The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. 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.
From The Blog
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
April 15, 2015
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Stubby the Rocket
April 15, 2015
The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games
N. Ho Sang and Peter Tieryas
April 14, 2015
An Open Letter to HBO from House Greyjoy
Theresa DeLucci
Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:30pm

Tom Fletcher Does the Devil’s Work

Thin Places Tom Fletcher

Last year, one of the most promising young horror authors of the past decade turned his stark talents to fantasy, conjuring up “a devastated landscape equal parts Ambergris and Fallout 3” to typically excellent effect. I’m talking, of course, about Tom Fletcher, whose Factory trilogy got off to a tantalising start with Gleam—reviewed right here—in 2014.

Fast forward to last week, when the author confirmed that 2015 will indeed see the release of the sequel. It’s called Idle Hands, and it should be published sometime in September or October. The cover’s coming up under the cut—plus, I’ve bagged a blurb! But that’s not all the Tom Fletcher news I have to share with you today. Far from it, in fact. Firstly, there’s Thin Places: a bumper ebook edition of Fletcher’s first three novels, namely The Leaping, The Thing on the Shore, and The Ravenglass Eye.

[Read More]

Fri
Apr 17 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Killer Kids of Somebody Come and Play

Clare McNally Somebody Come and Play

Kids: you can’t live with ‘em, you can’t kill ‘em. Whether it’s an unhappy baby that keeps you awake for days until your mind snaps, a demented infant that seems determined to drown you in its own poop, or a toddler who screeches a high-pitched wail until your face explodes, children are the ultimate evil.

In the 70’s and 80’s creepy kids became a mainstay of horror fiction, with one stepback cover of an evil child blurring into another on the racks. John Saul swung between putting kids in peril and making them evil, Ruby Jean Jensen was a one-woman evil baby machine, and Andrew Niederman gave us Brainchild, Child’s Play, Playmates, Teacher’s Pet, and Sister, Sister. Slogging it out down there in the trenches with them was Clare McNally, who wrote about 13 books between 1980 and 1997. Killer kids were an industry because, as Alain Robbe-Grillet once said, “What do little girls dream about? Knives and blood.”

[Read More]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: The Most Oxymoronic of All Was the Unicorn

realistic unicorn needlepoint

There may be cats and rats and elephants, but as sure as you’re born, none of them have needlepoint as quirky as this one. Props to hitRECord contributor sinnamin for this home furnishing we all need now.

Morning Roundup mourns the Miles Morales movie that could have been; sings Monty Python with Stephen Hawking; and resists the urge to make the easiest joke about screaming and space.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 13 2015 2:00pm

Five Books About Backwoods Horror

Harrow County Tyler Crook

It’s nearly impossible for me to choose five favorite horror novels. I simply can’t name a favorite (except in one case, as you’ll see below). But I can narrow it down a little and compartmentalize my preferences. In that way, even though I’m certain I’m forgetting something, the slight won’t seem too terribly egregious.

I grew up in rural North Carolina, amidst tobacco fields and scuppernong grape orchards, and the Missouri Ozarks, amidst scorpions and tarantula herds. Living in those areas, I developed an appreciation for the folktales and ghost stories that run rampant among country folk. That upbringing has wormed its way into many of my own stories. With books like Harrow County, coming from Dark Horse Comics, I’m able to revisit some of my old haunts, if you’ll pardon the pun.

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Mon
Apr 13 2015 12:45pm

Announcing the 2014 Aurealis Awards Winners!

2014 Aurealis Awards winnersThe winners of Australia’s 2014 Aurealis Awards—which recognize the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and children’s fiction writers—were announced on April 11 at the University House, Canberra. Also announced was the 2014 recipient of The Convenors’ Award for Excellence, which recognizes a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas that is not otherwise eligible for an Aurealis Award.

The full list of winners is below. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

[Read more]

Fri
Apr 10 2015 1:00pm

Evil Eighties: Spectre by Stephen Laws

For 1980s horror fiction aficionados like me, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as when you buy an old paperback based solely on its promising cover art and then, upon actually reading the book, that the contents deliver on said promise. Now, ironically, the photo-realistic cover for Spectre, a 1987 Tor paperback by Stephen Laws —featuring some young denizens of that amazing decade in various stages of disappearance—doesn’t exactly scream “Horror! Terror! Dismemberment!” like so many others did back then.

That’s precisely what struck me about the cover, thanks to the talents of J.K. Potter, a renowned artist who’s illustrated countless volumes of horror fiction: its utter lack of tacky tasteless imagery (aside from an oversize sweater or two). I was drawn to Spectre because it promised, perhaps, quiet chilling scares, rather than the full-on assault of so much ’80s horror, often done with all the finesse of Leatherface working his saw. Did the novel deliver on its promise of quiet horror? Actually, no: Laws’ novel is filled with tentacles and teeth, torn limbs and slashed throats, abhorrent rituals and hungry gods… but it’s all done with the finesse of Hannibal Lecter preparing you dinner.

[Read More]

Tue
Apr 7 2015 10:45am

The Horror of the Herberts

Announced on this day a year ago “to celebrate the life and career of one of the world’s best and most loved horror writers,” the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing aims to bring deserved attention to the boldest books by a new generation of authors working in the same genre on which Herbert himself made such a lasting mark.

The winner of the inaugural award—open as it was “to horror novels written in English and published in the UK and Ireland between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014”—was revealed over Easter. As chair of judges Tom Hunter noted in The Guardian’s write-up, “the first winner of a new prize can set expectations for years to come.”

The victor was picked from a shortlist of six books, including M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts, Frances Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song, Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, and An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman. But there can be only one; and the one, ultimately, was Nick Cutter, whose pseudonymous debut The Troop I called “a twisted coming-of-age tale, more Koryta than King, which I quite liked despite its disappointing dependence on disgust.”

[Read more]

Fri
Apr 3 2015 11:30am

Evil Eighties: The Mysteries of Norah Lofts

The ClawIn 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.

Historical romance novelist Norah Lofts wrote over fifty novels in her lifetime, working under her own name and the pseudonyms Juliet Astley and Peter Curtis. She wrote novels about Isabella of Spain, and Anne Boleyn, and Katherine of Aragon. She wrote a long series of interconnected novels about village life in the fictitious East Anglia town of Balidon. She wrote several novels that trace the lives and deaths of the inhabitants of some of England’s grand homes.

And, in 1982, she wrote The Claw about a living dead serial rapist who terrorizes an entire town, mutilating his victims with a massive iron claw.

[Read More]

Thu
Apr 2 2015 4:00pm

Fiction Affliction: April Releases in Urban Fantasy and Horror

new releases urban fantasyThirty-seven new releases in these mega-genres rain down on readers in April—although readers should have their digital readers and young adult filters at the ready. Look for new adult series starts or additions from, among others, Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Chris Marie Green (Jensen Murphy), Kristen Painter (Crescent City), Nicole Peeler (The Jinni), Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian), and that familiar-sounding Suzanne Johnson (Sentinels of New Orleans).

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
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. Throughout the 1980s, Tor published at least a dozen of his books and adorned them with  distinctive artwork and title fonts. 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?

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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.]