Tor.com content by

Anne M. Pillsworth

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fathomless

, || Sean Wyndham has tried to stay away from the lure of magic—the last time he tried to dabble in the dark studies, he inadvertently summoned a blood familiar, wreaking havoc on his town, and calling the attention of the Elder Gods. But now Sean has been offered the chance to study magic with a proper teacher...

Summoned (Excerpt)

, || While browsing in a rare book store in Arkham, Sean finds an occult book with an ad seeking an apprentice sorcerer, from a newspaper dated March 21, 1895. Even more intriguing, the ad specifically requests applicants reply by email. Sean's always been interested in magic, particularly the Lovecraftian dark mythology. Against his best friend Edna's advice, he decides to answer the ad, figuring it's a clever hoax, but hoping that it won't be. The advertiser, Reverend Redemption Orne, claims to be a master of the occult born more than 300 years ago. To prove his legitimacy, Orne gives Sean instructions to summon a harmless but useful familiar—but Sean's ceremony takes a dark turn, and he instead accidentally beckons a bloodthirsty servant to the Cthulhu Mythos god Nyarlathotep. The ritual is preemptively broken, and now Sean must find and bind the servitor, before it grows too strong to contain. But strange things are already happening in the town of Arkham...

The Hazards of a Cat Shortage: Garry Kilworth’s “Hogfoot Right and Bird Hands”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Garry Kilworth’s “Hogfoot Right and Bird-Hands,” first published in 1987 in Christopher Evans and Robert Holdstock’s Other Edens anthology. Spoilers ahead; CW for amputation and mention of suicide.

[“It would perch on the back of the bed-chair and flutter its fingerfeathers…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Never a Mother: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 7)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Chapter 6 of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Spoilers ahead.

[“Her eyes hurt with tears against the screaming blackness of the path…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Pinkerton’s Detergent Vs. the Eternal Bloodstain: Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost,” first published in the 23 February and 2 March 1887 issues of The Court and Society Review. Spoilers ahead—but read it for yourself first.

[“I will take the furniture and the ghost at a valuation.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

The Center of Attention: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 6)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Chapter 5 of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Spoilers ahead.

[“It is still perfectly possible that it is all caused by subterranean waters.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

An Inexhaustible Research Subject: Elizabeth Bear’s “On Safari in R’lyeh and Carcosa With Gun and Camera”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Elizabeth Bear’s “On Safari in R’lyeh and Carcosa With Gun and Camera,” first published in the November 2020 on Tor.com. Spoilers ahead—but read it for yourself first.

[“Have you noticed that those are a lot of moons?”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Foolishness and Wickedness Mixed Up: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 5)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Chapter 4 of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Spoilers ahead. TW for continued discussion of historical suicide.

[Read more]

Series: Reading the Weird

Sometimes the Sea, Sometimes Bones: Sonya Taaffe’s “Tea With the Earl of Twilight”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Sonya Taaffe’s “Tea With the Earl of Twilight,” first published in the September 2020 issue of Nightmare Magazine. Spoilers ahead—but go read it for yourself first, we’ll wait.

[“It had been a wet, dispiriting winter full of gusts and mists, but with January the water had finally hardened into a thick pane of cormorant-black ice, chipped and glossed with refreezing like volcanic glass…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Tales to Tell at a Marshmallow Roast: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 4)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Today we’re covering Chapter 3. Spoilers ahead. TW for historical suicide.

[“Ladies, if you are the ghostly inhabitants of Hill House, I am here forever.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

“All Houses Have a Place Like This”: Robert Aickman’s “The Stains”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Robert Aickman’s “The Stains,” first published in Ramsey Campbell’s 1980 New Terrors anthology. Spoilers ahead.

[“It had been as if he still belonged to the human race…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

My Bedroom Used to Be the Embalming Room: The Haunting of Hill House (Part 3)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Today we’re covering Chapter 2. Spoilers ahead.

[“Perhaps someone had once hoped to lighten the air of the blue room in Hill House with a dainty wallpaper…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Something in the Water, Something in the Air: Kaaron Warren’s “The Diesel Pool”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Kaaron Warren’s “The Diesel Pool,” first published in 2017 in Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequira, and Bryce Stevens’ Cthulhu Deep Down Under, Volume 1. Spoilers ahead.

[“No one likes to come down here. Every door hides a ghost.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Following the Directions Too Far: The Haunting of Hill House (Part 2)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Today we’re covering Chapter 1, Parts 3-5. Spoilers ahead.

[“Sometimes the people who knock you down never turn once to look.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Maybe Just Don’t Rob Graves: Louisa May Alcott’s “Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse”

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re reading Louisa May Alcott’s “Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse,” first published in Frank Leslie’s 1869 A New World. (We read it in Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger’s new Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852-1923.) Spoilers ahead.

[“You’ll be sorry for it, and so shall I, perhaps…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Good Ghost-Hunters are Hard to Find: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (Part 1)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we’re starting on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, first published in 1959. Today we’re covering Chapter 1, Parts 1 and 2. Spoilers ahead.

[“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

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