Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum. The Thyme Fiend March 11, 2015 The Thyme Fiend Jeffrey Ford It's not all in his head. The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself?
From The Blog
March 24, 2015
Protecting What You Love: On the Difference Between Criticism, Rage, and Vilification
Emily Asher-Perrin
March 23, 2015
Language as Power in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Katharine Duckett
March 16, 2015
What Changes To Expect in Game of Thrones Season Five
Bridget McGovern
March 13, 2015
Five Books with Fantastic Horses
Patricia Briggs
March 13, 2015
Is Ladyhawke the Best Fairy Tale of Them All?
Leah Schnelbach
Fri
Mar 27 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Face That Must Die by Ramsey Campbell

The Face that Must Die

In this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Ramsey Campbell wrote one of the most convincing psychological horror novels of the 1980s with The Face That Must Die. A horror writer since the 1960s (his first collection of short stories was published by the venerable Arkham House when he was still a teenager), Campbell is virtually a brand-name writer in the genre. His allusive and oblique prose lends his stories a hallucinatory tone, a feeling of something not quite right, slightly askew and vaguely malevolent, as Lovecraftian monstrosities flitter just out of eyesight.

But the horror found in The Face That Must Die is an all too real kind. Indeed, the introductory essay included with the 1985 Tor edition, “At the Back of My Mind: A Guided Tour,” is Campbell’s account of his worsening relationship with his mother as she sank into dementia over many years. These days mainstream memoirs and fiction of life with crazy parents are a dime a dozen, but Campbell’s piece has no distancing irony or comic effect. Harrowing and sad and enlightening, it is Campbell’s explanation for “why I write what I write,” and readers can come to their own conclusions about how this influenced The Face That Must Die.

[Read More]

Wed
Mar 25 2015 9:00am
Original Story

Dog

“Dog” by Bruce McAllister is a chilling horror story about a young American couple who encounter dogs in Mexico very unlike any domesticated variety north of the border and what happens.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by consulting editor Ellen Datlow.

[Read “Dog” by Bruce McAllister]

Fri
Mar 20 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Finicky Details of Linda Crockett Gray

Tangerine Linda Crockett GrayIn this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

In Tangerine by Linda Crockett Gray, you haven’t reached page 34 before you reach this passage about a ring of porn kings who shoot specialty videotapes. Their latest commission is pricey because the fantasy they’re realizing involves a woman suffocating an 11-year-old boy to death with her breasts. Then she covers the boy in flowers and eats them off his dead body. The customer? A podiatrist in Utah who paid $2,000 for this masterpiece of cinema.

With sleaze this deep so early in a book, you kind of feel like you’ve won the lottery. Then you read the rest of this 344 page novel and you realize: no. Reading Linda Crockett Gray is like the lottery, only it’s the real one, where you always lose.

[Read More]

Fri
Mar 13 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Avatar the Last Art-Bender

art nouveau Avatar: The Last Airbender Legend of Korra Swade Art

We’re really digging these Art Nouveau Legend of Korra pieces from Scott “Swade” Wade. Korra looks especially badass, but the other Avatars are not shabby either, especially with each piece highlighting their specific elements.

Afternoon Roundup brings you the scariest horror movie of 2015 (so far), space travel reality TV fears, and what happens when you open the German meme floodgates.

[Read more]

Fri
Mar 13 2015 9:00am

Evil Eighties: The Hollywood Horrors of David J. Schow

Seeing Red David J Schow

If you were reading paperback horror fiction back in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you recall the red-hot minute of the graphic subgenre known as splatterpunk.

Surely I first read about it in the pages of Fangoria, or perhaps Twilight Zone, and I was instantly a fan even before I’d read any of the authors who supposedly were part of this new movement. As a fan of gory horror flicks and late 1970s punk rock, as well as being a teenager, this new wave of no-holds-barred horror was tailor-made for yours truly! I couldn’t get enough of books like The Scream, Live Girls, Books of Blood, The Nightrunners...

As to the origins of the term, most anecdotes point to David J. Schow who jokingly—perhaps cringingly—coining it in the mid-1980s in response to the William Gibson/Bruce Sterling/John Shirley-powered “cyberpunk” movement over there on the science fiction shelves. Never intended to be a hard-and-fast label, splatterpunk stuck for a few years, uniting disparate upcoming writers like Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, John Skipp and Craig Spector, Ray Garton, Richard Christian Matheson, and others, informally known as the, um, “splat pack.” Look, it was the ’80s, all right?

[Read More]

Fri
Mar 6 2015 12:00pm

Evil Eighties: The Creepy Nursery Rhymes of Elizabeth Engstrom

Elizabeth Engstrom Black AmbrosiaIn this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Reading horror paperbacks from the 80s is like buying drugs off the street. You wind up with so many bags of oregano that you lose hope, and then, suddenly, you’re clutching the real deal and the top of your head is lifting off and you can’t remember your name, your address, or whether you’re biologically human.

But finding the real deal brings its own flavor of depression because it raises questions like, “Why isn’t this author better known?” and “What happened to their careers?” Which is exactly how I felt when I stumbled across Elizabeth Engstrom’s Black Ambrosia and When Darkness Loves Us and realized I had never heard of them, or their author, before. It made me want to scream to the heavens, “Who’s responsible this???

[Read More]

Wed
Mar 4 2015 11:43am

Announcing the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

27th annual Lambda Literary award nomineesThe 27th Annual Lambda Literary Award finalists have been announced, marking a record year of submissions depicting the LGBTQ experience. The 818 submissions came from mainstream publishers, academic presses, and publishing-on-demand technologies; from LGBT publishers both established and emerging. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 1, 2015.

Three Tor Books authors were nominated in the category of LGBT Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror: A.M. Dellamonica, Max Gladstone, and Daryl Gregory.

[Read more]

Fri
Feb 27 2015 12:00pm

Take Back The Night: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Genre is a funny thing. Take the vampire movie. It’s been around since the silent days of cinema. It’s been used as a conduit for horror, action, romance, and comedy. It’s been used for trash. It’s been used for art. And, yes, it’s been showing signs of wear lately. When Dracula Untold hit theaters last year promising a “new” look at the most rehashed vampire tale of them all, it had all the earmarks of a tired genre piece from a wheezing genre that had finally exhausted itself through countless repetitions.

The undead will always rise again, though, and here comes A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the most interesting and original vampire movie to come along in…well, in a long time.

[Read More]

Fri
Feb 27 2015 11:52am

Announcing the 2014 Aurealis Awards Shortlist!

2014 Aurealis Awards shortlistThe Aurealis Awards—which recognize the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and children’s fiction writers—have announced their 2014 shortlist! The finalists include Jonathan Strahan, Kathleen Jennings, Scott Westerfeld, Garth Nix, Deborah Biancotti, and more.

[Read more]

Fri
Feb 27 2015 10:00am

Evil Eighties: The Nightrunners by Joe R. Lansdale

Joe Lansdale The Nightrunners

In this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Everybody remembers their first Joe R. Lansdale story.

Mine was “Night They Missed the Horror Show,” which I read in the anthology Splatterpunks in 1991. To say I was unprepared for this black-hearted tale of racist hillbilly snuff-film purveyors and the high-school hellraisers who inadvertently stumble upon their doings is an understatement. Like a sucker punch to a soft belly or a club to the base of the skull, “Horror Show” leaves you stunned, out of breath, a hurt growing inside you that you know won’t be leaving any time soon. Hasn’t left me this quarter-century later. I know Lansdale would have it no other way.

[Read More]

Thu
Feb 26 2015 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: March Releases in Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, and Horror

new releases Urban Fantasy Horror MarchThirty-one new releases in these mega-genres roar in like a lion (well, a leonine shapeshifter) this month, including new series titles from, among others, Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires), Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega), Devon Monk (House Immortal), Seanan McGuire (InCryptid), Leigh Evans (Mystwalker), Anne Bishop (The Others), Nancy Holzner (Deadtown), Dana Cameron (Fangborn), and Sherrilyn Kenyon (Chronicles of Nick).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Fri
Feb 20 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of Lisa Tuttle

Lisa Tuttle Familiar SpiritStarting last Friday the 13th, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Who is Lisa Tuttle and why is she such a pervert? We may never find an answer to that second question. After all, what drives an author to write some of the most psychologically harrowing, squick-inducing, “find your soft places and dig in with my fingernails” mass market paperbacks of the 1980s? Why does she seem to delight in our discomfort? But maybe the answer is easy.

Why is Lisa Tuttle so perverse? It might be because her books taste better that way.

[Read More]

Thu
Feb 19 2015 5:00pm
Excerpt

Dead Spots (Excerpt)

Rhiannon Frater

Dead Spots Rhiannon Frater The stillbirth of Mackenzie’s son destroyed her marriage. Grieving, Mac reluctantly heads for her childhood home to seek refuge with her mother, who constantly reminds her of life’s dangers.

Driving across Texas, Mac swerves to avoid hitting a deer...and winds up in a dead spot, a frightening place that lies between the worlds of the living and the dead. If they can control their imaginations, people can literally bring their dreams to life—but most are besieged by fears and nightmares which pursue them relentlessly.

Mackenzie’s mother and husband haunt her, driving her to the brink of madness. Then she hears a child call for help and her maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Grant, Mac’s ally in the dead spots, insists Johnny is a phantom, but the boy seems so real, so alive. As the true horrors of the dead spots are slowly revealed, Mackenzie realizes that time is running out. But exits from the dead spots are nearly impossible to find, and defended by things almost beyond imagination.

Horror novelist Rhiannon Frater returns with Dead Spots, available February 24th from Tor Books!

[Read an Excerpt]

Thu
Feb 12 2015 5:00pm
Excerpt

The Doll Collection

Ellen Datlow

the doll collection anthology ellen datlow The Doll Collection—available March 10th from Tor Books—is an anthology designed to frighten and delight, featuring all-original dark tales of dolls from bestselling and award-winning authors compiled by one of the top editors in the field, a treasured toy box of all-original dark stories about dolls of all types, including everything from puppets and poppets to mannequins and baby dolls.

Master anthologist Ellen Datlow has assembled a list of beautiful and terrifying stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors. Featuring everything from life-sized clockwork dolls to all-too-human Betsy Wetsy-type baby dolls, these stories play into the true creepiness of the doll trope, but avoid the clichés that often show up in stories of this type. The collection is illustrated with photographs of dolls taken by Datlow and other devoted doll collectors from the science fiction and fantasy field. The result is a star-studded collection exploring one of the most primal fears of readers of dark fiction everywhere, and one that every eader will want to add to their own collection.

[Read Ellen Datlow’s Introduction]

Tue
Feb 10 2015 5:00pm
Excerpt

Bones & All (Excerpt)

Camille DeAngelis

Bones & All Camille DeAngelis excerpt Maren Yearly is a young woman who wants the same things we all do. She wants to be someone people admire and respect. She wants to be loved. But her secret, shameful needs have forced her into exile. She hates herself for the bad thing she does, for what it’s done to her family and her sense of identity; for how it dictates her place in the world and how people see her—how they judge her. She didn’t choose to be this way.

Because Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them. Ever since her mother found Penny Wilson’s eardrum in her mouth when Maren was just two years old, she knew life would never be normal for either of them. Love may come in many shapes and sizes, but for Maren, it always ends the same—with her hiding the evidence and her mother packing up the car.

But when her mother abandons her the day after her sixteenth birthday, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, and finds much more than she bargained for along the way. Faced with a world of fellow eaters, potential enemies, and the prospect of love, Maren realizes she isn’t only looking for her father—she’s looking for herself.

Camille DeAngelis’ Bones & All—available March 10th from St. Martin’s Press—is an astonishingly original coming-of-age tale that is at once a gorgeously written horror story as well as a mesmerizing meditation on female power and sexuality.

[Read an Excerpt]

Mon
Feb 2 2015 4:00pm

Everything I Needed to Know about Writing Monster Horror I Learned from Alien

Alien

I wish I could say I saw Alien on the big screen in 1979, and experienced the glory of Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger’s chest-bursting, face-hugging terrors before they became property of pop culture and parody. Alas, Alien was years before my time. The film was nearly thirty years old before I borrowed the DVD from a friend and watched it alone in a small, dark room. Mistake.

What my tiny, flickering television experience lacked in silver screen quality, it made up for in atmosphere, intense claustrophobia, and the eerie sense of being isolated in the universe. Space is already a terrifying, incomprehensible void to me; adding Alien’s Xenomorph only made me check my locks thrice and start looking up how to make homemade napalm… at least for fiction’s sake.

I watched the film countless times, breaking down the movie down into its basest parts, trying to understand why it succeeded to frighten audiences so thoroughly with its modest budget, low performance expectations, and a fairly lukewarm critical reception. Nowadays, the film is widely considered a classic.

[Here’s what Alien taught me about writing horror.]

Thu
Jan 29 2015 6:00pm

Fiction Affliction: February Releases in Paranormal/Urban Fantasy and Horror

new releases urban fantasy Thirty-five new releases in these mega-genres make your valentine all furry and fanged, including new series titles from, among others, Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground), Kathleen Tierney (Siobhan Quinn), Jaye Wells (Prospero’s War), J.D. Robb (In Death), Kylie Chan (Celestial Battle), and Bob Mayer (Area 51).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 10:00am
Reprint

Scarecrow

Alyssa Wong

Tor.com is honored to reprint “Scarecrow,” a horror short story by Alyssa Wong. Originally published in Black Static 42 (September 2014), “Scarecrow” has never before been available to read online. Please enjoy this horrific tale of tragic love and corvid loss. This story contains scenes that some readers may find upsetting.

[Read “Scarecrow” by Alyssa Wong]

Tue
Jan 20 2015 2:45pm

Day Four Follows The Three

Day Four Sarah Lotz

The Three was without question one of the best and most hellish horror novels released in recent years. As I concluded in my review, Sarah Lotz’s “nightmarish indictment of contemporary culture [was] assiduously ambiguous, brilliantly balanced, carefully controlled and in the final summation fantastically crafted,” so I’m on board for Day Four, the “unforgettable sequel” Hodderscape revealed recently.

Day Four appears to shift the focus of The Three from the skies to the seas.

[Read More]

Thu
Jan 15 2015 1:30pm

Back to Hell with Clive Barker

Clive Barker The Scarlet Gospels

Get ready to say hello and goodbye both to two classic characters. Harry D’Amour—a major player in Everville—and Pinhead himself, he of The Hellbound Heart in part and the whole of the Hellraiser film franchise, are finally ready to return in “a good versus evil saga that goes straight to Hell.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you—or rather reintroduce you—to The Scarlet Gospels, a “farewell speech” of sorts, and Clive Barker’s first book for adults since 2007’s altogether too brief masterpiece Mister B. Gone:

[Read More]