 list of classic horror stories.

(From the Marvel comics 1970s adaptation of Sturgeon's 'It')

Friday, September 4, 2015

Revival (2014) by Stephen King


Rating: 2.5/5 stars

What to say about this novel?  It was fun to finally get a chance to read something really recent from King.  And don't be misled by my 2.5 rating.  This is not a bad book, just not necessarily a great one. It was not a waste of time, especially if you want to work your way through the entirety of King's fiction like I'm trying to do.  It has important thematic elements that you wouldn't want to miss if you're hoping to trace some of his major themes across his body of work.  Indeed, as regards King's recurring engagement - from his earliest works to his latest - with theological concerns, this novel is very important.  I'm not sure he says much here that he hasn't said elsewhere, but it's one more iteration, important for tracking the sheer quantity of theological content in King's work if nothing else.

I assume most readers will take this story as a damning portrayal of Christian theology, Christian ministers, and Christianity in general.  But King's being far more subtle than that.  First of all, there are a lot of very sympathetic Christian characters in here, such as the protagonist's own parents. Their faith is simple and sensible.  They are taken in by neither scepticism nor fanaticism.  They are devout but generous, and probably represent a bigger swathe of American culture than is generally guessed.

Secondly, if you're paying attention, this is a damning story of the dangers and pitfalls of unbelief as much as belief.  The antagonist is a man who loses his faith after all, and who becomes a very evil charlatan only after this loss of faith.  You could fairly say that he is an illustration of the notion that if you don't worship God, you'll worship something else, probably to your own and others' degradation and detriment. Also, the book's portrayal of crowd-credulity is really about a very general gullibility that affects most Americans when it comes to 'cures' for health issues.  This novel happens to focus on an intentionally deceiving faith-healer and his all-too-willing dupes.  But this phenomenon is not unique to that context, as multitudes every day practice a similarly credulous hyper-faith in regard to both corporate drugs and alternative medicines or health practices.  The wise reader will take the tale as a reflection and warning about this widespread issue manifested in a variety of ways, not just 'tent revivals'.

Finally, as to whether or not this novel is just a lambasting against Christian theology, practice, and persons, it must be noted that though King gives full roar to unbelief here - and indeed, to the Lovecraft-esque belief that we live in an outright horrific, bleak, and cruel universe - he does not give voice only to such unbelief and belief-in-horror.  He gives a tiny space for the possibility that the Lovecraftian view is not only false, but an outright lie.  In this story, the evidence is very strongly stacked against the disbeliever in the Lovecraftian universe, almost overwhelmingly.  Yet King is careful to leave a pinprick's opening for the possibility of hope.  That's not nothing.  It's really not.  At some moments in life, that's all anyone can see or hold onto.  But it might be enough.  At almost the very end of the novel, King's narrator writes:  ‘There is hope, therefore I live.’  (Page 370 in the edition I borrowed from my local library.)  After all, a pinprick is all it takes to burst a bubble.  And lots of worldviews are up for having their bubbles burst, not just religious ones.

This theological aspect of the novel I actually found quite good, and if it were the only consideration, I'd give it more like a 3.5 or 4.  But other elements, of course, factor into it.

The storytelling itself is really quite lovely for about the first third or so of the novel - King at his nostalgic-but-tragic best.  The 1960s rural Maine life is realised nicely and makes for quite a 'cosy' read really, something of a warm but darkening paean to childhood.  The second third of the novel still grips well enough as we catch up with the protagonist as an adult addict, but it starts to lose some of its depth, becoming more of a merely entertaining yarn than a semi-profound meditation on life. By the final third of the novel, when it is supposed to be ratcheting up to its horrific climax, it threatens to become sheer goofy pulp.  That's, of course, what King is here revisiting and paying tribute to:  early Weird Tales horror, and earlier melodramatic Victorian horror.  But he just doesn't pull it off in my opinion. The antagonist, who was already thinning in the second third, has become a cartoon villain by this last segment of the tale, even speaking in a faux-genteel diction that made me cringe.  The antagonist's development into this kind of character could even have been done with some power, making him effectively creepy and terrifying in his ridiculous self-importance and affectation.  But that was not achieved.  

Worse, the horrors themselves, when they are revealed in fullness at the end, are more ridiculous still. I admire the level King was trying to take things to here, but again, to me, it just didn't come off. King is a genius at what he does well, carving out his own territory in horror by combining 'regular' late 20th/early 21st century American life with supernatural violence and terror.  But here, when he strays into the territory of the likes of Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith or William Hope Hodgson or Frank Belknap Long - effective purveyors of otherworldly horrors who already have their own limitations - he just seems out of his depth.  He can occasionally dip into this sort of thing with mixed success, but still somewhat effectively - e.g. 'The Mist' and 'Mrs. Todd's Shortcut' in Skeleton Crew; and occasionally I think he really nails it - e.g. 'I Am the Doorway' and 'Gray Matter' in Night Shift. I'm sure there are other examples that I just haven't read yet.  But here, though I want to like [SPOILER, I guess] the central image of the claw made of faces coming out of the revivified corpse's mouth, it just seems to arrive more or less out of nowhere, with no real atmosphere for it built up, no rationale, no matter how otherworldly or metaphysically weird.  Even the preceding glimpse of the afterlife only strikes me as technically horrific - as in, yeah, that'd be just unspeakably terrible [SPOILER again, of sorts] to be slaves of some unspecified female sort of superbeing, driven by ant-men, but the scene didn't make me feel the horror.  It came closer to making me laugh, not at the horror of such a reality, but at its depiction here.  I again kept thinking of cartoons, and not good ones.  The reason I have trouble even thinking of the above as spoilers is because the horror-reveal came as no real surprise to me when I read it.  Its elements had either already been forecasted and were not substantially developed or deepened here or they were just out of left field, and not in a wow-ing sort of way, but rather in way that robbed them of impact.  

So there you have it, my take:  Revival is theologically interesting, good storytelling in its first third, weakened in characterisation and plot in the last two-thirds, and kind of terrible in its horror-reveal finale.  Still glad I read it.  But more looking forward to catching up on King's 80s output.

Up next:  Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation (2014).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Forthcoming Ecomonstrous PhD

Hey folks, I want to step out from behind the blog for a moment today to let you know about the PhD that I start researching this October at the University of Glasgow.  Ecology, Monsters, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology.  What's not to love?  The main authors I'm looking at are Cormac McCarthy and R. A. Lafferty, and I'll also take a look at George Mackay Brown and Amos Tutuola. But H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen Graham Jones and Jeff VanderMeer and other practitioners of weird fiction old and new will inevitably come into it.

Please check out the video below and also visit the Indiegogo site to see the great perks we have on offer:  www.indiegogo.com/projects/ecomonstrous-phd.




You can also follow the PhD on Twitter and Facebook.  Thanks for taking a look!

#SAVETHEMONSTERS

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Doll Who Ate His Mother (1976) by Ramsey Campbell

All right, back to the book reviews, finally!

I was on a 70s horror novel kick for a while there. It just kind of happened, but I’m glad. I’m really interested in this era from a number of angles. It does seem to be the birth of modern horror and Campbell is one of the granddaddies of that movement, albeit slightly lesser known outside horror fan circles than bestsellers like Stephen King and James Herbert.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book with this title (and with the lurid campy cover of the paperback copy I picked up second-hand).
I was hoping it would at least be some pulpy fun, if not especially well written. Well, you know what they say about books and their covers. This debut novel is gorgeously written. I’d have to say the prose is downright literary. Campbell’s style evokes his English ‘realist’ forebears such as, say, Graham Greene, but with a tendency more toward the visionary-tinged realism of someone like William Golding. Indeed, Campbell’s hyper-poetic evocation of the novels’s Liverpool setting harkens back to the Edwardian ‘dream-punk’ (as distinct from Victorian steam-punk) of G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton was a strong proponent of nightmare and his wild evocations of early 20th century London often tended toward the monstrous. Campbell fuses that kind of darkly weird poetic vision with a dirtier 70s vibe to yield a seedy fever dream of urban gothic and grotesque (updating Arthur Machen’s early urban horror while he’s at it).

The cityscape quite literally swims by the readerly eye for the entirety of the novel in the oft-recurring orange sodium-light glow of street lamps. (It's a quality of light I have personally experienced many times living here in Britain, and it is indeed eerie and unearthly).
Clare drove by, into the flood of light. 
The light covered everything, thick as paint. It sank oppressively into the car, filling it with shadows that moved like submarine vegetation as the lamps sailed repetitively by. Clare resisted an urge to drive faster, to be free of the light, but she felt it clinging stickily to her. She squirmed. She shouldn’t have driven without sleep, after all. 
The light soaked the three-storey Georgian houses behind their stone walls and bulging orange hedges. Pools of it lay on the roofs of the line of cars which barred Clare from the kerbside lane. Ahead, along the edge of the central reservation, trees and tree-coloured lamp standards bunched, pulling lingeringly apart as they approached. Around the high lamps, papery orange leaves were tangled in bright branches like orange web. Soon be there now, Clare told herself. She might ask to sleep on the couch at Rob and Dorothy’s. At the ends of pedestrian crossings, globes on poles pulsed:  orange, orange, orange. (p. 16) 
There’s something cinematic about this, and in a very fresh way it seems to me. It’s no wonder the novel contains a quiet, nostalgic side-theme about the transition from an older era of movies (and local independent cinemas) to the contemporary one.

The novel is rife with material to interpret from the perspective of the ‘object-oriented ontology’ of the likes of Graham Harman and Timothy Morton. Every surface and object seems to be moving of its own will in the narration. ‘George’s spectacles blinked as a car went by on the park road’ (p. 74). ‘Cars squeezed past cars, vans hung open outside shops, buses muttered impatiently’ (120). Everything we take as either subservient or irrelevant to human life seems animated with its own oblique purpose in the novel: ‘the flaw in the window glass that pinched thin everything that passed before letting go with a jerk, the tobacco smoke trickling down the stairs… the folding doors, which parted with a gasp of relief’ (p. 36). Often the objects are coming toward the human characters rather than the characters approaching the objects. ‘The house rushed at him, twin windows peering over the downstairs bay, long eyes above a longer snout’ (pp. 151-152). Or the objects act upon the characters in unexpected ways: ‘The convex mirror overhead sucked up their heads from their dwindling bodies’ (p. 113). Indeed, it seems there aren’t really any ‘inanimate objects’ at all in the novel. Admittedly, some of the story's characters are not as three-dimensional as others, but this only enhances the emphasis on non-human objects (plus it kind of fits the novel’s pacing).

The horror elements are subtly done, not overwhelming, and in a manner that keeps you off balance the entire time, a very effective way to keep the reader trapped in the narrator’s nightmare. Like the aforementioned 70s authors, succinct but explicit sex and profanity pepper Campbell’s text but the violence is handled differently. Campbell’s horror feels the most authentically Lovecraftian in tone out of any of the 70s stuff I’ve read so far. He’s all about the very, very slow and elided reveal, with an increasingly creepy build-up and a quick scene change whenever the actual horror is finally unveiled in all its hideous grotesquery. And it is indeed hideous and grotesque (not to mention gross). Some of the most memorable horrors of the tale are given almost no description at all. He manages to put the whole gruesome and fearful thing right in your face with the barest suggestion, practically forcing you to fill in the details on your own, involving you in the evocation of the horror. Quite a trick! And tricked is just a little bit how you feel, conned into tainting yourself with someone else’s sick and twisted nightmare. You get your hands dirty.

Also like Lovecraft (and Arthur Machen before him), Campbell’s novel explores the theme of metaphysical mystery (specifically occultic in this instance) still being with us in urban modern times, though we try to suppress it. To my surprise, Doll is also very Christ-haunted (to borrow Flannery O'Connor’s term), and we are notified of this early on. Just after the orange-lit driving passage noted above, we witness:
A tree, a tree, a lamp standard, a gap in the reservation. She glanced at Rob’s orange face, staring solemnly at her. [...] He frowned at her, even more solemn. Behind his head, Christ leapt from the wall of a church, tattered arms clawing high, fleshless ribs blackened by the sodium light. She started and turned back to the road, still snorting. A lamp standard, a thick tree. A man stepping straight into the path of the car. (p. 17) 
And that statue of Christ never stops leaping at that street of the scene of the macabre crime throughout the narrative. In the last scene the protagonist sees a sign saying 'Come unto me all you who are heavy laden' and begins to cry. (Cryptic spoiler: I’m now wondering if the whole tale is perhaps a sort of anti-Eucharist. Wow. That really adds to the hideousness. You’ll know what I mean if you read it.)

This is pretty wonderful stuff and now an official pattern is set: I’ve been meaning to get round to reading Author So-and-So (King, Barker, Herbert, Bishop, etc.) and now that I’ve finally read something by them, it turns out they’re amazing and I need to read everything they’ve written. It’s a very nice surprise. I kind of thought I’d encountered nearly all the authors that were really going to wow me, but I’m now over that notion. I realise this jacked up world so chock full of cultural tripe is also replete with good artists (so many that I’ll never get properly acquainted with all of them in my lifetime). Shades of Pascal, people, shades of Pascal. All that to say, Ramsey Campbell has entered my personal pantheon of horror writers well worth pursuing. A guy who can so deliciously blend Chesterton and Lovecraft into modern urban horror is guaranteed a place.

 Up Next: Stephen King's Revival (2014).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

R. A. Lafferty Centenary

I have some almost-finished horror book reviews that have been waiting in the wings for some months now.  In the meantime, I've been very busy over at my Lafferty blog.  Lafferty wasn't a horror writer per se, but he has strong strains of horror in his fiction and a good number of his stories were first published in horror anthologies in the 1960s and 70s, so he's of relevance to this blog too.  I wrote a tribute for his centenary yesterday called 'The Door Into A Dozen Or A Hundred Planet-Falls A Day' and I wanted to share that here too.

R. A. Lafferty
November 7, 1914 - March 18, 2002