Tor.com content by

Kali Wallace

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
All

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Last Train to Jubilee Bay

, || After the sickness and quarantine almost destroyed the city, the traders arrived creeping out from the sea to live off the memories of those people left behind; getting them addicted to the serum these strange creatures manufacture in return. But now it's been more than five days since they have come for their daily visit. And Lucy is determined to find out why.

Inside the Cult of Fear: Finding Humanity in Horror Fiction

I am, in many ways, a tremendous scaredy-cat.

I don’t make it through many horror movies without hiding behind my hands. They give me nightmares, and the jump scares get me every single time. To be honest, I don’t even need a movie to fall victim to a jump scare; loud noises and barking dogs and somebody sneezing when I don’t expect it will do the trick. You’ll never get me into a haunted corn maze because I am completely certain the corn will eat me. At a middle school sleepover, I flinched so dramatically when the hand came out of the TV in Poltergeist that I gave myself a charley horse. And you can ask my younger sister how much fun she has tormenting me with my fear of moths. (Yes, I know they are harmless and even rather cute. I just can’t stand the way they sit perfectly still for hours and hours and hours and you never know when they are going to flutter.) I’ve always been this way.

I also love horror fiction. Love it. Love to read it, love to write it, love to talk about it. Stories full of fucked-up shit are my jam. This doesn’t feel like a contradiction to me. I don’t think it’s a contradiction for many lovers of horror fiction. We like to poke and prod at all the things in the world that frighten us—rather like worrying at a sore tooth, except it’s never just one tooth. There are always more teeth. It’s teeth all the way down.

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Anxiety, Empathy, and Making Sense of the Senseless Through Storytelling

The first kid we had to kill never wanted to be a soldier. He wanted to be a painter. That was about all we knew about him; he wasn’t on our team. His name was Ignatz, he had grass-green hair and Harry Potter glasses, he wanted to be a painter, and we had to kill him.

“Oh no,” I said. “That’s not fair. That’s not okay. I don’t like this at all.”

Let me clarify: I’m talking about a video game. For the past couple of months, as we’ve been isolated at home, my roommate and I have been playing the Nintendo Switch game Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

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You Can’t Eat Something That Talks: People and Cultures in Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura

Sometimes you think you’re talking about an invading army when you’re actually talking about a swarm of locusts. Not in the real world, mind you. Metaphorical rhetoric aside, we can (or should be able to) tell the difference between bipedal primates and six-legged arthropods. But in speculative fiction things get complicated. Sometimes the army looks like the swarm—a favorite trope of SF going way back in many classics of film and literature—but that’s fine, that’s cool, we can handle our Arachnids and Buggers and Xenomorphs just fine.

Where it gets a bit more complicated is when the swarm looks like people.

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Comfort, Connection, and Community in Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura

I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort reading lately. I know I’m not alone in this. We are, after all, in the middle of a socially isolating global pandemic with no end in sight, and we spend too much of each day worrying about everything from the health of our loved ones to the fragility of our institutions. The uncertainties of daily life have been compounding for a good long while. The value of a comfort read lies in its familiarity, in the way sinking into its pages removes some of that uncertainty from our increasingly frightening lives. It can feel like inviting old friends over for a party, even though we are all definitely avoiding parties at this particular moment…

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Last Train to Jubilee Bay

After the sickness and quarantine almost destroyed the city, the traders arrived creeping out from the sea to live off the memories of those people left behind; getting them addicted to the serum these strange creatures manufacture in return. But now it’s been more than five days since they have come for their daily visit. And Lucy is determined to find out why.

Enjoy “Last Train to Jubilee Bay,” new original short story by Kali Wallace, acquired for Tor.com by consulting editor Ann VanderMeer.

[Read “Last Train to Jubilee Bay”]

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